Although several studies in social psychology suggest that male participants are more likely than female ones to engage in individuating behaviors, other studies have found no gender differences in willingness to perform individuating acts. This study posits that differences in findings across past investigations may be attributed to the chosen domain of individuating behavior. The content of the Individuation Scale (Maslach, Stapp, & Santee, 1985) is examined in terms of Bakan's (1966) agency‐communion theory to identify two types of individuating behaviors that are consistent with men's gender role orientations (i.e., eliciting conflict, leadership), one type of individuating behavior that is consistent with women's gender role orientations (i.e., personal disclosures), and a gender‐neutral type of individuation (i.e., performance). Responses to the scale are obtained from a sample of business school students (N = 273) and a more heterogeneous mail survey sample (N = 621). A sequence of measurement invariance tests of a 4‐factor correlated model of the individuation measure indicates a high degree of equivalence in the meaning of the measure across gender groups. Subsequent latent‐means structure analysis examines gender differences in willingness to perform the 4 types of individuation behaviors captured in the scale. In the student sample, there were no mean differences in willingness to perform any of the 4 types of individuating acts. However, in the mail survey sample, findings of mean differences supported hypotheses derived from agency‐communion theory: For men as compared with women, the latent means for leadership and eliciting conflict were higher and the latent mean for personal disclosure was lower.
Field of Research
159999 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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