Experimental Design Details
Part 1. “Lost at Sea” Task
Participants first work individually on a task called“Lost at Sea”. The scenario outlines a survival situation in which a group of individuals becomes isolated after an accident. These survivors have ten items salvaged from the accident and are tasked with ranking these items based on their importance for the group’s survival. This task has been used in previous work on leadership (e.g. Thomas-Hunt and Phillips (2004); Born, Ranehill and Sandberg (2022)). To enhance the precision of confidence measures, we have adapted this task from ranking 10 items to a pairwise comparison of 5 pairs of items. Participants are presented with 5 pairs of items and must select, for each pair, which item they believe is more critical for survival. After each of the 5 questions, participants are asked to report their confidence in their answer (“precision”), using a scale ranging from 0 (random choice) to 100 (absolute certainty). Additionally, for the first question, participants are required to write a few lines justifying their answer to ensure their engagement and familiarity with the task. Participants' answers are then compared to those provided by a panel of survival experts. Participants receive €2 for each answer that matches the expert's answer and €0 otherwise. They do not learn about their score until the very end of the study. Before starting the task, participants must answer a set of comprehension questions correctly.
b. Confidence elicitation
Participants are asked to estimate their performance in Part 1.a. They provide two estimations: the number of correct responses (“estimation”, on a scale from 0 to 5) and their perceived relative performance compared to 40 other participants who have previously completed the same task (“placement”, on a scale ranging from the bottom quartile to the top quartile). Each guess is incentivized with a €0.50 bonus added to their payment for Part 1.
Part 2. “Desert survival” Task
a. Appointment of a group leader
Participants are informed that they will perform a task that is similar to the “Lost at sea” scenario, but involves a different survival situation. They are also told that they are grouped with 3 other participants in the session, with whom they will work for this task. Before starting Part 2.b, a group leader will be appointed, whose role depends on the leadership setting participants have been randomly attributed to. They are only informed about their specific leadership setting:
In the Responsibility treatment: all group members except the leader answer each question individually. Leaders receive the answers given by other group members and are responsible for submitting the final answer on behalf of their group. They must provide an ex-post explanation which is shared with the group at the end of the task. The group's payment depends on the number of correct responses provided by the leader
In the Influence treatment: leaders answer each question first, providing a message along with their answer. They thus have the opportunity to persuade the group to adopt their viewpoint. Group members receive the leader’s answer and message, and provide their own answers following (or not) the leader’s input. The group's payment depends on the average number of correct responses provided by group members (including the leader)
In both settings, answers are evaluated in the same manner as in Part 1.a, and group members (including the leader) receive the same payoff for the task.
Once participants are informed of these procedures, they indicate how much they want to become the leader, on a scale between 1 and 10 (“Willingness to Lead”). The group members who indicate the highest motivation are selected to become group leaders. In case of a tie, the computer randomly selects the group leader.
After stating their willingness to lead, all group members are informed about whether they have been selected to be the group leader or not.
b. Group work
Following the procedures described above, participants complete the “Desert Survival” task, similar to Part 1.a but involving a new survival scenario. They are presented with 5 pairs of items and must select the more important item in each pair. After each of the 5 questions, they are asked to report their confidence in their answers, using a scale from 0 (random choice) to 100 (absolute certainty).
Participants must answer a set of comprehension questions correctly before stating their WTL and beginning the task.
c. Confidence elicitation:
Although payoff for the task is determined at the group level, each participant answers all questions individually, which allows to elicit again individual beliefs about performance. Participants are asked to estimate their performance in Part 2.b., providing two estimations: the number of correct responses (“estimation”) and their perceived relative performance compared to 40 other participants who have completed the same task (“placement”).
Depending on their treatment assignment and their leadership status, they are also asked an additional question regarding their beliefs about: the number of other group members who have submitted the same answers as theirs (for leaders in the Influence treatment), the percentage of participants in the session who have submitted the same answers as theirs (for leaders in the Responsibility treatment and followers in the Influence treatment), or the number of questions for which the leader has submitted the same answers as theirs (for followers in the Responsibility treatment). Each guess is incentivized with a €0.50 bonus added to the participant's payment for Part 2.
d. Evaluation of Leader
Every group members' answers are displayed on the screen. Leaders' answers are highlighted in red, and participants' own answers are in bold. Group members are asked to evaluate the leader's performance on a scale from 1 to 10, and leaders are asked to evaluate their own performance as a leader on the same scale.
In the Responsibility treatment, group members also rate their satisfaction with the leader, considering the leader's incorporation of the group members' input to provide a final answer, on a scale from 1 (not at all satisfied) to 10 (very satisfied). In the Influence treatment, group members rate the extent to which they found the leader's justification message convincing on a scale from 1 (not at all convincing) to 10 (very convincing).
Part 3 - IAT Test, Questionnaire, and Payment
Participants take an implicit association test (IAT), eliciting the strength of their implicit associations between leadership and being male.
Participants answer questions about their nationality, gender identity, willingness to take risks, beliefs about gender differences in task performance, attitudes on gender and leadership, and previous leadership experience. They are also asked to provide a brief motivation for why they wanted to become the leader or not.
c. Feedback and Payment
Participants receive feedback on their performance in Part 1 and 2. They also have the opportunity to view the experts' solutions to better understand their scores. Finally, one the two first parts of the experiment is randomly selected to determine the participant's final payment, according to the rules described earlier.