A Construct-Driven Investigation of Gender Differences in a Leadership-Role Assessment Center

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This study examined gender differences in a large-scale assessment center for officer entry in the British Army. Subgroup differences were investigated for a sample of 1,857 candidates: 1,594 men and 263 women. A construct-driven approach was chosen (a) by examining gender differences at the construct level, (b) by formulating a priori hypotheses about which constructs would be susceptible to gender effects, and (c) by using both effect size statistics and latent mean analyses to investigate gender differences in assessment center ratings. Results showed that female candidates were rated notably higher on constructs reflecting an interpersonally oriented leadership style (i.e., oral communication and interaction) and on drive and determination. These results are discussed in light of role congruity theory and of the advantages of using latent mean analyses.

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