Angie Anderson
SPEE 633
Professional Communication
Dr. Daniel Cronn-Mills
Spring 2009

Topic 1 Abstract 1: Professional Dimensions of Nonverbal Communication
Byron, K. (2007). Male and female managers’ ability to ‘read’ emotions: Relationships with
supervisor’s performance ratings and subordinates’ satisfaction ratings. Journal of
Occupational and Organizational Psychology,
80, 713-733.

Nonverbal perceptiveness on the part of the persuader can mean the difference between a happy or dissatisfied customer, a hard-working or disgruntled employee, a business deal settled or a deal never made. Most of what we say is not in our words (verbal), but in our nonverbal communication. Thus when a business professional or anyone working with people is able to pick up on the nonverbal signals given by another, she or he is able to adapt his or her own verbal and nonverbal behaviors to create a positive outcome. Emotions are especially shown more through nonverbal rather than verbal communication. Therefore, the author argues, the perception and expression of emotions in the workplace are likely to provide information, help managers make sense of situations, form relationships among workers, and forge a group identity. Practical implications exist for studying the role of non-verbal emotion perception for working managers and the corresponding satisfaction of employees as managers are continually admonished to improve their emotional intelligence, and thus improve “their accuracy in non-verbal emotion perception” (p. 714).
A significant amount of research has been done considering the consequences of the level of accuracy in non-verbal emotion perception in various disciplines. Among those who reported greater perceptiveness, patients viewed their doctors as being more sensitive and caring and therapy patients viewed counselors as more effective. Due to research findings in these areas, the author created the following four hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1. Managers who more accurately perceive nonverbal emotional expressions receive higher ratings of satisfaction from their subordinates and higher ratings of performance from their supervisors (p. 716).
Hypothesis 2. Managers’ supportiveness mediates the relationship between managers’ nonverbal accuracy and their subordinates’ satisfaction ratings. Specifically, managers who more accurately perceive others’ nonverbal emotional expressions are considered more supportive by their subordinates, who are, in turn, more satisfied with them (p. 717).
Hypothesis 3. Managers’ persuasiveness mediates the relationship between managers’ nonverbal accuracy and their subordinates’ satisfaction ratings. Specifically, managers who more accurately perceive others’ nonverbal emotional expressions are considered more persuasive by their subordinates, who, in turn, are more satisfied with them (p. 718).
Hypothesis 4. Gender moderates the positive relationship between managers’ accuracy in nonverbal emotion perception and their supervisor’s and subordinates’ ratings, such that the relationship is stronger for female managers than for male managers (p. 719).
Participants were taken from two groups. Group one consisted of 44 MBA students whom were managers, 44 of their supervisors (30 responded) and 100 of their subordinates (74 responded). Group two consisted of 78 hospitality managers, 78 of their supervisors (28 responded) and 284 of their subordinates (260 responded). The results were combined from the two groups. The subordinates were questioned regarding five items regarding their level of satisfaction with their manager: perceived supportiveness (likert scale), perceived persuasiveness (occurrence), satisfaction with manager (likert scale), and managerial performance (seven point, low to high scale). The managers were given a skills-based test (Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy (DANVA2)) to measure their nonverbal emotions’ perception. They were exposed to several photographs and audiotapes to perceive emotions through face, eyes, body language and paralanguage. The performance based test encourages greater accuracy than a self-report as it eliminates social desirability bias. The author utilized consensus scoring, meaning if the majority of people believed a certain stimuli represented a certain emotion that representation was considered the “correct answer.”
Several validity and reliability tests were conducted. However, no study can be 100 percent accurate. One aspect to consider, especially in today’s continually diverse workplace is the intercultural differences which exist in what an employee constitutes as supportiveness. When the subordinates were asked about perceived supportiveness of their managers, they were asked to respond to statements like, “My manager shows concern for me as a person” and “My manager treats me as an individual rather than just a member of a group” (p. 721). These statements reflect a United States individualistic culture. Approximately 20 percent of respondent managers and subordinates were nonwhites. These statements may be difficult to respond to for a member of a collectivistic culture, whereas being treated as a member of the group is considered an honor or a respected rite, rather than seen as negative or showing lack of supportiveness.
Through testing the four hypotheses, an interesting interactive effect occurred. The researcher found that the satisfaction ratings differed with female versus male managers. Supportiveness of managers through accurate nonverbal perceptiveness was shown as an important factor for the female managers, but not male. In addition, persuasiveness was a significant mediator for male, but not female managers, to improve satisfaction through nonverbal perceptual accuracy. Supervisors’ ratings of satisfaction with the managers and ratings of managerial performance showed a strong positive correlation to the managers’ higher level of nonverbal emotion perception, but only in female managers. Male managers showed no correlation. Thus female managers were held to expectations of being sensitive to nonverbal emotional expression and showing supportive community building behaviors; whereas male managers were stereotyped to use emotional information for their own advantage, such as to be more persuasive. According to the study, the two genders are obviously held to different standards and expectations of what makes an effective manager, which can create some problems with performance evaluations or perceived ineffectiveness when the manager is not following the gender stereotypes. Further studies should be done to see if differences exist in various business or professional settings.