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Factoring Culture into the Women in Management Equation

Kathryn Campbell (Administrative, & Policy Studies, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Article publication date: 1 March 1991



The paper makes several linked proposals. First, women in North America have been socialized towards a subculture distinct and separate from the male culture which dominates the formal business economy. When we discuss women in management, we need to understand women as defined by their culture and not just their gender. Secondly, the subculture in which most North American women have been reared is shown to share many traits and characteristics with the eminently successful Japanese business culture. The Mary Kay Cosmetics Company is presented as a case study of a self‐professed feminist using management techniques comparable to those used by Japanese men. Next, examples of culturally‐based management paradigms (the indigenous North American and the polychronic Oriental) are discussed to extend the debate that culture is a more predictive parameter than gender when categorizing management behaviour. As well, the rewards of cross‐cultural comparison are noted. Finally, multicultural sensitivity rather than melting‐pot assimilation is recommended as beneficial for the individual woman, for the organization, and for society as a whole.


Campbell, K. (1991), "Factoring Culture into the Women in Management Equation", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 10 No. 3/4, pp. 53-60.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited

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