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Braun, Susanne; Peus, Claudia; Frey, Dieter (2018): Connectionism in action: Exploring the links between leader prototypes, leader gender, and perceptions of authentic leadership. In: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 149: pp. 129-144
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Abstract

Building on the connectionist model of leadership perceptions, this research investigates the relationships between leader gender and authentic leadership perceptions from a leadership prototype perspective. In a five study series, we tested different cognitive processing dynamics that influenced leadership perceptions. Study 1 (N = 271) demonstrated that female leader targets increased authentic leadership perceptions. Study 2 (N = 171) showed this association for each of the four dimensions of authentic leadership. Study 3 (N = 100) assessed the relationship between leader gender and authentic leadership perceptions with implicit measures (i.e., the accessibility of female names and female typed hobbies). Study 4 (N = 246) extended this processing dynamic to consideration, another communal leadership style. Finally, a lexical decision making task in Study 5 (N = 200) indicated that prototype inconsistent leadership styles (initiating structure, autocratic leadership) slowed down automated processing for female leader targets. We discuss contributions to information processing approaches to leadership and practical implications.