Gender Differences in Leadership: The Impact of Gender and Subtle Sexism on Perceptions of Transformational Leadership Style and its Effect on Employee Outcomes

Academic Abstract: The current research investigated the effect of transformational leadership style on employee outcomes, while taking gender and gender-related attitudes into consideration with an online sample of front-line employees (Study 1) and through an experimental vignette study with undergraduate students (Study 2). It was found that transformational leadership style positively influenced employees’ hedonic and eudaimonic well-being through work engagement in the employed sample and the effect on work engagement was subsequently replicated in the email vignette study. These findings suggest that transformational leaders allow employees to become engaged at work; in turn, work engagement positively influences satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Although significant gender differences in perceptions of transformational leadership style were not found for male and female supervisors, employees’ gender and subtle sexist attitudes appeared to influence perceptions of transformational leadership behaviours, such that participants who endorsed subtle sexist attitudes perceived fewer transformational leadership behaviours.

Keywords: Transformational leadership, gender, work engagement, well-being

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Ekaterina Martynova

“Uncovering the glass ceiling” presented by Ekaterina Martynova at the Three Minute Thesis Competition in Ottawa, ON, March 2016.