Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

More on modesty

March 20th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I just had a great moment!  I opened up a dataset last night and started to ‘clean’ it up in preparation for analyzing the content.  The process is slow and a little dull.  You need to look at a large set of numbers, look for missing cells, add up rows to create overall measures, and generally push around the data so that it makes sense.  Once you get into the rhythm of it, it can become quite addictive, almost meditative.  I stayed up until close to 2pm last night just organizing the file.  I then started to run the numbers but found that my mind was so fuzzy, I could barely organize my thoughts so I gave up and went to sleep.  This morning, I returned to the data – despite the fact that I have a million other more urgent things to do.  I had to know what was hidden in there.  Well, it was worth it.  After running a few simple queries, I found some interesting results.

This data is from a study that I ran some time ago where I had a Research Assistant (RA) interview young adults who were about to go on the job market.  These are people who should be preparing for job interviews and thinking about presenting their skills in the most positive light.  The RA asked a series of typical job interview questions and then provided the interviewees with feedback on their performance.  For the purposes of the study, the interviews were videorecorded.  Two other RAs then spent hours upon hours watching the videos and making note of a set of self-promoting and modest behaviours.  Managers were also asked to watch each video and rate the overall performance of the job candidate. 

So far I have found that men self-promoted more than women – not shocking.  The more interesting finding is that I found an interaction between modest behaviours and gender relative to performance scores.  I found the same interaction for self-promotion.  These results mirrors my earlier finding that modest females earn less than their peers and modest men earn more than their peers.  There is a different reward structure for men and women.  I need to do some more digging into the data – and some more thinking about the meaning of these results.  At a glance, the first implication is that teaching men and women to behave in the same way in job interviews will not lead to the same results for each gender.  We expect different sets of behaviours from men versus women and we penalize people when they do not meet our expectations.  Fair or not – this is the story that the data is telling. 


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