Academic journal article The Psychological Record

The Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Emotional Intelligence from a Gendered Approach

Academic journal article The Psychological Record

The Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Emotional Intelligence from a Gendered Approach

Article excerpt

Although women's participation in the workforce of industrialized societies is increasing substantially, the percentage of women in leading positions at the top of various organizations still remains low (Eagly, 2004, 2007; Eagly & Carli, 2003, 2007; Jacobs, 1999), suggesting that there is a glass ceiling preventing women from accessing leadership positions (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). Furthermore, it is typical to observe men and women in different occupations and leading in differing entrepreneurial contexts. These differences are due to early divisions of labor, which lead to different gender roles in men and women (Eagly & Wood, 1999; Eagly, Wood, & Dickman, 2000; Wood & Eagly, 2002). The gender roles and the division of labor have promoted men and women having different occupations and academic training. Eagly and Karau (2002) proposed the gender-role congruity theory to explain the lack of women at the top of working organizations and the even smaller percentage of female leaders in positions incongruent with their gender role and suggested the labyrinth metaphor to explain the difficulties that women have in accessing positions of leadership (Eagly & Carli, 2007).

Gender roles are related to gender stereotyping. Gender stereotyping refers to people's perception that men and women have different characteristics based on their gender. In fact, women are mostly viewed as occupying communal/feminine occupations, whereas men are viewed as occupying agentic/masculine occupations (Bosak, Sczesny, & Eagly, 2008; Garcia-Retamero & Lopez-Zafra, 2006b, 2008; Garcia-Retamero, Muller, & Lopez-Zafra, 2011). Agency and communion are basic dimensions of traits. Agency encompasses mastery and control; communion manifests the sense of being at one with others in relatedness and sharing. Agency is closely tied to masculinity and communion to femininity (Abele, Rupprecht, & Wojciszke, 2008).

The concept of leadership is related to agency traits (Chemers, 2001). In particular, Schein (1973) showed that individuals' perceptions about a typical man and a typical leader had several similarities, but there were few perceived similarities between a typical woman and a typical leader. These results have been replicated in other countries (e.g., Schein & Mueller, 1992; Schein, Mueller, Lituchy, & Liu, 1996).

However, literature about transformational leadership has illustrated that women are more transformational than men, as the characteristics of a transformational leadership style are related to feminine gender characteristics (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, & van Engen, 2003; Lopez-Zafra & Del Olmo, 1999). In addition, women typically score higher than men in general emotional intelligence (Extremera, Fernandez-Berrocal, & Salovey, 2006; Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 1999; Van Rooy, Alonso, & Viswesvaran, 2005). The aim of this research, therefore, was to relate these two concepts and investigate the impact of gender and gender-congenial variables on this relationship.

In line with previous comments, the preferences in occupations and academic training might influence which disciplines undergraduates select. Previous research has shown that socialization and stereotyping influence social and individual identity-generating differential perceptions about success and the future (Eccles, Barber, & Jocefowizc, 1999). Social roles further influence other areas in life such as undergraduates' preferences in selection of discipline (Lopez-Saez, Lisbona, & Saiz, 2004). Thus, the discipline that undergraduates choose to study can be considered as a gender-congenial variable.

Consequently, undergraduates may perceive that women and men have equal opportunities to achieve a leadership position; however, it may also be perceived that leadership is more properly attainable for men than women. This would be particularly the case in masculine contexts. …

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