Different but Equal: Communication between the Sexes

By Kay E. Payne | Go to book overview

8

Gender and Power

K. Payne,H. E. Fuqua, Jr., andJ. Cangemi

He or she who dies with the most toys wins!

Anonymous

This chapter describes power through the lens of gender. It discusses (1) the sources and types of power; (2) the currencies, strategies, and tactics for gaining power; (3) the advantages and disadvantages for men and women; and (4) the perceived sense of powerlessness. The lens of gender acts to delineate some of the misunderstandings in the power style traditionally used by males and females and the way those styles affect workplace productivity and interpersonal competence. Many women have negative feelings about power, expressing discomfort with the idea of using it. Many men assume they will be expected to wield power in many of their life capacities and consequently tend to be comfortable with the idea and may feel threatened as women assert themselves in the power arena. In any case, men and women traditionally have used power differently and have accessed it with differing degrees of expertise. Among those who fail to access power, perceived powerlessness causes them to react in unique ways. This chapter discusses these ideas.


INTRODUCTION

Power requires the ability to produce an effect; it is described by Dubin (1951) as exclusive to membership in organizations. Given this, we carry

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