Perception Of Female Managers In Leadership Sociology Essay Example
Perception Of Female Managers In Leadership Sociology Essay Example

Perception Of Female Managers In Leadership Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 14 (3848 words)
  • Published: August 23, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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The thesis aims to study the leadership styles of women compared to male directors. Specifically, it investigates the career advancement of women, the proportion of women in leadership positions compared to men, and the reasons behind gender differences in the workplace, particularly in male-dominated industries. Additionally, it explores societal assessments of these differences, stereotypes women face in developing their leadership style, and barriers hindering women from reaching high-level leadership positions.

The underlying premise of this survey is that men and women are recognized to possess distinct leadership strengths, and the increasing presence of women in the Nigerian workforce has sparked research on their leadership style. It can be argued that these strengths complement each other, and organizations could benefit from a blend of both masculine and feminine approaches. It is believed that women excel in planning and managing activities, show


ing respect and empathy towards others, while men excel in strategic vision, focusing on commercial aspects, and making a personal impact. [A supporting source validates this perception.] Striking a balance between both leadership styles is seen as advantageous for the organization.

According to XYZ, adult females have been found to excel in interpersonal leadership and planning competences. However, the prevailing belief that leadership skills are predominantly male has resulted in a lack of female representation in leadership positions. This analysis will specifically examine workplace environments and occupations involving interactions with clients or other individuals. The study will be conducted in Nigeria.

The goal of this research is to enhance comprehension regarding gender disparities and inequity trends in leadership, while also adding to the existing literature. The thesis seeks to compare the leadership styles of men and women, examining ho

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this impacts their careers and addressing the significant obstacles faced by women in management and executive roles as they strive for equal opportunities alongside their male counterparts.

Literature Review

Nigeria, identified as a highly patriarchal society (NGP, 2007), exhibits male dominance over all aspects of women's lives. This implies that Nigerian men are favored in various activities, with their contributions and behaviors given higher value than those of women. Consequently, gender roles assigned to men and women restrict female access to leadership positions (Olojede, 2004).

In the Nigerian Federal Civil Service, which is the largest employer in Nigeria, 76% of civil retainers are male and 24% are female (CIDA NigeriaGSAA, 2006). Despite appointing women as Permanent Secretaries, they hold less than 14% of total management positions in the Nigerian public sector. Research by Anker (1997) shows that women's involvement in the formal sector of the economy not only has low participation but also suffers from discrimination through occupational segregation. Globally, women are underrepresented in management positions compared to men (Tai et al.

The text discusses the reasons for differentiation between men and women in the workplace, specifically focusing on the impact of family and domestic duties on women's careers. It suggests that these responsibilities may reinforce the idea that women are not as deeply involved in their work as men, which could explain why men tend to hold managerial positions. The concept of job engagement is also mentioned, noting that women who are both career and family oriented may be at a disadvantage. Family demands may interfere with their careers, causing them to decline overtime or rearrange their work hours, potentially leading to them being perceived as less committed

than their male counterparts. The text then transitions to investigating the leadership style of men.


According to most Management textbooks, leadership is a crucial aspect that every manager must take on as one of the four directions to follow.

In general, many of the maps of direction are activities that are consistent with the definition of leading (Northouse 2004). Leadership has ever been a topic of great involvement, it tends to capture the attending of academic and concern audiences. Burns (1978: 2) argues that leading is one of the most ascertained and least understood phenomena on Earth'. As Stogdill (1974) argues, there are as many definitions as the figure of bookmans in leading, which demonstrate the complexness of this phenomenon. Furthermore, Barker (2001) argues that leading is kindred to conventional cognition, hence, we all know what leading is until person asks us to specify it specially' (Barker, 2001: 475). However, Fiedler (1996) argues that there has been much moaning and groaning in the past that we did n't cognize anything worthwhile about leading, that leading theories and research lacked focal point and were helter-skelter, and some authors asked even whether there is such a thing as leading' (Fiedler, 1996: 241).

Defining leadership can be a complex task as it encompasses various meanings. Leadership is the ability to achieve goals and influence others, which results in their satisfaction. It is important to familiarize readers with this concept, but settling on a single definition that encompasses all these meanings is challenging. Leadership also shares similarities with management in terms of its process.

Leadership and direction both involve influence and direction. They both require working with people. Leadership also focuses

on effective goal achievement and can be seen as an operationalization of the variable. According to Karmel (1978: 476), these similarities exist in both leadership and direction. However, the differences in leadership styles between men and women are especially significant in light of the shift towards flat organizations, team-based management, and increased globalization.

Rosener (1990; 1995) and Adler (1993) propose that women's interactive styles of leadership offer a valuable and distinct approach to leadership, particularly as diversity and networking become more important in the global economy. Women tend to prioritize strategic change, challenge hierarchical structures, emphasize social goals, and practice inclusive management. They favor collaborative work and adopt a principled but hands-off approach, which can inspire motivation among some but also create resentment among others. However, there is evidence suggesting that women often feel pressured to conform to traditional male leadership roles in order to succeed in their chosen professions (Davidson, 1999). Groves (2005) discovered that female leaders naturally perform better in social and emotional skills, leading to higher scores in charismatic leadership. On the other hand, modest women may be perceived as less competent (Rudman, 1998). Overall, the choice of leadership style is expected to align with gender role stereotypes, and this expectation is particularly evident in decision-making. Ultimately, determining the best model of leadership is an impossible task since these models have been observed to be effective in various contexts.According to Sharmila (2009), the majority of these theories share three main dimensions: autocratic/directive, participative, and nurturant-task.

The three main types of leadership behavior, also known as leader behavior, were measured using statements that represented different aspects of leader behavior. An authoritarian leader is someone who

is strict and directive, using their power and influence to control and manipulate their followers (Blau & Scott, 2006). This type of leader dominates and controls all decisions and actions, providing direction and guidance to followers while stifling their creativity and innovation. However, in the era of globalization and the knowledge economy, authoritarian leadership may no longer be accepted by followers who are becoming more competent, independent, and knowledgeable (Tom, 2002). Participative leadership involves engaging, encouraging, and facilitating communication and decision-making between leaders and followers (Yukl, 2006).

The perception is that the workforce is now more knowledgeable and equipped with relevant skills. Subsidiaries prefer managers who allow them to express their opinions rather than suppressing dissent to appease superiors. The new generation of workers desires to have a role in decision making instead of just following orders. Various researchers have found evidence of this preference for a participative leadership style. Additionally, female managers who exhibit a bossy leadership style, traditionally viewed as more masculine, are rated even more negatively in terms of effectiveness compared to male counterparts due to the violation of gender role stereotypes.

Contrary to expectations, adult females are anticipated to possess qualities such as warmth, expressiveness, understanding, compassion, and concern for others (Eagle and Johnson, 1990). According to Groves (2005), women in leadership roles tend to practice participative leadership due to their innate nature characterized by excellent interpersonal skills, ability to share information, and tendency to enhance the dignity of others. Consequently, displaying leadership behavior aligned with their nature enables women to be rated highly effective or even more effective than men (Rosener, 1990). Few studies have explored the possibility that women may exhibit

different managerial behaviors contributing to their performance.

According to Statham, men and women may be equally effective as managers but their managerial style can lead to different perceptions. Women tend to have a task-focused and people-focused approach, while men tend to prioritize image and autonomy. Women are seen as highly attentive to their areas of responsibility and frequently engage with others, prioritizing the task at hand and building relationships. On the other hand, men focus more on themselves and maintaining distance from subordinates, emphasizing their power and contributions in a given situation. They believe that the best management strategy is to remain detached. To gain a comprehensive understanding of why these gender-based differences exist, it is important to consider the perspectives of lower-level employees along with self-assessments by leaders.

The current approach highlights the significance of softer skills, like communication and emotional bonding, in being an effective leader. These qualities are seen as opposed to traditional ideas of power and aggression. Interestingly, these traits can be linked to stereotypically "female" characteristics. As women take on leadership roles and embrace these traits, they excel as directors. Women tend to exhibit transformational behaviors, frequently rewarding performance, whereas men typically display transactional and individualistic tendencies.

Eagly et al. (2003) conducted a meta-analysis that classified three leadership styles that both men and women can adopt: transformational, transactional, and individualistic styles. The individualistic style is characterized by a lack of responsibility for management. The analysis utilized a social role theory approach to leadership behavior, emphasizing the influence of gender roles on leadership roles. According to Eagly et al., the transformational style corresponds with the female gender role, enabling women to thrive as managers.


states that the management style in workplaces varies depending on the gender composition of the managerial team. Having more women in management positions is linked to increased interpersonal communication, greater involvement of managers in employees' career development, and a more democratic decision-making process. When studying male and female leaders, it is typical to include subordinates in the analysis as well. For example, Johnson (1994) argues that the responsibilities and status of a managerial role override any effect of gender on communication between managers and subordinates. However, differences may exist in nonverbal behavior such as smiling and laughing. Callan (1993) has conducted research on communication between managers and subordinates.

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Callan ( 1993 ) He anticipated that both male and female directors who adopt a relationship-oriented approach would be perceived as providing more opportunities for male and female subordinates to discuss issues and express their concerns compared to leaders with a task-oriented approach. It was also assumed that subordinates who perceived the communication to be more frequent and of higher quality would be more satisfied. Female subordinates believed that directors allowed them fewer opportunities for discussion compared to the perceptions of their male counterparts.


Additionally, the cultural stereotype of 'leadership is male', presents a barrier to any woman who aspires to a leadership position. Despite the fact that many researchers have found that there are no significant differences in the innate abilities of male and female directors (Farm horses and Platz, 1986), stereotypes that portray women as less capable leaders than men persist.

The text addresses the topic of stereotypes and cultural biases that assume men are more suitable for leadership roles. It

also highlights how women often have lower expectations in the workplace compared to men. The text emphasizes the barriers women face in reaching leadership positions, citing Coffey et al. (1999) who found that female executives are frequently the sole woman at their level.

Being a lone female voice was often a common aspect for adult women. Female upper directors, who make up approximately 5% of upper directors, are frequently in a 'token' position. Tokens face more job pressure and scrutiny than those in dominant positions due to their visibility within the group, which increases performance expectations (Kanter, 1977). The psychological pressures of being a token inevitably have a long-term negative impact on women's emotions and attitudes. Furthermore, for women seeking promotion or aspiring to reach the CEO position, their minority status often makes it more difficult to access the necessary information from informal sources and networks, creating yet another obstacle in their path towards further advancement.

Surveys indicate that women face obstacles to career progression after the first five years of their careers, when men's compensation, promotion, and job satisfaction begin to surge ahead. Women encounter challenges at work due to negative perceptions of female characteristics and stereotypes, as well as increased visibility as a minority group (Riley, 1993). Additionally, when women enter paid employment, their male partners often do not assume an equal share of household chores and child care responsibilities. Many organizations have implemented family-friendly policies to alleviate the pressures of balancing work and family life; however, employees may be hesitant to utilize these policies due to potential negative effects on their careers. Schwartz (1994) suggests that women assume that using family-friendly policies will result

in career setbacks, but she also concludes that such usage can actually enhance their careers by allowing them to remain connected to the workforce. She further notes that the use of these policies will depend on individual attitudes and corporate culture. Notably, there has been a significant increase in the number of women serving as bank directors in Nigeria.

The role of Nigerian women in business has grown significantly. Despite facing various barriers to full participation in the labor market, economic conditions in the country necessitate women's contribution to supplement their husbands' and parents' earnings. As a result, their importance to the national economy cannot be ignored. In recent years, Nigerian women have achieved more positions of leadership and prestige in management than ever before (Oladejo et al, 2012).

According to Opeke (2002), there is a gradual increase in the number of female employees taking up managerial roles and making decisions. Despite the steady growth of women's participation in the workforce globally, existing gender disparities have resulted in increased inequality in terms of pay and working conditions. The Beijing Platform for Action acknowledges that women still encounter obstacles in achieving economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. The challenges faced by women in management roles continue to be significant and are becoming even more difficult to overcome.

According to Al-Lamki (1999), in many developing states, like Nigeria, there is a low representation of women in management and decision-making positions. This lack of female presence in national and economic development is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. The BBC (2006) reports that out of a total population of 140,431,790, there are approximately 68,086,302 Nigerian women, which accounts for about 50%

of the population. Additionally, an increasing number of women are challenging traditional beliefs that discourage their participation in decision-making and holding authority over others. Thus, the underrepresentation of women in management and decision-making roles in Nigeria must be taken seriously.

The metaphor "the glass ceiling" is often used to describe the barriers that prevent adult females from advancing to senior management positions in large corporations (Morrison et al, 1987). The term was first used in the 1970s to refer to the invisible barrier within company organizational structures that hinders women from reaching top managerial roles (Hansard, 1990). There is now extensive literature on this topic, with evidence from both Western studies showing that women face career obstacles that their male counterparts do not encounter (Davidson, 1999). In the construction industry, the most effective approach to breaking the glass ceiling is not simply recruiting more women or promoting equal opportunities, as this does not automatically bring better management to the industry (Ginige et al, 2007).

According to Kanter (1977), women in managerial positions face vulnerability because they are underrepresented in organizations. The first identified barrier is organizational culture. Secondary sources define organizational culture as "the realities, values, symbols, and rituals held in common by members of an administration and which contribute to the creation of norms and expectations of behavior" (Phillips, Little, and Goodine, 1997). Organizational culture determines behavior within a company, establishes what is valued and what is not, and how authority is asserted (James and Saville-Smith, 1992). The values that often underpin most organizations and shape personal success arguably include money, power, and status. Corresponding behaviors include working long hours and prioritizing productivity, competitiveness, and a

willingness to prioritize work above all else (McKenna, 1997; Cornelius, 1998; Raggins et al., 1998).

According to McKenna (1997) and Cornelius (1998), the values and behaviors within an organization can create an inhospitable environment that many women find difficult. Both women and some men perceive this environment as ineffective in terms of staff interaction (Marshall, 1995). Women argue that an inhospitable culture is a significant barrier to their advancement and a major factor in decreasing their job satisfaction in large companies (Phillips, Little, and Goodine, 1997:571). The lack of women in senior management positions is not solely due to corporate policies and practices but is also influenced by gender-related issues. The existence of the "old boys' network" is often mentioned as a hindrance to female advancement, as women in top positions are seen as threats by their male colleagues who wish to maintain the status quo.

The "old boys' network" refers to exclusive informal groups of male peers who provide each other with information, feedback, and contacts for professional advancement. The presence of a significant number of women in top positions poses a threat to this network, which currently works well in maintaining and enhancing rewards for men at the top. One way that women are kept out of the "old boys' network" is through competency testing, where individuals are repeatedly required to prove their abilities. Rosener (1995) found that male senior executives openly admitted that women in higher-level positions were subjected to competency testing far more frequently than their male counterparts.

Male executives may try to maintain the upper ranks as predominantly male by sending a message to women who attempt to join their sphere that they

are unwelcome and will face difficulties in gaining entry. HR policies and practices have been identified as a significant barrier to women's advancement. A study by Catalyst in 1990 revealed that corporations were not implementing effective diversity initiatives or policies to reduce obstacles for women seeking to rise to senior management positions. The challenge of balancing work and family responsibilities is often cited as a hindrance to female employment and promotion opportunities. The culture of long working hours and a lack of flexibility in scheduling meetings outside of regular business hours can make it difficult for women to attend. Research has shown that women are more likely to reach CEO or top management positions when they have fewer external commitments such as a spouse or children. One of the main inhibiting factors in women's career development is their lack of confidence, which contributes to the perception that women can be their own "worst enemies."Nevertheless, it is possible that viewing this as a way to allocate responsibility for the larger societal issue of gender discrimination could be convenient and should be considered from this perspective. This is not good in any way.

The content of the text is mixed, with some parts being imprecise and generalized. However, it improves as it progresses. I have revised the beginning to suggest better ways of presenting the statement. The rest of the text is generally coherent, although there are occasional jobs with clarity. It is important to be aware of the need to guide the statement and explain your main principle to the reader. Sometimes you accomplish this quite well, but other times it is completely lost. It is necessary

now to provide a summary that highlights the main issues in this chapter and the implications for the way you will analyze the methodology.

Research Methodology

When it comes to conducting research, Bryman (2003), Nachmias (1996), Saunders (2000), and Stokes (2011) provide valuable insights. According to these authors, there are several important decisions that researchers must make before embarking on empirical research, including the methodology used. Now, we will explore the epistemic and ontological perspectives and the attitudes toward human nature.

Ontology is the study of different beliefs about the nature of reality and existence. It involves examining the nature of being and the assumptions we make about it. Researcher should be aware of their ontological perspective as it shapes how they conduct studies on human interactions. Epistemology, on the other hand, explores what should be considered valid knowledge in a particular subject. Hence, before discussing research methods, it is important to consider these perspectives and attitudes in relation to the present study. This study adopts a social constructivist approach, which is in contrast to a rationalist ontology that emphasizes functionalism, quantification, and managerialism. Positivist ontologies assume that we can understand human nature and behavior by observing patterns and relationships in their everyday lives.

Functionalism suggests that these forms will follow a rational nature. In contrast to positivism, societal constructionism is a new paradigm that philosophers have developed, based on the belief that 'reality' is not objective or external, but socially constructed and given meaning by people (Easterby et al, 2002:29). This paradigm rejects the idea that one can learn about everyday life simply by observing it or searching for rational patterns within it. Instead, one must engage in

heightened interaction with research subjects to understand it. Therefore, it challenges the dominant functionalist or 'scientific' paradigm of positivism (Denison, 1996: P 619). This study adopts this ontological perspective for two main reasons: firstly, many authors argue that societal constructivism provides a strong explanatory power for individual and specific social contexts (Denison, 1996: P 635).

The following paragraph discusses the societal context of Nigeria and the experiences of female directors. These experiences are considered socially constructed, limiting any scientific scrutiny. The survey uses both quantitative and qualitative methods to avoid focusing solely on technical or numerical aspects. Using a combined approach is more compatible with a societal constructivist approach in understanding how women progress in leadership roles. The chapter now turns to these two methods, discussing their rationale and how they were implemented. Additionally, the paragraph mentions the value of using quantitative data from questionnaires for conducting research.

In relation to a questionnaire, it is announced in order to maintain high levels of predictive value and accuracy, allowing relevant parties to make appropriate adjustments to their current operations. This is why the survey is conducted, as it aims to provide truth and dependability. However, it is still important to recognize the inherent limitations of questionnaire methods, especially when employing a social constructionist approach to frame the study. For example, Hines (1993: P 729) discusses the difficulties associated with survey research, particularly when dealing with diverse cultural and ethnic minority groups. This poses complex challenges for researchers, including issues related to linguistic and conceptual equality, as well as difficulties that respondents may have with the socio-cultural aspects of the survey/interview process. As seen in the case of Nigeria,

a country with diverse cultural backgrounds and over 250 ethnic groups, conducting such research can be quite challenging.

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