- Gender Differences in the Perceived Effectiveness of Narcissistic Leaders
- Academy of Management, Boston USA
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Researchers have obtained inconsistent results on the relationship between leader narcissism and leader effectiveness evaluations. Here we draw on social role theory and recent findings on prescriptive gender stereotypes to propose that gender of the leader and the follower affect the degree to which narcissistic leaders are perceived as effective. Narcissistic female leaders lack stereotypically gender appropriate qualities (e.g., kindness) and demonstrate undesirable qualities associated with the other gender (e.g., arrogance). This combination is potentially threatening to the traditionally higher status of males, thus resulting in poor leader effectiveness ratings. Conversely, we expect narcissism to be tolerated in male leaders. We find support for this idea in a study on 125 leader-subordinate dyads. As expected, female leaders high in narcissism were rated as less effective than female leaders low in narcissism. This difference in perceived effectiveness of narcissistic leaders was based on variations in ratings of male subordinates; male subordinates evaluated female narcissistic leaders as less effective compared to female leaders low in narcissism and male leaders high in narcissism. Thus, gender differences may be an important source of inconsistencies in evaluations of narcissistic leaders.
- Final publisher version
- Session: Gender Effects
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