Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Amanda L. Thayer

Second Advisor

Jessica L. Wildman

Third Advisor

Gary N. Burns

Fourth Advisor

Heidi Hatfield Edwards


Researchers have long struggled with harnessing the benefits accompanying diversity, such as increased knowledge sharing and the diverse expertise of individuals. One barrier that hinders taking advantage of such diversity is discrimination, such as sexism. Indeed, evidence has indicated that subtle sexism, compared to overt sexism, has a similar magnitude in impacting workplace outcomes. Additionally, teams are ubiquitous in organizations with the increase in complex taskwork, requiring a set of individuals to collaborate and produce outcomes greater than each individual effort. Accordingly, teamwork requires close, interdependent relationships for optimal performance. The purpose of this study was to assess a prevalent form of subtle sexism well studied by researchers, known as benevolent sexism, in a neglected context, namely work teams. Specifically, using a novel experimental paradigm, I evaluated the impact of benevolently sexist ideology and benevolently sexist discrimination against women in teams, in an effort to understand how sexism can decrease the contributions of women (i.e., knowledge sharing, feedback, and backup behavior) and team-level outcomes (i.e., team viability and performance). In addition to studying benevolent sexism in a novel context, this study contributes to the literature by developing unobtrusive measures of benevolently sexist discrimination and contributions of women. Results from the study using a variety of analytical techniques (i.e., attribute alignment, variable-centered, and team composition approaches) did not support the hypotheses. Exploratory qualitative analyses, study limitations, and theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.

Available for download on Tuesday, July 29, 2025