Who Uses Stereotypes Against Saleswomen? Femininity As Self-Schema and Biases in Trust Judgment

Eun-Ju Lee, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea
While the idea that schemas can explain individual cognitive processes is well accepted in academia, to date, few studies in marketing have demonstrated that consumers’ femininity as self-schema can affect perceptions of others in exchange relationship. This paper examined how consumers’ femininity as self-schema could moderate their trust judgments in the context of computer-simulated online shopping. The first experiment demonstrated how consumer femininity could possibly be related to the use of sex-role stereotypes against female sales agents. High feminine individuals appeared to distrust a female sales agent whose sales approach was incongruent with feminine sex role. In contrast, low feminine individuals’ trust judgment of a female agent was independent of her compliance to sex role. The second experiment measuring response latency demonstrated that the distrustful reactions to a gender-norm dissonant female agent by high feminine individuals required short response time, which suggests such negative trust judgments could be a result of schema-based, quick processing instead of detailed, elaborate processing. Discussions of the experimental findings and future research directions are offered.
[ to cite ]:
Eun-Ju Lee (2008) ,"Who Uses Stereotypes Against Saleswomen? Femininity As Self-Schema and Biases in Trust Judgment", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 498-506.