Role Congruity Theory: Perceptions of Fairness and Sexism in Sport Management

Warren Whisenant, Debbiesiu Lee, Windy Dees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study applied three dimensions of organizational justice - distributive justice, procedural justice, and interpersonal justice – to high school athletics to determine if the fairness perceptions held by head coaches towards their athletic director differed based upon the sex of the athletic director or sex of the coach, after controlling for the level of ambivalent sexism of the coach. If fairness perceptions did differ significantly, the findings would support the notion that attitudes towards women in leadership roles were less positive than attitudes towards men even after controlling for sexist attitudes, thus supporting role congruity theory of prejudice toward women in leadership roles. The results indicated the fairness perceptions held by the coaches differed depending upon the sex of the coach and sex of the athletic director. After controlling for the coaches’ sexist attitudes, male coaches’ perceptions of distributive justice of female athletic directors was significantly lower than female coaches’ perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-485
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Organization Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Fairness
  • Role congruity theory
  • Sexism
  • Sport management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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