Challenging traditional beliefs about gender, Gerber develops a new model for understanding gender--the status model of gender stereotyping. She examines how expectations about status and gender impact police offers who work together as partners. Her study includes same-sex police partnerships as well as partnerships in which a woman works with a man.
Interviews with police officers highlight the findings from Gerber's large-scale study of police partnerships. She explores what underlies gender stereotyping--why men appear to have more assertive or instrumental personality traits and women appear to have more accommodating or expressive traits. According to Gerber's status model, instrumental traits are associated with high status, and expressive traits are associated with low status; therefore, men and women only appear to have different personality traits because men have higher status than women. The book provides a provocative analysis for scholars and researchers in gender studies, criminal justice, psychology, and sociology, as well as for those involved in the supervision and training of police.
Gerber began this research with a desire to better understand the diffuculties faced by women police officers in being accepted as officers who are equally as competent as their male counterparts. Her findings need not be limited to women in uniform. Indeed, her research is applicable to women in all domains of woek, especially those women who are working in male-typed jobs. What began as an investigation with women and men officers and their supervisors in New York City's police department, eventually led to information that provides with a clearer understanding of how status-related expectations guide interactions, affect personality attributions at work, and ultimately perpetuate stereotypes about women and men.
This is a highly original and creative piece of work. It has theoretical implications with respect to different scholarly disciplines and it has very practical implications with respect to the composition and use of police terms.
I think the book is fascinating and will be a real contribution to the literature on policing and workers in general. I like to see scholars question the nonlithic image of police officers.
Gwendolyn Gerber's ground-breaking book is a significant contribution to the understanding of gender stereotyping. Her research with police officers illuminates the way status and gender shape personality. Most important, she develops a theoretical model in the book that integrates the study of gender-stereotyped personality traits into the broader study of social interaction.