Contesting gender stereotypes stimulates generalized fairness in the selection of leaders

Carola Leicht*, Georgina Randsley de Moura, Richard J. Crisp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to counter-stereotypic gender role models (e.g., a woman engineer) has been shown to successfully reduce the application of biased gender stereotypes. We tested the hypothesis that such efforts may more generally lessen the application of stereotypic knowledge in other (non-gendered) domains. Specifically, based on the notion that counter-stereotypes can stimulate a lesser reliance on heuristic thinking, we predicted that contesting gender stereotypes would eliminate a more general group prototypicality bias in the selection of leaders. Three studies supported this hypothesis. After exposing participants to a counter-stereotypic gender role model, group prototypicality no longer predicted leadership evaluation and selection. We discuss the implications of these findings for groups and organizations seeking to capitalize on the benefits of an increasingly diverse workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1039
Number of pages15
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number5
Early online date8 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • counter-stereotypes
  • gender role model
  • group prototypicality
  • leadership


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