Previous research has shown that the stereotypical characteristics of successful leaders are perceived to be congruent with the stereotypical masculine characteristics and incongruent with the characteristics stereotypically associated with women. The lack of congruency between stereotypical feminine characteristics and the stereotypical characteristics of a successful leader is considered to be one of the main causes of prejudice against women, who often face obstacles in achieving leadership positions. Drawing on the theoretical and empirical evidence, we conducted two online experimental studies to investigate the perceived effectiveness of gay leaders; these studies involved, respectively, 192 and 202 heterosexual US men. Specifically, in the first study, we hypothesized that participants with high levels of sexual prejudice would perceive leadership as less effective when the leader was gay rather than heterosexual, regardless of the gendered nature of the organization (masculine vs. feminine). In the second study, we tested the hypothesis that participants with high (vs. low) levels of sexual prejudice would perceive a gay leader who showed more stereotypical feminine characteristics to be less effective than a gay leader who showed more stereotypical masculine characteristics. Moderated regression analyses confirmed our expectations. Limitations, applied implications, and future directions are discussed.

Why are gay leaders perceived as ineffective? The role of the type of organization, sexual prejudice and gender stereotypes

Salvati, Marco
2020-01-01

Abstract

Previous research has shown that the stereotypical characteristics of successful leaders are perceived to be congruent with the stereotypical masculine characteristics and incongruent with the characteristics stereotypically associated with women. The lack of congruency between stereotypical feminine characteristics and the stereotypical characteristics of a successful leader is considered to be one of the main causes of prejudice against women, who often face obstacles in achieving leadership positions. Drawing on the theoretical and empirical evidence, we conducted two online experimental studies to investigate the perceived effectiveness of gay leaders; these studies involved, respectively, 192 and 202 heterosexual US men. Specifically, in the first study, we hypothesized that participants with high levels of sexual prejudice would perceive leadership as less effective when the leader was gay rather than heterosexual, regardless of the gendered nature of the organization (masculine vs. feminine). In the second study, we tested the hypothesis that participants with high (vs. low) levels of sexual prejudice would perceive a gay leader who showed more stereotypical feminine characteristics to be less effective than a gay leader who showed more stereotypical masculine characteristics. Moderated regression analyses confirmed our expectations. Limitations, applied implications, and future directions are discussed.
2020
Leadership
Sexual orientation
Sexual prejudice
Gender stereotypes
Gender-typed Jobs
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1050186
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