Which characteristics predict leadership emergence in women after they work on group tasks in all-women groups? Role congruity theory suggests that women need to temper their agency with communion in order to emerge as leaders. We investigated how ascriptions of agentic and communal characteristics were related to leadership emergence by analyzing data collected from women's leadership contests in 2 consecutive years. Participants worked in groups on assessment-center-like tasks (Study 1: N = 184). After each task, they identified individuals with leadership potential and described these individuals' characteristics. Raters categorized these characteristics as agentic or communal. Response surface analyses showed curvilinear effects of perceived agency and perceived communion on leadership emergence, indicating that women who tempered their agency with communion were most likely to emerge as leaders. Analyses were replicated in a second data set (Study 2: N = 185) with similar results.
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