This study examined gender stereotypes for leaders using a more indirect method than is typical in stereotype research. Rather than reveal the leader's gender, this study used vignettes in which the leader's gender was unknown. Consistent with their hypothesis, the authors found that participants were more likely to infer a male (female) gender identity than a female (male) gender identity when presented with a leader using a masculine (feminine) style. They also hypothesized that a leader using a gender-consistent leadership style would be viewed more positively than a leader using a gender-inconsistent style. Contrary to this hypothesis, results revealed that men using a gender-inconsistent (feminine) style were actually evaluated more positively than men using a gender-consistent style. It is interesting that a perceived female leader who used a gender-inconsistent (masculine) style was evaluated more positively than a perceived male leader who used a masculine style, but only by female participants. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.
Padgett, Margaret Y.; Caldwell, Craig B.; and Embry, Andrew, "Can Leaders Step Outside of the Gender Box? An Examination of Leadership and Gender Role Stereotypes" (2008). Scholarship and Professional Work - Business. Paper 71.