Managing Gender Differences

By Simons, George; Cornwall, Sue | Supervisory Management, August 1989 | Go to article overview

Managing Gender Differences


Simons, George, Cornwall, Sue, Supervisory Management


Managing Gender Differences

THE WAY MEN AND WOMEN EACH COMMUNICATE reflects their experiences from the moment someone said, "It's a boy," or "It's a girl." Gender-based misunderstandings can cause anger, frustration, and resentment and, over the longer term, undermine trust and collaboration. Acknowledging the problem exists may be the first step to making communication between the sexes in the workplace clearer and more productive. Because men and women speak the same language, we assume they should be able to understand each other. Not so. The obstacles in cross-gender communication are often greater than those between foreign cultures. The differences that arise in the way men and women each attempt to communicate go back to how they are treated from the moment someone exclaims, "It's a girl," or, "It's a boy!" Despite a quarter century of feminist progress and the many changes in gender roles in society, at a most basic and unconscious level, men and women consistently continue to be: --Talked to and talked about

differently. --Touched and approached

differently. --Dressed and dealt with out of

role assumptions and

expectations that are significantly

different.

Male and female realities

In the business environment, the different male and female realities can sometimes throw us into seemingly inexplicable conflict. The reality of each sex is made up of what we say and do, what we feel and want, and what our work means to us. The conflict sometimes looks like this: --She thinks he doesn't tell her

enough; he doesn't tell her

certain things because he

doesn't think they are

important. --She finds a conversation

insulting; he finds it humorous. --He finds her either too slow

to participate or too

stridently aggressive; she finds it

impossible to speak and be

heard and feels constantly

interrupted. --Both she and he find each

other's emotional states

irrational and a nuisance. --He is uncomfortable with her

and doesn't promote her; she

is uncomfortable with him

and avoids confronting him.

The differences we encounter in foreigners' attitude and behavior can annoy us and unnerve us. We usually start out believing that their ways are wrong and try to change them. But eventually we learn to accept and work with other cultures.

In gender-based misunderstandings, we tend to automatically withdraw, avoid, blame, or punish the other person rather than acknowledge that valid cultural differences might be at the root of our difficulty. This can be done on the individual level, or it can be done in a broader way against the group we see the person representing. Anger, frustration, and resentment can often erupt or, worse, go underground and undermine trust and collaboration.

Ground rules

If we accept the fact that we speak different languages as men and women, we can start to move away from these reactions. Men and women can work together effectively when they: --Distinguish expectations

about each other as men or

women from commitments

they have made to each other. --Ask each other the types of

questions that encourage the

other person to paint a fuller

picture of what they

understand and mean to

communicate. --Offer fuller pictures to

others of how they see,

interpret, and talk to themselves

about the issue at hand. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Managing Gender Differences
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.