, Volume 17, Issue 7-8, pp 401-408

Sex stereotypes and the leadership role

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Previous research has indicated that stereotypically masculine behaviors characterize leadership and that stereotypically feminine traits are devalued. However, this research may be questioned on the basis that the sex stereotype measures employed were not appropriate for the managerial role and that the rating task was not clearly defined. The present study attempts to deal with these concerns by asking groups to rate two different managers: the one they would wish to work for or the one they would wish to have working for them. As hypothesized, those who described the supervisors who they wished to have working for them valued masculine traits significantly more than those who described the supervisor they would like to work for. In all cases, however, stereotypically sexneutral traits were most highly valued.

Reprint requests may be sent to either author at the Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223. Preliminary data from this investigation were presented at the Southeastern Psychological Association Convention, March 1985. The authors wish to thank David Gilmore for his comments on an earlier version of the paper, and Debra Schwartz for her efforts in the data collection and analysis stages of the project.