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Examining the Relationship Between Personality and Performance: Does Personality Predict Performance for Female Leaders?

Stutzman, Naomi Sommers

The goal of the current study was to explore whether personality differentially predicts performance for male and female leaders. The predictive relationship between personality assessment and performance evaluation is a cornerstone of performance management practice. Using the lens of gender stereotype theory, the relationship between personality assessment and performance evaluation was reconsidered. It was hypothesized that the gender stereotypes associated with certain leader personality traits may have a differential impact on the performance evaluations of female leaders. In order to test this, gender as a moderator in the relationship between Hogan personality assessments and multi-rater performance evaluations was examined in a sample of mid- to senior-level leaders at a large multi-national consumer products organization.
Results revealed no significant differences in the performance evaluations of male and female leaders. Results provided partial support for the proposition that personality differentially predicts performance for male and female leaders; the traits that predicted performance for female leaders differed from the traits that predicted performance for male leaders. Significant gender differences in personality were broadly consistent with gender stereotypes, but were not central to the relationship between personality and performance. Exploratory analyses revealed that the predictive relationship between personality and performance also varied by leader ethnicity, with personality only significantly predicting performance for White leaders. The predictive relationship between personality and performance also varied intersectionally, with personality only significantly predicting performance for White and non-US male leaders; personality did not significantly predict performance for female leaders of any ethnicity. This study highlights the unique contribution of stereotype theory to the structures of performance management and adds nuance to the conversation on performance evaluation for leaders of non-dominant social identity groups.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social-Organizational Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Noumair, Debra
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 9, 2017