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The leader-in-social-network schema: Perceptions of network structure affect gendered attributions of charisma


Brands, Raina A; Menges, Jochen; Kilduff, Martin (2015). The leader-in-social-network schema: Perceptions of network structure affect gendered attributions of charisma. Organization Science, 26(4):1210-1225.

Abstract

Charisma is crucially important for a range of leadership outcomes. Charisma is also in the eye of the beholder - an attribute perceived by followers. Traditional leadership theory has tended to assume charismatic attributions flow tomen rather than women. We challenge this assumption of an inevitable charismatic bias toward men leaders. We propose that gender-biased attributions about the charismatic leadership of men and women are facilitated by the operation of aleader-in-social-network schema. Attributions of charismatic leadership depend on the match between the gender of theleader and the perceived structure of the network. In three studies encompassing both experimental and survey data, we show that when team advice networks are perceived to be centralized around one or a few individuals, women leaders are seen as less charismatic than men leaders. However, when networks are perceived to be cohesive (many connectionsamong individuals), it is men who suffer a charismatic leadership disadvantage relative to women. Perceptions of leadershipdepend not only on whether the leader is a man or a woman but also on the social network context in which the leader is embedded.

Abstract

Charisma is crucially important for a range of leadership outcomes. Charisma is also in the eye of the beholder - an attribute perceived by followers. Traditional leadership theory has tended to assume charismatic attributions flow tomen rather than women. We challenge this assumption of an inevitable charismatic bias toward men leaders. We propose that gender-biased attributions about the charismatic leadership of men and women are facilitated by the operation of aleader-in-social-network schema. Attributions of charismatic leadership depend on the match between the gender of theleader and the perceived structure of the network. In three studies encompassing both experimental and survey data, we show that when team advice networks are perceived to be centralized around one or a few individuals, women leaders are seen as less charismatic than men leaders. However, when networks are perceived to be cohesive (many connectionsamong individuals), it is men who suffer a charismatic leadership disadvantage relative to women. Perceptions of leadershipdepend not only on whether the leader is a man or a woman but also on the social network context in which the leader is embedded.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Strategy and Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Management of Technology and Innovation
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:16 Aug 2019 14:13
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:31
Publisher:Informs - The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
ISSN:1047-7039
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2015.0965
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:17517

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