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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Susanne Braun

Braun, S., Peus, C. & Frey, D. (2018). Connectionism in action: Exploring the links between leader prototypes, leader gender, and perceptions of authentic leadership. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 149: 129-144.

Author(s) from Durham


Building on the connectionist model of leadership perceptions, this research investigates the relationships between leader gender and authentic leadership perceptions from a leadership prototype perspective. In a five-study series, we tested different cognitive processing dynamics that influenced leadership perceptions. Study 1 (N = 271) demonstrated that female leader targets increased authentic leadership perceptions. Study 2 (N = 171) showed this association for each of the four dimensions of authentic leadership. Study 3 (N = 100) assessed the relationship between leader gender and authentic leadership perceptions with implicit measures (i.e., the accessibility of female names and female typed hobbies). Study 4 (N = 246) extended this processing dynamic to consideration, another communal leadership style. Finally, a lexical decision making task in Study 5 (N = 200) indicated that prototype inconsistent leadership styles (initiating structure, autocratic leadership) slowed down automated processing for female leader targets. We discuss contributions to information processing approaches to leadership and practical implications.