A Measure of Gender-Congruency and Leadership Styles Among Department Chairs


M. Dean Hite

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Ronald A. Styron, Jr.

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


With the constantly changing social and academic milieu of America's colleges and universities, higher education administrators are commissioned with the arduous task of better understanding the dynamics, intricacies, and influences that determine the best practices for effective leadership. The primary focus of the current quantitative study was to examine gender-congruency to determine if a significant relationship existed between leadership style scores and personality scores. Sixty-four department chairs were randomly selected from several public universities in a southeastern state. Using the Bern Sex-Role Inventory (Bem, 1974), department chairs were asked to self-rate their masculinity and femininity scores. Using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, Form 5X-Rater (Avolio & Bass, 1991), faculty members rated the transformational and transactional leadership total and sub-scores of their respective department chairs. Descriptive and inferential statistics of the subsequent analysis of data determined if a significant relational strength existed between (1) transformational leadership total scores and five sub-scores and femininity scores and (2) the transactional leadership total scores and two sub-scores and masculinity scores. Among the eight correlative appraisals, only Contingent Reward sub-scores and masculinity scores [ r (62) = .257, p = .040] yielded a significant relationship. Contrary to expectations, the findings suggested there was no significant relationship between department chairs' interpretation of their personality characteristics and faculty members' perception of their department chair's leadership style. Recommendations for further research included examining why there was a disparate representation of women and minorities as department chairs, introducing pioneering studies that included a variety of alternative leadership behaviors, comparing gender-congruency within varying levels of higher education administration, examining the extent to which gender has on subordinates' perceptions of leadership styles, and encouraging researchers to develop more innovative, objective variables that adequately measure leadership effectiveness.