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Women As Change Agents: Agent Gender and Change Content Interact To Shape Trust Judgments & Change Acceptance
A key aspect of successfully driving change seamlessly without conflict is being able to persuade the recipients to accept and support proposed changes. Agents of change play an essential role in championing changes, however, the impact of biases they might face based on their gender is yet to be determined. Drawing upon social psychology research on the communal stereotype associated with women, we propose that female change agents are perceived as more trustworthy than men when advocating changes associated with people’s welfare, such as corporate social responsibility policies. Ultimately, these differences shape the degree to which the suggested change is accepted by its recipients. Results from a preliminary scenario-based experiment support this moderated mediation model. These findings have important implications not just for the communication of change, but also for how we can take advantage of gender stereotypes to give more opportunities to women.