Posted 27 July 2011, by Staff, Times of India (Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.), timesofindia.indiatimes.com
The Queen Bee syndrome – generally associated with rude female bosses who are ‘unlikely to mentor younger female colleagues’ – has long been recognised by psychologists, and several studies have been carried out on the phenomenon.
Now, psychologists at the Leiden University in Holland have claimed that the most important factor why women display aggressive alpha female behaviour towards female colleagues is how sexist their working environment already is.
They found out that if a woman works in a female-friendly environment, she’s less likely to behave like an alpha female than if she works in an industry dominated by men.
“A Queen Bee is someone who has worked her way up to the top in a male-dominated organisation, and she’s probably got there by behaving how a man would behave – appearing tough and not at all soft and mushy,” the Daily Mail quoted psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, of the Lancaster University Management School, as saying.
“She’s unlikely to mentor younger women because she quite likes her unique position, and may feel threatened by younger females rising up the ranks.
She had to work hard to get to where she is, so she’s not about to give other women a helping hand – they have to work their way up just as she did,” he added.
According to Cooper, Queen Bees are more comfortable working with men because they are used to the way men work.
“A Queen Bee is unlikely to have sympathy for a woman who cries in the office or needs time off because of a sick child, for example,” he said.
“She’s not likely to be tolerant of those women she perceives to be “not strong enough”.
“She may have had to sacrifice her own private life to get to where she is. If you’re an older woman who has a great career but doesn’t have a spouse or family, and you see other women coming up who do, will you resent them? Of course you’ll find some who’ll be jealous,” he added.