Conflict styles, gender and leadership

The number of women in leadership roles is increasing but women are still under-represented at higher levels and a gender pay gap exists. We analysed data from 400,000 people who completed the Thomas-Kilman conflict modes Instrument (TKI) online between 2004 and 2019. We found that men and those at higher organisational levels were more likely to use assertive modes of dealing with whilst women and those at lower organisational levels were more likely to use cooperative conflict styles (seeking to satisfy others’ needs, not just their own). This finding could help us understand differences between men and women in leadership style and has implications for how men and women negotiate their salaries.