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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (forthcoming)
This paper focuses on women leaders’ self-views as women and leaders and explores consequences of positive social identity (i.e., positive evaluation of the social category in question) for women in leadership positions. We hypothesized that holding positive gender and leader identities reduced perceived conflict between women’s gender and leader identities and thereby resulted in favorable psychological and motivational consequences. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that positive gender identity indeed reduced women leaders’ identity conflict. In Study 3, we found that by lessening identity conflict, positive gender identity reduced stress, increased life satisfaction, and caused women to construe leading more as an attractive goal than a duty. In contrast, positive leader identity directly affected women’s motivation to lead, but did not reduce their identity conflict. Overall, these results emphasize the protective role of women’s positive gender identity for their advancement in organizations and leader identity development.