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Author

Megan Reilly

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Crystal L. Hoyt

Abstract

Past literature has examined the ways in which agentic, or typically masculine, and communal, or typically feminine, traits are valued in the workplace. Agentic traits, such as assertiveness and dominance, are highly associated with effective leadership; women, on the other hand, are considered incongruent with leadership (Eagly, 2002; Eagly & Carli, 2007). This current research explores the ways in which gender stereotypes function in a work environment. The researchers manipulate people’s implicit theories of leadership, the lay theories that individuals have about what it takes to be a leader, in order to discover how entity and incremental theorists conceptualize what a leader is. The entity theory of leadership states that leadership is fixed and unchangeable, or born; the incremental theory of leadership states that leadership is malleable and changeable or time, or made. Results indicated that those manipulated by the incremental theory of leadership incorporated more masculine attributes to a set of qualified candidates applying for an executive leadership position. This research supports the idea that incremental theorists are more mastery-­‐oriented and are motivated to think about what the prototypical leader is moreso than entity theorists.

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