Leadership

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Chapter 15 and we are seeing another outsourced chapter out of Professor Northouse’s book. Perhaps it is a good thing to understand one’s own limitations and ask for assistance. Does that raze the stereotype that males do not ask for directions or assistance?

Perhaps a good place to initiate the discussion is to explore the differences between sex and gender. Those who have attempted to explain it to me have observed that sex represents an individuals’ biological makeup, while gender is characterized by culturally created qualities and traits. For face-to-face classes, I like to facilitate a brief conversation on how students characterize “masculine” qualities and then compare and contrast those to how they would characterize “feminine” qualities. The differences are usually quite predictable, pedantic, and standardized.

Question #1:

Is this gender issue merely an extension of what we studied in chapter two in trait theory?

Hoyt and Simon build a convincing argument for their case of “Glass Ceiling Turned Labyrinth” in this chapter. Was anyone put off by them starting off with the statement: “Although the predicament (emphasis added) of female leaders has improved significantly in recent decades, there is still a long way to go.”? The use of the pejorative word “predicament” left me wondering where they were headed with the conversation. Nevertheless, they present a persuasive argument over the following pages to demonstrate how feminine leadership is underrepresented in leadership positions. Perhaps they articulated it most clearly in their citation of: “Global phenomenon whereby women are disproportionately concentrated in lower-level and lower-authority leadership positions than men.” (Powell & Graves, 2003).

Despite the author’s admonitions against it, I found that their observation that: “…women [are] less likely to negotiate than men are…” with respect to promotions and raises to be interesting. It would seem to me a most important lesson to be learned by female students. Sallie Krawcheck (you can look her up for yourself—fired from Citibank and now running “85 Broads”) has stated repeatedly that, when it comes to negotiating salary, “men ask and women don’t.”

Question #2:

What is to be learned from this?

Several of the studies cited in this chapter (and a whole lot of studies that have not been cited in this chapter) shed important light on the issue. Eagly and Johnson (1990) “Gender and Leadership: A Meta-Analysis” report observing that women tend to be more democratic, while men tend to be more autocratic, and marginal differences in terms of being more task or relationship oriented. Given increased environmental uncertainty, pervasive globalization, competitiveness to the point of near hyper-competitiveness, technological turbulence at an increasing rate, and other factors you are probably well acquainted with, has prompted a response of increased use of teams (chapter 14—remember?), flatter organizational hierarchies, more organic structures, and a wealth of other responses…

Question #3:

Do these environmental and organizational conditions suggest the superiority of a more feminine style of leadership, over the masculine and directive/autocratic style that appears to be better suited to control-oriented, mechanistic, centralized, top-down bureaucratic organizations of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century?

Amy B. Gershenoff and Roseanne J. Foti (2003) Leader Emergence and Gender Roles in All-Female Groups: A Contextual Examination [not cited in this chapter] note that: “Although sex and gender role are correlated, gender role is not necessarily dictated by biological sex.” “Rather, gender is a distinct and culturally constructed phenomenon defined as the shared expectations of individuals based solely on socially identified sex.” “Masculinity and femininity are often thought of as opposite ends of a continuum, but they are actually independent dimensions.” “As such, an individual of either sex can be…Masculine, Feminine, or both… (Androgynous).”

“Androgyny is associated with flexibility in behavior, such that androgynous individuals are able to adapt their behavior to be more masculine or feminine depending on what is appropriate.”

It is frequently assumed that groups have both a maintenance (socio-emotional) and task need. Androgynous leaders may be more effective than those who are masculine or feminine in nature. The assumption is that the individual’s feminine side (empathetic, expressive) may enable the leader to assist the group as it deals with its maintenance needs, while the leaders’ masculine side (instrumental, assertive) assists in addressing the group’s task needs.

Eagly, Karau, and Makhigani (1995) Gender and Effectiveness of Leaders: A Meta-Analysis note: “In aggregate, male and female leaders are equally effective. However, male and female leaders are not equally effective in every situation.” Men do worse than women in situations that are defined as less than masculine (or more feminine) in nature. Thus, they note that “if gender [was] entirely unimportant in organizations and groups, it would be irrelevant to leaders’ effectiveness and men and women would fare equally well as leaders throughout all types of organizations and groups.”

“In view of these findings, men may well find themselves less effective as leaders in contexts defined in relatively feminine terms, and similarly, women may well be less effective in their leadership attempts in situations that are defined relatively in masculine terms.”

Question #4:

What is your opinion of the apparent call towards an androgynous style of leadership as a way forward?

 

Last Updated on April 30, 2019 by EssayPro