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Men Get Ego Boost From Workplace Power

Men Get Ego Boost From Workplace Power Credit: Man with lightbulb image via Shutterstock

Men reap more rewards from having power in the workplace than women do, new research shows.

A University of Toronto study revealed the benefits of having more authority in the office ― including greater job control and higher earnings ― are not evenly distributed for women and men.

The researchers found that men who achieved the highest levels of structural power were more likely to perceive their jobs as more autonomous and influential. In addition, even when the men in the study shared a similar level of authority in the workplace, they were more likely than women to feel they had decision-making freedom and greater influence over what happens on the job. 

The study's lead author, sociologist Scott Schieman, said that forms of job control ― especially job autonomy ― are highly coveted by many workers.

"We know that job resources ― like authority and autonomy or income ― tend to bundle together," Schieman said. "And yet, our research suggests that the bundling of these job rewards continue to differ for women and men."

The researchers said the study, which was based on data from a large national survey of Canadian workers holding a broad range of occupations, ruled out the possibility that differences in occupation level, job sector, work hours, job stress, and marital or parental status might be producing these differences.

Schieman believes the findings shed new light on the age-old question of which gender benefits more from authority in the workplace.

"The patterns we discover suggest that even when women 'lean in' and attain greater authority at work, the structural features of power have different consequences for the subjective experience of autonomy and influence in ways that favor men," he said.

The study was published in the spring 2013 issue of the journal Sociological Perspectives.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.