ERIC Number: ED251745
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Women Officers' Performance Evaluations: Faint Praise May Affect Promotions.
Thomas, Patricia J.
While comments in performance evalutions usually focus on competency, potential, and personality characteristics, discussions of personality are particularly vulnerable to sexual stereotyping. To determine whether gender influences the narrative portion of naval officers' evalutions, narrative information was extracted from the comments section of the performance evaluations of 239 line officers (120 women, 199 men). Content analysis indicated that men's evaluations contained significantly more comments, recommendations for future assignments, and recommendations for the position of commanding officer. There was a significant difference by gender in the words used to describe behavior. Male officers were described as competent, logical, dynamic, mature and aggressive on the job, and more effective in training others. Women were more often described as well-groomed, supportive of equal opportunity programs, and an asset to their commands. To examine the practical implications of the language differences in evaluation, two prototype evaluations were created, one typically descriptive of a female officer and the other of a male officer. All references to gender were avoided, and both were equally positive. Mid-level officers (N=67) reviewed the two evaluations. Overwhelmingly, they chose for promotion the officer having the male descriptors. Results suggest that women with begnignly worded evaluations will not reach the upper ranks of the military. (JAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Performance Appraisal
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).