The role of leadership theory in raising the profile of women in management

Uma D. Jogulu (School of Business, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia)
Glenice J. Wood (School of Business, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Publication date: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Purpose

To consider how leadership theories have helped or hindered raising the profile of women in management and leadership roles.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper traces the earlier leadership theories through to the contemporary research on transactional and transformational leadership styles and offers a viewpoint on how each theory has contributed, or otherwise, to an awareness and acceptance of women in management and leadership roles.

Findings

In 1990, research began to report gender differences in leadership styles with female managers being seen in positive terms as participative, democratic leaders. More recent work reports that women are believed to exhibit more transformational leadership style than their male colleagues, and this is equated with effective leadership.

Research limitations/implications

All of the earlier theories on leadership excluded women and this exacerbated the problem of women not being seen as an appropriate fit in a management or leadership role. Recent findings clearly describe that the transformational qualities of leadership that women exhibit are required by the flatter organisational structures of today. Therefore, a more positive outcome for women advancing to senior roles of management or leadership may be observed in the future.

Originality/value

The paper reviews the major leadership theories, and links these to a timeframe to illustrate how women were not visible in a management context until relatively recently. Such an omission may have contributed to the continuing low numbers of women who advance to senior management and leadership roles.

Keywords

Citation

Jogulu, U. and Wood, G. (2006), "The role of leadership theory in raising the profile of women in management", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 236-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610706230

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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