Transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles: a meta-analysis comparing women and men

Psychol Bull. 2003 Jul;129(4):569-91. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.4.569.


A meta-analysis of 45 studies of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles found that female leaders were more transformational than male leaders and also engaged in more of the contingent reward behaviors that are a component of transactional leadership. Male leaders were generally more likely to manifest the other aspects of transactional leadership (active and passive management by exception) and laissez-faire leadership. Although these differences between male and female leaders were small, the implications of these findings are encouraging for female leadership because other research has established that all of the aspects of leadership style on which women exceeded men relate positively to leaders' effectiveness whereas all of the aspects on which men exceeded women have negative or null relations to effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Personnel Management
  • United States