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Gender biases in leadership selection during competitions within and between groups
Date:10/30/2008

eir group had elected a female leader and the remaining volunteers were told their group would have a male leader.

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, revealed that a gender bias occurred when selecting leaders in various group scenarios. Females were more often chosen as leaders of the intragroup condition while males were preferred to lead intergroup situations. In addition, females were also viewed as being more effective than males in maintaining intragroup relationships. Interestingly, in the control condition, males and females were equally selected as leaders.

There was also an evident gender bias during the investment exercise. In the intragroup condition, investments in the group fund were higher when there was a female leader. For the intergroup condition, there was more money invested in the group fund in the presence of a male leader compared to a female leader.

The authors suggest that these findings are the result of the way our society has evolved. For example, men have traditionally been more involved in combat and war (i.e. intergroup conflict) than womensuccessful male warriors were held in high status in many societies. That females were selected as leaders in the intragroup conditions and were also viewed as being more effective in maintaining positive relationships within the group may reflect females' traditional roles as peacekeepers and wanting to preserve group order. The authors reason, "Such engendered leadership prototypes are a residual of human evolutionary history that still affects the way people evaluate and respond to leadership in society today."

However, it is interesting to note that these leadership prototypes may have been in place prior to human evolution. Chimpanzees (our nearest relatives) also exhibit similar gendered leadership standardsthe males are in charge of patrolling group boundaries and the females maintai
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Contact: Barbara Isanski
bisanski@psychologicalscience.org
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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