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Chapter 13: Leadership Style Matters: The Small, but Important, Style Differences Between Male and Female Leaders
Alice H. Eagly and Mary C. Johannesen-Schmidt Condoleezza Rice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Meg Whitman have become familiar names – women in prominent leadership positions whose photographs appear regularly in newspapers and magazines. They are but three examples of women who hold powerful positions in government or business. Although these women are well known, there exist a large number of less famous women who hold important leadership positions. In fact, in 2004 women occupied 23.3 per cent of all chief executive positions (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005, Table 11). The percentage of women among all managers is much higher. The occupational category that has deﬁned management in federal record-keeping, ‘executive, administrative, and managerial occupations’, is the category for which women’s share of employment has shown the greatest increase in recent decades (Wootton, 1997), rising from only 17.6 per cent in 1972 to 45.9 per cent in 2002 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982, Table 1; 2002, January, Table A-19). An apparent small decline in this percentage after 2002 reﬂects the redeﬁnition of the manager occupational category to include agricultural managers, a relatively male-dominated group (see Bowler et al., 2003). Women’s ascent into managerial positions has been accompanied by much attention to the ways in which women lead and possible differences between the leadership styles of women and men. We address these issues in this chapter by reviewing the debate about difference versus similarity in leadership styles and summarizing research evidence relevant to this issue. In both popular...
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