The Effect of Race and Leadership Style on Perceived Competence and Likability of Female Leaders
Date of Award
Master of Arts
This study measures the perceived competence and likeability of female leaders belonging to three different races, Caucasian, African American, and Asian Indian. The female leaders were manipulated on their leadership styles (agentic, communal or combination). A 3 (target ethnicity: Caucasian, African American and Asian Indian) x 3 (type of leadership: agentic, communal, a combination of agentic and communal) between subjects design was used and 331 participants were obtained via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). A Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) indicated a significant difference between leadership styles but no statistical significant difference between the three races on perceived competence and likability. Furthermore, the communal leadership style was rated highest on both competence and likability, which may indicate that (1) feminized leadership tactics are gaining more traction and (2) when female leaders are perceived as being successful, there is potential for them to be viewed as simultaneously agentic and communal. However, while this may suggest an advantage for the communal female leader, it may not hold true for the agentic female leader. The female leader with an agentic leadership style was rated lowest on competence and likability, which may suggest that a backlash against agentic female leaders continues to be prevalent.
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