Actual and Perceived Differences Between
Male and Female Leaders
Though we are similarly built, the physiological differences between male and female humans are quite easy to spot. Men and women differ in shape, size and reproductive organs; there is no question about that. Observing behavioral differences between men and women requires observation, statistical evidence and research. To accurately evaluate male and female behavioral differences, we must first understand perception, and to understand perception one must study how behavior is observed and interpreted. This opens up a new realm of possibilities, since societies throughout the world differ on their expected roles for male and female. For objectivity, this report will focus on actual and perceived differences between male and female leaders. The report will study how men and women differ in expressing leadership, and how their leadership is interpreted by facts and also by perception. The report will examine peer-reviewed research literature addressing male and female leadership differences present in contemporary executive, managerial and political context. The report will also examine statistical data and an interview that directly addresses the question of actual and perceived differences between male and female leadership. An observation conducted specifically to interpret perceived differences between male and female leaders by lower level employees will also be used as research knowledge on the subject matter. The information obtained in the literature and observations will then be compared against concepts covered by the article ‘A Framework for Understanding Social Identity Perspectives’ in the textbook ‘Understanding and Managing Diversity’. In conclusion the research report will do an in depth review of the information and knowledge covered throughout this research and results and form a foundation of knowledge which can be applied in a real world setting in a meaningful way.
To understand differences between male and female leaders, it perhaps is best to understand how these differences are perceived. The perception of an individual can greatly differ depending on the viewpoint of the observer. A subject who is both educated and articulate can be defined by an observer as a worthy and accomplished individual. The observer in this case has assigned positive qualities to describe the subject. The same educated and articulate individual can be defined as conceited and stuck-up by a second observer. The second observer has assigned negative qualities to describe the individual. Suppose an unbiased scientific study concludes the educated and articulate individual is in fact worthy, accomplished, yet conceited and stuck-up, how is this possible and what does this say about the perception of the observers? According to Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, assistant professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, perceptions can and do change within the context of executive...