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A Generalized Theory of Conflicting Leader Identity on Group Performance

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78190-976-8

Publication date: 23 September 2013



This chapter seeks to theoretically answer the question: under which circumstances do groups succeed under female leadership? Further, is it possible to conceptualize the engineering of groups such that group success under female leadership is a likely outcome?


In this chapter, I draw on identity control theory (Burke & Stets, 2009; Stets & Burke, 2005) and role congruity theory (Eagly, 2003) to discuss the implications for female leaders of the discrepancy between the female gender identity and the leader identity. Next, I draw upon status characteristics theory (Berger et al., 1972) to further illustrate the negative consequences of being a female leader. Then, drawing on group processes research, I make the explicit link between the negative expectations for female leaders on group performance through the endorsement of group members. Finally, I utilize innovative research using institutionalization of female leadership to propose a possible solution for improving group performance.

Research implications

I present nine testable hypotheses ready for empirical test.

Social implications

I propose that training materials underscoring the skills that females have as leaders can subvert the development of conflictual expectations facing female leaders, thus removing the deleterious effects on group performance. That is, if group members receive training that emphasizes the competencies and skills women bring to the group’s task and to the leadership role, then group performance will not be threatened.




I would like to thank Jane Brooks, Cheryl DeLeon, Laura Hirshfield, Shirley A. Keeton, Jeffrey L. Lucas, Michael J. Lovaglia, Barry Markovsky, Carla Pfeffer, Lisa Troyer, Reef Youngreen and the anonymous reviewer at Advances in Group Processes for comments on earlier versions of this paper. This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to Christabel L. Rogalin and Lisa Troyer.


Rogalin, C.L. (2013), "A Generalized Theory of Conflicting Leader Identity on Group Performance", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 267-291.



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