Military Leadership Evaluations: Effects of Evaluator Sex, Leader Sex, and Gender Role Attitudes

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Despite a recent increase in women holding managerial or leadership positions, women are still underrepresented in the highest levels in business and in the military. Sex of evaluator and sex of leader have often been found to be related to leadership recommendations. Conducted at the United States Naval Academy, this study examined whether sex of evaluator and the evaluator's gender role attitudes were related to recommendations for promotion of male or female Naval lieutenant. Participants included 69 male and 39 female midshipmen who had completed the Attitudes Toward Women Scale and the Male Masculinity Role Norm Scale several weeks prior to the experimental intervention. For the intervention, participants were assigned by sex to read a fitness report for either a male or female lieutenant and to rate the lieutenant for promotion and his or her leadership characteristics. Compared with female leaders, male leaders were perceived as having fewer leadership characteristics that had an emotional component. Regardless of the sex of the evaluator, support for promotion was positively related to emotional and positive leader characteristics and negatively related to perceived negative leader characteristics.

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