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Attitudes Towards Gender and Leadership Effectiveness

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Attitudes towards Gender and Leadership Effectiveness

By: Claire Duthil
Attitudes towards Gender and Leadership Effectiveness

Abstract This paper seeks to review and discuss the roles of gender in leadership and how they are effective. As shown from previous overviews, the evidence for sex differences in leadership behavior is still mixed, yet it is clear that these sex differences have not vanished. Although we are in the 21st century, women face hardship every day in the workplace as leaders. It is argued that sex differences in leadership styles is one of the main reasons in which male and female leaders work with different styles. Organizational factors like sex-composition of the immediate working context and hierarchical level are important moderators of leadership styles. For example, women are more likely than men to lead in a style that is effective under contemporary conditions (Eagly, Carli, 2003). To contrast these claims, Veccho claims that "women have some disadvantages in typical leadership style but suffer some disadvantages from prejudicial evaluations of their competence as leaders, especially in masculine organizational contexts" (Veccho, 2002). All in all women are rising into leadership roles at all levels.

Problem Statement The society has always been in a need of effective management and efficient leaders on top. The roles of leaders determine the course and successfulness of the processes in all walks of life. In times of booming globalization and diversity at the workplace, female leaders are as effective as males and are capable to lead staff and manage complex processes. The rapid development of the contemporary business environment is shifted by the booming globalization and unprecedented changes caused by fierce competition on the global marketplace. Along with such remarkable transformations the concept of leadership is facing numerous challenges to withstand keep up with the flow of time. Hence, it is high time that corporate chief executive officers (CEOs) reconsidered their vision of leadership styles and approaches and motivational techniques applied by HR leaders engaged in managing HR departments. The implementation of these tasks is impossible without appropriate knowledge and skills (overall background) acquired by HR managers. Regrettably, too few CEOs understand that their HR managers lack solid background to effectively manage and motivate their employees. Lacking such background disables HR leaders to build awareness within their teams, facilitate employees and show commitment, as well as properly allocate the available resources. This issue is high on the international managerial agenda and its solution requires proper consideration.

Hypothesis The contemporary paradigm for diversity management transcends traditional moral arguments while seeking to synthesize diversity with business perspectives. Diversity, based on various social and multicultural differences, aims at establishing functional professional environment wherein every person plays an important part. Ethically, diversity management practices recognize both individual and systematic social and psychological differences between people. Thus, any individual is a unique person, with a unique psychological and social status i.e. male/female; heterosexual/homosexual; black/white; working class/middle class and so on. The diversity management models accept the philosophies of former paradigms by promoting equality of opportunity for all employees whilst acknowledging cultural differences among people and recognising and respecting the value of those differences. The diversity management approaches enable today’s companies to internalise various differences among employees so that the organisation learns and grows because of these differences (Compton, 1995).

Literature Review It might seem rather difficult to understand differences between various cultures, yet over almost 30 years cultural differences seem more approachable to all of us due to comprehensive research conducted by Geert Hofstede. His theoretical framework widens our perception of various differentiating features that exist among cultures (Lere and Portz, 2005). Today, Hofstede’s cultural framework is extensively applied in a variety of cultural, management, Internet and information technology contexts, and therefore is considered as a lead cultural paradigm. On the basis of Hofstede’s scoring system human resource managers are able to better understand and assess cultural bhparticularities of a certain country, and further apply relevant practices appropriate for that culture (Cook and Finlayson. 2005). Geert Hofstede identified five cultural dimensions, namely: (1) Power distance; (2) Collectivism vs. individualism; (3) Femininity vs. masculinity; (4) Uncertainty avoidance; and (5) Long-term vs. short-term orientation (Cook and Finlayson. 2005). Hofstede’s masculinity or ‘goal orientation’ predetermines materialistic and aggressive behavior to reach one's goals and/or ambitions (Firoz et al, 2002). Overall, in Hofstede’s terms, masculinity is focused on the extent to which society is able to reinforce the conventional masculine role model of male attainment, power and control. At that, masculinity distributes the socio-cultural roles between genders. In due context, Hofstede states that women’s values are different from men’s among various societies. Moreover, men’s values are mainly competitive and assertive, whereas feminine values are caring and modest. Hence, ‘high masculinity ranking’ assumes high degree of gender differentiation, with the dominance of masculine role-model, whereas ‘low masculinity ranking’ assumes low differentiation between genders (Gorman, 2006). Thus, masculine/feminine controversy regards the cultural differences between gender roles. To this end, Lere and Portz (2005) state that “Social gender roles are clearly distinct, meaning that men are predominantly tough, assertive, and focused on material success, whereas women are tender, modest and mainly concerned with the quality of life” (p.63).

Analysis The diversity management approaches enable today’s companies to internalise various differences among employees so that the organisation learns and grows because of these differences (Compton, 1995). Gender, race, cultural, religious, sexual, political etc differences and any other distinguishing features identify personal uniqueness and professional environment he/she is involved in as well. Such diversity is important in strategies terms when company’s management evaluates supply and demand, customer preferences, target markets etc, as internal workforce diversity to a great extent shape’s corporate external operation and indicates overall business performance and competitiveness. Managing these issues in an insufficient manner would, first of all, result in extra expenses to a company hiring diverse staff. Secondly, internal interrelationship would be never built between employees, and therefore operational outcomes would remain weak. Thereupon, diversity management should be considered from various approaches to reach agreement and consolidation in all possible respects (Sinclair and Wilson, 2000). In due context, it is noteworthy that diversity complexities would enable better understanding the peculiarities of managing diversity at workplace. Workplace psychology under the equity theory refers to the essential factors which influence individual’s assessment and perception of their relationship with their work, and thereby their employer. Positive outcomes and high levels of motivation can be expected only when employees perceive their treatment to be fair. The idea behind Adams’ Equity Theory is to strike a healthy balance here, with outputs on one side of the scale; inputs on the other – both weighing in a way that seems reasonably equal. If the balance lies too far in favour of the employer, some employees may work to bring balance between inputs and outputs on their own, by asking for more compensation or recognition. Others will be de-motivated, and still others will seek alternative employment (Beer et al, 1984). In fact, any person becomes de-motivated when inputs outweigh outputs contributed to work. Whenever this is a case, a person may negatively react to such situations. For instance, the extent of de-motivation is proportional to the perceived disparity between inputs and expected outputs. Furthermore, others would lower their effort and application and become inwardly disgruntled, or outwardly difficult, recalcitrant or even disruptive. Finally, many of us may seek improvement of outputs by making claims or demands for more reward, or alternatively, looking for an alternative job. Thereupon, optimally, each person should work under a fair balance between inputs and outputs. In particular, according to the theory, inputs include: effort, loyalty, hard work, commitment, skill, ability, adaptability, flexibility, tolerance, determination, heart and soul, enthusiasm, trust in our boss and superiors, support of colleagues and subordinates, personal sacrifice, etc. On the other hand, outputs are as follows: financial rewards and remunerations (pay, salary, expenses, perks, benefits, pension arrangements, bonus and commission - plus intangibles - recognition, reputation, praise and thanks, interest, responsibility, stimulus, travel, training, development, sense of achievement and advancement, promotion, etc (Pilbeam and Corbridge, 2006). In addition to this, equity theory is directly linked with motivation at workplace which was proven by Peter Drucker. Therefore, the most highly motivated employee is the one who perceives his rewards are equal to his contributions. If he feels that he is working and being rewarded at about the same rate as his peers, then he will judge that he is being treated fairly. As well as this, research on equity theory and employee motivation has shown that, in general, over-rewarded employees will produce more and of a higher quality than will under-rewarded, less motivated employees (Drucker, 1954).

Methodology The research paper provides a critical evaluation of the problem of leadership and female roles in managing complex processes. The research is based on the referred material which is relevant to management practice, contribution to theoretical knowledge, methods and methodology, as well as other appropriate criteria. The analysis is based on the variety of references cited in accordance with the APA referencing style. The principal objectives of the research have been met on the theoretical approaches. This research shows the importance of the development of leadership skills for the managers involved in the process towards management and leadership models. Alternative approaches can be further applied to enrich the investigation with more opportunities and reveal new findings.

Discussion and Findings Over the past two decades, diversity management has become critical while operating a culturally diverse workforce. Booming globalization along with the changing composition of the population, and increasing dependence on the non-traditional workforce talent have provided the increasing demand for the diversity management implementation as an effective managerial tool (Montes, 2000). Management skills are widely applied to manage staff from different cultural backgrounds and social behaviours. However, this is not always easy task to perform as diversity covers such issues as: international operation of corporations (e.g. trans-national corporations), expatriate employment, tensions due to idiosyncrasies of multinational companies, multicultural miscommunications gender, and inter-organizational cultural differences. Managing these issues in an insufficient manner would, first of all, result in extra expenses to a company hiring diverse staff. Secondly, internal interrelationship would be never built between employees, and therefore operational outcomes would remain weak. Thereupon, diversity management should be considered from the variety of approaches to reach agreement and consolidation in all possible respects (Sinclair, Wilson, 2000). In this context, it is important to remember that diversity complexities would enable better understanding the peculiarities of managing diversity at workplace. Particularly, failure to manage diversity has significant cost implications for organizations. Research has indicated that turnover among women and non-Caucasian employees are a significant and costly problem. The turnover rate for African-American workers in the U.S. workforce is 40 percent higher than the rate for whites and the turnover rate for women is twice as high as the rate for men (Schwartz, 1989). Such high turnover rates increase the expenditure on recruitment and training. For example, the added recruitment, staffing and training costs per person are estimated at $5,000 to $10,000 for an hourly worker and $75,000 - $211,000 for an executive at around the $100,000 salary level. A Fortune 500 utility company found that it was losing $15.3 million per year because of the costs associated with systemic gender bias, such as turnover and loss of productivity. Ortho Pharmaceuticals stated that its diversity initiatives resulted in savings of $500,000 mainly from lower turnover among women and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, diversity includes both personal and organization-related features, including observable and unobservable characteristics, specifically: “race, ethnicity, gender, age, tenure, functional background, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, education, physical and mental ability, values, and attitudes”. These vital issues on the management agenda shows workforce productivity as diverse members get opportunity to maintain better interaction. This process is both creative and demands permanent innovations, and therefore helps to consider various problems from many different angles, make efficient decisions and solve problems in an effective manner. In order to achieve sound diversity in teamwork, Human Resource Management (HRS) strategies should be engaged to ensure that all team members remain goal-oriented and motivated (O’Flynn, Sammartino, & Nicholas, 2002). Considering the abovementioned, it is apparent that socio-cultural and behavioural differences and similarities identify diversity as a strategic approach to doing business both locally and internationally. At that, it is important to cope with similarities and differences simultaneously as with the entire picture, instead of separate components, including: people, approaches, attitudes, ideas or specific items (Thomas, 2006). Within such mixture it is rather important to specifically apply diversity approaches in each particular case. Diverse workforces reflect the today’s changing world and market place. Diverse work teams bring high value to organizations. Individual mindsets are changing dramatically, while placing more emphasis on being accepted and respected as individuals. Diversity management can potentially benefit today’s working environment by creating fair and safe conditions wherein every individual has equal access to opportunities and challenges. In order to sustain competitive advantage, today’s companies widely attract and retain skilled human resources from a wide (diverse) pool of talent. Fierce competition, high unemployment and economic recession necessitate the companies to consider purely professional values of the candidates and eliminate any forms of discrimination since talented staff is being more and more regarded as their most valuable asset. Thus non-whites, women, and the representatives of minority groups are becoming corporate leaders in those business environments where diversity is much valued and respected. Research on turnover indicates that women traditionally have higher turnover rates compared to men, whereby the primary reason for quitting was the lack of career growth opportunities and dissatisfaction with the rate of progress in the organisation. Various multi- cultural conflicts as well as the lack of career prospects were long seen as the major factor behind the different satisfaction levels. Thus, diverse similarities and differences among the workforce will not cause a huge problem whenever sound diversity management policies are implemented. They will eventually enable diverse teams to benefit by the diversity of perspectives and learning that comes from understanding the different way of doing things. Teamwork is the key to successful company’s operations. Hence, careful selection of the team members is essential to create a balance of diversity in teams. The most recent researches conducted in various countries prove that in times of global economic crisis, workplace discrimination tends to increase whenever people are threatened by such outside factors as finances. The financial downturn has overall resulted in the decrease in employee’s bonuses, promotions, layoffs and furloughs etc. The intensified competition for fewer resources and jobs has generally caused tensions and stigmas among the workforce, which has dramatically separated the minority groups. In times of economic uncertainty, the socially disadvantaged groups are feeling the lack of effect expected from the diversity programs. Economic downturn has adversely impacted the demand for the unprivileged employees; in turn, such situation has provoked even more unemployment, which is the ultimate problem in England, considering that the country has been in the state of economic recession. The conclusions retrieved from the most recent surveys and studies indicate that the ideals of diversity are promoted only during positive economic times, when hiring a minority candidate assures a company additional affirmative action points. Over the period of economic slowdown, employers tend to isolate outsiders and therefore increase the instances of workplace discrimination. HR mangers should avoid any types of prejudice in today’s workplace that is featured as highly unstable. This is because short-term benefits from cutting off the diversity-oriented programs will eventually cause a company long-term losses as well as an adverse affect to its reputation (Pager, 2009).

Conclusions The few last decades have evidenced the increase in gender discrimination charges. In particular, age discrimination, racial prejudice, and sexual bias, have become among the commonest complaints forwarded by the today’s employees. The overall situation indicates that managers should take firm action to safeguard against discrimination at the workplace by acting in accordance with the antidiscrimination laws and corporate codes of ethics, as well as managing daily processes at the workplace with ultimate care and attention (Drake, 2000). Considering this, the empirical focus on the diversity promotion should not be underestimated since creating and sustaining highly functional professional environment wherein every person plays an important part should be primarily based on various social and multicultural differences.

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Branfield, F. and Maynard, C. (2001), Common Barriers and Their Removal, A Report of Research into Barriers to Employment and Training Faced by Disabled People and Their Employers and Training Providers, Breakthrough UK Ltd, Manchester.
Cook, J., Finlayson, M. (2005) The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Web Site Design, S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal. Cincinnati: Vol. 70, Iss. 3; pg. 15, 10 pgs
Drake, R.F. (2000), "Disabled people, New Labour, benefits and work", Critical Social Policy, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 421-39.
Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L.L. (2003). The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence. The Leadership Quarterly
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Gong, W., Zhan, G., Rodney, L., Stump, L. (2007) Global internet use and access: cultural considerations. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics. Patrington: Vol. 19, Iss. 1; pg. 57
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Hofstede, G. (2006) What did GLOBE really measure? Researchers' minds versus respondents' minds Journal of international Business Studies. Washington: Vol. 37, Iss. 6; pg. 882
Lere, J., Portz, K. (2005) Management Control Systems in a Global Economy, The CPA Journal. New York: Vol. 75, Iss. 9; pg. 62, 3 pgs O’Flynn, J., Nicholas, S., & Sammartino, A. (2001). ‘Diversity Management: The Big Picture’, Retrieved April 20 2009 from
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... |Article 3 | |Title/Author(s) |Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector: Does Structure |The Effect Of Transactional and Transformational |The Reality of Web-Based Interaction in an | | |Matter? |Leadership Styles on the Organizational Commitment and |Egyptian Distance Education Course | | | |Job Satisfaction of Customer Contact Personnel | | | |Wright & Pandey | |Alaa Sadik | | | |Emery & Barker | | | | | | | |Purpose of the study |To test existing paradigms regarding transformational leadership.|To examine the connection between transactional and |To construct a web-based learning environment......

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...AUTHENTIC VERSUS TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: ASSESSING THEIR EFFECTIVENESS ON ORGANIZATIONAL CITIZENSHIP BEHAVIOR OF FOLLOWERS Thomas H. Tonkin Regent University ABSTRACT With the corporate scandals of the 2000s, many employees in organizations are clamoring for authenticity in their leaders. Though authenticity appears to be a noble trait, how effective is this as a leadership approach, specifically in increasing altruistic employee organizational citizenship behaviors? Is authentic leadership more effective than other leadership approaches, such as transformational leadership? This study examined the extent to which authentic leadership is a stronger predictor of employee organizational citizenship behavior (OCBs) compared to transformational leadership. The analysis also investigated the extent to which overall job satisfaction mediated the relationship between authentic leadership and OCBs. The findings suggest that in fact three out of the fours sub scales in authentic leadership had a positive effect on both overall job satisfaction and the OCB of altruism. This study implies suggestions for practical interventions based on the associated theories found in this paper. Keywords: Authentic leadership, transformational leadership, job satisfaction OCBs INTRODUCTION Though there are many theories on leadership, one view is agreed by most scholars, leadership is a real phenomenon that is critical for the effectiveness of organizations (Bennis, 2003;......

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