Communication Differences Between Men and Women in the Work Place

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Communication Differences between Men and Women in the work place Neh Awundaga
Anne Rainey
CHFD 445 (Family Communication)
July 20th 2011

Communication Differences between Men and Women in the work place
Men and women have cohabited on the planet with all the idiosyncrasies which are well known and experienced by all of us at some stage of our life. Men and women who live together also at the same places have to work together and in the process are known to get entangled with their personal perspectives. It is my position that men and women are equal but different. When I say equal, I mean that men and women have a right to equal opportunity and protection under the law. The fact that people in this country are assured these rights does not negate my observation that men and women are at least as different psychologically as they are physically. For centuries, the differences between men and women were socially defined and distorted through a lens of sexism in which men assumed superiority over women and maintained it through domination. As the goal of equality between men and women now grows closer we are also losing our awareness of important differences. In some circles of society, politically correct thinking is obliterating important discussion as well as our awareness of the similarities and differences between men and women. The vision of equality between the sexes has narrowed the possibilities for discovery of what truly exists within a man and within a woman. The world is less interesting when everything is same. Gender differences in the workplace typically stem from social factors, which influence the behaviors of men and women. Some organizations welcome gender diversity and encourage the inclusion of both sexes when making company decisions and offering promotional opportunities. Other organizations discourage gender inclusion and promote bias in the workplace. With most companies, gender differences add value and varying perspectives to an organization Gender differences involve both physical and emotional factors. They are essentially the characteristics that influence male and female behavior in the workplace. These influences may stem from psychological factors, such as upbringing, or physical factors, such as an employee's capability to perform job duties. Differences may also stem from gender stereotypes related to men and women. For instance, a stereotypical assessment is that women belong in the home while men work and provide support. Stereotypes often lead to sex discrimination in the workplace. I decided to research the questions, “Do women and men communicate differently?” and “Does it make a difference in the workplace?”  In conducting the research, I came across very interesting articles and have summarized the findings below. This article by Fiona Sheridan was aimed at conveying the outcome of a study she conducted which examined “the role that gendered talk plays in the workplace in both task and non-task related interactions” (2007, p. 319).  Ms. Sheridan’s research found that men and women communicate differently in workplace situations based on their gender and that “the consequences of differences in linguistic activity between men and women in the workplace are enormous” (2007, p. 320).  For example, the study found that men and women are different in the way they give orders, manage people and the communication they use for both.  According to her research, men tend to be more direct when giving orders while women have a tendency to be more indirect, “soften their demands and statements” and “use tagged phrases like ‘don’t you think’ following the presentation of an idea, ‘if you don’t mind’ following a demand or ‘this may be a silly idea, but’ preceding a suggestion” (2007, p. 323). Unfortunately, perception is often reality, and while women may not mean to come across as being tentative, our style of communication may actually hinder us at...
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