Suffering Because of Female Manager? Maybe She Is Suffering from Queen Bee Syndrome

Working with women counterparts could be difficult for several reasons. However, scientific research has proved that they might be suffering from the queen bee syndrome. Recently published report proved that women show less compassion toward women counterparts than their men colleagues.


Female coworker can act more impolite toward their other female counterparts. Research has proved that they might be suffering from queen bee syndrome!

Queen bee syndrome was discovered in 1973. Studies show that in recent years, queen bee syndrome has gone worse. Scientists define the queen bee as someone who has succeeded in her career, however declines to give the same opportunities to other women.

Allison Gabriel, an assistant professor of management and organizations in the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, recently published her study on the same topic. Allision tried to study why women report more incivility experiences than men, and why their female superiors target women with rude remarks.

Gabriel and her co-worker tried to find out the answer by conducting three different studies. They found that female-incited impoliteness was observed more often than male-incited impoliteness by women. The research showed that women who openly refuse to obey are suffered more than others by their female counterparts. In the contrary, men act warm and assertive towards their male counterparts.

The queen bee syndrome has been puzzling several researchers over the years. Deloitte, a leading consultancy firm, tried to find the “why” of this question. Over the years, the number of career-oriented women has increased, however, when it comes to excelling in company hierarchy, women remain under-represented at a board level. Deloitte study analyzed more than 7,000 companies in more than 40 counties and found just 15 percent of women made to the top. Another study published by a psychologist Prof. Joyce Benenson stated that the queen bee syndrome is more prominent than ever. It proved that women have hard time competing with another because they are not used to forming same-sex group in a way that men are. Moreover, it estimated that the syndrome might be a reaction to the struggle that women faced over the generation to prove themselves.

Naomi Ellemers, a professor from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, has been studying the gender inequality for years. She believes that the label of queen bee syndrome is bit unfair as it suggests only women are the problem. According to her opinion, such behavior of women is just a reaction to sexism, as a result, they try to distance themselves from other women. Ellemers calls this “self-group distancing” is a response found in under-represented workers, and queen bee syndrome is a result of gender discrimination.

Whether the syndrome is a result of evolution, years of injustice towards women, or the cultural stigmas placed on gender in workplace, we can say for sure that the queen bee syndrome is real and has become worse than ever. Moreover, if not treated with care, it can affect both the “queen bee” and “worker bees”.


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