Gender Differences and Leadership

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Proceedings 2nd CBRC, Lahore, Pakistan November 14, 2009

Prof. Dr. Mahmood A Bodla COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Sahiwal Ghulam Hussain COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Sahiwal

ABSTRACT Gender diversity at workplace with respect to leadership practices and need for leadership among followers have drawn the considerable research attention among leadership researchers across the world. A number of studies depicting the masculine and feminine leadership practices and followers’ needs and preferences pertaining to leadership have been conducted in American and European Contexts during the last couple of decades, yet this subject area is the most neglected area for the behavioral scientists in Pakistan. Therefore, this study aims at exploring the difference in opinions of both male and female subordinates about their leaders’ leadership characteristics. Secondly, it aims at determining the extent to which male and female employees differ in their need for leadership in banking sector of Pakistan. As a result, the implications of the study for practitioners and researchers are offered at the end. Keywords: Gender diversity,, leadership characteristics, and need for leadership

1. INTRODUCTION Gender diversity is among the leading changes that have eventuated in organizations over the years and has become catalyst for researchers in understanding the behavioral differences of men and women at workplace. In this regards, two issues have been broadly addressed by earlier studies a) the differences in leadership characteristics in masculine and feminine perspectives b) dissimilarities in needs and preferences of male and female subordinates. It is evident that gender differences have strong impact on leadership styles of supervisors (Eagly et al., 1987 & 1990 & 2001 & 2003; Loden, 1985; Rosner, 1990; Kanter, 1995; Kelley, 1997; Lorocca, 2003; Sim and Ansari, 2005; Nyberg, Bernin, and Theorell, 2005 and Stafyla, 2008) and on subordinates’ preferences for leaders’ interventions (de Vries, 1997). While considering these two issues, the present study is framed in Pakistani context and will be carried out in the banking sector of Pakistan to examine the behavioral dissimilarities of male and female employees. Firstly, it aims at investigating the gender’s impact on leadership characteristics. Secondly, it aims to explore the gender’s influence on need for leadership among followers. To put both the issues in perspective, next section elucidates these issues in separate subsections with related research findings from the earlier literature.

1.1 IMPACT OF GENDER ON LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS The influence of gender on leadership practices are extensively explored by researchers across the world, yet this area in not free from ambiguities due to inconsistent opinions of theorists. On one side, proponents (e.g. Graen, 1976; Terbogr, 1977; Wanous, 1977 and Eagly et al., 2001) theorize similarity in leadership styles of both male and female managers. They advocate that paid job holders are expected to follow the standardized instructions. Moreover, they assert that employees occupying managerial positions have to perform necessary activities of planning, coordinating, directing and providing work related feedback to the followers. On the other hand, Money and Ehrhardt (1972), Henning and Jardin (1977), Sargent (1981), and Hall (1984) hypothesize that male and female leadership behaviors are different due to biological dissimilarities and differences in personality traits. Theorists debate continues, however, a number of studies have also evidenced some differences in male and female leadership practices. A careful analysis of literature provides that majority of studies assessed masculine and feminine leadership in terms of: a) autocratic vs. democratic or task oriented vs. human oriented b)...
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