Gender Communication in the Workplace

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Sociology Pages: 7 (2125 words) Published: February 4, 2006
Gender Communication 1


Gender Communication in the Workplace

Gender Communication 2


This research paper focuses on the gender differences at work and their communication styles. It discusses the manner in which men and women take in communicating to others. It is viewed that men are no longer the power house of communication. Research will indicates that in group settings, not one gender type dominates the conversation, but the one who shows leadership is determined to have power. In addition, studies indicate that men are less intuitive than women because women express nonverbal communication with great sensitivity.

Gender Communication 3

Gender Communication in the Workplace
Recent research has centered its attention on the difference between the way men and women communicate in the workplace. Tannen (1994) analyzes how women's and men's methods of communication at work affects "who gets heard, who gets credit, and what gets work done". Tannen's (1994) research focuses on apologies, indirectness, authority and status. Tannen (1994) emphasizes that the way people talk influences who gets the power. "The ability to influence others, to be listened to, to get your way rather than having to do what others want" defines power (Tannen, 1994). Tannen (1994) suggests that to learn more about gender communication in the workplace is to acquire power.

A 1994 study "Gender and workplace dispute resolution: A conceptual and theoretical model" which was published in the Law and Society Review contends that the manner in which workplace disputes are settled repeatedly reinforces the disparity that often causes their occurrence in the first place (Gwartney-Gibbs and Lach, 1994). This finding reinforces Tannen's (1994) observation that to know how power is planned and verbalized is to more easily obtain it and learn how to control it. Gwartney-Gibbs and Lach's (1994) study characterizes work disputes as having three components: origins, processes, and outcomes. These three components are complicated by patterns of "gender roles, sex segregation in jobs and institutionalized work structures" (Gwartney-Gibbs and Lach, 1994). Gender differences are evident at the workplace. Gwartney-Gibbs and Lach's (1994) research indicates that if a certain population Gender Communication 4

begins by being unimportant within a specified work setting, it is more than likely that their objections will not be properly addressed. This study indicates that the power structure of the present day workplace is influenced to a male model behavior of behavior, status and achievement.

Since the workplace is biased to men, recent studies indicate that women actually function with the greatest level of satisfaction in settings that are almost exclusively male. This finding supports theories which indicate that "women's intergroup relations improve as their numbers decline" (Wharton, 1991). Wharton (1991) comes to some astonishing conclusions after analyzing data collected in a 1973 Quality of Employment Survey focusing on 438 women. The group of women who appeared as the least pleased are women in "female-tilted settings" where they work with only 15-30% male colleagues (Wharton, 1991). What appears really to have annoyed these women is that in these settings the male minority were the most likely to be favored (Wharton, 1991). Wharton (1991) concludes that neither job-related misery nor job-related self-esteem can be caused into workplace gender satisfaction levels. Wharton (1991) compares her study to another of her research projects which focused on men in the workplace. With the men, Wharton observed that there were "more substantial links between gender composition and psychological well-being" (Wharton, 1991). Wharton's study indicates that men tend to feel more comfortable and less at ease in work settings that are dominated by men....

References: DeLange, J. (1995). Gender and communication in social work education: A cross-cultural perspective. Journal of Social Work Education, 31(1), 75-81.
Duerst-Lahti, G. (1990). But women play the game too: Communication control and influence in administrative decision making. Administration and Society, 22, 182-205.
Glass, L. (1992). He says, she says. Closing the communication gap between the sexes. New York: G. P. Putnam 's Sons.
Gwartney-Gibbs, P. A. & D. M. Lach. (1994). Gender and workplace dispute resolution: A conceptual and theoretical model. Law & Society Review, 28, 265-296.
Hawkins, K. W. (1995). Effects of gender and communication content on leadership emergence in small task-oriented groups. Small- Group Research, 26, 234-249.
Kenton, S. B. (1989). Speaker credibility in persuasive business communication: A model which explains gender difference. Journal of Business Communication, 26, 143-157.
Tannen, D. (1994). Talking from 9-5. How women and men 's conversational styles affect who gets heard, who gets credit, and what gets done at work. New York: William Morrow & Company.
Wharton A. S. and James N. B. (1991). Satisfaction? The psychological impact of gender segregation on women at work. Sociological Quarterly, 32, 365 387.
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