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Gender in Leadership

Researching in Business HR 3010 Title: Gender in leadership Introduction To what extent does gender affect leadership style? This literature review aims to critically identify and analyze whether female and male leadership style differ in business. It has been claimed that men make better leaders than women because of the leadership style they implicate. To this affect perhaps women have not been given a fair chance to show their leadership skills. This review will interpret international articles and journals based on these issues . Leadership can be characteristics that some individual possesses.

These characteristic traits enable those individuals to induce others to accomplish tasks (Northhouse et. Al. , 2010). A successful leader has the ability to get the job done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In addition a leader must be able to influence, encourage and motivate subordinates to ensure maximum output and ultimately achieve success. Without the use of affective leadership a company vision can be distorted. Under the watch of poor leaders, staff moral declines and this can be directly linked to low productivity. e males and females seen differently with respect to their leadership style? There is a considerable variety of assumptions regarding the influences of leadership style as far as gender is concerned. Which closely links to my proposed question, are males and females seen differently with respect to leadership style. Previous literatures, especially within the past two decades suggest that men and women assume different leadership styles. Burns (1978) posited that leadership behaviour can be categorized as either transformational or transactional.

A study by (Burke &Collins 2001) shows that female leaders advanced in their career by following an interactive style that is appropriate for them. This leadership style called transformational leadership is identified as favourable amongst women. Women leaders naturally seek more interaction with subordinates, talking things out and finding a solution. The transformational leadership approach fit’s the needs of today’s work group who want to be inspired and empowered to succeed in times of uncertainty. The term transformational implies that this style is concerned with changing and transforming people.

Also, women show more enthusiasm concerning future goals of employees and take the goals of their co-workers more into consideration. In comparison men tend to be more transactional in their interactions. (Lussier et. Al. ,2010). This indicates that male leaders tend to focus more on issues and concerns, wait until problems get severe before getting involved, subsequently males tend to be more confrontational and involved at critical periods. Men relate success with hard work, taking risks and learning by mistakes. (Gurian et. Al. 2008) The result which illustrate that women score higher on transformational leadership than men and as a component of transactional leadership was recently demonstrated in a meta-analysis by Eagly et al. (2003) Difference between Transactional and Transformational Leaders Transactional leadership ·Leaders are receptive ·Works with the organizational culture · Leaders make subordinates achieve company’s objectives through schemes and discipline ·Motivates employees by appealing to their own self-interest Transformational Leadership Leader is proactive ·Work to enrich the organizational culture by implementing new ideas ·Leaders motivate and encourages employees to achieve company’s objectives by higher moral values ·support employees to exceed their own interest for the group objectives The transactional leaders tend to be highly directive and action oriented and their relationship with staff tends to be short-lived and not based on emotional bonds. However the downside is that these leaders overemphasize short-term goals, by not understanding their employees .

They make no effort to enhance their employees’ ambitions and new ideas. An example of an autocratic leader is Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft. MR Gates found most favourable place where positional power is high as he has most authorities in the firm. Transformational leadership adopted by women can be seen as encouraging. Findings indicate that women can build a more inclusive successful organization, whereby employees can aspire to be the best. This conveys a collaborative team work approach and maintaining flow of communication.

Anita Roderick, founder of the fair Trade Body shop organization employ Transformational leadership, she encourages her subordinates to succeed and empowers them. However this does not suggest that all women are transformational leaders, some women have a more direct approach, contrast to the stereo types that their given. Some women may feel the pressure to convey to the stereo typical role against their own initiative to conform to society. Gender -based Stereo types Women who assume leadership roles are often judged negatively by both men and women alike.

Stereo typing views specifically on gender and leadership which have been studied in 1960’s and 1970’s confirmed that women were thought to be unfit for leaders and management positions. Women have identified stereotypes that men make better leaders as an important barrier to the most senior position in business. Stereotypes threats has had a negative impact on women, the assumption that women are less capable of assuming leadership roles prohibits them to attain leadership roles. When women use their natural characteristics e. g. urturing, communal, charismatic and participative, then they are considered to be too nice. On the other hand if women practice predominately “male characteristic” for example direct, aggressive, prescriptive, then they deemed to be too harsh. In other words ‘Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t’, a study released by (Catalyst 2007). The main idea expressed in the article by Judith C, Oakley2000 is that there are significant barriers to women because they do not fit the male stereotype of leadership. Attributes such as direct, commanding, and business oriented.

Stereotypically men were seen as being independent, objective, dominant, competitive, logical, self-confident, all competence-related traits. This is consistent with organizations belief that stereo typical male behaviors as good leadership. All these stereo types are undoubtedly no surprise on the lack of female CEO’s in business today. It is also not surprising that successful corporate leaders, in spite of their gender, mostly chose to conform to the traits associated with the male stereotype (Offermann and Beil, 1992).

Although all men cannot be generalized in the same way, the assumption that most men employ a transactional leadership approach can be argued for and against. Arguments for, men have the natural ability to lead, as history shows men have been at the fore front of organizations for many years and have dominated and progressively achieved success. On the negative the transactional leadership may not suit their personality, but they may feel less respected if they were to challenge the stereotypes and use alternative leadership skills Barriers which prevent women from reaching senior leadership positions is described as the “the glass ceiling”

The Glass ceiling The glass ceiling refers to barriers which prevent women from getting to senior management positions. It is an invisible barrier that prevents women from moving up the corporate ladder. A study by (Judith G. Oakley, 2000) shows that in America approximately 40% of all managers, in the largest organisation, women hold less than 0. 5% of the highest paid management position. In the year of 1997, only two female CEOs in the Fortune 500 and among the next 500 corporations there were only five female CEOs.

Previous research conducted in 1995 shows more affect of the glass ceiling barrier. The top 1000 industrial company along with 500 corporations of all types as classified by Fortune an estimated 95-97% of senior managers are male (Rosenblatt, 1995). Similarly Europe and Japan, have a low percentage of female senior consisting of 8% in Belgium to 0. 3% in Japan (Adler, 1993) This literature suggested that women involvement in the business industry is next to none, it is not a fair representation of the opportunities given to their male counterpart.

The cultural stereotype of leaders is male and the above statistics illustrates that. Studies shows that for many years men have dominated senior roles in the corporate world and although women leaders are on the rise, there are very few women in senior management positions. The favouritism over male leaders can cause a barrier for women to gain leadership roles; women may feel intimidated at the vast amount of leaders to compete with. The leadership style adopted by women is not viewed as serious attributes to lead an organization to success according to previous research .

Traditional gender stereo types represent women as deficient in attributes believed necessary for managerial success (Eagly et al, 2003). Perhaps leadership style should not be based upon gender but rather on a person characteristics, value, objective behavior and culture. My findings have illustrated and distinguished the different leadership styles between men and women, although men leadership appear to be more accepted, women leadership style also have strong attributes which contributes to success. References Adler,N.

J, (1993), Competitive frontiers: Women managers in the Triad, International studies of Management and Organisation, Vol 23, Issue 2,p. 3-23 Burns, J. M. (1978), Leadership, Harper & Row, New York, NY. Catalyst (2007), The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership, Catalyst, New York, NY. Collins, K. M . , Burkes S. , (2001), Gender differences in leadership styles and management skills, Vol. 16, Issue 5, p244-256 Eagly, A. H. and Carli, L. L. (2003), The female leadership advantage: an evaluation of the evidence, The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 14, p. 807-34 Gurrian P. Annis B. , (2008). Leadership and the sexes: Using Gender Science to Create Success in Business. Josey- Bass Lussier, A. , (2010). Effective Leadership,4th ed. , Leap publishing Northouse, P. G. , (2010), Leadership: theory and practice. 5th ed. London: in assoc. with Sage Oakley, G. J. , (2000), Gender-based Barriers to Senior Management Positions: Understanding the Scarcity of Female CEOs. Vol. 27, p 321-334 www. icmrindia. org/… /Leadership%20and%20Entrepreneurship/LDEN014. htm accessed 29/10/2010 www. wordiq. com/definition/Glass_ceiling accessed 2/11/2010