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Upward mobility for women managers: styles and perceptions: part 1

Steven H. Appelbaum (Professor of Management based at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Barbara T. Shapiro (Senior Lecturer in Management based at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Katherine Didus (Based at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Tanya Luongo (Based at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)
Bethsabeth Paz (Based at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 25 January 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this two part article is to discover why gender plays a significant role in attaining leadership positions. More specifically this article provides a thorough review of the different gender leadership styles, next it outlines the findings regarding whether one gender is more effective than the other on certain dimensions. The article presents the findings of how certain leadership perceptions have evolved. Finally the article will review the challenges faced by women in business contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed a wide array of published works on “gender and leadership” to gain insight on this broad topic. Next, the authors narrowed down their review to focus on four specific aspects of the said topic: gender leadership styles, gender effectiveness on certain dimensions, leadership perceptions and challenges women face.

Findings

The literature on the reviewed four aspects suggests that the most effective leadership style is transformational leadership – the style of leadership that is most often associated with women. It was also found that certain behavioral traits found in female managers are considered to be more effective when dealing with employees, such as empathy, supportiveness, and relationship building. However, there are other traits such as vision where male managers tend to rank better than female managers.

Research limitations/implications

The use of a literature review may be perceived as limiting but the scope and breadth of contemporary data and empirical finding utilized in this article has more than compensated for this issue.

Practical implications

The number of working women has and continues to increase, yet the number of women in senior positions of organizations remains nearly unchanged as women are still perceived as inferior leaders when compared to men.

Social implications

Furthermore women are perceived as being less capable than men in leadership roles, thus hindering their aspirations to climb the corporate ladder. What is more, women also find themselves struggling with issues such as the glass ceiling and glass cliff effect as well as balancing both motherhood and career obligations, limiting their workplace advancements.

Originality/value

This paper is a useful source to provide arguments as to how and why women demonstrate excellent managerial skill sets. Also, the ill‐conceived communication silos regarding the perceived notion that women are deemed inferior leaders when compared to their male counterparts are challenged.

Keywords

Citation

Appelbaum, S.H., Shapiro, B.T., Didus, K., Luongo, T. and Paz, B. (2013), "Upward mobility for women managers: styles and perceptions: part 1", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 51-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/00197851311296700

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited