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Male and female bosses share the same “classically masculine” personality traits (2018)

“…It remains the case that stereotypically masculine traits predict the attainment of senior roles among men and women.”

Dr Christian Jarrett, Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Manchester
Research Digest, The British Psychological Society, 8 March 2018


Dr Jarrett asks whether “…women who reach senior management tend to share the traits of men in these positions, or if instead female bosses have a contrasting personality profile, indicative of an alternative, “feminine” route to the top.”

“…A new paper in Journal of Vocational Behaviour by Bart Wille et al., at the University of Antwerp…accessed comprehensive personality tests taken by nearly 600 top-level executives (including 143 female bosses) and over 52,000 non-executives (including 17,643 women) from diverse industries…”

“Men and women in non-leadership roles differed in their personality traits in ways consistent with the existing literature…In contrast, the personalities of male and female bosses were far more similar, with many sex-linked differences absent altogether or greatly attenuated (although the women still scored higher on aspects of agreeableness).”

““…[M]en and women in executive positions demonstrate a similar pattern of classically masculine personality traits,” the researchers said.”

““Women tend to be lower on traits that lead individuals to pursue and be selected for leadership roles,” the researchers said.””

“…Existing evidence suggests that women often face a backlash when they display stereotypically masculine traits. Wille and his team mention this issue and they say that “organisations must strive to counter these biases”.”

“Another criticism is that this approach is arguably all about changing women to excel in existing male-dominated hierarchies, rather than changing workplace cultures to make them fairer.”

Read the full article here: Male and female bosses share the same “classically masculine” personality traits

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