Backlash towards male versus female leaders' interpersonal emotion management strategy use: The role of followers' gender-based leadership stereotypes

Bayazıt M., Czukor G., Dural Şenoğuz U., Özalp Türetgen İ.

ASIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol.27, no.1, pp.1-19, 2024 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/ajsp.12608
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Index Islamicus, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-19
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Research on the backlash effect predominantly investigated penalties men and women incurred when they violate gender norms in the domain of achievement-oriented aggressiveness. We investigated backlash reactions towards female versus male leaders' attempts to manage follower emotions using one of two gender-stereotypic interpersonal emotion management strategies, cognitive change or expression suppression, in a 2×2 vignette experiment in which undergraduate students as participants acted as followers (N = 206). We hypothesized that followers high in explicit or implicit prejudice towards female leadership would be motivated to show backlash in the form of negative attitudes and anger when female leaders use an expression suppression strategy and when male leaders use a cognitive change strategy, violating gender norms. We also explored the role of followers' gender as a boundary condition of backlash reactions towards leaders of the same versus opposite sex. Male participants with negative explicit attitudes towards women leaders in general expressed higher levels of anger towards a female leader who utilized a suppression strategy. Female participants holding implicit stereotypes reported negative attitudes for both female and male leaders who utilized a gender-incongruent emotion management strategy. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and research on the backlash effect.