Leader effectiveness: The influence of leader behavior and gender

Date of Completion

January 1997


Psychology, Social




This study was designed to investigate the combined effects of leadership style and leader gender on three categories of dependent variables: perceived leader effectiveness, satisfaction with the experience, and group productivity. Male and female leaders were trained to demonstrate the verbal and nonverbal behavior consistent with task-oriented and facilitative styles of leadership. Two hundred and twenty-nine students participated in forty-seven four- to six-person discussion groups. Results indicate that, relative to task-oriented leaders and regardless of gender, facilitative leaders were perceived to be more effective and engendered more satisfaction, liking for the leader, and commitment to the future. Interestingly, despite superior productivity among task-oriented groups, all groups perceived themselves to be equally productive. In addition, relative to male leaders, female leaders were rated as more effective and were evaluated more positively. Although male and female participants generally did not differ in their perceptions of leaders, the effects of participant gender on measures of liking and attributions of responsibility for the group's performance suggest that participants may be more sensitive to gender-role violations committed by leaders of the same gender. Implications for these findings are discussed in terms of their practical application in corporate settings. ^