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Leadership and Effectiveness in the Context of Gender: The Role of Leaders' Verbal Behaviour

Authors

  • Gisela Mohr,

    1. University of Leipzig, Institute of Psychology, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Seeburgstraße 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • Hans-Joachim Wolfram

    1. University of Leipzig, Institute of Psychology, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Seeburgstraße 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
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  • *The authors thank Marc van Veldhoven, Birgit Schyns and Tina Paul for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. The paper is based on research funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) No. Mo 440/4-1.

Corresponding author email: mohr@rz.uni-leipzig.de

Abstract

This field study focuses on verbal consideration, which is a leadership behaviour that expresses esteem for the follower and her or his work, knowledge and opinion. It was assumed that the relationship between verbal consideration and various outcomes is moderated by the leader's gender. One-hundred-and-forty leaders and 455 of their direct followers were surveyed in a one-wave questionnaire study in Germany. Male and female leaders showed the same degree of verbal consideration as rated by their followers. Verbal consideration is related to three out of four outcome variables for both sexes. One unexpected moderating effect of leaders' gender was found: followers of male leaders displaying verbal consideration report less ‘irritation’ (a state of exhaustion considered a threat to good task fulfilment). One explanation may be that male leaders get ‘extra credit’ for showing verbal consideration as it may be thought to entail special effort, whereas for female leaders it may be seen as normal and routine. This assumption should be examined in further studies in order to get more information about the different mechanisms by which female and male leaders reach the same quality of outcomes.

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