Universal or Gender-Specific? Exploring Military Leadership from a Subordinate Perspective: A Proposal


  1. Scott, K.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Leadership is key to the successful functioning of any organization, including the military. Contemporary conceptualizations of leadership have focused on the behaviours or traits necessary for leaders to function effectively. However, leadership is a dynamic process involving both a leader and a follower. Thus, recent theories have taken an information-processing approach to the study of leadership, centring on the perspective of the subordinate. One basic tenet of this approach is that perceivers hold an implicit theory or prototype of leadership; before ascribing leadership, subordinates look to congruence between their beliefs regarding the traits or behaviours that constitute effective leadership and the actual behaviour of an individual. Integrating literature on the encoding process, stereotyping, and gender and leadership with the information-processing approach to leadership, this proposal reviews some key theoretical perspectives and outlines a program of research designed to assess perceptions of military leadership from a subordinate point of view. Also discussed is how these perceptions may differ for male and female leaders as well as leaders of different rank (i.e., officers and non-commisioned members [NCMs]).

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gender and leadership;leadership prototypes;follower-centred approach to leadership;Military occupations;Gender and leadership
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2003-121 — Technical Report
Date of publication
21 Oct 2003
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF);CD ROM

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