Sex Roles

, Volume 58, Issue 9, pp 682–688

Am I the Right Candidate? Self-Ascribed Fit of Women and Men to a Leadership Position

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9380-4

Cite this article as:
Bosak, J. & Sczesny, S. Sex Roles (2008) 58: 682. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9380-4


Women are assumed to show a self-ascribed lack-of-fit to leadership positions compared to men (Heilman Research in Organizational Behavior 5:269–298, 1983). The present study examined whether this gender difference would diminish when agency is accounted for and whether a stimulus person’s gender would alter women’s self-ascribed fit. German management students (91 women, 95 men) received a fictitious recruitment advertisement for a leadership position that portrayed a man, a woman, or both a man and a woman. Participants indicated their perceptions of agency and suitability to the advertised position. As predicted, women judged themselves as less suitable for the leadership position than men and participants’ self-reported agency mediated this effect. Furthermore, all participants felt most suitable if a male and a female stimulus person were portrayed.


Sex differences Gender stereotypes Leadership Agency Self-Perception 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BernBern 9Switzerland

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