The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Economics: M.S.




School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Mana Komai Molle

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Hughes

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Parault Dowds

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Gender, Language style, Leadership, Performance


I study the effect of two power categories, gender (male/female) and written communication style (strong language/weak language) on performance. To examine this relationship, these two attributes are considered in a request to perform a task using an experimental design on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Three variations of the experiment are performed: announcing an additional monetary reward for task performance, not announcing the reward, and explicitly warning that no reward is provided. I find significant differences in task performance caused by communication style such that weak language achieves 22.4 percent higher probability of task performance for male requesters while strong language has 11 percent more likelihood to achieve task performance for female requesters. Only the last experiment finds robust results and in two experiments no conclusions can be drawn due to the lack of variation in task performance. Omitted variable bias and lack of sample power might explain inconsistent results across experimental designs, and, while the lack of monetary reward in the third experiment does not allow for conclusions about task performance in hierarchical relationships, it does on the willingness of participants to perform a helpful act for the requester.