Fix the Game, Not the Dame: Restoring Equity in Leadership Evaluations
- 336 Downloads
Female leaders continue to face bias in the workplace compared to male leaders. When employees are evaluated differently because of who they are rather than how they perform, an ethical dilemma arises for leaders and organizations. Thus, bridging role congruity and social identity leadership theories, we propose that gender biases in leadership evaluations can be overcome by manipulating diversity at the team level. Across two multiple-source, multiple-wave, and randomized field experiments, we test whether team gender composition restores gender equity in leadership evaluations. In Study 1, we find that male leaders are rated as more prototypical in male-dominated groups, an advantage that is eliminated in gender-balanced groups. In Study 2, we replicate and extend this finding by showing that leader gender and team gender composition interact to predict trust in the leader via perceptions of leader prototypicality. The results show causal support for the social identity model of organizational leadership and a boundary condition of role congruity theory. Beyond moral arguments of fairness, our findings also show how, in the case of gender, team diversity can create a more level playing field for leaders. Finally, we outline the implications of our results for leaders, organizations, business ethics, and society.
KeywordsGender Prototypicality Trust
We thank Steffen Giessner, Levke Henningsen, Alina Hernandez Bark, Steve Karau, Lucas Monzani, Christian Troester, Daan van Knippenberg, and Christian Voegtlin for their comments on previous versions of this manuscript, as well as our editor and three anonymous reviewers. This research was completed as part of the first author’s dissertation, which was conducted at the chair of Professor Bruno Staffelbach. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.
- Ashforth, B. E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14, 20–39.Google Scholar
- Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Current Population Survey. Retrieved from: www.bls.gov. Accessed 5 April 2018.
- Catalyst. (2018). Women CEOs of the S&P 500. Retrieved from www.catalyst.org. Accessed 5 April 2018.
- Chemers, M. M. (2001). Leadership effectiveness: An integrative review. In M. A. Hogg & R. S. Tindale (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Group processes (pp. 376–399). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1998). Charismatic leadership in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dusterhoff, C., Cunningham, J. B., & MacGregor, J. N. (2014). The effects of performance rating, leader–member exchange, perceived utility, and organizational justice on performance appraisal satisfaction: Applying a moral judgment perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(2), 265–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dutu, R. (2014). Women’s role in the Swiss economy. OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 1144, OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Earlbaum.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Bulletin, 109(3), 573–598.Google Scholar
- Hogg, M. A., & Abrams, D. (1988). Social identifications: A social psychology of intergroup relations and group processes. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Morrison, A. M., White, R. P., VanVelsor, E., & the Center for Creative Leadership. (1994). Breaking the glass ceiling: Can women reach the top of America’s largest corporations?. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2017). Education at a glance 2017: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2017-en.
- Perry, M. J. (2013). Stunning college degree gap: Women have earned almost 10 million more college degrees than men since 1982. American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved from www.aei.org. Accessed 31 May 2017.
- Perry, E. L., Davis-Blake, A., & Kulik, C. T. (1994). Explaining gender-based selection decisions: A synthesis of contextual and cognitive approaches. The Academy of Management Review, 19(4), 786–820.Google Scholar
- Rosch, E. (1978). Principles of categorization. In E. Rosch & B. B. Lloyd (Eds.), Cognition and categorization (pp. 27–48). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office. (2014). 2014–2023 scenarios of higher education institutions-teaching staff. Retrieved from www.bfs.admin.ch/. Accessed 31 May 2017.
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (2nd ed., pp. 7–24). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
- Turner, J. C. (1985). Social categorization and the self-concept: A social cognitive theory of group behavior. In E. J. Lawler (Ed.), Advances in group processes: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 77–122). Greenwich, CT: JAI.Google Scholar
- Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. S. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Zand, D. E. (1997). The leadership triad: Knowledge, trust and power. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar