Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Michelle T. Violanti

Committee Members

Benjamin J. Bates, Robert B. Cunningham, John W. Haas, Kenneth J. Levine


Work to date on masculine and feminine communication styles in leadership roles is limited. Much of the leadership research reflects an interest in the differences between the styles of men and women, but relatively little has been done focusing on feminine and masculine communication styles. This study seeks to fill in some of the gaps. The quantitative design of this study is based on Goldberg's (1968) experimental paradigm and used an Internet-linked survey consisting of four different sex and gender combinations. The survey included Renzetti's (1987) Sex Role Attitudinal Inventory, a brief description of a leader, and a Likert-type scale with 20 items that rated leaders on five dimensions: task, relationship, organizational identity, qualifications, and dynamism. A factor analysis of these dimensions resulted in combining them into three factors: task/dynamism, relationship/organizational ID/qualifications, and an overall item with the two previous factors combined. Participants were selected using a convenience and a snowball approach. The convenience sample included a community college, resulting in 189 usable surveys, and the snowball sample was a general sample accessed via the Internet by the researcher sending an email to a personal address book and frequently used listservs and asking those recipients to pass it on, resulting in 213 usable surveys. Expectation states theory and role congruity theory were the foundations for this study. Contrary to expectations, males and leaders using a masculine communication style were not rated more positively than females or those using a feminine communication style.

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