W.S. Handapangoda


The leader is the agent who bears the ultimate responsibility and accountability towards the over-all success [failure] of any organization. Thus, of note, the leader appears to be the central character for virtually every organization, converting one’s individual success [failure] to the success [failure] of the organization at large. However, traditionally, it is believed that this role of the leader is “better-suited” for and is “better-done” by men rather than their counterparts – women - since men are perceived to accompany masculine traits that are deemed to be the premise for better leadership; whereas, women possess feminine qualities, which are of little or no value for effective leadership. In paraphrase, though today women have become competent enough to exceed the traditional gender stereotypes making their way towards organizational leadership – however, scantily – on the one hand, women are largely disparaged as “leaders, but feminine”, while, on the other hand, by “the queen bee syndrome”, which is referred to female leadership, largely characterized by masculine qualities. In contrast, there is extensive literature available on the fact that men and women hold minimal differences by means of “better” leadership, however, reflecting different leadership styles. Accordingly, this study is aimed at achieving two objectives; one is to identify gender– based differences in organizational leadership, and the other is to examine whether females as leaders are more effective than males in organizational leadership. The methodology adopted to achieve the objectives was qualitative, and based on Sri Lankan context, extracting a sample of non-managers representing both genders. The sample of organizations and concomitant respondents were selected based on stratified random sampling method, relying on a mini-survey guided by a structured questionnaire as the source of data collection. Corroborating and contradicting rich literature available and the findings of many previous research works, the study found that in terms of effectiveness, females are perceived as more negative than males in organizational leadership, largely due to the incongruity between the female gender stereotype and the standards required for effective leadership. However, it was noted that women leaders are likely to be more transformational, while men as leaders are more transactional in leadership style.


Keywords:    Gender, Organizational Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership


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Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce