Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze whether German male and female leaders differ in their leadership behavior, focusing on transactional vs transformational leadership styles. Design/methodology/approach – A field study in which followers were asked to evaluate their respective leaders was conducted in three different organizational contexts in Germany using questionnaires: a recreational sports club ( n = 183), a government agency ( n = 267), and a public transport services company ( n = 203). Additionally, students ( n = 518) were asked to evaluate historical world‐class leaders in terms of their leadership styles after a standardized presentation of their life and leadership style using biographies, essays, and movies. Findings – Results in all four samples show that female leaders were perceived as exhibiting more transformational leadership behavior than male leaders. Moreover, female leaders were evaluated as more effective and as producing more satisfaction than their male counterparts. Research limitations/implications – Self‐report data were used and leadership was assessed from the perspective of the followers. Future research should also include leaders' and peers' perspectives. Originality/value – The finding that women have a more transformational leadership style than men is extended to another cultural context. The importance of analyzing different organizational contexts is highlighted.
Equal Opportunities International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 25, 2009
Keywords: Gender; Leadership; Transformational leadership; Transactional leadership; Germany
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