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Visibility and evaluation of female and male leaders

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Visibility and evaluation of female and male leaders were assessed as a function of follower sex, performance level, and rater sex by having subjects view videotapes of interacting triads. Subjects identified persons exhibiting leadership behaviors as leaders regardless of experimental condition. Performance level had significant main effects on six of seven leader evaluation measures, with leaders of high-performing groups being rated more leaderlike, dominant, intelligent, competent, industrious, and supportive. Although female leaders were equally visible and were evaluated the same as male leaders, the probability of continued success was seen as lower for groups with female leaders of all-female or all-male followers. Results were interpreted as an indication that relevant behavioral data can mitigate stereotypic perceptions and evaluations in the individual case, but that current evaluations of female leaders may fail to generalize to future performance expectancies.

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Correspondence to Lynn R. Offermann.

Additional information

A brief version of this paper was presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Baltimore, April 1982. The author would like to thank Susan Green and George Rebok for comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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Offermann, L.R. Visibility and evaluation of female and male leaders. Sex Roles 14, 533–543 (1986).

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  • Social Psychology
  • Triad
  • Performance Level
  • Individual Case
  • Evaluation Measure