An exploration of stereotypical beliefs about leadership styles: Is transformational leadership a route to women's promotion?

Claartje J. Vinkenburg*, Marloes L. van Engen, Alice H. Eagly, Mary C. Johannesen-Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experimental studies examined whether gender stereotypes about the transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles constitute an advantage or an impediment for women's access to leadership positions in organizations. The first study investigated the accuracy of descriptive gender stereotypes about leadership styles, showing that participants accurately believe that women display more transformational and contingent reward behaviors, and fewer management-by-exception and laissez-faire behaviors than men. The second study investigated prescriptive stereotypes about the importance of leadership styles for the promotion of women and men to different levels in organizations. Inspirational motivation was perceived as more important for men than women and especially important for promotion to CEO. In contrast, individualized consideration was perceived as more important for women than men and especially important for promotion to senior management. Consistent with these stereotypical beliefs about leadership, women interested in promotion may be well advised to blend individualized consideration and inspirational motivation behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

Keywords

  • Gender roles
  • Promotion
  • Sex differences
  • Stereotype accuracy
  • Transformational leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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