Leadership attributes, masculinity and risk taking as predictors of crisis proneness

Zachary Sheaffer (Department of Management Economics, Ariel University Centre, Ariel, Israel)
Ronit Bogler (Department of Psychology Education, The Open University of Israel, Ra'anana, Israel)
, and
Samuel Sarfaty (Profit Group, Tel Aviv, Israel)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 15 March 2011



The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which leadership attributes, masculinity, risk taking and decision making affect perceived crisis proneness.


The paper draws mainly on the literature about gender, leadership and organizational crisis to explore whether masculinity predicts crisis proneness, and the extent to which leadership attributes as well as risk‐taking and decision‐making style are efficient predictors of perceived crisis preparedness (CP). Utilizing pertinent literature and concepts, the paper evaluates a database of 231 female and male managers.


As hypothesized, masculinity is positively associated, whereas transformational leadership is inversely associated with perceived crisis proneness. Both participative decision making and passive management predict higher degree of perceived crisis proneness and so does risk taking.

Research limitations/implications

More in‐depth research as well as larger and more diverse sample is required to explore more definitively why and how masculinity is positively associated with crisis proneness.

Practical implications

The paper provides preliminary evidence regarding the merits of feminine leadership traits as facilitators of CP This finding does not, however, preclude the usefulness of masculine attributes in managing actual organizational crises. The findings appear particularly relevant given the current turbulent business environments and the increasing frequency and magnitude of corporate crises.


The paper synthesizes evidence on CP proneness and gender, and the evidence of feminine attributes as an important antidote to perceived crisis proneness. The paper outlines reasons for this phenomenon and implications for placement of managers in current business arenas.



Sheaffer, Z., Bogler, R. and Sarfaty, S. (2011), "Leadership attributes, masculinity and risk taking as predictors of crisis proneness", Gender in Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 163-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542411111116563

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