GENDER DIFFERENCES IN LEADER EMERGENCE PERSIST EVEN FOR DOMINANT WOMEN: AN UPDATED CONFIRMATION OF ROLE CONGRUITY THEORY

Authors


  • Barbara A. Ritter and Janice D. Yoder, Department of Psychology, University of Akron.

  • We thank Danielle Buie for her invaluable assistance with data collection, entry, and coding, and John Zipp and Alice Eagly for their statistical advice.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jan Yoder, Department of Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4301. E-mail: jyoder@uakron.edu

Abstract

Role congruity theory predicts that women will be less likely than men to emerge as leaders when expectations for the leader role are incongruent with gender stereotypes. A 2 × 2 × 3 design that crossed the sex of the dominant partner, mixed- and same-sex dyads, and masculine, feminine, and neutral tasks involved 120 dyads of unacquainted college students in which one partner scored higher in dominance. In same-sex partnerships, the dominant member consistently emerged as leader. In mixed-sex dyads, the gender typing of the task did not influence dominant male ascendance but it did affect women's. When the task was masculine-typed or neutral, less dominant men were more likely to emerge as the leader of the dyad, frequently being appointed by the dominant woman herself. Thus, even when women possess the agentic quality of dominance consistent with the leader role, the incongruence between masculinized task demands and gender stereotypes mitigate against women's leadership emergence.

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