The purpose of this paper is to discover stereotypical beliefs of followers about female leadership and their possible outcomes in an organizational setting.
With phenomenological methodology, this study used a qualitative approach, and credible data were gathered through semi-structured interviews from the employees of the education industry of Pakistan. Stereotypical beliefs and their outcomes were extracted through thematic analysis.
The results show that female leaders are considered less fit for leadership role, which results in a reluctance in followership, the gap in communication and ineffective performance. Followers also tend to believe that women are less fit for pressure, resulting in a lack of trust and an intergroup conflict. The third stereotype that emerged from the results is that women are considered less fit for professionalism, which culminates in personal expectations, adverse effect on tasks and miscommunications.
This study is confined to the local context, and the results suggest that while female leaders are mild and a personal approach may have a positive effect on followers but in Pakistani society, they are considered less fit for an overall leadership role. Moreover, these stereotypes breed prejudgment and overshadow women’s identity as leaders. This paves the way forward for further exploratory inquiry of female leadership and the empirical test of these stereotypes and their outcomes.
This study is a standpoint for organizations, present and potential female leaders to be conscious of existing stereotypes and their dire outcomes. It can also be used in government policymaking for initiatives to mitigate these stereotypes to harvest diversity and female empowerment. The leading leadership trainers of Pakistan can also be benefited from the contextual scientific information about female leadership.
A society like that of Pakistan, which is striving to mitigate the gender inequality gap in every walk of life, needs to scientifically know the assumptions in the minds of people regarding women. The present study serves this purpose for women in a leadership capacity in an organizational setting.
This study is the first of its kind in the local context and paves the way for further research in diversity in leadership.
Samo, A.H., Qazi, S.W. and Buriro, W.M. (2019), "Labelling them is negating them: A phenomenological study of stereotypes and followers’ experiences about women leadership in Pakistan", Management Research Review, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 391-411. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-04-2018-0170
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