Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



The cyphers don’t lie: women remain significantly underrepresented in positions of authority across the United States, despite their nearly equal representation in the labor force. Gender bias has been proposed as one of the major reasons for the disparity in leadership roles between men and women. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether gender bias influenced faculty’s perceptions of leadership effectiveness at a Research 1 (R1) Doctoral institution in the southeastern United States when high-ranking university leaders made mistakes, and how type of error, diversity climate, and gender of subordinate affected this relationship. Two scenarios were created based on real-life examples provided by academic leaders via interviews, and each scenario was led by either a male department director or a female department director, for a total of four test conditions: 1) relationship error committed by a female leader, 2) relationship error committed by a male leader, 3) task error committed by a female leader, and 4) task error committed by a male leader. The study findings did not conform to the predictions formulated based on the literature review. Gender of leader was not found to significantly influence subordinate perceptions of leader effectiveness when mistakes were made (H1). Likewise, whether the error was task-oriented or relationship-oriented (H2), and whether the participant was male or female (H3) did not produce differential ratings of leader performance based on gender. Although diversity climate did significantly relate to perceptions of leader effectiveness, it did not interact with gender of leader, failing to support hypothesis 4. Explanations for these findings, as well as their implications and directions for future research are presented.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bates, Reid