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Leadership, A Gender Comparison Essay

1360 words - 6 pages

“Don’t just stand for the success of other women – insist on it.” (Gail Blanke, 1999, p.138)
The purpose of this project is to construct a gender comparison of women in senior management with a view to identifying why women appear to be more successful in reaching this level in some sectors more than others. In particular the author wants to analyse the IT sector where research (Feyerherm et al, 2005) suggests that women are apparently more successful in reaching senior management positions. Why is this happening at the current time, particularly in the USA and not in the United Kingdom (Catalyst Report, 2013, Grant Thornton International Business, 2013). Traditionally the ...view middle of the document...

Following from this the project will also explore the reasons for women becoming more successful in achieving senior management roles in the IT sector.

The report will examine the following areas:
 Theory on leadership styles and new trends
 Corporate culture
 Constraints and critical success factors for females in senior management
 IT sector

Through the use of literary articles and other academic and relevant material this research paper will deliver an overview of leadership styles, traits and characteristics offering a contrast between genders and exploring new trends in preferred leadership styles identifying possible links as potential indicators of success. The research will focus on female success in American technology industry using Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Facebook as a case study. The rationale for this research is to gain an understanding of why so few females achieve ‘chief executive’ positions.

Management Context
Differentiating between management and leadership is a debate that has been contested for decades. Clichés such as managers doing the ‘thing right’ and leaders doing the ‘right thing’ (Drucker, 1993) has created a focus on leadership versus management styles that has often become gender stereotyped. Traditionally managers have four main functions; organising, planning, leading and controlling (Griffin, 2002). Within the wider corporate sector, the leadership component is often reduced at management level and expressed through the vision of the CEO or senior management team. In this context, women rarely get the opportunity to espouse a leadership vision or lead change at a strategic level (Wajcman, 1998). As this report will examine later, tradition, history and socialisation processes have contributed to this pattern. The capitalist model developed at a time when men controlled society and wives were property not equals. Women had no rights and were not considered capable of higher education or holding any position in society outside the home. This is the context within which the management model as we understand it evolved.
In organisations, there are generally three different levels of managers: first level managers, middle level managers, and top level managers (Griffin, 2002). These different managerial levels operate in a hierarchy of importance and authority. In many organisations, the number of managers in every level resembles a pyramid, in which the first level has many more managers than middle level and top level managers, respectively. As mentioned above, this hierarchical management framework supported the fundamentally embedded inequality that promoted men and essentially ignored women because traditionally they stayed at home. In addition the traditional hierarchical model is viewed as slow, mechanistic with centralised control and authority, vertical communication and clearly defined tasks (Loosey et al, 2005). This rigidity and inflexibility has...

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