When the Sales Manager is a Woman: An Exploration into the Relationship Between Salespeople's Gender and their Responses to Leadership Styles

Comer, Lucette B.; Jolson, Marvin A.; Dubinsky, Alan J.; Yammarino, Francis J.
September 1995
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Fall95, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p17
Academic Journal
This paper reports the results of an exploratory study comparing the responsiveness of male versus female salespersons to differing leadership styles of female sales managers. Responding triads, made up of one female sales manager and two subordinate salespersons (one male and one female), completed questionnaires assessing the managers' leadership style, the salespersons' satisfaction with supervision, and the salespersons' selling performance. Partial correlational analysis revealed gender differences in the way satisfaction with supervision and performance effectiveness related to the female managers' leadership styles. Male sales force members were most responsive to leaders who displayed individualized consideration and used a transactional style (contingent rewards or management by exception). Saleswomen preferred charismatic leaders and those who were capable of intellectually stimulating methods. The results are discussed and recommendations made for future research.


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