Purpose: Although McGregor’s Theory X and Y holds significant attention in literature, research on the managerial assumptions and leadership is very scarce. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of a leader’s Theory X and Y managerial assumptions on follower perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors and the moderating role of the leader’s gender in this relationship. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 108 leaders provided ratings of their Theory X and Y managerial assumptions; 398 followers then rated their leaders’ transformational leadership behavior. To test the hypotheses, moderated hierarchical regression analysis was conducted. Findings: The results indicated that a leader’s Theory Y managerial assumptions are positively related to the followers’ ratings of transformational leadership behavior while a leader’s Theory X managerial assumptions are negatively related to the ratings of transformational leadership behavior. Furthermore, the relationship between Theory Y managerial assumptions and ratings of transformational leadership behavior are stronger for female leaders than male leaders. Originality/value: This study provides important insights for leadership literature by depicting how cognitive mental schemas (i.e. Theory X and Y assumptions) and gender influence their transformational leadership behaviors.
- gender differences
- transformational leadership