Title page for ETD etd-06082017-160924

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Alfaro, Adriana
Author's Email Address aalfar9@lsu.edu
URN etd-06082017-160924
Title Gender bias in leadership: Do gender of leader, type of error, diversity climate, and gender of subordinate affect faculty perceptions of academic leaders' effectiveness?
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education & Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bates, Reid Committee Chair
Rizzuto, Tracey Committee Member
Robinson, Petra Committee Member
Curry, Jennifer Dean's Representative
  • gender bias
  • prejudice
  • leadership
  • type of error
  • diversity climate
  • academia
  • leader effectiveness
Date of Defense 2017-05-08
Availability unrestricted
The cyphers donít lie: women remain significantly underrepresented in positions of authority across the United States, despite their nearly equal representation in the labor force. Gender bias has been proposed as one of the major reasons for the disparity in leadership roles between men and women. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether gender bias influenced facultyís perceptions of leadership effectiveness at a Research 1 (R1) Doctoral institution in the southeastern United States when high-ranking university leaders made mistakes, and how type of error, diversity climate, and gender of subordinate affected this relationship. Two scenarios were created based on real-life examples provided by academic leaders via interviews, and each scenario was led by either a male department director or a female department director, for a total of four test conditions: 1) relationship error committed by a female leader, 2) relationship error committed by a male leader, 3) task error committed by a female leader, and 4) task error committed by a male leader.

The study findings did not conform to the predictions formulated based on the literature review. Gender of leader was not found to significantly influence subordinate perceptions of leader effectiveness when mistakes were made (H1). Likewise, whether the error was task-oriented or relationship-oriented (H2), and whether the participant was male or female (H3) did not produce differential ratings of leader performance based on gender. Although diversity climate did significantly relate to perceptions of leader effectiveness, it did not interact with gender of leader, failing to support hypothesis 4. Explanations for these findings, as well as their implications and directions for future research are presented.

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