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Gender and leadership? Leadership and gender?

A journey through the landscape of theories


Steven H. Appelbaum
John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve
Blvd. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Lynda Audet
Consumer Medicines, Bristol Myers Squibb, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Joanne C. Miller
Egon Zehnder International, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Keywords
Leadership, Gender, Attitudes Problem definition and discussion Problem importance and
The statistics are, at best, a curiosity. Women
managerial implications
Abstract
The purpose of this article was to account for 51 per cent of the population and The challenges that organizations face today
examine the following three 46.5 per cent of the labor force but their are remarkable and likely to increase in
questions: Are women’s leadership representation at more senior corporate scope and complexity. Having just recently
styles truly different from men’s? managed their way through the impact of the
Are these styles less likely to be levels is negligible by comparison. In 2000,
effective? Is the determination of women represented 12.5 per cent of Fortune technology revolution, the transition to Y2K,
women’s effectiveness as a leaders 500 corporate officers and they accounted for the globalization trend, a spate of mergers
fact-based or a perception that has 11.7 per cent of the board of director and acquisitions, the rise and fall of the dot
become a reality? Conclusions coms and the pressures of downsizing,
revealed: Question one: Yes,
membership. Tokenism and political
women’s leadership style is, at this correctness aside, women’s presence in more organizations must now face the aftermath of
point, different from men’s but men powerful line positions is even lower: only September 11, 2001 and retrench as a period
can learn from and adopt 7.3 per cent of Fortune 500 corporate line of recession sets in. To prosper, let alone
``women’s’’ style and use it survive, organizations must excel at both
effectively as well. In other words,
officers are women; only 5.1 per cent of the
highest ranking corporate officer positions planning and execution; they must be
effective leadership is not the
exclusive domain of either gender are held by women and, last but not least, nimble, visionary and get maximum benefit
and both can learn from the other. only 4.1 per cent of top earners are women from their resources ± all of their resources,
Question two: No, women’s styles
(Catalyst, 2001). As illustrated in Table I, the including human resources and including
are not at all likely to be less women. By failing to maximize the potential
effective; in fact, they are more historical trends are positive but not
effective within the context of overwhelmingly so. of their female employees, organizations lose
team-based, consensually driven While it is possible that women, having in two ways. First, they do not fully benefit
organizational structures that are
attained the more lofty corporate ranks, from the unique talent and perspective that
more prevalent in today’s world. women can impart. The difference in men’s
Question three: The assessment proceeded to quickly opt out, both the trends
that a woman’s leadership style is and the scarcity of their presence suggest the versus women’s leadership styles is seen as
less effective than a man’s is not summits were never attained. More likely, few particularly important in light of the trends
fact-based but rather driven, by
women have made it to the top. ``The overall toward flatter organizations, team-based
socialization, to a perception that management and increased globalization
certainly persists. The inescapable percentage of women on corporate boards
surpassed the 10% milestone for the first time (Oakley, 2000; Adler, 1993; Rosener, 1995).
reality is that, within the senior
ranks of corporate north America in 1996, although 105 out of the 500 companies Secondly, organizations get a poor return on
(and elsewhere), women remain surveyed still had no women on their boards’’ their investment by driving out those that
conspicuous by their absence.
(Oakley, 2000; Dobrsynski, 1996). they have spent time and money training.
While the magic recipe to achieving For example, one study looked at women
corporate success may be a well kept secret, a entrepreneurs and asked them about their
key ingredient must surely be leadership. To career development. For the most part these
Received: February 2002 rise to the more senior positions, one must be female entrepreneurs consider past work
Revised: August 2002 within organizations as a valuable
Accepted: September 2002 and be seen as a leader. In preparation, one
experience for their own business. Their
must have and be seen to have the potential
former organizations served as a training
for leadership.
ground or incubator to acquire expertise in
As such, the questions at hand and the
management, marketing, finance and new
focus of this article are as follows:
Are women’s leadership styles truly different technology (Moore and Buttner, 1997).
from men’s? Are these styles less likely to be It seems that these facts have not
effective? Is the determination of women’s necessarily registered with business leaders
Leadership & Organization effectiveness as a leaders fact-based or a and, as such, are not about to be corrected.
Development Journal perception that has become a reality? ``When 201 CEOs in US firms were surveyed
24/1 [2003] 43-51
# MCB UP Limited The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
[ISSN 0143-7739]
[DOI 10.1108/01437730310457320] http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0143-7739.htm

[ 43 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, Table I
Lynda Audet and
Joanne C. Miller Percentage point increase Period
Gender and leadership?
Leadership and gender? F500 corporate officers +3.8 1995 vs 2000
A journey through the
landscape of theories F500 board of directors +2.2 1995 vs 2000
Leadership & Organization
F500 corporate line officers +2 1997 vs 2000
Development Journal Highest ranking corporate +2.7 1995 vs 1999
24/1 [2003] 43-51 Officer positions
F500 top earners +2.9 1995 vs 2000
Source: Catalyst (2001)

in 1992, only 2% of those CEO’s considered it or influence leader emergence. Emergent


likely that their company would have a thinking accepts that there may well be a
female CEO within the next decade’’ (Oakley, difference in the way men and women
2000; Fischer, 1992). The Catalyst approach leadership and then attempts to
organization (an American non-profit capture or articulate this difference in terms
organization devoted to the advancement of of real world implications. Within this
women in business) is more optimistic and context, it has even been suggested that a
projects the percentage of women corporate female approach could have an advantage in
officers in future years to be 16.5 percent in flatter, more global organizations. This is
2005, 20.1 percent in 2010 and 27.4 percent in being examined and tested in contemporary
2020. Even if predictions prove true, under- research in HRM and organization behavior
representation will remain notable despite studies.
these increases.
Biology and sex
The basic premise of this body of research is
The landscape of theoretical that leadership is biologically determined,
approach behaviorally demonstrated and innate to the
male species. As such, an effective leadership
Research has produced various theories:
stance can only be assumed by the male
whether or not the approach to leadership
species. Much of the supporting work
differs between men and women as
restricts leadership studies to male subjects.
distinctive biological groups; whether this
The premise for biological sex = male = leader
difference is one of style or substance;
does seem somewhat biased. In fact, an
whether it is real or perceived; whether one
unstated premise of this biologically driven
leadership approach is more or less effective
approach may have been that women could
than the other and which is more likely to
attain a position of leadership just as easily
lead to success. Four schools of thought will
as they could become men.
be examined here:
Perhaps not surprisingly, research results
1 biology and sex;
do not substantiate this approach and pursuit
2 gender role;
of this direction is limited. While a few
3 causal factors;
studies have found gender differences in
4 attitudinal drivers.
leadership style (Helgesen, 1990; Hennig and
These issues are considered from the Jardim, 1977; Rosner, 1990), most research
perspective of the male and female leaders points to their absence (Bass, 1990; Dobbins
themselves, their peers, their supervisors and Platz, 1986; Donnell and Hall, 1980;
and their subordinates. The first theory Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974).
seems to be based on the premise that With the argument that men and women
leadership is biologically determined, innate are biologically different in terms of
for men and therefore unattainable for leadership being difficult to support,
women. A second approach acknowledges researchers are investigating another
the role of socialization and explores the direction: not only are men and women
notion of gender role as a determinant of similar, women may be equally effective.
leadership. A third perspective involves the Kolb (1999) and Shimanoff and Jenkins
identification and consideration of a variety (1991) demonstrate in their research that
of other contributing factors ± prevailing there are far more similarities than
attitudes, women’s self-confidence, their differences in the leadership behaviors of
prior experience, the corporate environment, men and women, and they are equally
and the old boys’ network ± that could predict effective. As such, with few findings lending
[ 44 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, credence to biological sex as a valid research ones, also may be important in perceptions of
Lynda Audet and hypothesis to differentiate male versus leadership (Kolb, 1997). Individuals with
Joanne C. Miller female leadership, the biological sex masculine or androgynous classifications are
Gender and leadership?
Leadership and gender? approach gives way to broader studies. more likely to be identified as preferred
A journey through the Interestingly, though learning is evolving, leaders than individuals with
landscape of theories
the thinking behind the biological approach undifferentiated or feminine scores (Kolb,
Leadership & Organization 1999).
Development Journal appears to linger. Despite the fact that many
24/1 [2003] 43-51 researchers have found that there are few As such, a component of this second line of
differences in the innate abilities of male and thought suggests a leadership style more
female managers (Oakley, 2000; Dobbins and appropriate and more promising for women
Platz, 1986; Powell, 1993), stereotypes persist (Kent and Moss, 1994). Contrary to previous
that portray women as less capable leaders findings that identify ``female deficiencies’’ as
than men. a reason why few women have made it to the
top, the emergence of androgynous leaders
Gender role suggests that the possession of feminine
This second area of exploratory work characteristics does not decrease an
regarding male versus female leadership is individual’s chances of emerging as a leader
likely inspired by two factors: as long as the individual also possesses
1 biological sex proving an unlikely masculine characteristics. If women are
determinant of the different leadership more likely to be androgynous, they may
styles; and have a better chance of rising to leadership
2 persistent beliefs that differences in male status. Other findings have indicated that
versus female leadership do indeed exist following a masculine model has both
and the consequent view that other, advantages and disadvantages for aspiring
different determinants of leader women managers. Developmental differences
effectiveness must also exist. between both sexes have helped to explain
some of the problems for leaders and
Related research expands upon the idea that followers. Interactive leadership styles
an individual’s gender is linked solely to the utilized by women have been beneficial in
person and moves on to the more general moving both genders towards a solution in so
concept of gender role with the purpose of far as this style involves four factors:
linking leadership effectiveness or encouraging participation; sharing power
leadership emergence to characteristics or and information; enhancing self-worth of
behaviors thought to be typically male or others and finally, energizing others. The use
female. The various results can be typified of an androgynous leadership model has not
very simply as follows: gender role is a better yielded significant findings but there are
predictor of leader emergence than sex (Kent common characteristics of successful leaders
and Moss, 1994). Curiously, a new dimension combining both the masculine and feminine
to gender role surfaces: there are three, not models. Organizations and their top leaders
two, genders in the mix of variables: male, need to expand their definition of effective
female and androgynous. It is interesting to leadership so that an interactive style can be
reflect on what results related to androgyny valued, allowing these organizations the
might mean. Stereotypical masculine necessary flexibility, key to surviving within
behaviors are still considered important for an increasingly competitive and diverse
leadership. Individuals who reported that environment (Appelbaum and Shapiro, 1993).
they exhibited these behaviors without the The gender role concept of leadership and
accompanying more supportive (feminine) the provision of a style alternative helps
behaviors were viewed as leaders in a higher solve a dilemma for women. ``A double bind
percentage than any other category that is particularly troublesome for women
originally defined. However, in terms of leaders is what Jamieson calls the feminine/
androgynous behaviors it may be the balance competency bind, where acting `feminine’ is
of behaviors, rather than a high amount of associated with incompetence, and acting
both behaviors, that becomes important `competent’ is associated with the opposite
(Kolb, 1999). polarity of masculine traits that when
Clearly, from a woman’s perspective, the adopted by women can only lead to the
merits of androgyny show potential. conclusion that one must be `un-feminine’ to
Although masculinity still appears to have be competent’’ (Oakley, 2000; Jamieson, 1995).
a significant relationship with leader However, women are less likely to be pre-
emergence, a possible relationship between selected as leaders and the same leadership
androgyny and leader emergence indicates behavior is often evaluated more positively
that the possession of feminine when attributed to a male than a female
characteristics, in balance with masculine (Kolb, 1997).
[ 45 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, A better definition of androgyny may be According to the sex role theory, being a man
Lynda Audet and required. Does it refer to a good balance of or a women means enacting a general role as
Joanne C. Miller male and female behaviors? Does that mean a function of one’s sex. But this theory also
Gender and leadership? uses the words masculine and feminine,
Leadership and gender? that an individual would have to score high
A journey through the on both scales or does a low score on both asserting that the feminine character in
landscape of theories particular is produced by socialization into
scales also qualify as androgyny? Is a new
Leadership & Organization the female role. According to this approach,
scale required?
Development Journal women acquire a great deal of sex role
24/1 [2003] 43-51 In fact, a totally new scale, redefining each learning early in their lives, and this can lead
variable, may be required since it appears to an attitude of mind that creates difficulties
that much of gender role research traces back later, during their working lives. It’s a form of
to Bem’s (1974) definition of stereotypical ``culture trap’’.
gender characteristics. This work may no
As such, the roles that women have been
longer be applicable to more current
socializations of gender role. In terms of taught to play and the attitudes that they
gender role, Kolb (1999) notes that there is no have been encouraged to assume seem to
difference between males and females on signal a certain ``second class’’. This is even
scores on the masculinity scale. Apparently, more important in a group setting since
traits and behaviors identified as masculine group members will elect a leader who seems
in Bem’s historical (1974) study have been capable of representing the best interests of
adopted by both sexes. This would conform to the group. Attitude toward leadership is a
current thinking which suggests that it is not significant predictor for group assessed
reasonable to judge a quality such as leader emergence (Kolb, 1997). This is
sensitivity as exclusively female or particularly significant if women are to
assertiveness as exclusively male. establish themselves as leaders in today’s
An outcome of gender role research is the team-based organizations where leadership
identification of a multiplicity of possible is just as likely to be assumed as assigned.
factors beyond gender or gender role that Findings suggest that the specific
contribute to perceptions of leadership. component of attitude toward leadership,
more than the overall gender classification of
Environmental factors masculinity, might be what causes group
A thorough exploration of all the factors members to view individuals as leaders,
contributing to leadership effectiveness or although masculinity is still relevant
leadership emergence and the implications of (Kolb, 1997).
these factors in terms of evaluating real or Also linked to attitude is the
perceived male versus female differences encouragement and support received as
would clearly be beyond the scope of this part of an organization’s formal and
review. What follows, instead, is a sampling informal system of feedback: ``By and large,
of selected causal factors, presented to give blocked mobility breeds pessimism and
the reader some appreciation of the disengagement among workers, regardless of
complexity of the issues and component- their sex, whereas indications of opportunity
issues. More importantly, it is believed that foster engagement and optimism’’ (Cassirer
what may have started as a very simple and Reskin, 2000).
question and answer (Q: do men or women Self-confidence
make better leaders? A: men are better There are further and more worrisome
leaders because biology made them so) indications that women have internalized the
quickly grew in complexity. The noted second class attitude, resulting in a
consideration of causal factors does provide diminished self-confidence and, again, a
some insight into this complexity. Selected disconnect with others’ expectations of
factors that potentially undermine a leadership. ``The addition of self-confidence
woman’s leadership effectiveness include:
to the regression model for leadership
women’s attitude, women’s self-confidence, emergence substantially improved its
women’s prior work experience, the
predictive ability’’ (Kolb, 1999).
corporate environment, and the old boys’
Jackson’s deprivation theory merits
network.
mention in the context of self-confidence as
Women’s attitude well. ``Relative deprivation theory has been
Attitude toward leadership is a stronger used to explain women’s apparent
predictor of leader emergence than satisfaction with less . . . for example women
masculinity (Kolb, 1999) but women may be achieving the same hierarchical levels as did
at a disadvantage because the more docile, men despite lower incomes’’ (Kirchmeyer,
unleader-like impression they have been 1998; Jackson, 1989). Accepting less may also
socialized to give sends a message of signal a lack of self-confidence and may also
incompetence (Claes, 1999; Lipsey et al., 1990): ensure that women effectively get less in the
[ 46 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, way of money, rewards and praise for their This is perhaps in line with a growing
Lynda Audet and leadership skills. body of evidence that suggests that
Joanne C. Miller entrepreneurship is on the rise much more
Gender and leadership? Experience
Leadership and gender? for women than for men since women may be
Although both experience and masculinity
A journey through the driven to it. Women entrepreneurs,
landscape of theories are significantly correlated with group-
regardless of whether they are intentional
Leadership & Organization assessed leader emergence, neither emerges
entrepreneurs or corporate climbers, have
Development Journal as a significant predictor (Kolb, 1997).
24/1 [2003] 43-51 found that the corporate atmosphere stifled
Further research (Kolb, 1999) suggests that
their aspirations to pursue new challenges
``measures of attitude, experience and self-
(Moore and Buttner, 1997). With regard to
confidence should continue to be examined
gender, Jacobs (1989) argues that
for their predictive value in leader
opportunities for employment in male
emergence. These scales appear to be more
dominated occupations have increased, but
predictive than masculinity of leader
men’s resistance to women’s presence has
emergence and have the advantage of not
resulted in nearly as many women leaving
relying on gender stereotype.’’
these jobs (Maume, 1999).
This may indicate that women need to Organizations foster or discourage their
be in the pipeline long enough to gain the employees’ aspirations for promotion. By
required experience. Otherwise, they risk disproportionately employing women in
being perceived as lacking the credibility to jobs that lack regular promotion procedures
possess leadership potential. or less frequently implementing regular
The corporate environment promotion procedures in women’s jobs,
Indirectly linked to issues of attitude and self- employers not only reduce women’s chances
confidence is the corporate environment in for promotion, they in effect encourage some
which women work. It is often in this women to give up hope of being promoted
demanding and challenging environment (Cassirer and Reskin, 2000).
that women are expected to excel and are Organizations that ignore their high-
evaluated accordingly. achieving women by not offering them
Women experience work environments in opportunities for promotion risk having
which they feel less welcome, and somewhat them go elsewhere and therefore risk the loss
threatened by what they perceive as self- of the value of the human capital they
serving domineering cultures. Organizations employ.
typically favor stereotypical masculine The old boys’ network
values and reward practices that conform Despite high levels of political correctness
to sex-based values. As such, the more popular in North American corporate society
masculine attributes of being domineering, today, the ``old boys’ network’’ is alive and
tough-minded and powerful may be noticed well and not always women’s greatest source
by more women to the extent they are taught of support. In fact, there is active resistance
or socialized to display different values in by men. They generate institutional
their behavior (Wicks and Bradshaw, 1999). impediments to stall woman’s advance in
Further, the status quo is unlikely to organizations. At a cultural level, they foster
change in the short or even mid-term since solidarity between men and sexualize,
``organizations are structured to protect male threaten, marginalize, control and divide
power and reward masculinity accordingly, women (Rigg and Sparrow, 1994).
for example, rewarding analytical rationality Contributing to the old boys’ ability to do
above intuition, and task-orientation over this is the general fact that men still tend to
people orientation’’ (Rigg and Sparrow, 1994). have the power. For example, male
Furthermore, ``gender-based stereotyping managers, who often make decisions
and the closed circle of the `old boy network’ affecting the upward mobility of women,
are strong social forces that are slow to have been found to perceive the
change’’ (Oakley, 2000). characteristics needed for managerial
As can be expected in any situation, success as being associated with those
there is safety in numbers: according to generally attributed to men. The fact that
psychologists, women are at highest risk of male managers may not consider female
stereotypic appraisal when they form less characteristics important for managerial
than 15 to 25 percent of a management level. success can negatively impact decisions
When women move in large numbers into made by males concerning women’s careers,
upper management, as they are now poised to including job placement, promotion and
do in many professions, the evaluative norms access to development and training
will change. In theory at least, women will opportunities (Burke and Collins, 2001).
then be seen not as women managers, but It is clear from this discussion of selected
simply as managers (Jamieson, 1995). causal factors how diverse and complex a
[ 47 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, topic leadership can become. It goes far Kabacoff (1998) finds that women tend to be
Lynda Audet and beyond the qualities of the leader and those more highly rated on empathy
Joanne C. Miller individuals directly interacting with that (demonstrating an active concern for people
Gender and leadership?
Leadership and gender? leader. To even begin to fairly evaluate a and their needs, forming close, supportive
A journey through the leader’s abilities necessitates evaluating the relationships with others), and
landscape of theories
entirety of the leader’s environment. communication (stating clear expectations
Leadership & Organization As long as others tend to attribute for others, clearly expressing thoughts and
Development Journal
24/1 [2003] 43-51 women’s accomplishments to unstable, ideas, maintaining flow of communications)
external factors, to make inaccurate than men. Women are also more highly rated
predictions about women’s commitments, to on people skills (sensitivity to others,
believe that women lack the suitable traits likeableness, ability to listen and to develop
for management, and to allow cross-sexuality effective relationships with peers and with
to impair relationships at work, women’s those to whom they report). However, they
success determinants will probably differ are not seen as more outgoing (acting in an
from men’s (Kirchmeyer, 1998). extroverted, friendly, informal fashion) or
more co-operative in their leadership styles.
Attitudinal drivers Contrary to expectations, women tend to
According to Claes (1999), new values, score higher on a leadership scale measuring
sometimes called feminine values, have an orientation towards production (strong
appeared in business. These values contrast pursuit of achievement, holding high
with the competitive and authoritative expectations for self and others) and the
approach usually associated with traditional attainment of results. Men tend to score
masculine management as they are based on higher on scales assessing an orientation
consensual relations and inspire a different towards strategic planning and
management approach to communications, organizational vision. Women tend to be
leadership, negotiations, organization and higher on people-oriented leadership skills,
control. Increasingly, this rebalancing of men on business-oriented leadership skills.
values is seen as a key to business success. Overall, bosses see men and women as
Research aggregated from numerous equally effective, while peer and direct
sources acknowledges differences in a male assessment rate women as slightly higher
versus female approach to leadership. A than men (Claes, 1999; Kabacoff, 1998).
variety of descriptors attributed to males and These findings are truly encouraging on
females, reads as follows: three levels. The first level is the idea that
women can build a more inclusive,
Male Female
rewarding organization where employees on
Structure Consideration
every level can aspire to be the best that they
Transactional Transformational
can be. The findings indicate that women
Autocratic Participative
employ a transformational leadership style.
Instruction-giving Socio-expressive
The analogy of a wheel with a hub depicts the
Business-oriented People-oriented
organizational structure of a leader
Much contemporary thinking, however, positioned at the center, with the
conceptualizes a feminine style of leadership subordinates connected to her and to each
that is singularly different from its male other at the rim. This conveys a collaborative
counterpart. Some theorists (Helgesen, team approach that empowers both
1990), suggest that certain feminine employees and clients. Women
characteristics give the woman leader an entrepreneurs often integrate multiple
advantage. Characteristics described as organizational roles and multiple dimensions
essentially feminine are, among others, of their lives, such as balancing home and
heightened communication skills (especially work, into a leadership role (Moore and
the ability to be a good listener and to be Buttner, 1997).
empathetic); advanced intermediary skills The second level at which this work seems
(for negotiation and conflict resolution); promising is that it may help banish well-
well-developed interpersonal skills and a meant but somewhat detrimental thinking:
soft approach to handling people (Stanford ``As long as women are believed to fit the
et al., 1995). requirements of management poorly, female
Further, a variety of work now concurs managers should be cautious about
with the essence of this direction: ``feminine demonstrating a feminine orientation that
characteristics’’ are more appropriate for could reinforce perceptions of incompetence
``transformational’’ leadership and in the minds of organizational decision
``masculine characteristics’’ more makers’’ (Kirchmeyer, 1998).
appropriate for transactional leadership According to Kirchmeyer (1998) the
(Hare et al., 1997). differential effects of the individual
[ 48 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, determinants were consistent with our Question two: No, women’s styles are not at
Lynda Audet and expectations. Masculinity has a stronger all likely to be less effective; in fact, they are
Joanne C. Miller positive effect on women’s perceptions of more effective within the context of team-
Gender and leadership?
Leadership and gender? success than on men’s. based, consensually-driven organizational
A journey through the Third, and most encouraging, is that this structures that are more prevalent in today’s
landscape of theories
learning may finally steer research away world.
Leadership & Organization Question three: The assessment that a
Development Journal from male versus female issues to effective
24/1 [2003] 43-51 versus ineffective issues: ``These findings woman’s leadership style is less effective
support the conclusion that leadership style/ than a man’s is not fact-based but rather
use of power is more of a choice based on an driven, by socialization, to a perception that
analysis of the situation than an inherent certainly persists. The inescapable reality is
gender predisposition and that leadership that, within the senior ranks of corporate
style differences, if any, may blur as gender- North America (and elsewhere), women
mixed management teams become more remain conspicuous by their absence.
common in the workplace’’ (Langford et al., The irony of the learning deserves
1998). mention. When women attempt to prove their
competence by ``acting like men’’, they are
considered to be less than women. When
there seems to be some merit in what would
Summary and conclusions normally have been considered a ``female’’
This review was prompted by the significant approach, men adopt it as their own. What
under-representation of women in today’s was seen as weak is now thought of as
senior corporate ranks and the theory that a flexible; what was emotional now combines
core issue may be skewed perceptions of with the rational to bring balance. The
leadership ability or, more specifically, concept of ``greater good’’, once inappropriate
women’s leadership inability. in the competitive world of business, is now
The three specific questions that were visionary. Surely, the qualities themselves
formulated at the outset were: have not changed. Have attitudes changed?
1 Are women’s leadership styles truly This leads to consideration of the following
different from men’s? questions for further research:
2 Are these styles less likely to be effective? What are some defensible rationales
3 Is the assessment that women leadership behind the under-representation of
styles fact-based or a perception that has women in senior corporate ranks?
become a reality? If the reason why women are under-
represented in senior management is
The literature can be roughly grouped into driven by negative perceptions of
four schools of thought. The first approach women’s abilities, how can this be
examined seems to be based on the premise corrected? Is there need for a new model
that leadership is biologically determined for re-socialization?
and innate for men. A second area of thought How can we expand on the learning from
acknowledges the role of socialization and environmental factor work to better
explores the notion of gender role as a understand factors predicting and
determinant of leadership. A third concept influencing leadership effectiveness?
involves the identification and consideration Should leadership effectiveness training
of a variety of other contributing causal for women follow a different model than
factors ± beyond gender role ± that could for men if re-socialization merits
predict and influence, leadership consideration?
effectiveness and emergence. The fourth Are other scales, such as Myers Briggs
perspective accepts that there may well be categories, better predictors of leadership
a difference in the way men and women effectiveness or leadership emergence?
approach leadership and attempts to It can also be suggested that research
understand and articulate this difference. focusing on the debate between male and
To conclude, the original questions and female effectiveness should be redirected
those restated above can be answered as since it seems quite clear that questions
follows: regarding leader effectiveness and leader
Question one: Yes, women’s leadership emergence are better linked to the individual
style is, at this point, different from men’s rather than to an individual’s sex or even
but men can learn from and adopt ``women’s’’ gender role.
style and use it effectively as well. In other
words, effective leadership is not the References
exclusive domain of either gender and both Adler, N.J. (1993), ``Competitive frontiers: women
can learn from the other. managers in the triad’’, International Studies

[ 49 ]
Steven H. Appelbaum, of Management and Organization, Vol. 23 Kent, R.L. and Moss, S.E. (1994), ``Effects of sex
Lynda Audet and No. 2, pp. 3-23. and gender role on leader emergence’’,
Joanne C. Miller Appelbaum, S.H. and Shapiro, B.T. (1993), ``Why Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 37
Gender and leadership?
Leadership and gender? can’t men lead like women?’’, Leadership & No. 5, pp. 1335-47.
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