Leadership Responses to a Conflict of Gender-based Tension: A Comparison of Responses between Men and Women in the US and South Africa

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Department or Administrative Unit


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Conflicts are an inherent part of organizational life, particularly when diverse people work together. When conflicts based on social identity arise (e.g. a conflict of gender-based tension) how one would respond as a leader to deal with the conflict may be influenced by one’s group membership. A comparative field study using 218 male and female employees from the United States and South Africa examined the influence of gender and national culture on how helpful leadership responses indicative of respect and equality are to a hypothetical scenario depicting a conflict of gender-based tension. Results show a main effect of gender: women believed acting as a leader in a manner indicative of respect and equality would be more helpful in dealing with the conflict of gender-based tension than men believed. There was no main effect for national culture, but an interaction of gender and national culture existed. A discussion of findings, limitations, and future research conclude this study.


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International Journal of Cross Cultural Management