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Gender Based Difference in Managerial Styles

Essay by   •  October 31, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  3,493 Words (14 Pages)  •  2,124 Views

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Executive Summary

This report looks at several researches that have studied the managerial styles of males and females with an attempt to define perceived differences between them. In addition discussed are the results from studies on the effectiveness of managers between the two genders. The results of these studies have been analyzed through readings of several researches and personal experiences of the students doing this report.

Studies say both genders are at least equally effective in the business world and that success is affected by diverse individual factors and has very less to do with gender. Commonly held perceptions of males being more effective managers are not only a loss to the female manager, but a loss to the organization and society as a whole.

A note on the report writers

The team consists of six members Ð'- five males and one female. The gents are in Executive positions with at least four years of full-time work experience and the lady a middle level manager with a total of 10 years in the corporate world out of which five have been in a management position. Although cultural issues are out of the scope of this assignment, the ethnicity of the members is thought to be relevant. All group members are from the Indian sub-continent, except one member who is a Middle Eastern male. All members work experience have been derived in the UAE and most members have been in the country for at least six years.

Snap-shots of the brainstorming session

Researches Used

Extensive researches have been conducted on the topic of gender-based difference in managerial styles. All members prior to commencing of the session have thoroughly read these. An example of one of the researches used has been attached in the appendix and outlined below:

Management Research Group (MRG) has conducted a study on gender differences and leadership that claims to have eliminated key shortcomings that other such researches have, such as small number of participants, reliance on self-reports, use of inappropriate subjects, uncontrolled differences etc. This research claims to be the largest controlled study of gender differences in leadership style with data compiled over 15 years. Further details of this research participants and form of research can be found in the research report in the appendix section.

Discussion between the team members

Almost all the team members have reported to both male and female bosses at some point in their career. A couple of team members have also supervised/managed members of both sexes.

The discussion between the team members included an example of two managers (one male and one female), coming from similar cultural backgrounds, in the same organization, with about the same level of experience, managing (almost) the same team, in similar business situations, over different periods.

Another notable, example used was between two managers from different organizations but from the same (Tourism) industry and at similar designations and responsibilities.

The presence of both genders in the team evenhanded the debate well. The report and its conclusions we believe are well-balanced and a result of

- studying and scrutinizing several researches in detail and

hours spent discussing, brainstorming and intelligent probing of views and experiences

Democratic Vs Autocratic Management styles

Several studies reviewed either conclude, state or at least hint that women managers adopt a more participatory management style. This can be partly substantiated by one such extensive meta-analysis of 162 studies by Eagly and Johnson (1990: 108, 233-256). They concluded one major difference in leadership style is that women tend to have a more democratic approach, with more collaboration and sharing of decision-making, while men tend to be more autocratic and directive.

There is a strong consensus amongst the group members that the level of participatory management style followed is also influenced by other factors, one major factor being the nature of business or the type of division the manager heads.

Concluding on this factor however, the personal experiences and perception of the group correspond with the studies. Instead of defining the female manager as democratic and the male manager as autocratic, it is more unanimously agreed that female managers are generally more democratic or less autocratic than their male counterparts. In both personal experience examples discussed earlier on, it was found that the male manager was relatively more directing, while the female manager more participative.

Task Vs Strategy Orientation

The first dimension considers an orientation towards task achievement or getting things done, whereas the strategy orientation is a where the leader considers the big picture and is thinking more strategically.

The MRG research report on Leadership and Gender (Kabacoff, Peters 1998: 4-5) states that women tended to be more task focused and scored higher on leadership scales measuring an orientation toward setting high standards of performance and the attainment of results. Women were far more apt to organize work in a structured way, to follow-up to ensure objectives were met and to push for results.

Men were viewed as more apt to take a strategic approach to the leadership role. They score higher on scales assessing and orientation towards strategic planning and business vision. Men appeared to co-workers to be more open to new ideas and willing to take risks. In general, men's orientation seems to be more thoughtful, considering both lessons from the past and viability of opportunities for change in the future (Kabacoff, Peters 1998: 5).

Generally, personal experiences of the group matches with this research. However, the (only) woman in the group strongly held on to the perception that women appear to be only task-oriented and that behind

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