Taking the Lead: Gender, Social Context and Preference to Lead

A.P.C.I. Hong, J. Schaafsma, P.J. van der Wijst

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperOther research output

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that women tend to emerge as leaders less often than men. In the present study, we examined to what extent women's and men's preference to lead is influenced by social context. It was hypothesized that women have a less strong preference to lead than men in a competitive social context, but that there will be no gender differences in preference to lead in a cooperative social context. To examine this, an experiment was conducted in which participants were led to believe that they had to perform a task with others that was either more cooperative or more competitive in nature. Subsequently, participants' willingness to be the leader as well as their intentions to display leading behaviors were measured. Our findings largely confirmed our expectations. It was found that women had a less strong preference to lead than men in a competitive context. No such gender differences, however, were found in a cooperative social context. This study provides support for the idea that, to understand gender differences in leadership emergence, it is important to take the leadership context into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages445-451
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
Event10th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance - Croatia, Zagreb, Croatia
Duration: 13 Nov 201414 Nov 2014

Conference

Conference10th European Conference on Management Leadership and Governance
CountryCroatia
CityZagreb
Period13/11/1414/11/14

Keywords

  • Gender
  • Leadership
  • Social Context

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