Developmental and genetic determinants of leadership role occupancy among women

Richard D. Arvey, Zhen Zhang, Bruce J. Avolio, Robert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The genetic and developmental influences on leadership role occupancy were investigated using a sample of 178 fraternal and 214 identical female twins. Two general developmental factors were identified, one involving formal work experiences and the other a family experiences factor hypothesized to influence whether women move into positions of leadership in organizations. Results indicated that 32% of the variance in leadership role occupancy was associated with heritability. The 2 developmental factors also showed significant correlations with leadership role occupancy. However, after genetic factors were partialed out, only the work experience factor was significantly related to leadership role occupancy. Results are discussed in terms of prior life events and experiences that may trigger leadership development and the limitations of this study. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-706
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral genetics
  • Female twins
  • Genetic components of leadership
  • Leadership development
  • Organizations
  • Roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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