Promoting leadership behaviors in low performance-self-esteem women in task-oriented mixed-sex dyads1


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    Requests for reprints should be sent to Jayne E. Stake, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri–St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121. This research was supported by Grant #33406–01 from the National Institute of Mental Health and by a University of Missouri Faculty Research Grant.


Methods for promoting leadership behaviors in low performance-self-esteem women were explored in two studies. Female undergraduates were paired with male peers who had either very similar or much higher scores on the Performance-Self-Esteem Scale. The mixed-sex dyads in Study 1 were given either no leader, chance-based leader, or ability-based leader instructions. Study 2 included only the latter two conditions and allowed subjects preparation time between leader appointment and the dyadic interaction. All leader appointments were given to the female dyad member. Members' influence was measured by verbal interaction counts, decision outcome scores, and members' ratings. Both leader conditions were successful in promoting female leadership behavior in Study 2, as measured by verbal interactions, but neither was successful in Study 1. Results indicated that Study 2 females exercised a helpful leadership style and that Study 2 males were satisfied with their partners' role in the interaction.