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Testing for toxic masculinity

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Toxic masculinity is typically meant to refer to men living out stereotypical characteristics such as a commitment to dominance, which can lead to aggression, including sexual aggression. It can also relate to misogyny and homophobia due to a stereotypical view of appropriate gender relationships. Finally, men who are toxically masculine often hate weakness and strongly emphasise self reliance.

Importing toxic masculinity into your workforce is a big problem, but the psychological markers for this unlovely perspective on life are easily identified with the right psychological assessments. Warning signs include:

  • Low Honesty-Humility in the HEXACO Personality Inventory. People who score low on this personality factor tend to be arrogant and manipulative. Multiple studies have shown that low scores on this factor predict a much higher likelihood to sexually harass (e.g. Lee et al, 2013)
  • Trait anger, as shown by low Agreeableness scores on the HEXACO Personality Inventory. Angry people tend to show much more domineering behaviour, especially if they are also somewhat anxious, which can be measured through the emotionality scale of the HEXACO (Kant et al 2013).

When you test people through our psychological assessment portal such a combination of scores would give rise to a high risk rating, warning you to proceed very carefully. Consistently screening for these characteristics will lead to lower levels of toxic masculinity in your workforce. Click here to find out how. If your organisation would like to sample such a screening test and report, email me at sacs@sacsconsult.com.au (Sorry, only business email addresses may apply.)

Kant, L., Skogstad, A., Torsheim, T., & Einarsen, S. (2013). Beware the angry leader: Trait anger and trait anxiety as predictors of petty tyranny. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 106-124.

Lee, K., Ashton, M. C., Wiltshire, J., Bourdage, J. S., Visser, B. A., & Gallucci, A. (2013). Sex, power, and money: Prediction from the Dark Triad and Honesty–Humility. European Journal of Personality, 27(2), 169-184.

Andrew Marty

Managing Director at SACS Consulting

Andrew is a qualified psychologist who has over 25 years of human resource management consulting experience, including extensive senior executive search and selection experience.

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