How competitive are female professionals? A tale of identity conflict

C. Bram Cadsby*, Maroš Servátka, Fei Song

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


We develop and test experimentally the argument that gender/family and/or professional identities, activated through priming, influence preference for competition. We focus on female professionals for whom these identities may conflict and male professionals for whom they may be reinforcing. We primed MBA-student participants by administering questionnaires concerning either gender/family or professional issues. Subsequently, participants undertook a real-effort task and chose between piece-rate and competitive-tournament compensation. For females, professional priming resulted in a significantly greater preference for competition than gender/family priming. Priming had significantly different effects for males. This contrast highlights an identity conflict for female professionals, not present for males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-303
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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