Art Designs

Psychological Bulletin 2003, Vol. 129, No. 4, 569 –591

Copyright 2003 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0033-2909/03/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.4.569

Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Leadership Styles: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men
Alice H. Eagly and Mary C. Johannesen-Schmidt
Northwestern University

Marloes L. van Engen
Tilburg University

A meta-analysis of 45 studies of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles found that female leaders were more transformational than male leaders and also engaged in more of the contingent reward behaviors that are a component of transactional leadership. Male leaders were generally more likely to manifest the other aspects of transactional leadership (active and passive management by exception) and laissez-faire leadership. Although these differences between male and female leaders were small, the implications of these findings are encouraging for female leadership because other research has established that all of the aspects of leadership style on which women exceeded men relate positively to leaders’ effectiveness whereas all of the aspects on which men exceeded women have negative or null relations to effectiveness.

As more women in industrialized nations enter leadership roles in society, the possibility that they might carry out these roles differently than men attracts increasing attention. Women’s behavior is under scrutiny, at least in part, because women are infrequent occupants of high-level leadership roles (Miller, Taylor, & Buck, 1991). This rarity of women in elite leadership roles, combined with their frequent occupancy of lower level leadership roles, is easily documented. For example, whereas women currently make up 46% of managers and administrators in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002), in the companies of the Fortune 500 women constitute only 5% of top corporate officers and 1% of

Alice H....