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The Rise of the Feminine Manager
It’s perfectly obvious that women should be better managers than men in today’s topsy-turvy business environment. As we rush into the ’90s, there is little disagreement about what business must become: less hierarchical, more flexible and team-oriented, faster and more fluid. In my opinion, one group of people has an enormous advantage in realising this necessary new vision: women (Peters, 1990). Women managers who have broken the glass ceiling in medium sized, non-traditional organizations have proved that effective leaders don’t come from one mould. They have demonstrated that using the command-and-control style of managing others, a style generally associated with men in large, traditional organizations, is not the only way to succeed (Rosener, 1990)
The Transformational Manager/Leader
Connected to contemporary management theorizing emphasising the need for non-hierarchical, flexible, participative and team-oriented organizations, is the notion of transformational management/leadership. Transformational management/leadership is associated with stereotypes of women and assumptions about how they would lead. The intersection of transformational management/ leadership and gender has contributed to the linking of management with physical and personal traits normally associated with the feminine.
Women in Management
Focus is a comparison of male and female and with the introduction of a notion of difference into our understanding of gender relations, one key question is whether men and women manage differently. The focus has been on whether men and women manage differently in the extent to which they apply transformational or transactional management/ leadership. There is no definitive agreement here but recent research in 2003 indicated that there were small gender differences with women demonstrating more transformational management behaviour. However it is possible that women’s “transformational” approach may be due to:
- Resistance to women adopting a traditional ‘masculine’ style
- Women may have to try harder to be accepted in management roles
Though differences can be detected, research in 2005 suggests that men and women often draw on the notion of difference when talking about their leadership style but when how they manage is actually studied, little difference is observed.