Sex Roles

, Volume 58, Issue 9–10, pp 682–688 | Cite as

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

  • Janine BosakEmail author
  • Sabine Sczesny
Original Article


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 



We would like to thank Jan Michael Bosak for his help in collecting the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BernBern 9Switzerland

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