Thesis Statement: The Commonly held perceptions by many people that men are more effective in leadership positions is a challenge and a huge demonization to the female managers, as well as, the organizations and the general society.
Today, most firms are interested in women leaders to fill the positions of top management positions. The major reason is attributed to the changes in demography which has occurred over the previous decades due to the continued decline in birth rate and increased diversity at the workplace. As organizations and their respective work environments change at a higher rate, there is an urgent need to train and develop a work force that will be able to achieve organizational goals.
Currently, the managerial positions coupled with the requirements for effective leadership behavior have changed along with the changes in organizational culture (Drucker, 2006). However, the Commonly held perceptions by many people that men are more effective in leadership positions is a challenge and a huge demonization to the female managers, as well as, the organizations and the general society.
With the changes in organizational structure, there are changes in the hierarchical leadership of workers. This has to pave way for managing high involvement teams which focus on decision making and learning. However, with or without open acknowledgement, management has been described in traditional feminist terms, such as, sharing of responsibility, helping and developing others and creating connected network relationships.
There is an ongoing debate on the differences of leadership styles between men and women. The most pressing issue is whether they approach management issues differently (Gentile, 1998). Most theorists have made arguments that men and women display differences in their outlook, attitudes, as well as, values, during their development and socialization. Consequently, situational theorists argue that the differences in gender are few in business and organizational settings (Gentile, 1998).
Psychologists argue that there are gender differences between men and women in the manner in which they approach the managerial positions. These differences are thought to emanate from the different experiences that men and women encounter during their stages of development. For instance, boys and girls participate in different kinds of activities and are therefore rewarded for different kinds of behavior. In addition, men and women have diverging behaviors and preferences. Thus, the proponents of the psychological perspective believe that the central tendency is for women to demonstrate a greater affiliation, attachment, cooperation, as well as, nurturance, while men will tend to demonstrate more independent, instrumentally oriented, and competitive behaviors (O’Rourke, 2008).
In the New Society of Organizations, Ducker (2006 b) observed that through diversification the performance capacity of organizations have been destroyed. He posits that the society and the entire human community must be multidimensional. Therefore, specialization is more important in the organization, as a tool. Therefore, since modern organization comprises of specialists, each with his or her own narrow area of expertise, the mission statement of each and every organization should be made clear.
In most organizations, people assume that management roles are male oriented due to the assumption that men and women have differences that provide them with advantage over women. Therefore, women are seen to be more suitable in more supportive positions. In addition, women who successfully ascended to leadership positions were seen to adopt the male model of successful managerial behavior (O’Rourke, 2008). Many people support the pluralistic view of the managerial talents and contributions focusing much on the value of women on the leadership positions. Those in support of this view argue that women should not reject the female characteristic, in order, to be successful in the leadership positions.
There are diverging perspectives in the behavior of men and women in managing and organizing workgroups. For instance, women have been seen to favor centrarchies with themselves being at the center of a network instead of being at the top of the hierarchy. They are seen to be interested to be at the centre to facilitate the dissemination of communication and focus more on team building. This is in contrast of the behavior of men who are more likely to see themselves at the top of the pyramid hierarchy, having a distinct chain of command. On the other hand, men tend to establish rules for getting things executed within the organization (Drucker, 2006 b).
Women prefer transformational leadership styles while men prefer transactional leadership styles. Men prefer the exchange of rewards for their services while women are more likely to operate by persuading their subordinates to transform their own personal interest into the interest of the team members. In Addition, women are more concerned with broader organizational goals. Consequently, women encourage participation, power sharing and information among team members; whereas, men report command and control in their managerial styles.
Women apply communication skills as a means to develop or reinforce a relationship through establishing a ground than men. Therefore, on average men tend to apply communication skills to establish their position in the power structure, while women are quite accommodative to take turns as they pass communication to their subordinates (Drucker, 2006 a).
Proponents of situational perspective argue that when men and women hold similar positions, they tend to have similar behaviors. However, there are presumed differences in the behaviors and attitudes of men and women, which can be better explained by the differences in power, and opportunity (Drucker, 2006 a). When it comes to opportunity women tend to be overrepresented in low opportunity jobs. This leads to the idea that women are less committed to their positions than men. In addition, when it comes to power, proponents of the situational perspective believe that women held low power positions, since they are more likely to be seen as group representatives rather than individuals, when it comes to numbers.
There should be efforts to enhance human development, which is an approach which should aim at distributing benefits equitably. Human development should aim at empowering people rather that marginalize women. Therefore, human development should aim at enlarging the choices and opportunities for women and to provide for their participation in decisions affecting the lives of women. Therefore, sustainable human development should be seen as pro-jobs and pro-women in all perspectives.
It is important to consider the challenge that faces man, particularly in the current world with the development of free market, globalization, and human rights activism. Women have made strides to aspire for managerial positions in the job market. This has been propelled by the disappearance of gender differences based on participation in the labor force. However, the rate of advancement of women in the leadership positions is improving but at a very slow pace.
Drucker, C. (2006 a).Gender differences in managerial behavior: The ongoing debate. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Drucker, F. P. (2006 b). Classic Drucker: Essential wisdom of Peter Drucker from pages of Harvard Business Review. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Gentile, M. C. (1998). Managerial excellence through diversity: Text and cases. New York: Waveland Press Inc.
O’Rourke, J. S. (2008). Leading groups and teams. New York: Cengage Learning.