Fix the Game–Not the Dame: A Team Intervention to Restore Gender Equity in Leadership Evaluations
University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 375
37 Pages Posted: 7 May 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2017
The leadership literature shows consistent, sizeable, and persistent effects indicating that female leaders face significant biases in the workplace compared with male leaders. However, the social identity leadership literature suggests these biases might be overcome at the team level by adjusting the number of women in the team. Building on this work, we conducted 2 multiple source, multiple wave, multi-level randomized field experiments to test if the gender composition of teams helps to restore equity in leadership evaluations of men and women. Across two samples of university students engaged in a team-building exercise, we find that male leaders are rated as more prototypical leaders than female leaders despite no differences in leaders’ self-reported prototypicality; however, this male leadership advantage is eliminated in gender-balanced teams. In Study 2, we extend this finding by supporting a moderated mediation model showing that leader gender and the team’s gender composition interact to relate to perceived trust in the leader, through the mediating mechanism of leader prototypicality. Findings support the social identity model of organizational leadership and indicate a boundary condition of role congruity theory, bolstering our need for a more social relational, context-based approach to leadership.
Keywords: ender, leadership, teams, social identity, prototypicality
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