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What is wrong with current approaches to management development in relation to women in management roles?

Sharon Bartram (Department of Management Studies, University of York, York, UK)

Women in Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425

Article publication date: 1 March 2005




To challenge gender neutrality within management theories and to show how such theories influence the practice of management development to the detriment of women managers.


The paper is based on a feminist questioning of changes in management theory over the past several decades and the impact this has on management development practice in relation to women.


The notion of a feminine ethos being carried to practicing managers through characteristics culturally associated with females should be helpful to women. However, the basis for formal, mixed group situations as a means of enabling women to develop as managers is debatable. A continuing reliance on questionnaires that fail to quantify the extent to which the constructs reflect a gender sensitivity and the failure to recognise such situations as reflecting relations between women and men in the wider social context serve to reinforce women in a subordinate role to men, deferring to and privileging men's knowledge.


The value lies in how the paper shows the barriers facing women as they develop as managers in contexts that are still masculine despite claims of a feminisation of management. It is also valuable in the way it suggests a different way of working with women on their development as managers.



Bartram, S. (2005), "What is wrong with current approaches to management development in relation to women in management roles?", Women in Management Review, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 107-116.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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