Gender and Leadership: Literature Review

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Topics: Leadership
Gender and Leadership

Literature Review

1. Introduction

Leadership theories and literature describe what leaders should do and on the other hand literature also exists on what leaders actually do, the former are prescriptive and the latter are descriptive (Bratton et al; 2005). Leadership style is a relatively consistent set of behaviours that characterise a leader (DuBrin; 1995). The main leadership theories encompass the trait, behaviour, contingency, power influence, and gender influence and exchange leadership perspectives.

This paper focuses on transformational leadership and thus will detail the theory underpinning transformational leadership vis a vis gender differences in leadership. A brief discussion on Leadership effectiveness as it relates to gender and Leadership styles will also be shown. In a study of gender and leadership styles it is important to highlight the deeper foundations that have a bearing on why men and women may lead differently. One of those causes has been found to be culture; a brief review of this construct and its’ bearing on gender has also been outlined in this section.

3.2 Gender and Leadership

Swanepoel et al (2003) define gender as a “demographic factor that may influence Human Resources Management in organisations and which can lead to similar problems of discrimination in the workplace”. DuBrin (1995) state that the terms sex and gender arouse controversy both scientifically and politically. He further states that the term gender refers to perceptions about the differences among males and females whilst sex differences refer to actual tangible differences such as the fact that the mean height of men is greater than that of women. The terms gender and sex are, however, often used interchangeably.

Task and interpersonal styles in leadership research are obviously relevant to gender because of the stereotypes people have about sex



References: Ashforth BE & Saks M. 1996: Socialization Tactics: Longitudinal Effects on Newcomer Adjustment, Academy of Management Journal, 39, 147-178 Alvesson M & BillingYD Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectation. New York: Free Press. Bass, B. M. (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics, (Winter): 19-31. Bass, B., & Avolio, B. (1994). Shatter the glass ceiling: Women may make better managers. Human Resource Management, 33, 549-560. Bass, B., Avolio, B., & Atwater, L. (1996). The transformational and transactional leadership of men and women. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 45, 5-34. Bennis W. 1992: On the Leading Edge of Change, Executive Excellence v9n4? Spacing? Check your referencing guidelines (Apr), p5-6 Bloodgood M, Bolino MC, Lester SW & Turnley WH Bendixen M & Thomas A. 2000: The Management Implications of Ethnicity in South Africa, Journal of International Business Studies, 31, 3,507-519 Blunt P& Jones ML Butterfield, A. and Grinnel, J. P. (1999). Re-viewing gender, leadership, and managerial behavior: Do three decades of research tell us anything? In G. N. Powell (Ed.), Handbook of gender and work. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Carless SA Carli LL. and Eagly A H. 2001: Gender, hierarchy, and leadership: an introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 57, 629-636. Colff L. 2003: Leadership lessons from the African tree, Journal of Management Decision, 41(3), 257-261 Cooper DR Denston LI, Gray J & Sarros JC. 2002: Leadership and its impact on organisational culture, International Journal of Business Studies, 10 (2): 1-26 Denton Dickson MW, Hartog DN & Mitchelson JK. 2003: Research on leadership in a cross-cultural context: Making progress, and raising new questions, The Leadership Quarterly 14, 729-768 Drucker PF DuBrin AJ. 1995: Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills: Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company Eagly AH Eagly AH. and Johannesen-Schmidt M. 2001: The leadership styles of women and men. Journal of Social Issues, 57, pp. 781-797. Eagly AH. & Johnson BT. 1990: “Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-analysis”, Psychological Bulletin 108, pp. 233-256 Eagly AH Hogg MA. 2001: “A Social Identity theory of Leadership”, personality and social psychology review, 5, 3, 184-200 Javidan M & House RJ Jung DI, Bass BM, & Sosik J J. 1995: Bridging leadership and culture: A theoretical consideration of transformational leadership and collectivistic cultures. Journal of Leadership Studies, 2, 3-18 Panapoulos F Rousseau DM, Tijoriwala AS. 1998: Assessing psychological contracts: issues, alternatives and measures, organisational culture, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 19:679-695 Schein E Swanepoel B, Erasmus B, Van Wyk M & Schenk H. 2003: South African Human Resource Management: Theory & Practice. 3rd Edition. Cape Town: Juta & Company Unknown

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