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Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited
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WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP 2ND EDITION
Contextual Dynamics and Boundaries
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP 2ND EDITION
Contextual Dynamics and Boundaries
Leadership Development Institute (LDI) International, Midlothian, VA, USA
United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China
Emerald Publishing Limited
Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK
First edition 2011
Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited
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ISBN: 978-1-78743-064-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-78743-063-1 (Online)
ISBN: 978-1-78743-277-2 (Epub)
To the pantless horseman forever
Women leaders, borrowing the title of Kelly’s (2006) book, live in “powerful times.” Expanding life expectancies, new fertility and contraceptive technologies, cures for diseases, knowledge economies, and advances in biotechnology and cognitive science have established a threshold that potentially enhances the quality of life for many people in developed and developing countries. On the other hand, in many parts of the world problems of global climate change, environmental sustainability along with fears generated by terrorism, and nuclear and biological warfare are also among some of the critical factors that affect our lives in the years to come.
The year 2016 offered many reasons and opportunities to publish the 2nd edition of my 2011 book. Women in virtually every context discussed in the book — politics, sports, business, technology, religion, military, and international — have made dramatic gains in attaining leadership roles and positions. First, there was the unprecedented prospect of Hillary Clinton running as the first woman for the presidency of the United States. Second, there were a record number of women as prime ministers and presidents around the globe. Angela Merkel is pursuing a fourth term in office as the Chancellor of Germany and Marine Le Pen is seeking the presidency of France. Third, in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is celebrating her 10th year of presidency while in Brazil, former president Dilma Rousseff is waiting for her impeachment trial. Globally, Malala Yousafzai was the youngest woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In sports, women brought home the largest number of medals during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and female athletes in virtually every sport are banding together in the fight for equal pay. In religion, women have climbed the ladder to the highest leadership positions in the United States and have been appointed as bishops and senior pastors. In the Middle East, there are more female clerics than ever before. In technology, women are holding positions as Chief Technology Officers of high-profile companies such as Google. Yahoo’s former chief operating officer, Marissa Mayer left the company with one of the largest payouts paid to an executive. Women business leaders are at the helm of companies as diverse as Nestle and Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Internationally, women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in disciplines such as chemistry, physics, and medicine as well as the Nobel Peace Prize. The terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice and the impact of millions of refugees in Europe have created opportunities for women to exercise leadership in their spheres of influence such as their families, communities, and nations and avoid the constraints imposed by their gendered, low-status positions.
Yes, 2016 was a good year to take a fresh look at women in leadership and women leaders and the changes they have brought about globally.
What does the future hold for women leaders in the various contexts discussed in this book? Or more importantly, how do women view their future as leaders in different contexts as organizations are transforming themselves from centralized, rational, efficient, machine-like structures with clearly defined lines of authority to decentralized, networked entities? What is the future of women’s leadership in the global environment characterized by ambiguity, uncertainty, increasing interdependence, and interconnectivity in which managing paradox is an individual and organizational charge and a key leadership responsibility and competency?
Envisioning probable and alternative futures is the work of scenario planners who are mapping future scenarios to allow leaders to make better decisions. Scenarios offer a link between a leader’s vision, organizational strategy, and the future. According to Schwartz (1991), scenarios represent dimensions of the future that reflect the driving forces such as those mentioned above of that future. The author worked extensively with Royal Dutch/Shell after the company lost millions of dollars of profit, and used scenario planning to help make the company the largest in the world.
Scenario planning is based on systems thinking that allows the inclusion of factors that are difficult to formalize, such as novel insights about the future, deep shifts in values, unprecedented innovations, or significant shifts in demography. Women leaders skilled in scenario planning can, for example, identify several probable futures capturing their career path not knowing what kinds of careers to pursue when traditional progression through the ranks of management and numerous industries will no longer exist in a decade or two. Or they can design scenarios around a global world of quality for men and women knowing that such a scenario is more than a couple of decades away. Alternatively, they can create a scenario that paints a future in which women rule the Internet because presumably IT is genderless. In all cases, forces and drivers of change need to be identified and assembled into a viable framework from which multiple scenarios can be generated. But whatever scenarios emerge from this activity, according to Kelly (2006), “ultimately the test of a good scenario is whether it helps us to see the world differently, read the morning paper with a new eye and to connect the dots and find patterns that really matter in our future” (p. 245).
The contexts presented in this book were chosen because of their paradoxical nature. Despite the fact that women have made significant inroads in these contexts, they remain by and large male-dominated, illustrating the overriding counterintuitive nature of women’s leadership. In writing this book, I have consulted a variety of sources including scholarly works on women in leadership, the popular press, the world of the arts and technology, interspersed some of my own research on women in leadership, and have documented the disparities between the scientific literature and public opinion of women leaders as filtered through the mass media. The vignettes at the opening of each chapter, all new in the 2nd edition, are intended to portray a woman leader in the specific context the chapter represents. In addition, in some cases, the leadership experiences of the women depicted in the chapter opening also illustrate key concepts. For example, in Chapter 4 on women business leaders, the story of Indra Nooyi, CEO and Chairperson of PepsiCo, captures key concepts that are central in discussions of women in leadership such as transformational leadership. Although I have attempted to cover women leaders not only in different contexts but also in different cultures, from Scandinavia to China, France to Kenya, the overall anglo-centric flavor of the research presented here is undeniable.
Chapter 1 sets the stage for some of the recurring themes that undergird the chapters of this book — changing expectations of women leaders, yet persistence of communal stereotypes in many contexts including the media, arts, religion, and military; the gendered nature of organization; the importance of contexts and women leaders’ ability to cross contexts such as moving from CEOs of major corporations into the political arena; and the dynamic tension women leaders experience all over the globe. Perhaps the most consistent common thread is the paradoxes women leaders are confronted with. In just about every context, I discovered paradox, an important force in women’s leadership which has received little attention in the literature.
Chapter 2 takes the reader on a historical journey chronicling women’s achievements and competence as leaders from ancient civilizations through the 20th century. Since recorded history, women have served in positions as queens of nations, empresses, and tribal chiefs and occupied leadership roles in different contexts such as politics, science, and the arts. Some of the women leaders presented in this chapter such as Cleopatra and Messalina were either famous or infamous. Others such as Eleanor Roosevelt transformed themselves from handmaidens behind a leading man into accomplished leaders in their own right.
In revising Chapter 2, I looked for recent biographies and journal articles published between 2007 and 2016. Some of the historical women leaders such as Cleopatra continue to engage public interest and fascination (Schiff, 2010) while others such as Messalina, whose last biography was written in the 1990s (Graves, 1995), have sunk into oblivion, forgotten by history. Political leadership, the topic of Chapter 3, has a long and distinguished history. Political leaders often, but not always, derive power from the office they hold which gives them the authority and power to lead in times of peace and war. Despite a diversity of theoretical approaches to political leadership, the field lacks a model that illuminates the interactions between leaders and followers in the context of politics and takes the impact of gender into consideration.
The discussion of female politicians in Chapter 3 was fueled by the 2016 presidential elections in the United States in which Hillary Clinton sought the presidency but lost to Donald Trump, and Michael Pence ran as vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket. The revised Chapter 3 includes a discussion of Bolman and Deal’s (2008) concept of reframing organizations, in which they present a well-defined perspective on organizational structure, relationship, politics, and image. The authors urge managers and leaders of any organization to evaluate each existing organizational concept or practice in four ways which the authors label as Structural, Human Resource, Political, and Symbolic Frames. By adopting a “framing/reframing” approach proposed by the authors, managers and leaders can become more effective and inspirational in their organizational functions. These concepts are applied specifically to political systems. Additionally, I added a section on political theory and updated the research on empowerment, political skills needed for women leaders and the section on stereotyping female politicians. There was a notable shift in attitudes toward female political leaders between 2008 when the first edition of this book was written and 2016 when Hillary Clinton was the democratic forerunner in the presidential race when people had a more realistic understanding of the role of women politicians.
Women as business and corporate leaders is the topic of Chapter 4. As in politics, historically men have been perceived as being better fit for corporate leadership. As the economy continues its transformation from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based economy, women’s buying power is steadily increasing and more and more leadership opportunities are developing for them in this context. A recent report called women the “Third Billion,” meaning that globally, women are the next emerging economy. Women business leaders have demonstrated that they have the ability to articulate a vision and use their talents, skills, and political savvy to break the glass ceiling. However, the percentage of women CEOs has yet to pass the 10% mark. Gender-based barriers to senior leadership positions in corporations include sex-role stereotyping and lack of access to social networks.
Chapter 5 focuses on information technology as the defining context. Women are finding information-intensive organizations an environment congenial to their leadership style, transformational and charismatic leadership, especially in small- and medium-sized IT companies. Information and communication technologies have led to the development of virtual organizations in which leaders and followers are geographically and temporally dispersed and in which leaders must assume more responsibility for working with followers who are separated by distance and different time zones. I discuss the characteristics of the virtual leader and have updated the presentation of contemporary women leaders in IT. Leadership mediated by technology is known as e-leadership which offers a new conceptual lens for studying leadership. In the aftermath of the dot.com bust, many women are starting their own e-commerce companies and choose to exercise their leadership through entrepreneurship. With the explosive growth of online social networks, women have a new weapon to fight for visibility and recognition as leaders and assert their leadership.
In Chapter 6 on the mass media, which includes newspapers, television, film, and advertisement, women leaders are queens and villains. Despite the abundance of women on television, in leading roles in soap operas, cop shows, lawyer shows, and drama, the mass media remains a macho industry. Recent mergers between entertainment, telecommunications, and publishing firms have created huge monopolies that are dominated by men and in an industry that remains defined by a macho culture and patriarchal ideology. Leading women in this context included the queen of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey; female evening news anchors such as Dianne Sawyer, Katie Couric; and Oscar winning film director Kathryn Bigelow. However, these leading women have retired from the screen but serve as role models for young girls pursuing careers in the media.
I expanded the section on objectification theory and rewrote the section on women leaders on TV. I also added a section on women’s depiction in video games as a relatively unexplored context.
Chapter 7 analyzes women’s leadership in the context of sports which, unlike other contexts such as technology which are assumed to be gender neutral, are clearly split along gender lines with some sports such as gymnastics sex-typed feminine and others such as wrestling sex-typed masculine. Women’s participation in most sports has been greatly enhanced by Title IX legislation, a central contextual element, which mandates equal access of female athletes to participate in collegiate. The summer 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro boosted women athletes who achieved significant successes in a number of individual and team sports. In addition to leading female athletes in a variety of sports ranging from tennis to skiing, women also find leadership opportunities as coaches and athletic directors. A new section covering women leaders in team sports focused on synchronized swimming was added as well as a discussion on the gender pay gap in sports.
The military context, featured in Chapter 8, is contextually defined by its hierarchical structure, command-and-control leadership style, and increasingly shaped by computer and communications networks. Since the military academies opened their doors to women in 1975, women are playing important roles in all service branches in U.S. military organizations. They occupy leadership roles such as intelligence analysts and fighter pilots but are excluded from active combat. An important theoretical development in this context is terror management theory which postulates that when faced with their own mortality, individuals buffer themselves by developing cultural worldviews that provide meaningful interpretations of mortality salience and by relying on their self-esteem as psychological defenses. I updated the research on top management teams (TMTs) to show that TMT constructs such as mortality salience are linked to charismatic leadership, creativity, and risky decision making. Female military leaders are now considered essential to the operation and transformation of the U.S. military as it adjusts to the changing nature of warfare and as women take on new functions such as peacekeeping and humanitarian and disaster relief. I reorganized this chapter and re-sequenced some of the subsections so that the material on the military as context for women’s leadership appears after the introduction followed by female military leaders. I also added a section on net-centric warfare to underscore the importance of technology in contemporary military confrontations.
Women leaders in the world religions and the church, discussed in Chapter 9, are involved in a context defined by cultural and individual views of a supreme being, religious doctrine, personal charisma, tradition, and religious practices. According to many classic interpretations of scripture and church history, female leadership is not acceptable to the church. In the United States, there are significant differences between democratically oriented religions such as Christianity and Judaism and authoritarian religions such as Roman Catholicism where gender equality is a distant goal. In many denominations, the ordination of women remains a contested issue. While there have been numerous female religious leaders throughout history from biblical times through the present, the recent spirituality movement, often described as a new paradigm, has yet to produce a female leader. In this chapter, I added a separate section on the ordination of women, the canonization and critique of Mother Teresa, and contemporary female religious leaders. A new table, Table 9.1, is added to the chapter.
Chapter 10 features women leaders in the scientific, educational, and artistic arenas. The opening vignettes are presented in each of these three respective sections. The underrepresentation of women leaders in science is most clearly seen in the gender differences in the award of the Nobel Prize which has been given to more than 300 men compared to only 10 women. Despite affirmative action programs, highly publicized sex discrimination cases, and organized campaigns to raise awareness, women scientists lag behind their male counterparts, are paid less, receive fewer honors and grants, and hold fewer leadership positions. I added vignettes of women leaders to each of the major section of Chapter 10 and a section on how to increase the participation of women in STEM and a discussion of the state-of-the-art of STEM careers path for women. Table 10.1 was updated and a new table, Table 10.2, was created. New women leaders were introduced in education and the arts. In education, which is usually considered a discipline congenial for women, at the upper echelons as university presidents, for example, relatively few women become institutional leaders. In the arts including music, dance, painting, and sculpture which are discussed in this chapter, large gender gaps persist with few extraordinary leaders in each field such as Marin Alsop in music, Martha Graham in dance, Elizabeth Peyton in contemporary painting, and Magdalena Abakanowicz in sculpture.
Cross-cultural, global leadership is the topic of Chapter 11. It focuses on global women leaders in four different contexts: politics, information technology, sports, and female Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. In all four contexts, women representing every continent have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishments on the world stage; however, they remain the exception. Significant differences across the globe afford different leadership opportunities to women in these contexts. Strongly egalitarian Scandinavian countries stand in sharp contrast to most Latin American countries and the Islamic world where equality in the workplace is a distant goal. Asian countries including China, Japan, Singapore, and India are emerging as dominant economies and cultural forces in the 21st century where women are playing a central role in the transformation of developing countries, in part because Asian countries are producing a highly educated workforce as one of their greatest economic assets. Development of female global leaders has become an economic imperative for many organizations around the world. I added new vignettes of women leaders in politics, business, technology, sports, and peace and replaced all female leaders in these contexts. A new section on female political leaders in the Middle East was added and Malala Yousafzai is presented as a global peace leader.
In Chapter 12, I reflect on my own leadership journey which has been influenced by both changes and the continuance of the status quo. Women leaders in many parts of the world have leadership opportunities that never existed before as a result of technology, globalization, and demographic shifts that have produced more female graduates than in the past and created a workforce which consists of almost 50% women. At the same time, objectifying women in contexts such as sports and the media or the patriarchal ideology that permeates contexts such as the military and the church has changed very little. Current research findings on women leaders are intriguing because they illuminate the paradox of change versus persistence of the status quo. The epilogue also discusses the need of equal access to a diverse array of leadership development, education, and training programs and for organizations to grow women as global leaders and includes a section on networked-enhanced leadership development.
Working on this manuscript has further fueled my passion for the subject matter. Often students ask me why I study leadership and my answer is threefold; teaching, researching, and practicing leadership for me is (1) intellectually challenging because of the paradoxes and multiple contradictions that it entails; (2) emotionally compelling; and (3) spiritually uplifting and transcendent. If the revision of this book convinces readers of the extraordinary nature of the study of leadership, its complexities and perplexities, the need of us as women leaders to continuously reinvent ourselves and reap the rewards, successes, and failures that shape our lives as women and leaders, and the power of the “both/and” thought processes, we are positioned to develop the next generation of passionate women leaders who lead effectively in the face of many polarities and paradoxes such as completion and collaboration, globalization and localization, centralization and decentralization, and hard power and soft power. As Kelly so eloquently summarizes it, “reframing our current thinking about leadership to acknowledge its increasingly paradoxical nature may help us create new approaches to liberating the talents of a new and much needed generation of leaders, well suited for their time and worth well worthy of being followed” (p. 258). This statement bodes well for women.
- 1 Women’s Leadership in Context
- 2 History as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 3 Political Systems as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 4 Organizations as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 5 Information Technology as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 6 The Media as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 7 Sports as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 8 The Military as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 9 Religion and Spirituality as Context for Women’s Leadership
- 10 Science, Higher Education, and the Arts as Contexts for Women’s Leadership
- 11 Global Women Leaders
- 12 Epilogue