Men more likely to be perceived as leaders than women

WASHINGTON: Despite progress, the gender gap in leadership still persists, a new study has found.

According to the study by researchers of University at Buffalo School of Management, men are more likely than women to emerge as leaders.

The research team led by doctoral student Katie Badura and Emily Grijalva, Ph.D., assistant professor of organization and human resources in the UB School of Management discovered that although the gender gap has narrowed in recent decades, it still persists.

“As a society, we’ve made progress towards gender equality, but clearly we’re not quite there. Our results are consistent with the struggle many organizations face today to increase diversity in their leadership teams,” said Badura.

The researchers primarily attribute the gender gap to societal pressures that contribute to gender differences in personality traits. For example, men tend to be more assertive and dominant, whereas women tend to be more communal, cooperative and nurturing.

As a result, men are more likely to participate and voice their opinions during group discussions, and be perceived by others as leaderlike.

While group size and participants’ ages did not affect the gender gap, the study found the length of time participants spent together was an important factor in whether men or women emerged as leaders.

Grijalva said, “The gender gap was strongest during the first 20 minutes people were together, similar to an initial job interview, but weakened after more than one interaction. During the hiring process, organizations should conduct multiple interviews to reduce gender bias and ensure they’re hiring the best applicant.”

The full findings are present in the journal- Personnel Psychology.