The image of executives is male
According to the implicit leadership theories, individuals develop mental abstractions of what constitutes leadership (also called leadership prototype) over the course of their lives.
These executive prototypes are unconsciously used as schematic categorization patterns on the basis of which information is perceived, evaluated and categorized.
The empirically confirmed assumption that the degree of fit between the target person and the executive prototype in succession not only determines whether the respective target person is seen as a leader;
The shot determines how we record something - not the other way around!
The degree of fit also determines how openly the perceptive subject is exposed to any attempt at influence by the target person, how trustworthy the relationship between them can be or generally how well the target person is assessed in their leadership role.
Thus, according to this approach of executive categorization, it is not so much the objective qualities as the leader but cognitive processes of perception that determine how individuals respond to a (potential) leadership.
In practice: management prototypes are male!
Several papers consistently and repeatedly show that leadership prototypes are more masculine. For example, in a study by Offermann et al., Subjects find aspects of masculinity explicit as leadership prototypes.
In addition, Johnson and colleagues demonstrated that a total of eight leadership prototypic factors identified by Offermann and colleagues were clearly attributed to men, while only one dimension was more strongly associated with women.
Socially and historically characterized
The remaining four dimensions were used equally to describe male and female leaders. These results line up in various other findings in which the leadership role is defined by males rather male.
For many centuries, leadership positions have traditionally been clothed by men and the connection between man and Guide thus firmly anchoring both in the personal and in the social leadership prototype, the results described above are hardly surprising.
Think manager, think male
While modern developments in gender mainstreaming and gender equality policy may have had an impact on this, it is likely to be more long-term as gender role models have generally proved to be very resilient to change.
think-manager-think-male Phanomen, which Virginia E. Schein 1996 has made known, is still found in recent studies.
Should career women behave masculine?
Accordingly, it may be advisable to advise women with ambitions for leadership positions to behave as masculine as possible, and thus more likely to fulfill the gender role that can be well associated with leadership.
In doing so, however, it is overlooked that a breach of the expectations placed on women because of their gender is also a negative assessment.
Male behavior does not lead to the goal!
A "forced" behavioral change for women is therefore not only normatively and ethically questionable, but in the context of the empirical situation also practically not practicable. The desired result - equality - is not achieved that way!
Instead, other forms are needed to overcome this type of gender discrimination.
More knowledge - PDF download, eCourses or personal advice
Offline download: Download this text as PDF - Read usage rights, Because we do not automatically submit the title of this text for privacy reasons: When buying in "interests" the title register if support is needed. After buying text exclusively Download at this URL (please save).
Your eCourse on Demand: Choose your personal eCourse on this or another desired topic, As a PDF download. Up to 30 lessons with each 4 learning task + final lesson. Please enter the title under "interests". Alternatively, we are happy to put together your course for you or offer you a personal regular eMailCourse including supervision and certificate - all further information!
Consultant packages: You want to increase your reach or address applicants as an employer? For these and other topics we offer special Consultant packages (overview) - For example, a personal phone call (price is per hour).