Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

Gender Differences in Social and Emotional Skills and Charismatic Leadership

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

Gender Differences in Social and Emotional Skills and Charismatic Leadership

Article excerpt

The relationships among leader gender, social and emotional skills, and charismatic leadership were examined from a dataset of 108 senior leaders and 325 of their direct followers in numerous organizations, including universities, government agencies, and for-profit companies. Results showed that female leaders scored higher on social and emotional skills, and follower ratings of charismatic leadership, while social and emotional skills mediated the relationship between leader gender and charismatic leadership. Surprisingly, leader tenure predicted leader social skills but was unrelated to leader emotional skills, which demonstrated the strongest relationship to leader gender and charismatic leadership. Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.

**********

The study of charismatic leadership has received considerable attention from leadership scholars, practitioners, and other writers in recent years. Recent empirical studies and meta-analytic reviews demonstrate the powerful effects of charismatic leadership in organizations, including positive outcomes at the individual, group, and organization levels of analysis. For example, research has shown that charismatic leadership positively affects net profit margin (Waldman, Ramirez, House, & Puranam, 2001), stock value (Agle, 1993), top management team motivation and cohesion (Agle & Sonnenfeld, 1994), and follower perceptions of leadership effectiveness (Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). Furthermore, recent empirical evidence suggests the universality of charismatic leadership across national cultures, indicating that a relatively culture-free charismatic leadership profile may indeed exist (Carl & Javidan, 2001). Given the convincing empirical support for the impact of charismatic leadership on positive organizational outcomes, many scholars have recently turned their attention to examining the interpersonal skills and competencies that may explain the effectiveness of charismatic leadership.

A recent trend in leadership theory and research is the examination of social and emotional competence as key components of charismatic leadership. Since Salovey and Mayer's (1990) seminal work on emotional intelligence, many leadership scholars have attempted to discern the relative contribution of interpersonal competencies to charismatic leadership. For example, Sosik and Megerian (1999) and Sosik (2001) found that self-awareness, a key aspect of emotional intelligence, predicted charismatic leadership and managerial performance. Research has also demonstrated that self-monitoring and social control are key interpersonal competencies that predict charismatic leadership (Groves, 2002; Sosik & Dworakivsky, 1998). Furthermore, several studies have linked aspects of emotional and social intelligence to transformational leadership, which includes charisma as its most dominant dimension (Bass, 2002; Ashkanasy & Tse, 2000).

Although research continues to support the relationship between social and emotional competencies and charismatic leadership, very few studies have specifically addressed the impact of gender differences on this relationship. Indeed, Eagly and Johnson's (1990) influential meta-analysis of gender and leadership style noted that ingrained sex differences in personality traits and behavioral tendencies may explain the superiority of women's interpersonal skills compared to their male counterparts. However, recent research on the social and emotional competencies of charismatic leaders has failed to adequately address the role of gender as a powerful individual difference. The present study addresses this gap in the leadership literature by examining gender differences in social and emotional competencies and charismatic leadership. Specifically, this study tests the extent to which leader gender predicts charismatic leadership and the mediating role of leader social and emotional competencies. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.