The Eagly and Johnson (1990) findings as they pertain to sex differences in leadership style


Accompanying our interest in leadership and widespread reports of the difficulty that women are having breaking the glass ceiling in many of today’s organizations, questions have emerged regarding gender and leadership style. Describe the Eagly and Johnson (1990) findings as they pertain to sex differences in leadership style.


Today, women are taking part in every field and business where only men were intended in the past time. But still, there is a dilemma that is today’s women is empowered or not. Even though women are doing really good in various organizations and are presenting a really strong image to the world. The world which beliefs in the formation of patriarchal and men leaded society has still not accepted the fact that women can do equally well or as a matter of fact better than what men can do in any field. Eagly and Johnson in 1990 had presented a report which is entirely focused on the difference which persists in the leadership style on the basis of gender division. This report provides insight on these leadership styles.

Gender and leadership style

Alice H. Eagly and Blair T. Johnson in their work “Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-Analysis” in 1990 have discussed the leadership style of men and women in the society. They have discussed the psychology carried by the society which states, men, to be a task-oriented group of society while women being the person to stay back at home and look after the family and children. The research has been conducted on the basis of laboratory analysis and the study for assessment of the orthodox and stereotypical thinking. There is a change which can be seen in women, a change which is much more free and democratic. Women are leading the world but with a much less hypocritical thinking as compared to men. They just want to lead and work in a directive style which was earlier limited only to the men.

From past many years, several authors who worked in the field of non-technical writing have also demanded equality for women. While some authors like Loden (1985) had a perspective that men have a masculine figure and an unemotional attitude which is perfect for leadership while women have a soft and coordinating style of leading which can work but to smaller level jobs like managing. While the authors from 1981 like sergeant had a different idea of leadership style for any designation for both the genders. When it comes to leadership, both Men and women try to adopt the better qualities which they feel to have the other gender which can help them in developing effective work.

The two-research work done by authors brass and the combined work of Nieva and Gutek in the same year i.e. 1981 made the contradictory statements for the leadership style of men and women. Brass said that he finds men to be more suitable for the leadership as they have a better style of leading while the work done by Nieva and Gutek stated that the women and men both show similar behavior when it comes to the idea of leadership. The concepts of the leadership style are not working out as they are creating a dilemma that who has the better leadership quality or who can lead the other gender or opposite gender as well as other people at an organization with better management. Also, the authors who were found to be in favor of men leading the society had worked on the books which have the subject of managers and general public analyzation. But the way of their conduct should be in favor of women equally good as men as they would have a better perspective of the society.

Based on the theoretical analysis of the gender difference in the leadership style, it was determined a really complex situation to analyze that who is better or are both doing equally well in managing. So, for dealing with this complexity, the researchers tried to study the behavioral traits in men and women which were defined as the aggression, kindness, helping attitude and orthodoxy in their thinking. But all those efforts were looking to be useless as every person has their own style of thinking and behavioral traits which does not depend on gender. Both males and females develop their own character traits based on the type of society they live in, the environment in which they were grown and how they carry that psychology which is passed on to them.

When the possible reasons for the difference in the leadership style were studied, the first step which was taken by the researchers is understanding the leadership pattern carried by both men and women working at the organizations. Secondly, the leadership and the social psychological research were conducted at that point of time at the experimental laboratories. It was studied that the behavior of the organization may be less orthodox in the case when the post of managers are equally distributed between men and women as both the genders provide a similar set of guidelines for the behavior they must carry while working as a manager at an organization. Even the general criteria for the selection of employees at an organization was completely similar for both men and women which suggested that there is a very little chance of any change in the leadership style of men and women working at an organization as they have to work according to the guidelines given to them.

The design for the meta-analysis was made of two major components. First is the task style while second was the interpersonal relationship made at the organization. The task criteria were focused on the completion of the task and the general attitude towards the work while the interpersonal relationships were focused on the moral behavior carried by both the genders working at the organization. There are certain jobs of leadership which are more preferred for the women such as the role of principal at elementary school, nursing, etc. there were some earlier predictions which were prejudiced as it was found that women at the manager roles tend to have a less supportive environment as compared to the males appointed at the same designation. This was the reason of dilemma that why certain places need to have a woman-centered leadership while there are certain jobs which prefer to work with men on duty.

Surprisingly, after all the analysis made on the basis of laboratory assessment and social experiments, it was found that variation in the leadership style of both men and women comes out to have a mean difference with value 0.00. It means there is no difference in the leadership pattern on the basis of gender. The only place where the difference is the psychology carried by the people in society which involves both men and women with stereotype thinking that only men can lead in a better and efficient way. The review of the results was made only on the basis of the performance shown by both the genders in the organization only but not at the other places where they have the chance to show leadership style they carry. Women have a participative and democratic style of working while men do not have much of that attitude when they are working in the organization. The reports have shown that both type of environment either it is democratic or it is autocratic does not affect the leadership style carried by different genders.


Work done by Eagly and Johnson in 1990 was a meta-analysis which was performed to analyze any difference in the leadership style carried by men and women at the organization while working for the managerial jobs. Both types of genders are working at the organization they try to learn and improve the qualities of the opposite sex to enhance their performance. The research made on the theoretical and laboratory analysis proved that there is no difference in the leadership style carried by both men and women. It is just the psychology developed by the society based on Orthodox concepts. The results also show that women carry more democratic, helping and participative behavior at the organization when they are indulged in leadership activities.



Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990, January 1). Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-Analysis. Retrieved from