Gender and personality in transformational leadership context An examination of leader and subordinate perspectives Tiina Brandt Department of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland, and Maarit Laiho Department of Management, University of Turku, Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland Abstract Purpose – There are many studies of personality and leadership and gender and leadership, but only few leadership studies have taken into account both personality and gender. That may partly be due to the fact that there are relatively few female leaders, however, the aim of this paper is to discover if similar personality types exhibit the same kind of leadership behavior irrespective of gender. Design/methodology/approach – The quantitative analysis involves 459 leaders (283 men and 176 women) and 378 subordinates working in various fields. Leaders rated their leadership behavior and subordinates also appraised them. Findings – Results indicated differences in leadership behavior by gender, in that women exhibited more enabling behavior, and men more challenging behavior. Further, gender and personality had an impact on leadership behavior, as viewed by both leaders and subordinates. For example, extraverted and intuitive male leaders along with those exhibiting the perceiving dimension regarded themselves as more challenging than their introverted, sensing and judging male counterparts, a view confirmed by subordinates in the case of perceiving male leaders. Research limitations/implications – As limitations, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers only one view of the personality, and future studies would be needed with different methods. Also the study did not control confounding factors, and it should be taken into account with the study. Practical implications – From a practical view point, this study offers specific knowledge for people seeking to develop themselves as leaders. Originality/value – Very few studies have concentrated on the relationship between personality and gender in the transformational leadership context, and this study provides a new perspective on this area. Keywords Transformational leadership, Personality, Gender, Leadership Paper type Research paper 1. Introduction There is a huge number of studies on transformational leadership (TF-leadership) and the benefits it can bring to business life. Benefits cited have included higher productivity, lower employee turnover rates, greater job satisfaction. Well-being and motivation are also said to be more strongly connected to TF-leadership than either transactional or non-TF-leadership (e.g. Arnold et al., 2007; Clover, 1990; Deluga, 1992; Marshall et al., 1992; Masi and Cooke, 2000; Medley and Larochelle, 1995; Sparks and Schenk, 2001). Owing to the incontrovertible nature of the business benefits of TF-leadership, there is a need to examine TF-leadership from different viewpoints, in order The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0143-7739.htm Leadership & Organization Development Journal Vol. 34 No. 1, 2013 pp. 44-66 r Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0143-7739 DOI 10.1108/01437731311289965 44 LODJ 34,1
Gender and personality in transformational leadership context · Gender and personality in transformational leadership ... similar personality types exhibit the same kind of leadership
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Gender and personality intransformational leadership
contextAn examination of leader and
subordinate perspectivesTiina Brandt
Department of Management, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland, and
Maarit LaihoDepartment of Management, University of Turku,
Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland
Purpose – There are many studies of personality and leadership and gender and leadership, but onlyfew leadership studies have taken into account both personality and gender. That may partly be due tothe fact that there are relatively few female leaders, however, the aim of this paper is to discover ifsimilar personality types exhibit the same kind of leadership behavior irrespective of gender.Design/methodology/approach – The quantitative analysis involves 459 leaders (283 men and 176women) and 378 subordinates working in various fields. Leaders rated their leadership behavior andsubordinates also appraised them.Findings – Results indicated differences in leadership behavior by gender, in that women exhibitedmore enabling behavior, and men more challenging behavior. Further, gender and personality had animpact on leadership behavior, as viewed by both leaders and subordinates. For example, extravertedand intuitive male leaders along with those exhibiting the perceiving dimension regarded themselvesas more challenging than their introverted, sensing and judging male counterparts, a view confirmedby subordinates in the case of perceiving male leaders.Research limitations/implications – As limitations, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers onlyone view of the personality, and future studies would be needed with different methods. Also the studydid not control confounding factors, and it should be taken into account with the study.Practical implications – From a practical view point, this study offers specific knowledge for peopleseeking to develop themselves as leaders.Originality/value – Very few studies have concentrated on the relationship between personalityand gender in the transformational leadership context, and this study provides a new perspective onthis area.
1. IntroductionThere is a huge number of studies on transformational leadership (TF-leadership) andthe benefits it can bring to business life. Benefits cited have included higherproductivity, lower employee turnover rates, greater job satisfaction. Well-being andmotivation are also said to be more strongly connected to TF-leadership than eithertransactional or non-TF-leadership (e.g. Arnold et al., 2007; Clover, 1990; Deluga, 1992;Marshall et al., 1992; Masi and Cooke, 2000; Medley and Larochelle, 1995; Sparksand Schenk, 2001). Owing to the incontrovertible nature of the business benefits ofTF-leadership, there is a need to examine TF-leadership from different viewpoints, in order
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available atwww.emeraldinsight.com/0143-7739.htm
to offer broader knowledge when developing leaders. Contemporary challengingbusiness environments with their constant need to simultaneously increase profitand maintain employee well-being create a demand for better leaders and for theknowledge of how to grow as a leader. As Bennis (2009) states, quality of life dependson the quality of our leaders.
Research supports the notion that high self-awareness among leaders is connectedto effectiveness (Atwater and Yammarino, 1992; Bass and Yammarino, 1991).Improving self-awareness involves examining one’s personality and behavior,and leaders undertaking that process will benefit the fact that TF-leadership andpersonality have gained a considerable amount of attention recently (Bono and Judge,2004; Brown and Reilly, 2009; Carroll, 2010; Hautala, 2008; Hetland and Sandal, 2003;Judge et al., 2002; Northouse, 2007).
Male and female leaders may be viewed differently due to stereotypes and differentexpectations and also due to personality types. According to Eagly et al. (1995;Northouse, 2007) women and men were more effective in leadership roles congruentwith their gender. Generally, men are socialized to be assertive, independent, rationaland decisive, while women are expected to show concern for others, warmth, to behelpful and to nurture (Hoyt et al., 2009). Female leaders were evaluated more harshlyfor using autocratic styles than their male counterparts (Eagly et al., 1995). Also,Neubert and Taggar (2004) state that women who are not behaving according to theirsocially defined roles may receive negative feedback. Therefore, the gender stereotypescan be particularly damaging for women in leadership roles, since masculineattributes are considered more essential than feminine ones (Kunda and Spencer, 2003).This may be the reason for some studies indicating that women are under valued bymale subordinates and colleagues, even when applying a TF-leadership style(Northouse, 2007).
There are studies that indicate that women are more transformational in theirleadership style than men (Bass, 1999; Carless, 1998; Northouse, 2007) and also studiesthat suggest that there are no differences in leadership attributable to gender (Brownand Reilly, 2008; Kent et al., 2010; Manning, 2002; Oyster, 1992). Some studies indicatethat some personalities are more masculine than others (Hautala and Rissanen, 2002),thus it is to be expected that personality impacts on leadership ratings even more thangender. It may be that the contradictory results of previous studies have not foundcompelling evidence, because there are more aspects than just gender that may impacton transformational leadership. One of these aspects may be personality.
This area of gender, personality and leadership is the focus of this study. Thepurpose is to find out if personality affects gender and leadership style – do female andmale leaders with similar personalities behave differently? The research alsoincorporates followers’ views to discern if they evaluate their leaders behaviordifferently according to personality and gender.
The main research question of this study is “Are there differences in TF-leadershipstyles between genders when personality has been taken into account?”
In addition, this study tries to answer the following sub-questions:
Q1. Are personality types equally distributed between the genders?
Q2. Are there differences of leadership style due to gender?
Q3. Does personality impact female and male TF-leadership behavior differently?
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Q4. Within the same gender, does personality impact on leadership behavior?
Q5. Do leaders appraise their own TF-leadership style differently than theirsubordinates do?
The purpose is to discover the different views about the impact of gender andpersonality on the behavior of leaders and to gain some new insights into how thisinformation could be used. This knowledge would benefit leaders seekingself-understanding and enhance their understanding of how others may view theirbehavior and so could encourage their personal development.
The current study uses the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a measurementof personality. There are several other measurement options, but MBTI has gainedmuch attention in the area of personality and leadership recently (Brown and Reilly,2009; Carroll, 2010; Hautala, 2008), and therefore it is applied in this study as well.
2. Theoretical background and earlier studies2.1 Transformational leadershipSince the time of Burns’ (1978) seminal research, several researchers have studiedand defined TF-leadership (Bass, 1985; Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Kouzes and Posner,1988; Tichy and Devanna, 1990) and operationalized the concept (e.g. Bass and Avolio,1990; Kouzes and Posner, 1988; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Roush, 1992). Common elementsin definitions of TF-leadership are visioning, challenging, consideration and being anexample (Bass, 1985; Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Kouzes and Posner, 1988; Tichy andDevanna, 1990).
The solid position of TF-leadership in research is due to it being connected toseveral positive outcomes. These include improved productivity, reduced employeeturnover rates, greater job satisfaction and motivation; all of which are more stronglyassociated with TF-leadership than with more transactional or non-TF-leadership(e.g. Clover, 1990; Deluga, 1992; Marshall et al., 1992; Masi and Cooke, 2000; Medleyand Larochelle, 1995; Sparks and Schenk, 2001). Lately studies of TF-leadership havealso focussed on areas of well-being (Arnold et al., 2007), ethical sides (Bass andSteidlmeier, 1999) and psychological capital (Nielsen et al., 2009).
This research is based on Kouzes and Posner’s (1988) view of transformationalbehavior. They discovered that executives who persuaded others to join them followedthe model they termed vision-involvement-persistence (VIP). The model comprises fivemore specific dynamics: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enablingothers to act, modeling the way and encouraging the heart (Kouzes and Posner, 1988).They are described more specifically in the section on methods.
2.2 Personality – the MBTIThe MBTI is the dynamic and positive measurement of personality, and has solidtheory behind it. This indicator has quickly become one of the most widely used toolswhen defining personality (Myers et al., 1998, p. 9). Due to its usefulness andcomprehensible approach it has become a common method when studying leadership(see e.g. Gallen, 1997; McCarthy and Garavan, 1999; Muller and Turner, 2010; Walck,1997) and thus it is used in this study as well.
The MBTI is based on Jung’s (1921) work on psychological types and has beenfurther developed by Briggs and Myers. The MBTI is based on eight differentpreferences, which encompass different orientations of energy (extraversion, E and
introversion, I), processes of perception (sensing, S and intuition, N), processes ofjudging (thinking, T and feeling, F) and attitudes toward dealing with the outsideworld (perceiving, P and judging, J). These preferences result in 16 different personalitytypes, among them: introversion-sensing-thinking-judging (ISTJ), extraversion-intuition-thinking-perceiving (ENTP) (McCaulley, 1990; Myers and Myers, 1990).In this study, the focus is on the eight preferences of the MBTI and their links to theappraisals of transformational behavior. These eight preferences are as follows (Myersand Myers, 1990; Myers et al., 1998):
. Extraverted (E) people tend to be social, and energized by other people.Introverted (I) people will lose energy when around others for a long time, andthus they need to spend more time alone than extraverts.
. Sensing (S) types usually live in the “here and now” and they tend to gatherinformation via their five senses. They approach work step-by-step and focus onthe small things more than intuitive people. Intuitives (N) prefer to use theirimagination and ability to see the big picture.
. Thinking (T) people tend to make decisions using impersonal points of logic.Feeling (F) types adopt the logical use of their personal values when deciding.They are usually better at taking other people’s feelings into account thanthinking types.
. Judging (J) types prefer order and closure whereas perceiving (P) types tend to beflexible and their lifestyle reflects a tendency to go with the flow.
2.3 Gender and leadershipThe gender-centered perspective proposes that women develop a feminine styleof leadership and men adopt a masculine style of leadership (Eagly et al., 1992).According to social role theory individuals behave in accordance with societalexpectations of the gender role (Eagly, 1987). The structural perspective emphasizesan organization’s expectations, and proposes that people behave according to theseexpectations and gender has no effect (Eagly et al., 1992; Kanter, 1977). Lastly, the fitbetween leadership position and gender has been suggested to have an impact. Forexample, military leadership positions are defined in more masculine terms thanfeminine (Eagly et al., 1995).
Effective leadership has been perceived to require traits stereotyped as masculine(e.g. Brenner et al., 1989; Schein, 1973a, b, 1975; Powell and Butterfield, 1979, 1984,1989), but recent leadership literature has stressed more feminine behavior. Masculinetraits are typically employed in the initiation of structure, whereas feminine traitsare more employed in demonstrating consideration (Spence and Helmreich, 1978;Williams and Best, 1982). Initiation of structure consists of the behavior of setting anddefining goals, structuring and defining work behavior and maintaining a strong taskorientation. Consideration includes showing concern for subordinates’ feelings,participation, satisfaction and friendship. Men have been found to be somewhat moreself-assertive, aggressive and coarse in their manner and language than women.Women, in contrast, have been found to be more expressive of emotion and compassion(Chesler, 2001; Simmons, 2002). It has been found that feminine leadership qualitiesare more highly valued by subordinates, while masculine qualities are more valued bymanagers (Cann and Siegfried, 1987). TF-leadership consists of both feminine andmasculine qualities, the feminine consist of behavior connected with encouraging,
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rewarding and enabling others, and the more masculine are connected with visioningand challenging.
Hall et al. (1998) demonstrated that androgynous individuals (measured for examplewith the Bem Sex-Role Inventory) capture an aspect of behavioral flexibility necessaryfor successful leadership in the eyes of those appraising them. However, evidence onwhether an androgynous style is an optimal managerial style remains inconclusive(Powell et al., 2002). Eagly and Johnson (1990, p. 233) concluded that female and maleleaders did not differ in the two leader styles of interpersonal orientation and taskorientation within organizational studies. However, these two aspects of leader stylewere found to be gender stereotypic.
2.4 Summary – gender and personality in the TF-leadership contextThe personality characteristics regarded as belonging to transformational leadersinclude for example: creativity, novelty, innovativeness, a tendency to risk, courage,believing in people, being value-driven, being life-long learners, pragmatism,nurturing, feminine attributes and self-confidence (Bass, 1985; Tichy and Devanna,1990; Ross and Offerman, 1997).
Several studies have concentrated on transformational leaders’ personalities,adopting different personality measures. The five-factor model (FFM) of personalityhas been applied to support the correlation of extroversion (Bono and Judge, 2004;Judge and Bono, 2000; Ployhart et al., 2001), agreeableness ( Judge and Bono, 2000) andopenness (Ployhart et al., 2001) with TF-leadership. However, Bono and Judge (2004)opined after a meta-analysis, that associations between the FFM and TF-leadershipwere weak. The FFM explained 12 percent of the variability in charisma and only5 and 6 percent of the variability in ratings of intellectual stimulation and individualconsideration, respectively.
In the case of 16PF, conformity was predictive of transformational behavior whensuperiors rated participants. However, subordinates estimated intelligence to beconnected with TF-leadership (Atwater and Yammarino, 1993). Hetland and Sandal(2003) studied four scales of 16PF (warmth, reasoning, openness to change and tension)finding warmth to be the strongest personality correlate. A significant negativerelationship occurred between tension and TF-leadership. Moreover, each of thefour scales significantly but modestly explained the variance of TF-leadership,according to the subordinates quizzed. Further, according to superiors, the openness tochange was predictive when they were rating participants.
To return to the MBTI, most of the studies of leaders’ self-ratings indicate thatextraversion, intuition and perceiving preferences are more related to TF-leadershipthan their counterparts: introversion, sensing and judging (Church and Waclawski,1998; Hautala, 2006). Some do not include extraversion (Van Eron and Burke, 1992) inthis list, and some exclude both extraversion and intuition (Brown and Reilly, 2009).Concerning subordinates’ appraisals of their leaders’ behavior the results are morecontradictory. Some studies did not find a relationship at all (Brown and Reilly, 2009),some appraisals reported results similar to the leaders’ self-ratings (Church andWaclawski, 1998; Roush, 1992) and some produce totally opposed results indicatingthat sensing (Hautala, 2006; Roush and Atwater, 1992) and feeling preferences(Atwater and Yammarino, 1993; Roush and Atwater, 1992) were strongly associatedwith TF-leadership.
Several studies indicate that women are more transformational leaders than men(e.g. Bass et al., 1996; Doherty, 1997; Turner et al., 2004). In general, the meta-analysis
of Eagly et al. (2003) revealed that, compared with male leaders, female leaders weremore transformational and applied the concept of contingent reward. In the sample of2,000 follower reports on 161 managers (116 men and 45 women) in the sameorganization, there was no support for the proposition that men and women differ inany respect in their use of TF-leadership behaviors (Brown and Reilly, 2008) Kabacoff’s(1998) study indicated that men tended to more often report aspects of vision creation,while women reported more vision implementation and follow-through, as well asemployee and team development. According to Carless’ (1998) study, their superiorsevaluated female managers as more transformational on interpersonally orientedsubscales than male managers, and this was consistent with their own ratings.However, subordinates evaluated their female and male leaders equally. Using Kouzesand Posner’s Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) questionnaire, also producedcontradictory results. According to both self-ratings and subordinates’ appraisalsfemale managers were more likely than male managers to practice “modeling the way,”which means that a leader is behaving in accordance with the values she/he espouses,and “encouraging the heart,” which represents giving positive feedback (Posner andKouzes, 1993). On the contrary, Manning (2002) did not find differences in the TF-leadership of women and men, nor did Kent et al. (2010) or Mandell and Pherwani(2003). Finally, Yammarino et al. (1997) have stated that studies that report significantdifferences between male and female leaders, have very small effect sizes, and theyargued that there is no practical difference between the behavior of female andmale leaders.
Recently, one study has recently focussed on women’s TF-leadership andpersonality in a healthcare organization (Carroll, 2010). There self-ratings indicatedextraversion, intuition, feeling and perceiving marked the more transformationalleaders. However, addressing the lack of studies of gender, personality and TF-leadership, the current paper starts by placing the focus on these three areas.In the current study, the sample represents organizations operating in widely differentareas, so the organizational setting (masculine/feminine) has not had an impacton this study.
3. MethodologyThis study uses the Finnish version of Kouzes and Posner’s (1988) LPI whenmeasuring TF-leadership. It is a widely used tool among researchers (see e.g. Carroll,2010; Hautala, 2008). Personality is described through the MBTI.
3.1 SamplesThe study concentrated on 459 leaders whose MBTI type was measured and 378subordinates’ appraisals of their leaders whose MBTI type was measured. Since thestudy aims to compare leaders’ self-ratings to subordinates views of their leaders’behavior, the data on TF-leadership were collected from both leaders and subordinates.Most of the leaders appraised by subordinates (sample b) also belonged to the sampleof self-rating leaders (sample a). Therefore, the demographics of both samples werequite similar and the samples comparable (see Table I).
(a) The sample of those leaders who evaluated themselves (n¼ 459): the genderdistribution was as follows: 62 percent of the leaders were male and 38 percentwere female. The leaders’ mean age was 43, and their mean amount of work experiencewas 11 years, and the average number of subordinates per leader was 38. The leaders’fields of activity were information and technology (13 percent), teaching and education
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(12 percent), trade (11 percent), health and welfare (10 percent) and the metal industry(9 percent). The majority of the leaders labeled themselves as either engineers(16 percent), technicians (14 percent), graduates of a Finnish commercial institute(11 percent), graduated engineers (8 percent) and Masters of Science (Econ.) (6 percent).
(b) The sample of leaders who were evaluated (n¼ 378): the sample comprised61 percent male leaders. The leaders mean age was 41, their mean work experience asleaders was ten years and the average number of subordinates was 40. The leadershipappraisals were provided by three subordinates of each leader in the study. Theleaders’ fields of activity were health and welfare (15 percent), teaching and education(13 percent), metal industry (9 percent), paper industry (7 percent), services (7 percent)and trade (6 percent). The leaders were mostly engineers (19 percent), graduatesof a Finnish commercial institute (12 percent) and graduate engineers (11 percent).The subordinates who evaluated the leaders were mostly female (55 percent),while 37 percent were male and in the case of 29 (8 percent) of the respondents it wasnot possible to determine the respondents’ gender. The mean age of the subordinateswas 43.
3.2 ProcedureData were collected from 459 leaders and 378 subordinates during the years 1996-2010.Whenever feasible and always with the permission of the leaders, the data werecollected during training and development sessions throughout the time span. Theleaders participated in the training sessions in order to enhance their leadership skills.In this study, they have been defined as leaders on the basis of their own understandingthat they have subordinates and they consider themselves as leaders. Both leaders andsubordinates were asked to fill in questionnaires honestly, and subordinates werereassured that their individual appraisals would not be communicated to their leaders.
The LPI and the MBTI questionnaires were usually completed by the leaders beforethe start of training sessions. Leaders were given the resulting assessments of theirpersonality and leadership style on the following training day. Participation wasvoluntary but very popular.
Subordinates only filled in the LPI when appraising their leaders. In a trainingsession leaders were asked to give the LPI form to at least three of their subordinates
Leaders self-ratingsRatings that leadersreceived by followers
Men Women Total Men Women Totaln % n % n % n % n % n %
selected in alphabetical order, to avoid the possibility that leaders would selectsubordinates who would respond favorably. Subordinates returned the assessmentforms directly to the researchers, so that leaders could not see their subordinates’answers. Researchers calculated mean responses for each leader, so each leaderreceived one collective appraisal of their leadership style.
Data were processed with the PASW Statistics 18-program. The gender of eachrespondent was assessed by referring to their first name. The male respondents werecoded with number 1, and the female respondents with the number 2. If the genderof leader was not known, the questionnaire was removed from the study. After the datawere reviewed and prepared for the actual data analysis. Principal componentfactoring with Varimax rotation was performed to ensure the validity of theTF-leadership dimensions. Distribution of personality types between genders (Q1) wasanalyzed by using cross-tabulation with the w2-test. An independent samples t-test wasused to identify differences between genders (Q2: male leaders vs female leaders andQ3: extraverted female leaders vs extraverted male leaders, etc.) and personalities(Q4: introverted female leaders vs extraverted female leaders, etc.) in TF-leadershipbehavior. Levene’s test was used together with the t-test to determine the equalityof variances. Further, to test whether leaders appraise their own TF-leadership styledifferently than their subordinates do, the abovementioned analyses were conductedseparately to the sample a (leaders’ self-ratings) and sample b (followers’ appraisalsof their leaders). Sample a was obtained by selecting leaders, who had filled in both theTF-leadership and MBTI questionnaires. Sample b included leaders, who had receivedone or more subordinate appraisals and who had filled in the MBTI questionnaire.
3.3 InstrumentsLPI. The LPI is based on interviews with managers. This inventory is well suited to theappraisal of leadership behavior by both leaders and subordinates (e.g. Herold andFields, 2004). It is noteworthy that the LPI also consists of the rewarding dimension(encouraging the heart), even though contingent rewards have usually been included intransactional leadership (Bass, 1985). According to Goodwin et al. (2001) rewardingbehavior is part of the appropriate behavior of both transformational and transactionalleaders, and that is why some researchers include contingent reward in TF-leadership(e.g. Barling et al., 2000). The Finnish version of the LPI used in this study has been inuse since 2005 (for further information see Brandt, 2010).
The items in the questionnaire were rated on a Likert scale with options rangingfrom “very rarely if at all” (1) to “frequently if not constantly” (5). Factor analysis wasperformed on sample of responses from 914 leaders and subordinates to ensure thequestionnaire’s dimensions were correct. This sample of leaders and subordinatesincluded also leaders whose MBTI type was not measured during the data collectionprocess and who were therefore excluded from the samples a and b that were describedearlier. The factor model accounted for 52.2 percent of the variance. The factor analysisalso supports earlier studies made with similar factors in Finland (e.g. Hautala, 2005).In order to form the leadership dimensions for subsequent analysis, five compositevariables were constructed on the basis of factor scores. The five factors in this Finnishversion characterize the TF-leadership as visioning, challenging, enabling, modelingand rewarding. Additionally, overall transformational profile (TFP) was constructedby averaging the factor score variables. Cronbach’s a were as following; visioning(measured with five items) 0.686, challenging (four items) 0.639, enabling (ten items)0.869, modeling (four items) 0.591 and rewarding (two items) 0.829. Despite some of the
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alphas being rather modest, the reliability of the instruments can be consideredadequate, since other studies have reported similar a values. For example, in Brownand Posner’s (2001) study a’s ranged from 0.66 to 0.84. In Posner and Kouzes’ study thea values were, however, reported to be at least 0.70.
Visioning can be described as presenting the ideal future to others, making surethat people hold common values and communicating the view about the best way tolead the organization. Challenging includes risk taking, introducing innovationsto improve an organization, and seeking challenging tasks. Enabling means respectingothers, giving them freedom to make their own decisions, creating a trustingatmosphere and making others feel projects are their own. Modeling includesconsistency of organizational values and confidence in the philosophy of how to lead,and confirmation of planning and goal setting. Rewarding means celebratingaccomplishments.
MBTI. The MBTI is a self-assessment instrument, where the respondent selects oneof two options for every item. The MBTI includes scores on four bipolar dimensions:extraversion-introversion (E/I), sensing-intuition (S/N), thinking-feeling (T/F) andjudging-perceiving ( J/P). Every item has two alternatives for the respondents to choosefrom. An individual is assigned a “type” classification based on one of 16 possiblecategories. In this study the focus is on the eight preferences not on the whole type.
Overall, the validity of the MBTI has been proved at the four preferences level, aswell as at the type level. Internal consistency is high when both the split-half andcoefficient a reliabilities are measured. More recently, internal consistency andconstruct validity have been proved by several researchers (see e.g. Gardner andMartinko, 1996; Myers et al., 1998). Gender, age, membership of a minority ethnic groupand developmental level are just some of the topics that have been researched whentesting the reliability of the MBTI (see Myers et al., 1998).
In this study, the Finnish research “F-version” was used. The construct validityand reliability of this form have been proved during a validation process lastingseveral years (see e.g. Jarlstrom, 2000). Jarlstrom (2000) reported an internalconsistency (Pearson’s correlation coefficients) of 0.65 to 0.76 and (Cronbach’scoefficient a) of 0.79 to 0.86.
4. ResultsMost leaders shared the extraverted, sensing, thinking and judging preferences (seeTable I). According to Routamaa et al. (1997) Finnish leaders and managers sharemostly thinking and judging preferences, so the samples of this study correspondclosely with Finnish managers’ MBTI types. Between genders there were statisticallysignificantly (w2¼ 35,720, df¼ 1, po0.001) more thinking preferences among men(82 percent) than among women (56 percent) and likewise more feeling types amongfemale (44 percent) than among male (18 percent) leaders. In the following chapters theresults of differences between female and male leaders are presented, and thedifferences when personality preferences within the gender are compared.
4.1 Genders in comparisonIn this section, the female and male leaders are compared. First, only the genderdifferences of TF-leadership are presented. Male leaders appraised themselves as morechallenging than their female counterparts, whereas female leaders rated themselvesmore enabling and rewarding than their male colleagues. The followers’ appraisals oftheir leaders’ transformational behavior indicated similar results (see Table II).
Leaders’ self-ratings (Table III, column 1). Here the interest is in knowing ifboth genders having the same personality preferences behave similarly. Table IIIpresents the statistically significant results by indicating which of the comparedpersonality preferences or preference-gender combinations received the greater scorein the TF-leadership dimension in question. The specific mean value comparisonsare provided in the appendices.
Leaders did not differ by gender when looking at the overall TFP of leaders’self-ratings. In the TF-leadership dimensions, women regarded themselves as moreenabling, and men saw themselves as more challenging. The statistically significantresults occurred in every preference in these two dimensions. Personality did impact onrewarding, when female intuitive and feeling personalities regarded themselves morerewarding than male intuitive and feeling personalities.
Subordinates’ appraisals (Table III, column 2). In the eyes of their followers, femaleleaders with extraversion, thinking and judging were more enabling than maleswith similar preferences. Additionally, women with extraversion and intuition wereregarded as more rewarding than their male colleagues. Male leaders with a perceivingpreference were regarded as more challenging than their female counterparts. Overallthe TFP indicated female intuitive and judging leaders are more transformational thanmale intuitive and judging leaders.
4.2 Personality preferences in comparisonLeaders’ self-ratings – personality preferences compared by gender (Table III, columns 3and 4). Here the interest is to see if personality has an impact on leadership withingender; if female introverted leaders are different from extraverted ones, etc. Femaleextraverted and intuitive leaders thought themselves as being more transformationaloverall than introverted and sensing female leaders. Quite similarly extraverted,intuitive and perceiving male leaders regarded themselves as more transformational.In visioning, the male leaders found no difference due to personality, whereas women inthe thinking and judging categories regarded themselves as more visioning.
In challenging and rewarding, the genders rate themselves quite similarly.Extraverted and intuitive women rated themselves higher than introverted and
Table III.Statistically significantresults of preference-gender and gendercomparisons
sensing ones, and the story was similar with men, and moreover perceiving men ratedthemselves higher than judging ones in this dimension. Concerning rewarding,perceiving women ranked themselves higher than judging ones and similarly withmen, and also extraverted men regarded themselves as more rewarding thanintroverts. Lastly, in enabling, female feeling personalities regarded themselves asbehaving more in this way than thinking ones. In the case of men, extraverted menthought themselves as being more enabling than their introverted counterparts.
Overall, personality did have a different effect due to gender in leaders’ self-ratings.For the women, the thinking-feeling dimensions were separating female leaders invisioning and enabling, and also judging-perceiving preferences in visioningand rewarding. In addition, extraverted and intuitive women were more challengingthan their sensing and introverted counterparts, and the same applies to the OverallTFP. For the men, extraversion-introversion was separating them in the enabling,rewarding and challenging dimensions and overall TFP. Judging-perceivingseparated men in the challenging and rewarding dimensions and overall TFP.Further, intuitive men were more challenging than sensing ones and they were moretransformational overall.
Subordinates’ appraisals – personality preferences compared by gender (Table III,columns 5 and 6). Subordinates reported that personality also impacts on leaders’behavior, but slightly less than the leaders themselves thought. Extraverted femaleleaders were regarded as having a higher Overall TFP and being more rewarding thanintroverted ones, and sensing men were thought of as having a higher Overall TFP andbeing more rewarding than intuitive types. Thinking female leaders were appraisedas being more enabling than feeling ones. On the contrary, feeling male leaderswere regarded as being more enabling than thinking ones. Further, sensing men wereregarded as more visioning and rewarding than their intuitive colleagues. Finally,perceiving men were regarded as being more challenging than judging ones.
5. DiscussionIf we now address the questions at the heart of the study, Q1: Are personality typesequally distributed between the genders? The answer is yes, only thinking-feelingpreferences were slightly differently distributed between the sexes.
Q2: Are there differences of leadership style due to gender? Using the dimensions,women regarded themselves as more enabling and rewarding, and men sawthemselves as more challenging. Subordinates’ appraisals were consistent with theleaders’ self-ratings. Social role theory (Eagly, 1987) suggests that women are expectedto be communal (e.g. helpful, nurturing, gentle) while men are expected to be what istermed agentic (this means assertive, controlling, confident) (Eagly, 1987; Heilman,2001). The results of this study support social role theory, since enabling andrewarding can be regarded as feminine behavior amongst the TF-leadershipdimensions. These dimensions represent taking care of everybody, creating anapproving atmosphere in the workplace and arranging small reward events whengoals are met. Challenging, in turn, expresses more masculine behavior, meaningquestioning old methods, maybe sometimes in a rather aggressive way, and this maybe more suitable behavior for men according to the social role theory. The results ofthis study also support Eagly et al.’s (2003) study, as their meta-analysis showed thatwomen employed more contingent reward behavior. Interestingly, this study found nosupport for the notion that women are more transformational leaders that many otherstudies have indicated (Turner et al., 2004; Doherty, 1997).
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Q3: Does personality impact female and male TF-leadership behavior differently?When examining personality and gender, the results did show that personality affectsboth self-ratings and subordinates’ appraisals differently with male and female leaders,therefore the answer is yes. Women with intuitive and feeling preferences were morerewarding than their male counterparts, and this was the opinion of both subordinatesand the leaders themselves. In some parts female self-ratings were consistent withCarroll’s (2010) study of female leadership and MBTI. The similarity was in the case ofchallenging, and also to a degree in Overall TFP.
Looking at the subordinates’ views in isolation, there were differences too:extraversion, thinking and judging female leaders were regarded as more enablingthan men with similar preferences and perceiving men were regarded as morechallenging than female leaders. Perceiving types tend to be more challenging thanjudging ones according to earlier studies also (Hautala, 2006). They are described asmore prone to risk taking, and for example there are more entrepreneurs to be foundwith perceiving than with judging preferences (Routamaa and Miettinen, 2007). Asstated earlier, challenging behavior is considered a masculine trait, and it may be thatmale leaders with perceiving preferences were regarded as more challenging fromtheir subordinates’ point of view too. In addition, it is probably more appropriate formales to behave in a challenging way. In the case of the Overall TFP, female intuitiveand judging types were regarded as more transformational than men.
Q4: Within the same gender, does personality impact on leadership behavior?and Q5: Do leaders appraise their own TF-leadership style differently than theirsubordinates do? The answer to both is yes. Both self-ratings and subordinates’appraisals indicated that personality impacts on leadership behavior, and interestingly,not equally for men and women. Additionally, there were differences between howleaders themselves saw their behavior and how subordinates interpreted it.
The most interesting differences were seen in the challenging and enablingdimensions. In terms of challenging, the extraverted and intuitive female leadersranked themselves higher than their introverted and sensing counterparts. Thesituation was similar with men, and additionally perceiving male leaders regardedthemselves as more challenging than judging ones. Subordinates saw the differenceonly in the case of the perceiving-judging dimension; perceiving men were regarded asmore challenging than judging ones. It seems that perceiving men are very challengingin their behavior; a finding this study points to from many angles.
Concerning enabling, female feeling leaders ranked themselves higher thanthinking female leaders did. Extraverted men regarded themselves as more enablingthan their introverted counterparts, and according to the subordinates, the thinkingwomen and feeling men were more enabling. These results are very intriguing.According to theory and earlier studies, we might expect that feeling leaderswould be more enabling, due to their natural tendency to appreciate harmony,give positive feedback and take others into consideration. Thinking personalitiesare more straightforward and critical (Myers and Myers, 1990). For example Berr et al.(2000) found that feeling senior managers were regarded as being better at givingfeedback and recognition to others by both direct reports and peers. So the MBTItheory and earlier studies support only in the cases of female feeling types’ self-ratingsand subordinates’ appraisals of feeling male leaders. Interestingly, subordinates sawthinking female leaders as more enabling, which is very contradictory to the theory.
When looking at the overall TFP, extraverted and intuitive women scoredthemselves higher, and additionally in the case of men, the intuitive and perceiving
ones regarded themselves as more transformational. These self-ratings support theearlier studies (Carroll, 2010; Church and Waclawski, 1998; Hautala, 2006). Accordingto followers, in the case of female leaders, the extraverted were more transformationaland in the case of men, the sensing were more transformational.
Earlier studies report that extraverts have a tendency to overrate themselves (Berret al., 2000; Van Velsor and Fleenor, 1994; Wilson and Wilson, 1994). However, whenlooking at the overall results of this study, this tendency seems to be more true in thecase of male leaders. Male extraverts ranked themselves higher than introverts in fourdimensions of TF-leadership (including TFP), but subordinates did not see thisdifference.
According to earlier studies (Hautala, 2006; Roush and Atwater, 1992), intuitivetypes also tend to overrate themselves in terms of transformational leadership, andthis is reinforced in this study as well, in the case of male leaders. Both male and femaleintuitive types thought themselves more challenging and having a stronger overallTFP than sensing personalities, but when women and men were compared,subordinates appraised intuitive female leaders as having stronger overall TFPs thanintuitive men. In addition, subordinates thought male sensing leaders were moretransformational and more visioning and rewarding. According to MBTI theory,intuitive types are future oriented, imaginative, and have a natural tendency to beinitiators, inventors, promoters and to be enterprising (Myers and Myers, 1990, p. 63).The tendency for intuitive types to be more positive in their own appraisals can be dueto their more positive self-image developed early in life and reinforced by the views oftheir own supervisors (Berr et al., 2000; Myers et al., 1998, pp. 268-84). Accordingto Berr et al. (2000) intuitive senior managers received higher ratings from theirco-workers and supervisors on certain management behavior, whereas theirsubordinates disagreed.
Conclusions and further studiesThis study applies a focus to the relationships between gender, personality,and transformational leadership. Personality was defined with the MBTI andTF-leadership by the Finnish version of the LPI. The dimensions of the Finnish LPIversion are: visioning, challenging, enabling, modeling and rewarding. The resultsindicated that both gender and personality have an impact on leadership behavior, andaccordingly this study supported previous studies stating that there are differences inleadership according to gender.
Women regarded themselves as more enabling and rewarding, and men sawthemselves as more challenging. This partly may be explained by the social roletheory, and by the different kinds of expectations placed on female and male leaders.Subordinates regarded female intuitives and judging types as more transformationalthan men with similar preferences. Challenging behavior was clearly emphasized in theleadership behavior of perceiving male leaders. This study confirms that from severalangles. Some contradictory results were found in the cases of feeling and thinkingpreferences. Subordinates appraised male feeling types as more enabling (whichsupports the theory) and female thinking types as also being more enabling. The latterresult does not support the theory. The tendency to overrate seems to be true in thecases of extraverted and intuitive male leaders.
The results could be used to enhance leaders’ self-understanding, for example inleadership development programs. Their own thoughts about their behavior do notnecessarily accord with those of their subordinates. For example, “feeling” female
Gender andpersonality in
leaders thought that they behaved in a more enabling fashion than their “thinking”female counterparts, but their subordinates interpreted the “thinking” women’sbehavior as more enabling. Once they have understood the leadership behaviortendencies of certain personalities, leaders could concentrate on making their ownleadership more visible and clear to all their subordinates. Knowing one’s personalityis helpful when evaluating one’s own behavior, both its strengths and weaknesses.Furthermore, being conscious of different personalities helps interaction with andunderstanding of others. This study concentrated on personality preferences whichform the personality type. It would require a huge amount of data to compile moreinformation on all 16 personality types and leadership.
Future studies would do well to take into account the number of subordinates.If there is a large number of subordinates (perhaps 30 or more), the relationship cannotbe very close and then the subordinates’ appraisals may be non-specific. This studycould be tested also within the context of Leader-Member Exchange theory (LMX),which takes subordinates’ in-group and out-group membership in relation to theirleader into consideration. In addition, interviews with female and male leadersand their subordinates would be helpful when analyzing the personality differencesfurther. Furthermore incorporating subordinates’ gender and personality types intothe analysis would surely produce further interesting results.
With regard to limitations, the MBTI offers only one view of the personality, andfuture studies would be needed with different measures. Also we did not control forconfounding factors, and that should be taken into account when the results of thecurrent study are evaluated. In summary, our study added new perspectives on thisfield of research and also raised some interesting research areas that should be tackledin the future.
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