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They found that in pairs in which there was one man and one woman, the dominant man became the leader 90% of the time, but the dominant woman became the leader only 35% of the time. Transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles: A meta-analysis comparing men and women. Keep in mind, however, that the fact that men are perceived as effective leaders, and are more likely to become leaders, does not necessarily mean that they are actually better, more effective leaders than women. Indeed, a meta-analysis studying the of male and female leaders did not find that there were any gender differences overall (Eagly, Karau, & Makhijani, 1995) and even found that women excelled over men in some domains.
This makes sense because self-esteem rises when we know we are being accepted by others, and people with lower self-esteem have a greater need to belong.
And people who are dependent on and who have a strong need for approval from others are also more conforming (Bornstein, 1992). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 785–800.
The observed gender differences in conformity have social explanations—namely that women are socialized to be more caring about the desires of others—but there are also evolutionary explanations.
Men may be more likely to resist conformity to demonstrate to women that they are good mates.
Although we have focused to this point on the situational determinants of conformity, such as the number of people in the majority and their unanimity, we have not yet considered the question of which people are likely to conform and which people are not.
In this section, we will consider how personality variables, gender, and culture influence conformity. In Asch’s study, for instance, despite the strong situational pressures, 24% of the participants never conformed on any of the trials. People prefer to have an “optimal” balance between being similar to, and different from, others (Brewer, 2003). Influence of sex roles on the manifestation of leadership. Griskevicius, Goldstein, Mortensen, Cialdini, and Kenrick (2006) found that men, but not women, who had been primed with thoughts about romantic and sexual attraction were less likely to conform to the opinions of others on a subsequent task than were men who had not been primed to think about romantic attraction. In addition to the public versus private nature of the situation, the topic being discussed also is important, with both men and women being less likely to conform on topics that they know a lot about, in comparison with topics on which they feel less knowledgeable (Eagly & Chravala, 1986). In one experiment, Nyquist and Spence (1986) had pairs of same- and mixed-sex students interact. In each pair there was one highly dominant and one low dominant individual, as assessed by previous personality measures. In terms of conformity, the overall conclusion from these studies is that that there are only small differences between men and women in the amount of conformity they exhibit, and these differences are influenced as much by the social situation in which the conformity occurs as by gender differences themselves. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 10, 237–252. On average, men and women have different levels of self-concern and other-concern. Going along versus going alone: When fundamental motives facilitate strategic (non)conformity. One difficulty for women as they attempt to lead is that traditional leadership behaviors, such as showing independence and exerting power over others, conflict with the expected social roles for women. The norms for what constitutes success in corporate life are usually defined in masculine terms, including assertiveness or aggressiveness, self-promotion, and perhaps even macho behavior.