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New Discovery Alert: The "THINK STAR, THINK MEN" phenomenon

  • 1.  New Discovery Alert: The "THINK STAR, THINK MEN" phenomenon

    Posted 04-09-2024 04:54

    Dear MED Friends,

    I am very proud to announce the publication of this open-access JOB article, available at

    https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2784 (lead author: Isabel Villamor, my former doctoral student and now an assistant professor at IESE).

    💡New Discovery Alert: The "THINK STAR, THINK MEN" phenomenon 💡

    We conducted three studies using inductive, experimental, and indirect methods based on eight samples of 2,322 participants and discovered the "think star, think men" (TSTM) phenomenon: A tendency to associate star qualities more with masculine attributes, especially in male-dominated fields. This discovery helps us explain women's challenges in being recognized as star performers.

    We know there is a profound "star performer" gender gap. Our studies shed light on how societal and organizational perceptions shape our understanding of excellence, uncovering implicit star performer theories (ISPTs) that offer fresh insights into the qualities attributed to top-tier professionals. Unlike traditional views on leadership, our research identified six key characteristics of #star #performers: Driven, Relational, Extraordinary, Fascinating, Tenacious, and Brilliant.

    The think star, think men (TSTM) phenomenon highlights the challenges women face in being recognized as star performers and opens a dialogue on the role of implicit biases in professional settings.

    For leaders, organizations, and society at large, these results call for a critical evaluation of our implicit standards of excellence. By acknowledging and addressing these biases, we can pave the way for a more inclusive understanding of what it means to be a star performer. This research invites us to reimagine leadership and excellence in a way that transcends gender stereotypes, fostering an environment where talent is recognized and celebrated regardless of gender. As we move forward, this research urges us to reflect on our perceptions and practices to create a more equitable workplace for all.

    All the best,


    Herman Aguinis, Ph.D.
    Avram Tucker Distinguished Scholar & Professor of Management
    The George Washington University School of Business
    Washington, DC