The White leader prototype in China?

Soo Min Toh, Geoffrey J. Leonardelli, Jing Hu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Regardless of their race, U.S. and European participants exhibit a White leader prototype, associating being White and leadership. It is unclear if this association is a function of cultural exposure (suggesting other races would be associated with leadership in non-White cultures) or White dominance (even in non-White cultures, being White is associated with leadership). To test these competing explanations, this study recruited Chinese locals (n=71) and Canadian locals (n=101), measuring their responses on a leader Implicit Association Test and a leader generation task. On both measures, relative to Canadian locals, Chinese locals exhibited an association between being Chinese and leadership rather than being White and leadership, supporting a cultural exposure explanation. Exposure to Chinese and Western media yielded additional support for the cultural exposure explanation. A cultural exposure explanation indicates that, to reduce racial bias in leader prototypes, expose individuals to a racially diverse set of leaders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe White leader prototype in China?
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameAcademy of Management Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0065-0668


  • leader
  • leader prototype
  • race and ethnicity


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