Language differences between women and men and the attribution of leadership Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6m311t55m

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  • This research addresses the perception of leadership attributes in light of evaluator and target gender. It specifically investigates whether there is a difference in language usage when the evaluator is female versus when the evaluator is male. Two studies were conducted. A pre-test used instrumental development drawing from studies conducted by Bem (1974) and Berlo et al. (1969). The pre-test sampled a population of 56 students in a Small Group Problem Solving class at Oregon State University and used a survey to determine the top six gender attributes used to describe women (Self-reliant, Sensitive, Understanding, Warm, Affectionate, and Cheerful) and the top six gender attributes used to describe men (Analytical, Strong personality, Competitive, Loyal, Assertive, and Dominant). The present study consisted of a survey that placed the 12 attributes on semantic differential scales. A population of 54 students in a Small Group Problem Solving class at Oregon State University used the scales to indicate to what degree the target displayed the attribute in question. The gender of the evaluator and target were coded and six group comparisons were run to determine measures of statistical significance. Significant results were found for 13 out of 96 individual attribute comparisons. Because only a few individual attribute comparisons were found to be significant, future research could return to Bem’s (1974) study and replicate it in new populations to determine its validity and reliability.
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