A Female Leadership Trust Advantage in Times of Crisis: Under What Conditions?

Corinne Post, Ioana M Latu, Liuba Belkin

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Abstract

We examined differences in trust for men and women leaders who adopt relational behaviors during an organizational crisis. We addressed two important shortcomings of previous research. First, we independently manipulated leader gender and leader relational behaviors (interpersonal emotion management) to identify their separate and interacting influences on trust outcomes, which may lead to a leadership advantage for women. Second, we examined how uncertainty about crisis outcomes affects the strength of this advantage. We operationalized trust as both evaluative and behavioral (investment in a company led by the leader). We found support from two experiments (N = 412 and N = 400) for the idea of a female leadership trust advantage in times of crisis. And we showed that the advantage is uniquely attributable to female leaders’ use of relational behaviors and is manifested only when crisis consequences are known. We observed these effects both for evaluative trust (Studies 1 and 2) and behavioral trust (Study 2). We invite more research on the conditions that contribute to the female leadership advantage, the gendered nature of leadership behaviors during organizational crises, and the relational leadership qualities that help restore trust in organizations during uncertain times.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Women Quartlerly
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 27 Feb 2019

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emotion
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Uncertainty
Emotions
experiment
gender
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management

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title = "A Female Leadership Trust Advantage in Times of Crisis: Under What Conditions?",
abstract = "We examined differences in trust for men and women leaders who adopt relational behaviors during an organizational crisis. We addressed two important shortcomings of previous research. First, we independently manipulated leader gender and leader relational behaviors (interpersonal emotion management) to identify their separate and interacting influences on trust outcomes, which may lead to a leadership advantage for women. Second, we examined how uncertainty about crisis outcomes affects the strength of this advantage. We operationalized trust as both evaluative and behavioral (investment in a company led by the leader). We found support from two experiments (N = 412 and N = 400) for the idea of a female leadership trust advantage in times of crisis. And we showed that the advantage is uniquely attributable to female leaders’ use of relational behaviors and is manifested only when crisis consequences are known. We observed these effects both for evaluative trust (Studies 1 and 2) and behavioral trust (Study 2). We invite more research on the conditions that contribute to the female leadership advantage, the gendered nature of leadership behaviors during organizational crises, and the relational leadership qualities that help restore trust in organizations during uncertain times.",
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A Female Leadership Trust Advantage in Times of Crisis: Under What Conditions? / Post, Corinne; Latu, Ioana M; Belkin, Liuba.

In: Psychology of Women Quartlerly, 27.02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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