Developmental and genetic determinants of leadership role occupancy among women

J Appl Psychol. 2007 May;92(3):693-706. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.3.693.


The genetic and developmental influences on leadership role occupancy were investigated using a sample of 178 fraternal and 214 identical female twins. Two general developmental factors were identified, one involving formal work experiences and the other a family experiences factor hypothesized to influence whether women move into positions of leadership in organizations. Results indicated that 32% of the variance in leadership role occupancy was associated with heritability. The 2 developmental factors also showed significant correlations with leadership role occupancy. However, after genetic factors were partialed out, only the work experience factor was significantly related to leadership role occupancy. Results are discussed in terms of prior life events and experiences that may trigger leadership development and the limitations of this study.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Family
  • Female
  • Genetics, Behavioral*
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Environment
  • Twins