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Women Leaders

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Managerial Psychology

Paper submission deadline:

March 31, 2019

Guest Editors:

Donna Chrobot-Mason, University of Cincinnati
Katina Sawyer, George Washington University
Rosemary Hays-Thomas, University of West Florida

Growing evidence shows that women, more than ever before, are preparing themselves to be leaders.  For example, women are more likely to graduate college than men (  Further, in the U.S., female entrepreneurship is increasing at a faster rate than male entrepreneurship (  Additionally, in a recent meta-analysis of perceptions of female leaders, it was shown that women are now viewed as equally capable leaders compared to their male counterparts (Paustian-Underdahl, Walker, & Woehr, 2014).  And yet, the data clearly show that women remain underrepresented in leadership roles and that the percentage of women running Fortune 500 companies has essentially remained unchanged during the past 15 years (Catalyst, 2018). Indeed, a report conducted by the United Nations found that in the majority of the 67 countries involved in the study from 2009 to 2015, fewer than a third of senior-and middle-management positions were held by women (,   A goal of the United Nations is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (  The UN states “providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.” 

Achieving this goal however, is all the more challenging given the research that has been conducted to date on women and leadership.  Our scholarly understanding of leadership is still largely based on male samples and masculine views of successful leadership.  In this Special Issue on Women Leaders, we seek innovative quantitative and qualitative empirical research, as well as conceptual papers that will advance our understanding of leadership of, about, and for women leaders.  Below is a list of possible topics and research questions that are representative of the aims and scope of this Special Issue. 

Leadership development for women.  Leadership has been defined as a socially constructed process of claiming and being granted a leadership identity (DeRue &Ashford, 2010).  Thus, leadership development and ultimately leadership success must begin with the claiming of a leader identity.  Zheng and Muir (2015) suggest women may resist self-identification as leaders because it is incongruent with current views of self.  Additional research is needed to examine the leadership development process for women and how organizations can facilitate their development. 

Advantages and benefits of female leaders.  Work by Eagly and colleagues (Eagly, Makhijani, & Klonsky, 1992; Eagly & Carli, 2003) suggests that women leaders and more feminine styles of leadership may be an advantage in today’s contemporary workplace.  Yet the boundary conditions for these advantages remain unclear.  A recent meta-analysis examining the business case for women leaders suggests that the results are complex and historical research methods need re-examination (Hoobler, Masterson, & Nkomo, 2018).  They argue the need for greater specification of underlying mechanisms linking leadership to performance.

Affirming workplaces for women.  Many women report leaving the workplace as a result of what they perceive to be inhospitable work environments.  Although decades of research on work-family balance have contributed to our understanding of what organizations can do to facilitate working parents, additional research is needed to understand other contextual factors that foster retention of women leaders. 

Strategies for overcoming barriers.  As a field, we know a great deal more about the obstacles and barriers that prevent women from advancing in organizations to assume leadership roles such as discrimination and stereotypes.  Greater attention should be paid to how women are overcoming such barriers to achieve success and how male allies can help. 

Intersectionality and women’s leadership.
Even within the women’s leadership literature, a majority of our understanding of female leaders is rooted in experiences of white, assumedly straight women. In order to truly understand the experiences and perceptions of female leaders, a greater diversity of women must be represented in our samples. Privileging intersectionality in studies of women’s leadership is key to a comprehensive understanding of women’s leadership overall.

Career trajectories of successful women leaders.
  Many organizations promote individuals to top leadership positions based in part on their educational background or prior successful experience in certain roles or settings.  Additional research is needed to understand the extent to which women and men follow similar career paths on their way to prominent leadership positions and how such paths and expectations are explicitly or implicitly communicated to men and women aspiring to higher leadership roles.

Submission Process and Timeline

To be considered for the Special Issue, manuscripts must be submitted no later than March 31, 2019, 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Submitted papers will undergo a double-blind peer review process and will be evaluated by at least two reviewers and a special issue editor. Acceptance decisions will be based on the review team’s judgments of the paper’s contribution on four key dimensions:
(1) Theoretical contribution: Does the article meaningfully extend existing research and theory on women in leadership?
(2) Empirical contribution: Does the article offer innovative findings using an appropriate study design and data analysis?
(3) Practical contribution: Does the article present practical implications for improving organizational workplaces for women and the development of female leaders?
(4) Relevance to the special issue topic.

Authors should prepare their manuscripts for blind review according to the Journal of Managerial Psychology author guidelines, available at Remove any information that could potentially reveal the identity of the authors to reviewers. Manuscripts should be submitted electronically at: For questions regarding the special issue, please contact Donna Chrobot-Mason at [email protected].


Catalyst, Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies (June 1, 2018).
DeRue, D. S., & Ashford, S. J. (2010). Who will lead and who will follow? A social process of leadership identity construction in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 35(4), 627-647.
Eagly, A. H., Makhijani, M. G., & Klonsky, B. G. (1992). Gender and the evaluation of leaders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 3–22.
Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L.L.  (2003).  The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence.  The Leadership Quarterly, 14(6), 807-834.
Hoobler, J. M., Masterson, C. R., & Nkomo, S. M.  (2018).  The business case for women leaders: Meta-analysis, research critique, and path forward.  Journal of Management, 44 (6), 2473 –2499. DOI: 10.1177/0149206316628643
Paustian-Underdahl, S. C., Walker, L. S., & Woehr, D. J. (2014). Gender and perceptions of leadership effectiveness: A meta-analysis of contextual moderators. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(6), 1129-1145.
Zheng, W., & Muir, D. (2015). Embracing leadership: A multi-faceted model of leader identity development. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(6), 630-656.