Gender in Leadership & Management – Literature Review
The framework and dimension of management experienced many reforms and powerful trends in the present century. The reforms and trends provided and reshaped the composition and dimension of management in several ways. The dimension of management and gender is an example of such transformation which has transformed the terms of the employer-employee relationship in the current era. The dimension of management and gender is most commonly associated and understood with the terms of employee inequality, male dominance, an inappropriate ratio of men and women in the total workforce, etc. The emergence of such terms has attracted the attention of many management scholars and practitioners across the globe (Reed 2001).
The wide popularity and demand for a discussion on the issue of management and gender have transformed and coined the topic as a management perspective. The phenomena of management and gender are no longer considered as an issue, rather it is being visualized and understood from a management perspective. The gender issue and employment inequality have been resolved and satisfied with the help of many regulatory frameworks. The government of various countries has introduced various rules and regulations aimed at resolving the gender gaps and inequality issues in the commercial world (Sweetman 2001). The concept of human rights has also attributed a lot in providing new dimensions and direction to the concept of gender in management.
Nowadays, the business world functions through a varied workforce to accelerate the pace of innovations and to attain a new dimension of growth and expansion. The fluctuations in market demand also necessitate the business organization to incorporate variability in their functioning pattern to respond to such changes quickly and flexibly in the marketplace. The flexibility, variability, and diversity characteristics enable the management of business organizations to identify and respond to the needs of new markets quickly and responsively (Bilimoria and Piderit 2007). The quick and immediate attention towards changes taking place in the marketplace demand reforms in the existing approach and philosophy of traditional management. The traditional approach of management which relies on the male dominating workforce seems ineffective and inadequate in the present-day environment. Business organizations having a diversified workforce can cope and handle such changes and fluctuations in an effective manner and can gain a foothold in the marketplace.
The present essay aims at elaborating on the linkage between management and gender. The linkage between management and gender will outline the gender issues existing in the traditional philosophy of management. Gender issues will be explored and investigated through literary sources. The study of gender issues prevailing in the traditional management world will help in determining the extent, influence, and trends prevailing in the gender framework. But, the passage of time and abolishment of male dominating society has provided a new dimension to the gender issue in business organizations (Collins et al. 2012). The increasing role of women and minorities has brought many changes in the realm of management. The present essay aims at presenting and summarising the changes in the gender realm and the impact of such changes on the management of business organizations.
The literary sources will present analysis and investigation of the concerned topic in light of various literary sources. The literary sources that will be approached primarily for investigation and analysis of the topic are books, journal articles, research work, etc. All the literary sources will collect various facts and findings related to the underlying topic and changes emerging in the concerned topic. The literature review will collect and analyze the information regarding the linkage between management and gender from relevant and authentic literary articles. The literary sources will provide a thorough and in-depth understanding of the various aspects of the underlying topic (Wilson 2001). The investigation of the linkage between the management and gender and evaluating it in light of literary sources will help in ascertaining and drawing concluding results and observations regarding the research topic.
The linkage between the management and gender has been discussed and outlined in different parts such as:
Means of providing diversified and heterogeneous workforce
Stevenson and St-Onge (2005) asserted that management and gender perspective has been visualized and understood as a means of providing a heterogeneous workforce to business organizations. The demand for a heterogeneous workforce has become the basic and prime requirement of business organizations to compete and sustain in the present competitive dynamics. The author has further asserted that management and gender have been conceptualized as a new perspective on account of its ability and potentiality of providing a diversified workforce to the business firms. The diversified and heterogeneous workforce accelerates the pace of innovation and development in the business world.
The changing and diversified nature of customer needs and preferences also correspond to the requirement of the diversified workforce to handle and cope up with such changing needs and preferences. The diversity in the workforce here implies providing equal opportunity to the men, women, and ethnic minorities in the overall workforce composition of business organizations. Business firms are expected and required to offer a flexible set of work arrangements, wage pay, rewards, and benefits to the entire workforce to motivate and encourage them to adjust and function in the complex environmental setting of business organizations. The composition of a diversified workforce enables the business firms to develop the foundation of delivering flexible, on-demand customer services and developing a strong relationship with each employee (Stevenson and St-Onge 2005).
The era of mergers and acquisitions also facilitated the inclusion of a diversified workforce in business organizations. Various forms of business consolidations like mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, etc allow business organizations to recruit and include employees of different origins, cultures, and customs. The inclusion of employees of varied culture, customs, and origins bring a changing landscape in the dimension of management and gender.
Changes in the pattern of demographic shifts
According to Heath(2000), changes and shifts in the demographic pattern across the world foster new themes and ideas of analyzing management and gender linkages. The demographic pattern of the workforce has changed considerably in the present years. The changes and shifts in the demographic pattern have been evidenced by the increasing number and proportion of women in the total composition of the workforce. Women represent around 48 percent of the total composition of the workforce of the United States. The changing family patterns and work structure led the researchers to project an increase in the proportion of women in the total workforce composition (Heath 2000).
The author argued that changes in the family patterns and work structures led the women to participate actively in the business functioning. The women workforce is being provided with more flexible schedules and work preferences to encourage them towards participating in business organizations functioning. The changes in the demographic shifts demand the business organizations include the women and ethnic minorities in the existing composition of the workforce. The demographic shift has also been visualized by business firms as a step towards becoming competitive and technology-driven. It becomes necessary for a business organization to keep pace with the changes in the demographic shifts to remain competitive and dynamic in the business world (Heath 2000).
The growing importance of knowledge work
The emergence of the knowledge-based economy demands knowledge workers initiate and stimulate the pace of knowledge-based works in the business organizations as mentioned by Phillips (2006). The changing and dynamic environment conditions require the workers and employees of present business organizations to function and operate in every environmental setting. The skill, abilities, and capabilities of workers and employees should be such that they are capable of functioning in each environmental setting. Nowadays, business organizations are in search of manpower and workers capable of working in every possible environmental dynamic. In other words, employees capable of molding and adjusting their skills and abilities by the environmental needs and demand is demanded and recruited by the business firms.
This inclination and changes in the orientation of business firms in recruiting and employing a workforce of dynamic skills and capabilities provided new insight into the management and gender dynamics. The emergence of the knowledge-based economy and demand for knowledge work provided absolute freedom to the business organizations in recruiting and employing personnel backed and equipped with dynamic skills and abilities. The realm of gender has no longer been viewed as a restrictive platform requiring organizations to recruit a particular class and category of employees. Rather, it has been viewed as a broader platform allowing business organizations to recruit the required class and category of employees compatible with overall organizational goals and objectives (Phillips 2006).
Feminist style of management
According to Ruxton (2004), the increased proportion and emergence of women in the workforce in the past few decades transformed management and gender linkages to a wide extent. The increased number and proportion of women in the supervisor and managerial levels led the management thinkers and practitioners to assess the management and gender linkages positively and assertively. The transformation in the management and gender linkages placed women at higher supervisory and management levels in business organizations. The placement of women at higher managerial and supervisory levels focussed the attention of business scholars towards the skills and abilities of the women workforce.
The skills and abilities of women in solving business problems and issues introduced and initiate the feminist style of management in the business world. The business problems and issues that remained unsolved or appear difficult to be solved by the male managerial members are solved quite easily through the soft skills of female managerial members. The association of management and gender has provided the business world with new insight and understanding of women’s abilities and capabilities in solving business issues and problems (Ruxton 2004).
The linkage between management and gender has been impacted and transformed by the three major trends-emergence of the diversified and heterogeneous workforce, the increased importance of knowledge work, changes in the demographic shifts, and feminist style of management. The discussion about management and gender has been made in light of the findings of the literature review. More specifically, the underlying section of the discussion attempts to ascertain the impact of management and gender perspective on the business world. The major discussion points related to the linkage of management and gender are:
Viewing workforce diversity as a source of competitive advantage:
The findings of the literature review asserted that the emergence of workforce diversity on account of changes in the landscape of management and gender. The increased importance and recognition of women and ethnic minorities have made the prevailing culture and workforce as diversified and multi-tasking. The workforce diversity has been visualized as a major trend of management and gender perspective and led the business organizations to shift their orientation from an industrial-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.
The knowledge-based economy led the business organizations to adapt fast, and adaptable and innovative methods of functioning. In the past years, the standardized and uniform business model was being highly valued and recognized by business organizations. The standardization and uniformity in the business process were being viewed as a source of competitive advantage. Employees and personnel were considered as interchangeable and easily replaceable assets by business organizations. The employees and personnel were expected to adhere to the instructions and were expected to maintain deliver high production efficiency (Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific: A Companion to the World Development Report 2012).
The framework of management and gender has changed and transformed traditional thinking and evolved workforce diversity as the major source of competitive advantage. The diversity in the workforce provides new and powerful opportunities for enhancing organizational performance. The performance is enhanced as people from varied backgrounds and skills foster new creativity and innovation methods of functioning to the business firms. The diversified skills, competencies, adaptability, immediate and fast responsive abilities of a diversified workforce introduce new and innovative thinking patterns and broad perspectives in business organizations (Markovi? 2012).
Introduction of new work patterns and work shifts
The changing realm of management and gender fosters business organizations with new approaches and methods of implementing corporate strategies. The new approaches and methods of implementing corporate strategies stem from the different work shifts and work patterns of the diversified workforce. The diversified workforce does not pose uniform and similar working patterns. Employees and personnel in the diversified workforce belong from varied backgrounds and skills and therefore functions in different work patterns and work shifts. This peculiar characteristic of a diverse workforce and changing the realm of management and gender offers the business organizations the opportunity of selecting employees posing the skills and capabilities suitable with their respective strategic framework. The diverse workforce poses different work patterns and work shifts and thus implements corporate strategies in an effective manner.
The changes in the demographic shifts are also attributed to the introduction of new work patterns and work shifts thus provide a new paradigm to the management and gender perspective. The varied and differing work arrangement is another major outcome of changing the landscape of management and gender (Konrad 2005). The employees and workforce of business organizations can work for flexible hours. The business organizations of the present world are in demand of a diverse workforce capable of forming a cohesive team to attain the defined objectives. The cohesive team poses the right kind of skills and supports the execution of corporate strategies. Business organizations need to provide the right combination of opportunities and rewards to motivate and encourage the workforce to perform optimally.
Provided new edge in solving business problems
The point of discussion stems from the incorporation of the feminist style of management in the business world. The feminist style of management has provided a new approach and methodology in solving business problems. The business problems and issues which were solved initially by the dominating and harsh skills of male managers appear no longer effective in the current scenario. Business organizations seek such skills capable of solving and handling business issues and problems in a comparative soft approach. It is due to the reason that sound and positive relations with all stakeholders are of utmost importance for recording high growth and development opportunities.
Relationship management has emerged as one of the essential and significant functions of business organizations. The relations can be managed and maintained by the business personnel and employees functioning in respective organizations. The role of business personnel in managing and enriching relations with stakeholders again draws attention to management and gender perspectives. The changing demand for relationship management demands every personnel of business firms participate actively in the relationship management tasks and process. This changing demand for relationship management again draws attention to management and gender perspectives (Ryle 2011). The traditional approach of management and gender perspective revolved only around male managerial members in developing a positive relationship with stakeholders. The role of women was completely undermined in developing positive relations with stakeholders and in solving business issues.
The male and female members are assigned with the equivalent powers and responsibilities necessary to discharge their duties effectively. Besides, the modern perspective of management and gender emphasis and relies on the soft and creative skills of female members in managing and maintaining business relations. Modern scholars and management practitioners believe that the soft, creative, and dynamic skills of female managers can prove more effective and will yield better results in the relationship management spectrum.
Fosters adaptability and resilience
This is another major implication and consequence of changing the realm of management and gender perspectives. The management and gender perspective played a significant role in eliminating gender differences and gaps in the commercial world. The perspective of management and gender allowed the business organizations to learn and deal with the internal differences arising on account of gender gaps and issues. This learning and capability allow business organizations to respond and adapt more easily to changing circumstances. Business organizations also introduce open and direct communication among all working people regardless of any gender difference. Open and direct communication provided enhanced speed and agility and led the business firms to be more innovative in solving business problems (Bilimoria and Piderit 2007).
The overall discussion about the perspective of management and gender led to the conclusion that gender differences, wage differentials among men and women members, the dominance of male managerial personnel, etc are some of the key areas that brought attention towards this management perspective. The issue of gender gaps and wage inequality gained considerable attention in recent years and create a negative impact on the sustainable position of the global business world. Such factors attracted the attention of management practitioners and scholars towards gender issues and coined the management and gender perspective.
The management and gender perspective witnessed and evidenced the trends of changes in demographic shifts, workforce diversity, feminist style of management, and knowledge-based economy (Little and Morris 2005). The emergence of these trends brought various reforms and changes in the business world. The traditional pattern and mode of functioning of business organizations have been rendered ineffective in the present world. Business organizations are in demand and need of a ‘groupthink’ process allowing every category of personnel to participate and facilitate business decisions.
Human resources and personnel are the major assets of business organizations and can drive the growth and development processes. The active participation of business personnel can stimulate the process of growth and development in business organizations. It is also worth mentioning that business organizations capable of innovating and identifying new solutions can sustain and improve their current positioning in the marketplace (Penrose-Buckley 2007). Innovation and identification of new solutions demand the active participation of every individual member of business organizations. Business organizations capable of integrating and harnessing the contributions of each member can only gain and sustain in the present scenario. This is because such organizations are capable of creating a cohesive team and utilizing the synergistic power of a team for enhancing their business competitiveness.
The global trends and changing dynamics of the business world necessitate changes in the traditional perspective of management and gender. The global trends and business world dynamics demand a perspective of management and gender to provide equal opportunity and responsibility to all members of organizations in participating and handling business issues and problems irrespective of any gender gaps and differences.
- Bilimoria, D. and Piderit, S.K. 2007. Handbook on Women in Business And Management. Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Collins, L. et al. 2012. The Modern Family Business: Relationships, Succession, and Transition. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Heath, R.L. 2000. Handbook of Public Relations. SAGE.
- Konrad, A. M. 2005. Cases in Gender & Diversity in Organizations. SAGE.
- Little, J. and Morris, C. 2005. Critical Studies in Rural Gender Issues. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
- Markov?, M.R. 2012. Impact of Globalization on Organizational Culture, Behavior, and Gender Roles (Hc). IAP.
- Penrose-Buckley, C. 2007. Producer Organisations: A Guide to Developing Collective Rural Enterprises. Oxfam.
- Phillips, N.J. 2006. Women in business: 1700-1850. Boydell & Brewer Ltd.
- Reed, A. 2001. Innovation in Human Resource Management: Tooling Up for the Talent Wars. CIPD Publishing.
- Ruxton, S. 2004. Gender Equality and Men: Learning From Practice. Oxfam.
- Ryle, R. 2011. Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. Pine Forge Press.
- Stevenson, L. and St-Onge, A. 2005. Support for Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania: An Overview Report. International Labour Organization.
- Sweetman, C. 2001. Men’s Involvement in Gender and Development Policy and Practice: Beyond Rhetoric. Oxfam.
- Toward Gender Equality in East Asia and the Pacific: A Companion to the World Development Report. 2012. World Bank Publications.
- Wilson, E.M. 2001. Organizational Behaviour Reassessed: The Impact of Gender. SAGE
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