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

See all articles by Jamie L. Gloor

Jamie L. Gloor

Technische Universität München (TUM)

Manuela C. Morf

University of Lucerne - Center for Human Resource Management (CEHRM)

Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Business Administration

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration; Swiss Leading House

Date Written: January 1, 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gloor, Jamie L. and Morf, Manuela C. and Paustian-Underdahl, Samantha and Backes-Gellner, Uschi, Fix the Game–Not the Dame: A Team Intervention to Restore Gender Equity in Leadership Evaluations (January 1, 2017). University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 375. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3165925 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3165925

Jamie L. Gloor (Contact Author)

Technische Universität München (TUM) ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munich, 80333
Germany

Manuela C. Morf

University of Lucerne - Center for Human Resource Management (CEHRM) ( email )

Room 3.A15
Frohburgstrasse 3 / P.O. Box 4466
6002 Lucerne
Switzerland

Samantha Paustian-Underdahl

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Business Administration ( email )

Miami, FL 33199
United States

Uschi Backes-Gellner

University of Zurich - Institute for Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
8032 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 44 6344281 (Phone)
+41 44 6344370 (Fax)

Swiss Leading House ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

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