Biases in appraisals of women leaders

Donelson R. Forsyth, Michele M. Heiney, Sandra S. Wright
1997 Group Dynamics  
In a variety of group settings, members favor men over women when selecting and evaluating leaders, even when actual leadership behaviors are held constant. Leadership categorization theory (R. B. Lord & K. J. Maher, 1991) and social role theory (A. H. Eagly, 1987) suggest that these biases result from discrepancies between individuals' stereotypes about women and their implicit prototypes of leaders. The authors examined this role-incongruence hypothesis in small groups led by women who
more » ... a relationship-or task-oriented leadership style. Group members with liberal attitudes regarding women's roles responded positively to both leadership types. Group members with conservative attitudes felt the task-oriented leader was more effective, but they also rated her more negatively on measures of collegiality. These results suggest that individuals' reactions to women leaders are tempered by their expectations about the role of women and men in contemporary society.
doi:10.1037//1089-2699.1.1.98 fatcat:4g6fdor7jfdzheyfyt2hpd6ac4