Th-SYM-2009-5 - Fix The Game, Not The Dame: A Team Intervention For Gender Equality In Leadership

Diversity in the workplace
Thursday May 18   11:30 AM to 12:30 PM (1 hour)
Human resource management
Diversity in the workplace
Fix the game, not the dame: A team intervention for gender equality in leadership
J. L. Gloor 1,*, M. Morf 2 3, U. Backes-Gellner 1, P. Lichtenthaler, T. Hentschel, A. Fischbach
1University of Zurich, Zürich, 2University Luzern, Luzern, Switzerland, 3Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Main Abstract Content: Purpose: The leadership literature shows a consistent, sizeable, and persistent effect such that female leaders face significant biases in the workplace compared with male leaders. However, the social identity literature suggests these biases might be trumped at the local team level.
Design/Methodology: Integrating these perspectives, we conduct a multiple source, two-wave, multi-level randomized field experiment to test if local team gender trumps the broader leader gender bias. Using 927 followers nested within 70 teams, we manipulated team gender demography with male majority (20% women) or gender-balanced (50% women) teams. Leaders were trained and spent 6 hours with their teams, after which we examined followers’ and leaders’ ratings of leader prototypicality.
Results: As expected, male and female followers rate male leaders as more prototypical leaders than female leaders despite no differences in leaders’ self-reported prototypicality; however, this male leadership advantage is eliminated in gender-balanced teams.
Limitations: Our participants completed ratings after extended interaction with their team members and leaders, yet all were students and thus, approximate a more modern, flatter hierarchy.
Research/Practical Implications: Findings support the social identity model of organizational leadership and indicate a boundary condition of role congruity theory, bolstering our need for a more social relational, context-based approach to leadership.
Originality/Value: Our findings promote team construction as a method to “fix the game” (rather than “fix the dame”, or change the female leaders) for gender equality in leadership evaluations without training or backlash towards female leaders.


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