Should they learn to interrupt? Workplace communication strategies Australian women managers forecast as effective

Mary Barrett (Professor in Management in the Graduate School of Business and Professional Development, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia)

Women in Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The paper discusses some gender debates in linguistic behaviour and suggests how scenario‐based research techniques may contribute. It then presents a survey‐based study of 157 Australian female, organisationally senior, managers. For each of three workplace communication dilemmas, participants evaluated a series of strategic responses, indicating both how effective and how probable they thought the responses were. Despite the participants’ seniority and confidence as communicators, their evaluation of the strategies often varied with whether they believed the communication strategist in the scenario was male or female. This suggests that even confident, organisationally senior women still maintain some traditional gender‐based ideas about good communication. Despite this, the participants’ own preferred communication strategies did not vary with their seniority or their confidence in expressing opinions. The study's theoretical and practical implications and some limitations are discussed, together with topics for further research.



Barrett, M. (2004), "Should they learn to interrupt? Workplace communication strategies Australian women managers forecast as effective", Women in Management Review, Vol. 19 No. 8, pp. 391-403.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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