Researcher analyzes “think manager, think man” bias

July 23, 20151 minute read

An article in the UK publication The Guardian explores why pre-existing expectations for leadership create a problem for women who aspire to leadership roles. Raina Brands, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School, cites her own research and studies by others in concluding that hierarchical, top-down structures tend to reinforce existing masculine leadership cultures.

She writes, “When individuals report that informal advice sharing in their team tends to revolve around one or a few key high-status individuals, people tend to evaluate female leaders less favourably than their male counterparts.”

However, she also found that “when individuals report that the interpersonal structure of their team is cohesive, exemplified by closely bonded relationships between team members in which individuals seek and share advice freely, they tend to evaluate female leaders highly – more highly than male leaders.”