Gender and Communication : Perceptions of Diffuse Status Characteristics in Workplace Email
Fay, Martha J.
MetadataShow full item record
Previous research has shown that perceptions of gender act as a diffuse status characteristic which impacts how interlocutors perceive the competence, ability, and value of others. However, this research was conducted prior to the proliferation of electronic communication and focused primarily on verbal communication; this is important because visual cues contribute to perceptions of communication as gendered, and stereotypically feminine traits are evaluated less favorably than masculine traits. One communication style typically associated with femininity is tentative language; conversely, dominant language is usually associated with masculinity. These communication styles manifest not only in face-to-face interaction, but also in electronic and written interaction. Although Ma and Atwell Seate (2017) found that both men and women use tentative language via workplace email when the topic is perceived to be gender salient, little research has been done to show how tentative and dominant communication are associated with perceptions of diffuse status characteristics. This study evaluates use of language strategies in workplace emails for their possible association with interlocutor perceptions of diffuse status characteristics. Results may be used to help employees understand how their use of language impacts others’ perceptions of them.
Department of Communication and Journalism