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The effectiveness of transformational leadership on empowerment: The roles of gender and gender dyads

Soyeon Kim (Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan)
Mannsoo Shin (Korea University, Seoul, The Republic of Korea)

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

ISSN: 2059-5794

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of gender on the effectiveness of transformational leadership. Drawing on role congruity theory, it elucidates the moderating effects of leader gender, subordinate gender, and leader-subordinate gender dyad on the relationship between transformational leadership and psychological empowerment.


Employees of companies in Korea responded to a paper-pencil survey, rating their psychological empowerment and leadership behaviors of their direct leader on a five-point Likert-type scale. The analysis includes 339 responses.


The results indicate that a leader’s gender has no significant moderating effect on psychological empowerment, but the gender of the subordinate has a significant moderating effect, with male subordinates more strongly influenced by transformational leadership than female subordinates. Notably, the findings show that the effectiveness of transformational leadership is contingent on the leader-subordinate gender dyad. Specifically, transformational leadership has as significant an effect on female leader-male subordinate dyads as on male leader-male subordinate dyads.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to leadership and gender studies in the management field by investigating the effect of gender roles on the effectiveness of transformational leadership. Future research should extend this study and explore whether these findings are generalizable.

Practical implications

The remarkable finding of the effect of female leadership on employee empowerment suggests organizations should use more female leaders.


This is the first empirical study to shed light on gender issues in relation to transformational leadership in Korea.



This study was partially supported by research grants from the Meiji University and Korea University Business School. The authors are grateful to Fiona Moore and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments.


Kim, S. and Shin, M. (2017), "The effectiveness of transformational leadership on empowerment: The roles of gender and gender dyads", Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 271-287.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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