Think leader, think male and female: Sex vs. seating arrangement as leadership cues

Danielle Jackson, Erika Engstrom, Tara Emmers-Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This investigation challenged the long-accepted male-oriented ideology of "think male, think leader" by using social and gender identity theoretical frameworks to examine same-gender biases and the situational leadership cue of the end-of-the-table position. In an experiment consisting of 241 undergraduates enrolled in a large southwestern university in the U.S. (105 men, 135 women, and 1 sex unreported), participants viewed diagrams of male and female figures, in either same-sex or mixed-sex groups, and selected a leader. The end-of-the-table cue held, but the 120 participants (74 women, 46 men) shown mixed-sex groups with a man and a woman shown at both ends of a table chose same-gender leaders significantly more than opposite-gender leaders. Whereas the results suggest that the "think leader, think male" ideology still holds among young men, findings also demonstrated a shift away from this ideology among young women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-723
Number of pages11
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Leadership
  • Seating arrangement
  • Social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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