Consumer Attitudes: Effect of the “Gender” of the Occupation and the Sales Associate’s Sex and Gender Expression on Attitudes Towards the Sales Associate

Current literature suggests that learned stereotypes may contribute to the development of certain attitudes and preferences toward gender nonconformity and, the more accepted, gender conformity (Boyce & Herd, 2003; Brescoll et al, 2010; Dozier, 2017; Embry et al, 2008; Heilman, 2012; McDowell, 2015; Ritter & Yoder, 2004; Swim et al, 2019). The current gap in research is the lack of crossing sex, gender expression, and employment to see how attitudes vary depending on gender conformity and nonconformity. The purpose of the current study was to determine how participants view retail associates who are gender congruent and incongruent at gendered retail stores to determine if the sex of the employee, the gender expression of the employee, and how masculine or feminine the workplace is stereotypically viewed impacts perceptions of the sales associate. Participants (N=121) were given depictions of the retail associates then completed the “Attitudes Towards Retail Associate Questionnaire” to assess perceptions of the sales associate’s authority, credibility, competency, comfortability. Our results contradicted most prior literature by not completely supporting Social Role Theory. For example, feminine females rated highest in the sports store with a score of 6.50. Continuing research in this field is important due to the pertinence it has on businesses and the economy. Businesses can utilize this information to better themselves and better understand how to reach more diverse target demographics who do not hold traditional gender views.
Presented at Fiat Lux Spring 2021.
Consumers -- Attitudes, Gender-nonconforming people, Gender nonconformity