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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Susanne Braun

Hentschel, T., Braun, S., Peus, C. & Frey, D. (2018). The communality-bonus effect for male transformational leaders – leadership style, gender, and promotability. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 27(1): 112-125.

Author(s) from Durham


Women have made considerable inroads into the workforce but remain underrepresented in leadership positions. Even though studies show that men and women hardly differ in their leadership behaviours, we argue that male and female leaders are evaluated differentially contingent on the gender-congruence of their leadership style. Drawing arguments from expectancy violation theory, we investigate evaluations of men and women who show transformational leadership (a style consisting of communal behaviours in line with stereotypes about women) and autocratic leadership (a style consisting of agentic behaviours in line with stereotypes about men). We employed a three-study research design combining two experimental studies and a two-wave field study with business leaders (overall N = 344). Overall transformational leadership resulted in higher evaluations of promotability due to higher perceptions of leaders’ communality and leadership effectiveness. Importantly, these effects were stronger for men, and men showing transformational leadership were evaluated to be more promotable than women. This implies a communality-bonus effect for male transformational leaders. There was no difference in promotability evaluations for women versus men showing autocratic leadership. This effect was mediated by agency and effectiveness perceptions for women but not for men. Implications are discussed.