Women Viewed as Equal To or Better Than Men as Leaders

FRIDAY, May 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to providing effective leadership, people believe that women are as good or better than men, a new review reveals.

The finding points to changing gender roles in society and the need for a different management style in the modern business environment, according to the authors of the analysis, published online April 28 in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

The researchers analyzed dozens of studies published between 1962 and 2011, most of them from the United States and Canada. Unpublished studies, books, theses and other sources were also examined.

The study authors noted that some experts have suggested that "a more feminine style of leadership is needed" to emphasize participation and open communication.

"When all leadership contexts are considered, men and women do not differ in perceived leadership effectiveness," lead researcher Samantha Paustian-Underdahl, of Florida International University, said in a journal news release.

"As more women have entered into and succeeded in leadership positions, it is likely that people's stereotypes associating leadership with masculinity have been dissolving slowly over time," she added.

The researchers found that men tend to rate themselves as more effective leaders than women rate themselves. However, when other people's opinions were analyzed, women were seen as more effective leaders in senior- and middle-level management, and in business and education organizations.

"These findings are surprising given that men on average continue to be paid more and advance into higher managerial levels than women," Paustian-Underdahl said. "Future research needs to examine why women are seen as equally [or more] effective leaders than men, yet are not being rewarded in the same ways."

More information

Catalyst has more on women and the workplace.

SOURCE: Journal of Applied Psychology, news release, April 30, 2014

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