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Is there such a thing as feminine leadership? Being a leader and not a man in the hospitality industry

Basak Denizci Guillet (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Anna Pavesi (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Cathy H.C. Hsu (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Karin Weber (School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 17 July 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine and discuss whether women executives in the hospitality industry in Hong Kong adopt a feminine, masculine or gender-neutral approach to leadership.

Design/methodology/approach

This study focuses on women with positional power in senior-level leadership roles within the hospitality and tourism industry in Hong Kong. A qualitative approach was taken to capture the multiple dimensions of these female executive’s leadership orientations. The participants included 24 women executives.

Findings

Participants’ representations show that women have a multitude of leadership styles that operate on three continua. Not all women executives display leadership orientations that adhere to their indigenous culture values. Individual differences or differences related to the organizational culture are still relevant.

Research limitations/implications

A low number of women in leadership positions in Hong Kong limited the selection process of participants. There might be a selection bias based on that the participants volunteered to participate in the research study and some declined. Findings are based on participants’ memory to reflect on their leadership styles.

Originality/value

Because of the traditional and conventional definitions of leadership, women leaders might feel that they should behave in a masculine way to be taken seriously as a leader. There is a need to understand whether women executives today manage to defeat these stereotypes and comfortably display a feminine approach to leadership. A culture that values and leverages feminine approaches in addition to masculine approaches is likely to have higher engagement and retention of women.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work described in this paper was supported by a grant funded by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project Number: PolyU 155026/15B).

Citation

Denizci Guillet, B., Pavesi, A., Hsu, C.H.C. and Weber, K. (2019), "Is there such a thing as feminine leadership? Being a leader and not a man in the hospitality industry", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 2970-2993. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2018-0486

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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