The age of leadership: Meta-analytic findings on the relationship between leader age and perceived leadership style and the moderating role of culture and industry type

Teodora K. Tomova Shakur, Michael S. North, Yair Berson, Shaul Oreg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Managers' leadership style has a substantial impact on employee and organizational outcomes. In the present study, we consider the role of leaders’ chronological age in predicting followers’ perceptions of their leadership style. Whereas ample research uncovers relationships between individuals’ age and how these individuals are perceived by others, little is known about how leaders’ chronological age impacts others’ perceptions of their style. Even less is known about how such relationships vary across cultures and industries. We conducted a meta-analysis (164 unique studies; N = 397,456 observations) to explore these relationships, using the Full-Range leadership model. We found that leader age was negatively related to perceptions of transformational and transactional leadership, and positively related to perceptions of passive leadership. Further, some of these effects varied on several cultural dimensions: The negative relationship between leader age and transformational leadership was weaker in collectivistic cultures, while the negative relationship with transactional leadership was stronger in high power distance cultures. Industry type also mattered: the relationship between leader age and both transformational and contingent reward leadership styles was amplified in the public sector. Lastly, perceptions of older leaders were more negative when ratings were provided by followers rather than the leaders themselves. Our findings offer both theoretical and practical implications for leading in an increasingly age-diverse workforce, such as better informing the workforce of present age stereotypes and their imminent effect on organizations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonnel Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Personnel Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • culture
  • full-range leadership
  • industry type
  • leader age
  • meta-analysis

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