Influence of sex differences in leaders' behavior

Jennifer A. Moss, John E. Barbuto, Gina S. Matkin, Tzu Yun Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Sex differences in influence tactics were examined with a sample of 269 followers (67 men, 202 women) at a large midwestern national insurance company who rated the downward influence tactics used by their direct supervisors. Downward influence tactics are behaviors used by leaders to gain compliance from followers. One department within the organization was identified as a source for participants in the study. Participation was voluntary. The age range for the sample was 21 to 65 years, with the largest percentage falling in the 40-49 year range (M=3.8, SD=.8). Hierarchical linear modeling procedures were utilized to analyze the multiple level data (leader and follower) and to examine variables within the organization at different levels of analysis. Leader participants were asked to solicit their followers to complete an influence tactic measure, which consisted of the most reliable subscales taken from the Influence Behavior Questionnaire, Schriesheim and Hinkin Influence Measure, and the Profiles of Organizational Influence Strategies. The integrated measure resulted in a 45-item scale. It was hypothesized that, overall, followers would report that male leaders would use hard influence tactics more frequently than female leaders. On the other hand, followers would report that female leaders would use soft influence tactics more frequently than male leaders. When differentiating followers by sex, however, we expected that male followers would report more than female followers that their leaders use hard tactics more frequently. Also, we expected that female followers would report (more than male followers) that their leaders use soft tactics more frequently. Overall, followers reported that male leaders used significantly more personal appeal and consultation, so called "soft tactics," with their followers than did female leaders. Female followers reported that their leaders (both male and female) used consultation and inspirational appeal more frequently. In contrast, male followers reported that their leaders used exchange, so called "hard tactics," more frequently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-510
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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