Leader evaluation and team cohesiveness in the process of team development: A matter of gender?
Rovira-Asenjo, R, Pietraszkiewicz, A, Sczesny, S, Gumi, T, Guimera, R, Sales-Pardo, M.
PLoS ONE 12 (10) , e0186045 (2017).
Leadership positions are still stereotyped as masculine, especially in male-dominated fields (e.g., engineering). So how do gender stereotypes affect the evaluation of leaders and team cohesiveness in the process of team development? In our study participants worked in 45 small teams (4–5 members). Each team was headed by either a female or male leader, so that 45 leaders (33% women) supervised 258 team members (39% women). Over a period of nine months, the teams developed specific engineering projects as part of their professional undergraduate training. We examined leaders’ self-evaluation, their evaluation by team members, and team cohesiveness at two points of time (month three and month nine, the final month of the collaboration). While we did not find any gender differences in leaders’ self-evaluation at the beginning, female leaders evaluated themselves more favorably than men at the end of the projects. Moreover, female leaders were evaluated more favorably than male leaders at the beginning of the project, but the evaluation by team members did not differ at the end of the projects. Finally, we found a tendency for female leaders to build more cohesive teams than male leaders.