A five-nation study of the impact of political leaning and perception of crisis severity..

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A five-nation study of the impact of political leaning and perception of crisis severity on the preference for female and minority leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract

Research on underrepresented groups in leadership has shown that women and ethnic minorities are preferred as leaders during a crisis. In the present study, we investigated factors that shape voter preferences for minority political leaders in the COVID-19 crisis. We examined participant perceptions of the severity of the COVID-19 crisis in health, social, and economic domains and self-reported political leaning, and their impact on preference for a female (vs male) or minority political leader. We collected survey data in autumn 2020 using online platforms in France, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a snowball sample in Germany (total N = 1,259). Results showed that female leaders were generally more preferred by politically left- than right-leaning participants independent of severity perceptions of the social or economic crisis. In addition, we found that preference for female leaders amongst right-leaning participants increased when their current regional leader's actions were judged insufficient to manage the health crisis, an effect primarily driven by participants in Germany and the United Kingdom. Left-leaning political orientation also predicted the preference for minority leaders across countries. Moreover, a more severe perception of the social aspects of the crisis increased minority preference, as expected, but mostly in Germany and the United States. We discuss cross-country variation of our results. Overall, our findings affirm and expand prior research showing the importance of political leaning and changing leadership demands in a crisis and their impact on the preference for minority leaders.

Keywords

  • Leadership
  • Crisis
  • Gender
  • Minority
  • COVID-19
  • Politics

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Publication information

Publisher:

Elsevier, Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology, Volume 3, 2022, 100055

Languages:

English

Media Type:

PDF

City:

Amsterdam

Year:

2022

Disciplines:

Research labels:

Work – carrer – professions
Minorities
Health – medicine
Politics

Subjects:

Social psychology

Genres:

Article