Am I the Right Candidate? Self-Ascribed Fit of Women and Men to a Leadership Position
- 1.3k Downloads
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.
KeywordsSex differences Gender stereotypes Leadership Agency Self-Perception
We would like to thank Jan Michael Bosak for his help in collecting the data.
- Avolio, B. J. (1999). Full leadership development: Building the vital forces in organizations. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Bass, B. M. (1998). Transformational leadership: Industrial, military, and educational impact. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Catalyst. (2006). 2005 Catalyst census of women corporate officers and top earners of the Fortune 500. Retrieved November 21, 2007 from http://www.catalystwomen.org/files/full/2005%20COTE.pdf.
- Durkin, K. (1995). TV, sex roles, and children. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H. (2004). Few women at the top: How role incongruity produces prejudice and the glass ceiling. In D. van Knippenberg, & M. A. Hogg (Eds.) Leadership and power: Identity processes in groups and organizations (pp. 79–93). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., & Sczesny, S. (in press). Stereotypes about woman, men, and leaders: have times changed? In M. Barreto, M. Ryan, & M. Schmitt (Eds.), Barriers to diversity: The glass ceiling in the 21st Century. American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Heilman, M. E. (1983). Sex bias in work settings: The lack of fit model. Research in Organizational Behavior, 5, 269–298.Google Scholar
- Hoppenstedt (2004). Presse: Die Frauen holen auf—weibliche Top-Manager sind selten, aber ihr Anteil steigt seit Jahren kontinuierlich [Press: Women are catching up—Female top managers are rare, but their proportion is increasing continuously over the years]: July 18, 2005, Hoppenstedt Firmeninformationen GmbH. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from http://www.hoppenstedt.de.
- Hossiep, R., & Paschen, M. (1998). Das Bochumer Inventar zur berufsbezogenen Persönlichkeitsbeschreibung (BIP) [Bochum Inventory for the Description of Personality Traits in the Occupational Context]. Göttingen: Hogrefe-Verlag.Google Scholar
- McCauley, C. D. (2004). Successful and unsuccessful leadership. In J. Antonakis, A. T. Cianciolo, & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.) The nature of leadership (pp. 199–221). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Rastetter, D. (2001). Frauen — die besseren Führungskräfte? “Soft Skills” als neue Anforderungen im Management [Do women make better leaders? Soft skills as new demands of management]. Journal für Psychologie, 5, 43–55.Google Scholar
- Santrock, J. (1994). Child development (6th ed.). Madison: Brown & Benchmark.Google Scholar
- Sczesny, S., Bosak, J., Diekman, A., & Twenge, J. (2007). Dynamics of sex role stereotypes. In Y. Kashima, K. Fiedler, & P. Freytag (Eds.) Stereotype dynamics: Language-based approaches to the formation, maintenance, and transformation of stereotypes (pp. 137–163). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R. L., & Stapp, J. (1974). The Personal Attributes Questionnaire: A measure of sex role stereotypes and masculinity-femininity. JSAS: Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 4, 43–44.Google Scholar