Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Paul Florin


This study explored the relationship of leaders' gender to multiple aspects of organizational functioning. It focused on perceptions of leadership style (the extent to which leaders were task focused and interpersonally focused), social climate of the groups (inclusion/cohesion of the group and the task focus of the group), and specific characteristics of the group members (member satisfaction with the group and member commitment to the group).

Data were collected from members of 32 substance abuse prevention task forces across the state of Rhode Island, (N = 180). The independent variable of leaders' gender in this study was defined as a shared characteristic of the coordinator and the chair of the task forces. The 32 task forces were divided into three groups (women leaders, men leaders, mixed gender leaders). Two sets of ANOVAs were performed using SAS Proc MIXED, a statistical procedure that accounts for nested data. One set added respondent gender to leaders' gender as a second independent variable, while the other set added gender composition of the group to leaders' gender and as a second independent variable. The same dependent variables were used in each set of analyses.

Differences were found across the three different gender led groups on one dependent variable, member commitment to the group, only in the first set of analyses. Members from groups led by men had lower commitment scores than members from groups led by women and members from mixed gender led groups. In addition, differences among men and women respondents on member commitment scores were found. Men in general, had lower scores on member commitment to the group than women. These results suggest that future research in the area of leadership and gender should include measures of member commitment.



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