Relationship Between Gender and Transformational Leadership Practices: a Study of Self Reports of Male and Female Graduate Students
MetadataShow full item record
Women continue to be underrepresented in top level management roles in spite of their progress in the labor market and educational attainment (Eagly & Carli, 2007). The gender gap in leadership is true in most of the developed and developing world. When assessed under early leadership models, leadership self-efficacy is usually lower among women than men (Schein, 1973; Schein, 1975). This has been used to support the notion that leadership is predominantly a practice for men (Chemers, 2000). However, recently developed leadership models under transformational leadership theory represent opportunities to study leadership and gender without much of the cultural bias that has been part of the earlier models (Eagly & Carli, 2007). To solidify the study of the relationship between gender and transformational leadership self-efficacy, this study was developed using data gathered through the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) from a purposive sample of 153 MBA students (73 male and 80 female). Independent samples t-tests were used to determine whether there were statistically significant differences in mean scores between male and female participants on leadership behaviors measured by the LPI. The results indicated that there are no statistically significant differences between the two groups in the sample, which further suggest that the reasons behind the underrepresentation of female leaders cannot be attributed to leadership self-efficacy. The study took place in Mexico, where female underrepresentation in top management roles is a well-documented problem, and where research on transformational leadership is scarce. The study may be used to support initiatives on the part of aspiring female leaders, educational leaders, and organizational decision-makers to help close the gender gap in leadership roles in the country. They may do this by reviewing the findings of this study and others conducted under transformational leadership theory that suggest that the practice of leadership is not inherently male, so there is ample opportunity for women to succeed in top management roles without conforming to traditional male patterns of behavior. Future researchers may build on this study by evaluating transformational leadership behaviors in different segments of the population of males and females and by using observer data rather than self-reports.