The Relationship Between Gender Stereotypes and Successful Leadership Characteristics

Naznin Tabassum, Moshfique Uddin, George Lodorfos

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Male dominance and cultural barriers are still a reality in many countries. In 2017, the percentage of women in senior management positions has reached 25% worldwide but discrepancies of women in senior management positions has increased to 34% (IBR, 2017). Several studies still show male traits to be prevailing criteria in the selection of leaders. Existing literature confirmed Schien’s (1973) “Think manager - Think male” analogy to still being norm of the world (Fullagar et al., 2003; Booysen & Nkomo, 2006; Schein, 2007; Elsaid & Elsaid, 2012; Berkery et al., 2013). There is little empirical evidence from south-eastern countries such as Bangladesh to confirm this view. This study contributes to the literature by repeating the research (Phillips and Pugh, 1994, p.61-62) following Schein’s (1973) “Think Manager-Think Male” paradigm to examine gender stereotypes in Bangladesh. Moreover, further research on stereotypes of managers from different culture is strongly recommended (Powell and Kido, 1994). The study hypothesised that Senior executives/Directors will perceive successful leaders as possessing attitudes, characteristics, and temperaments more commonly ascribed to men in general than to women in general. The relationship between gender stereotypes and successful leadership characteristics among both male and female employees in middle and senior management positions in Bangladesh were examined in this paper. 468 male and 152 female directors and senior and mid-level managers from 102 companies rated male and female leaders on a 7-point Likert scale on descriptive terms. T-tests were administered and the result suggested that there is significant difference between male and female responses. The findings confirmed that there was agreement between both genders on the traits associated with male and female leaders and those required for upward mobility into senior management positions. The perceptions of males and females in Bangladesh in relation to traits more ascribed to male and female leaders are significantly driven by socio-cultural expectations of different genders. Therefore, culture can be said an important variable that influences people’s perceptions of traits associated with each gender and those required for appointment into senior managerial positions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
EventOxford Women’s Leadership Symposium - Somerville College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Aug 20174 Aug 2017


ConferenceOxford Women’s Leadership Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Gender Stereotypes
  • Leadership
  • Organisations
  • Bangladesh


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