Role of Attire at Workplace: Women Managers

Author Name(s): Kanchan Tolani
Author Email: Kanchan.tolani24@gmail.com

Abstract

There is a lot of published literature supporting the argument that individuals on a day to day basis use attire to manage their image. Role of attire for employees is also based on their position in the hierarchy of the organization. According to Rafaeli and Dutton (1997), in organizations a clear distinctions exists in terms of what is considered to be appropriate for those in management positions as opposed to non-management positions. Thus the present paper investigates the role of attire in perception formation for women managers. For this study the data was collected with the help of structured questionnaire followed by interviews of women manages. The paper focuses on two aspects; influence of attire on women managers’ self-perception and influence of attire on perceptions made by others about them. The results of the study revealed that many employees make perceptions about a manager’s intelligence, capability and competence based on the manager’s attire. The study also found that managers when wearing formal clothes feel more confident and professional. Keywords Women Mangers, Perception, Attire, Self-Perception.

Introduction

In the current business scenario, the factors contributing to the formation of an employee’s identity are not only confined to his/her performance and skills but also to the decisions about attire at work. There is a lot of published literature supporting the argument that individuals on a day to day basis use attire to manage their image. In this paper an attempt is made to understand role of attire in perception formation about women managers at work. As compared to males, females are found to display stronger interest in clothes and place more importance on attire (Solomon and Scholper, 1982). Role of attire for employees is also based on their position in the hierarchy of the organization. According to Rafaeli and Dutton (1997), in organizations a clear distinctions exists in terms of what is considered to be appropriate for those in management positions as opposed to non-management positions. The present paper investigates the role of attire in identity formation of managers in their organization. Though there is increase in diversity at workplace, women still experience gender bias and are represented less at managerial level. Despite of change in gender roles are, women in leadership positions still face various hindrances. The higher the position a women holds in an organization, harsher are the judgments made if her clothing is perceived as inappropriate (Pine, 2014). A study conducted by Peluchette et al. (2006) on postgraduate students revealed that women consider dress to be an important component for managing their appearance; they make more efforts while choosing their attire for work than men, predominantly when they are occupying managerial or executive positions. Thus our study mainly sheds light on how women managers on a day to day basis use attire to manage their percetions.

Conclusion

The study reveals that women feel more confident and professional when wearing formal attire, feel more comfortable when wearing casual attire. Thus it can be said that attire plays a role in influencing the self-perception of women mangers at work. While considering the aspect of perceptions by made others, it could be seen that many employees make perceptions about their women manager’s Competence, Intelligence and Capability based on the attire of women manager. Thus it can be interpreted that attire do influence the perceptions formed by others about women at leadership positions

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