VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Fights between co-workers are perceived to have very different outcomes, depending on what gender is duking it out. A UBC study finds women are still getting a bad rap.

PhD candidate Leah Sheppard, who co-authored the study, says the perception is similar to those who say an aggressive man is just doing his job, but an aggressive woman has an attitude problem. “That they should be caring and nurturing and even supportive… maybe even going out of their way to support one another, given that they are marginalized relative to men at work.”

“Deep down, I think we think that women should be a certain way towards one another at work,” says Sheppard.

People taking part in this study judged the likelihood of workers repairing a frayed relationship at the office. They found “man vs man” and “man vs woman” conflicts were believed to be easier to resolve than two women in a disagreement.

“So, when we see something that conflicts with the way that the ideal woman should be, we react negatively towards that,” suggests Sheppard.

The study has been published in the journal Academy of Management Perspectives.