Research: Becoming a Manager Increases Men’s Job Satisfaction, But Not Women’s

Who wouldn’t want a promotion, particularly to a role with leadership responsibilities? It’s hard to argue against more power and more pay. And indeed, promotions to managerial roles are typically associated with an increase in job satisfaction. Management scholars and practitioners have long argued that employees value promotions not only for the accompanying boost in financial compensation but also because managerial positions offer more authority and opportunities for impactful work. Managers also have more job autonomy and decision power, as well as higher occupational prestige. All these factors, research has shown, have a positive impact on job satisfaction.

But female managers’ experiences are more complex than that. A number of female managers report that managerial promotions do not make them more satisfied with their jobs. Instead, they describe a host of difficulties that women encounter once promoted to management, such as having their legitimacy contested, their contributions undervalued, and being excluded from powerful networks.

Are these true but isolated instances? Or is it indeed the case that promotions to management have a different impact on the job satisfaction of women and men? The purpose of my recent study was to find the answer.

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