Women 'catfights' in office more serious than other conflicts

Office catfights

Conflicts between women at workplace has been perceived to have more negative implications than male on male or male on female conflicts, a new study has revealed.

The study from the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business suggests that troubling perceptions exist when it comes to women involved in disputes at work.

"Our research shows that when it comes to workplace conflict, women get a bad rap," PhD candidate Leah Sheppard, who conducted the study with Prof. Karl Aquino said.

"We show how the negative stereotyping around so-called 'catfights' carry over into work situations," Sheppard said.

The researchers asked experiment participants to assess one of three workplace conflict scenarios, all identical except for the names of the individuals involved: Adam and Steven, Adam and Sarah, or Sarah and Anna.

Participants judged the likelihood of two managers repairing a frayed relationship roughly 15 percent lower when both managers were female, versus male-male and male-female.

Participants rated those involved in all-female conflicts as also being more likely to let the argument negatively influence job satisfaction than male-female or male-male quarrellers.

The study also found that female experiment participants were just as likely as males to see the all-female conflict as more negative.

The study is published in the current edition of the journal Academy of Management Perspectives.

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