Management of Gender Roles: Marketing the Androgynous Leadership Style in the Classroom and the General Workplace

By Way, A. Danielle; Marques, Joan | Organization Development Journal, Summer 2013 | Go to article overview

Management of Gender Roles: Marketing the Androgynous Leadership Style in the Classroom and the General Workplace


Way, A. Danielle, Marques, Joan, Organization Development Journal


Abstract

This paper reviews perceptions on male and female leaders in educational and corporate environments, aiming to enhance awareness about these perceptions and, consequently, balancing them. The study was conducted among workforce members in the Los Angeles area who were also MBA students. The term androgynous leader is presented in the literature review and verified as an essential leadership trend in contemporary times. The androgynous trend is further solidified through the areas in which the study participants felt that male and female leaders should improve. The data confirmed that both genders should adopt traits from one another in order to become androgynous leaders.

The Problem Definition and Discussion

In the context of business, the importance of leadership remains a critical topic for consideration. Several studies have evaluated the role of women leaders in the corporate sector (Rosener, 1990; Valentine and Godkin, 2000) finding that to rise to more senior positions, one must first be seen to have served as a leader or, at the very least, have potential to be a leader. Mitroussi and Mitroussi, 2009 explored female leaders within the educational sector, finding that perceptions of what represents an exceptional leader are commonly based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, leadership style, culture, and/or politics. Leadership and gender-specifically female leadership within the corporate and academic settings-have been a curiosity amongst a number of scholars (Srand, 1999; Moskal, 1997; Rozier, 1996). A theoretical evaluation of gender and leadership (Appelbaum, Audet, & Miller, 2003) noted,

"To prosper, let alone survive, organizations must excel at both planning and execution: they must be nimble, visionary and get maximum benefit from their resources-all of their resources, including human resources and including women. By failing to maximize the benefit of their female employees, organizations lose in two ways... unique talent and perspective... " (p. 43).

While diversity is generally seen as a value held by organizations, the term is often referenced by race and culture. Diversity within education-specifically within the classroom, is steadily gaining more attention. Training the leaders of tomorrow necessitates understanding our students of today. As such, the questions at hand and the focus of this article are as follows: What are the perceptions of male leaders vs. female leaders? Is how one markets themselves as a strong leader different for males vs. females? Do students prefer male leaders vs. female leaders in the classroom?

Defining Gender, Leadership and Androgyny

In this paper, the authors use the term gender to refer to the psychosocial implications of being male or female, such as beliefs and expectations about what kinds of attitudes, values, skills, and behaviors are more appropriate for, or typical of, one sex than the other (Powell, 2011; Archer & Lloyd, 2002; Lippa, 2005). The term leader is defined as a person in a formally designated leadership position (Butterfield and Grinnell, 1999). Androgyny is a word made up of two Greek roots. "Andro" means male; whereas, "gyn" means female. Androgyny is the state or condition of having a high degree of both feminine and masculine traits. Under these circumstances, human beings have loosely defined impulses and are free to express non-traditional values (Woodhill & Samuals, 2004; Guastello & Guastello, 2003).

Women Leadership within Industry

In 2010, women accounted for 50.9% of the population and 47.1% of the labor force (Department of Labor, 2010; Census, 2010a) but as shown in previous studies (Appelbaum, et al, 2003) female representation at more senior corporate levels remain negligible by comparison: the largest percentage of employed women (40.6%) worked in management, professional, and related occupations; 32.0% worked in sales and office occupations; 21. …

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