ERIC Number: ED246333
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Subordinates' Reactions to Female Leaders.
Forsyth, Donelson R.; Forsyth, Nancy M.
Although recent reviews of the effectiveness of male versus female leaders reveal little evidence of male superiority, evaluative and perceptual biases (beliefs about what constitutes good leadership, and stereotyped beliefs about men and women) among group members persist. To examine attributional biases against female leaders, 85 college students (41 males, 44 females) worked on a task under a female leader. Subjects, with either a stereotyped (conservative attitude) or a nonstereotyped (liberal attitude) toward women, as measured by the Attitude Towards Women Scale, worked under the guidance of a female leader, who adopted either a task-oriented or a relationship leadership style. After working on the tasks, subjects completed questionnaire measures of the leader's abilities, their perceptions of the leader, and a checklist adapted from the SYMLOG method of group observation (Bales, 1980). An analysis of the results showed that biases against female leaders based on subordinates' intuitive prescriptive "theories" about leadership and their stereotyped expectations concerning men and women do exist. In general, more conservative group members rejected the task-oriented female leader, while more liberal group members preferred a leader with a strong focus on the task. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (Baltimore, MD, April 12-15, 1984).