Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Leadership and Gender Bias

Publication Date

Fall 11-15-2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Adam Smiley

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Leadership quality preferences and the implication of gender in preference has been a worldwide research topic in multiple disciplines including psychology, business, and law. Previous studies have shown that people may tend to vote for politicians that possess qualities that they too possess (Aichholzer & Willman, 2020). Additional studies have also found that preferred qualities in leaders may vary based on gender (Green, et al., 2011). Further, it has been suggested that men prefer more task-oriented, less emotion-focused leaders, while women prefer more people-oriented, community-driven leaders (Green, et al., 2011; Bellou, 2011). While there have been numerous studies researching these two facets of leadership separately, there is not extensive research testing leadership qualities and gender bias within the same studies. For our research, we wanted to advance past research by combining these two research topics into one survey. We hypothesized that participants would be more likely to vote for a leader with qualities that they personally possess, and that men and women would have different preferences in the qualities of leaders. Specifically, men would prefer assertive leaders and women would prefer empathetic leaders. The participant sample is ___ introductory psychology students who participated for class credit and ___ others recruited by experimenters. Participants were asked to take a survey consisting of three sections. The first section contained questions about self-perception, in this section the participants answered questions ranking specific qualities they possessed. The second section presented participants with a brief passage containing the previous qualities discreetly embedded in a scenario where they must answer how likely they are to vote for a candidate in a political race. Results will be presented at SURS.

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