Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2010

Men as Cultural Ideals: How Culture Shapes Gender Stereotypes

by Amy J.C. Cuddy, Susan Crotty, Jihye Chong and Michael I. Norton

Abstract

Three studies demonstrate how culture shapes the contents of gender stereotypes, such that men are perceived as possessing more of whatever traits are culturally valued. In Study 1, Americans rated men as less interdependent than women; Koreans, however, showed the opposite pattern, rating men as more interdependent than women, deviating from the "universal" gender stereotype of male independence. In Study 2, bi-cultural Korean American participants rated men as less interdependent if they completed a survey in English, but as more interdependent if they completed the survey in Korean, demonstrating how cultural frames influence the contents of gender stereotypes. In Study 3, American college students rated a male student as higher on whichever trait—ambitiousness or sociability—they were told was the most important cultural value at their university, establishing that cultural values causally impact the contents of gender stereotypes.

Keywords: Prejudice and Bias; Perception; Values and Beliefs; Gender Characteristics; Culture; Power and Influence;

Citation:

Cuddy, Amy J.C., Susan Crotty, Jihye Chong, and Michael I. Norton. "Men as Cultural Ideals: How Culture Shapes Gender Stereotypes." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 10-097, May 2010.