Reading the face of a leader: women with low facial masculinity are perceived as competitive

Silberzahn, Raphael and Menges, Jochen (2016) Reading the face of a leader: women with low facial masculinity are perceived as competitive. Academy of Management Discoveries, 2 (3). pp. 272-289. ISSN 2168-1007

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In competitive settings, people prefer leaders with masculine faces. But is facial masculinity a trait that is similarly desired in men and women leaders? Across three studies, we discovered that people indeed prefer men and women leaders who have faces with masculine traits. But surprisingly, we find that people also prefer women with low facial masculinity as leaders in competitive contexts (Study 1). Our findings indicate that low facial masculinity in women, but not in men is perceived to indicate competitiveness (Study 2). Thus, in contrast to men, women
leaders who rate high in facial masculinity as well as those low in facial masculinity are both selected as leaders in competitive contexts. Indeed, among CEOs of S&P 500 companies, we find a greater range of facial masculinity amongwomen CEOs than among men CEOs (Study 3). Our results suggest that traits of facial masculinity in men and women are interpreted differently. Low facial masculinity in women is linked to competitiveness and not only to cooperativeness
as suggested by prior research.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Raphael Silberzahn
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2018 09:26
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:33

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