A substantial body of literature in research and in practice outlines the performance-enhancing potential of and the ethical obligation to increase the number of women in managerial positions. However, the progress in reaching this goal is still slow. Although scholars have contributed much to identifying general factors in the person and in the environment that may hinder women in assuming leadership positions, knowledge about the concrete interactions that leaders and followers encounter and that they use to claim and grant leadership is notably little, particularly from a comparative perspective on gender. Yet, these daily situations are essential for the successful establishment of leadership and consequently the long-term climbing of the career ladder. If followers for example react more challenging in day-to-day meetings towards a female manager who claims leadership than towards a male manager, does this trigger specific subsequent behaviors in the female versus male manager? How does one verbal or nonverbal incident lead to the other, thus forming sequences of behaviors that strengthen or weaken the manager’s position? And do these emergent social dynamics ultimately result in the manifestation of higher-level phenomena, such as the manager’s effectiveness and the follower’s endorsement of the manager?
Last year the DFG has launched a project with the official title “May the power be with you? A micro-dynamic perspective on the role of gender in claiming and granting leadership in interactions of managers and employees”. Under the direction of Professor Gerpott, three different levels of analysis (verbal, paraverbal, non-verbal behaviour) will be examined to answer the above questions and thus to develop theory in the field of leadership. The data collection will take place in operational practice, ensuring that the results can be used to derive direct action implications, especially with regard to leadership development. Cooperation partner of the project is Prof. Van Quaquebeke from KLU Hamburg.
If you are interested in not only supporting our research, but also would like to further develop your own leaders, please feel free to contact our chair team for information on possible cooperation. Since the beginning of the year Lioba Gierke has been working on the project; of course you can also contact Fabiola Gerpott at any time.
Further information on goals and procedure can be found here.