Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Are (male) leaders “feminine” enough?: Gendered traits of identity as mediators of sex differences in leadership styles

an article by Leire Gartzia (University of Deusto, Gipuzkoa, Spain) and Marloes van Engen (Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, The Netherlands) published in Gender in Management: An International Journal Volume 27 Issue 5 (2012)


The purpose of this paper is to further understanding concerning sex differences in leadership styles and to examine the mediating role of gender identity traits in these differences.
The paper draws on previous research that has established that many aspects of leadership style positively related to leaders’ effectiveness are associated with the female gender role. Consistent with this assumption, the authors examined a sample of 157 Spanish managers whether significant sex differences favouring women emerge in relevant leadership dimensions (i.e. individualized consideration, contingent reward and emotional intelligence) and whether gender identity traits may help to explain such differences.
Results show that male leaders’ lower scores in individualized consideration, positive contingent reward and emotional intelligence are partly explained by their lower identification with expressive traits. Furthermore, results indicate that integration of counter-stereotypical traits into the self positively relates to effectiveness in the sense of use of a wider range of leadership styles for both women and men.
Research limitations/implications
Future research could explore in more detail how sex differences in leadership styles are associated with gendered traits of identity in different countries, as well as whether a blend of masculine and feminine traits is predictive for a more multifaceted leadership style.
The findings are discussed in terms of how a gender perspective may help to better understand leadership effectiveness in contemporary organizations, especially in the case of male leaders.

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