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‘THE VOICE OF REASON’?

CULTURAL DYNAMICS AND GENDER ROLES

IN PHILIPPINES BUSINESS LEADERSHIP

Bet H Roffey

The Flinders University of South Australia

SCHOOL OF COMMERCE
RESEARCH PAPER SERIES: 00-5
ISSN: 1441-3906

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‘THE VOICE OF REASON’? CULTURAL DYNAMICS AND GENDER ROLES

IN PHILIPPINES BUSINESS LEADERSHIP

ABSTRACT

This study of Filipina1 managers and entrepreneurs examined industry peer and employee perceptions and
expectations of strategic leaders and strategic managers in the Philippines, and the ways in which effective
Filipina business leaders in Metro Manila enact their roles in everyday work situations. The research identified
gendered cultural values in perceptions and expectations of women in leadership in the Philippines. Gendered
power roles and dynamics, and cultural values associated with gender-appropriate behaviours, ethical
leadership, influenced the ways in which women managers and business leaders enacted their strategic
leadership roles. The implications of the findings in relation to ‘gender-in-management’ models and ‘feminine-
in-management’ discourses, developed in individualistic societies, are explored, and issues raised for further
research and discussion.

INTRODUCTION

Despite the presence of a significant and increasing minority of women in management and
administrative positions in the Philippines [22.7% in 1986 and 32.8% in 1995 (International
Labour Organization, 1996:174)] and the importance of family businesses in the Philippines,
few writers have examined the managerial implications of the roles and status of Filipino
women in Philippines kinship networks, nor the implications of Filipino values and
interpersonal dynamics from a female manager’s perspective. While Filipino management
literature has documented some key elements of Filipino culture which affect organisational
behaviour (e.g. Andres, 1981; 1985; Franco, 1986; Gonzalez, 1987; Jocano, 1990; Lupdag,
1984)2, it has paid less attention to the leadership characteristics of Filipino businesswomen.
With notable research exceptions (e.g. Alvarez and Alvarez, 1972; Hoffarth, 1989; 1990;
1992; Licuanan, 1992a; 1992b, 1992c), Philippines management writers have generally
assumed that Filipino business leaders are male.

While Hoffarth and Licuanan have provided most comprehensive information on the
background characteristics of Filipina managers and entrepreneurs, there has been little
research on the ways in which Filipino women executives, senior managers and entrepreneurs
exercise the strategic elements of their business leadership roles within the context of Filipino
business dynamics. Similarly, the research literature contains little discussion of the gendered

1
The term ‘Filipina’ is used with reference to Filipino women. The term ‘Filipino’ is used both generically and
with reference to males.
2
See Roffey (1999a) for a review of pertinent literature.

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cultural dynamics which provide the context for effective strategic leadership in the
Philippines. The most extensive research on women in business leadership has been
conducted in Western countries (e.g. Chaganti, 1986; Helgesen, 1995; Kanter, 1977;
Marshall, 1984; Rosener, 1990). Through examining findings of a recent study of Filipina
managers and entrepreneurs, this paper aims to further our understanding of this under-
researched area.

The study investigated women business leaders in the Philippines, whom industry peer
identified as being both ‘effective strategic managers’ and ‘effective strategic leaders. In
Western management models, strategic leaders help develop a vision of their firm’s future,
and motivate and inspire employees to keep moving in the right direction to achieve the
firm’s goals (Kanter, 1983; Kotter, 1988; 1990). Strategic managers are usually responsible
for developing and implementing business plans to ensure their firm’s long-range survival
(Kotter, 1988; 1990). Not all strategic leaders are effective strategic managers, and
conversely, effective strategic managers do not necessarily have the characteristics of
effective strategic leaders.

Gender and culture in management

Influential management and leadership theories (e.g. Fiedler, 1964; 1967; House, 1971;
Mintzberg, 1973; 1975) fail to indicate the ways in which ‘men managers are socially
constructed as men through either the practice of managing or the impact of other social
forces such as the processes of boys becoming adult men, the organization of domestic life or
broader cultural and religious practices’ (Collinson and Hearn, 1996: 6, emphasis in the
original). In analysing dominant discourses on ‘management’, Collinson and Hearn (1996)
argue that

conventional discourses [on management] rarely question managerial power, the


elitist nature of most decision making or the terms and conditions of employment that
are associated with the function. While these dominant modes of analysis are
immensely varied, most share a reluctance to explore questions of gender that would
otherwise tend to disrupt taken-for-granted ways of thinking about management’
(Collinson and Hearn, 1996: 5).
While researchers such as Hofstede (1980a; 1980b; 1991) and Trompenaars and Hampden-
Turner (1993) produced culturally embedded critiques of ethnocentric management and
leadership theories, there has been less cross-cultural analysis of the gendered nature of
organisation and management theories. The ways in which gender is constructed within a
society affects the manner in which organisations are structured and managed (Collinson and
Hearn, 1996; King, 1995). King argues that ‘sex roles and gendered behavior are

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institutionalized as part of a culture and reflect important aspects of the culture itself’ (King,
1995: 82). In interpreting Hofstede’s ‘masculinity’ cultural values dimension, King suggests
that ‘countries with lower masculinity tend to have more women in better jobs and more
positive attitudes about women and leadership and believe that organizational and private life
should be separate’ (King, 1995: 83). Extrapolating from Hofstede’s results, this assertion
should apply to the Philippines. As the Philippines ranked moderately high on Masculinity
(Hofstede, 1980), women managers in the Philippines may arguably be seen as more assertive
than the gender norm, and there may be fewer women in high-level positions.

King, however, has given insufficient attention to both the socio-economic class domain and
the power dynamics which affect business leadership. The gendered political economy of the
Philippines, a function of the country’s historical development and contemporary economic
considerations, shapes the context in which Filipino businesswomen operate. There have
traditionally been gender differences in the power roles and boundaries between Filipino men
and women (Licuanan, 1991; Roces, 1996), and in economic participation patterns (Eviota,
1992; Illo, 1991). Confirming previous studies by Alvarez and Alvarez (1972) and Jocano
(1990), Licuanan reports that in Philippines family businesses, ‘the common practice …. is
for the most senior position to be given to men, while women take lesser titles ….. despite the
fact that it is the woman who actually runs the firm’ (Licuanan, 1999: 25). The Tagalog term
malakas (powerful or influential) is usually associated with Filipino males who exercise
direct power. Roces (1996; 1998) suggests that Filipino women wield substantial unofficial
power as a culturally acceptable form of power, and therefore their economic power may be
greater than that of women in Western countries. Eviota (1992: 128), however, has argued
that ‘only when [Filipino] women are independent entrepreneurs do they become decision-
makers and this is because they have greater control of the production processes’.

Through analysis of qualitative survey data, written texts, interview transcripts, interpersonal
communications and managerial behaviours, this paper aims to generate a richer
understanding of the relationship between the gender and culture discourses, and the social
practice of Filipina business leadership.

RESEARCH DESIGN

The qualitative research methods were informed by grounded theory (Glaser, 1992; Glaser
and Strauss, 1967; Strauss, 1987; Strauss and Corbin, 1990; 1994) and indigenous research
principles (Enriquez, 1977; 1982; 1993; Ho, 1998)3. Grounded theory research methods can

3
See Parker and Roffey (1997) and Roffey (1999a) for more extensive discussions of research design.

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inform international business research through systematic multiple data management
procedures, and through an iterative process of verification and falsification by examining the
interaction of levels and types of data in the context of their meaning to key ‘actors’
(Goffman, 1959) or stakeholders.

Emic and etic research considerations were integral to the research design (Church, 1987;
Church and Katigbak, 1988; Denzin and Lincoln, 1994; Punnett and Shenkar, 1996; Triandis
and Berry, 1980). In a business research context, emic perspectives include the research
participants’ interpretations and attributions of meaning to research events, and interpretation
of data from within the host culture’s business framework. Etic research perspectives include
the external researcher’s interpretations and abstractions from particular events to general
principles. Etic approaches to international business research seek universal constructs such
as leadership characteristics, whereas emic research methods investigate unique aspects of a
single culture from a within-culture perspective. The criteria for determining the validity,
reliability and significance of etic studies are thus based on assumed universal norms,
whereas the results of ‘pure’ emic studies can only be interpreted with reference to the culture
under investigation (Geertz, 1973). Effective business leadership characteristics in one
culture may not be effective in other cultures, while universal descriptors of effective
leadership characteristics may overlook important culture-specific variables which moderate
the impact of the universal attribute.

The Filipino methods of intellectual enquiry known as pakapa-kapa (Ho, 1988) and
pagtatanung-tanong (‘asking around’) (Ho, 1988, p. 96) are compatible with grounded theory
research principles. Pakapa-kapa enquiry assumes no a priori hypotheses or preconceived
theories (Ho, 1988). Pagtatanung-tanong involves the researcher following opportunities to
gather additional information from the informant as questions arise during conversations,
pursuing new leads as they emerge, checking and clarifying as required, and verifying the
consistency and trustworthiness of the information through ‘questioning of different
informants’ (Ho, 1988, p. 96). The triangulated data collection methods, in conjunction with
indigenous research principles, were chosen to ensure both etic and emic perspectives could
be applied in the analysis.

Method

The study generated industry peer descriptions of criteria for identifying effective strategic
leaders and strategic managers in the Philippines, identified Filipina managers and
entrepreneurs who fit such criteria, and analysed the attributes, behaviours and organisational

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contexts of effective Filipina strategic leaders and strategic managers. Open-ended
questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, field observations and primary and secondary
documents formed the data set. Although English is regarded as the business language in the
Philippines, a constraint may have been the use of English in questionnaires, interviews and
field observation verbal communications. In his 67-country survey of employee attitudes,
however, Hofstede (1980a) used English as the questionnaire language in the Philippines,
while emphasising the importance of using the most appropriate language version of his
questionnaire in each participating country. Hofstede’s questionnaire was translated into 20
different languages, with English versions administered in Southeast Asian countries of Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The researcher assumed not only that Filipina managers and entrepreneurs responding to the
initial questionnaire would be fluent in written English, but also that the subsequent
interviews and conversations during the direct observation procedures would be conducted in
English. English is considered the language of commerce in the Philippines, and the majority
of Filipina managers and entrepreneurs have learnt English during their schooling. The
researcher’s visit to a major university business school in Manila and consultations with
members of a leading Filipina businesswomen’s network in July, 1994, confirmed the
expectation that business and management-level communications are conducted primarily in
English. Occasional informal interactions between managers and employees in languages
other than English (e.g. Tagalog or Cebuano), however, required some assistance in
interpretation, if they were considered relevant to the research area.

Women managers and entrepreneurs in a range of industries in the Philippines first completed
a mail survey. The open-ended questionnaire was designed to elicit key constructs that are
perceived to be important in the opinion of business people in the Philippines, rather than
imposing constructs derived largely from research on North American, European or Japanese
companies (e.g. Kotter, 1988; 1990; Kanter, 1983; Misumi, 1985). The researcher then
interviewed women entrepreneurs and managers, who were nominated by industry peers as
possessing characteristics of both effective strategic leaders and strategic managers,
interviewed work associates, participated in organisational activities, and analysed pertinent
documents. Followup communications with research participants ensured accuracy of
qualitative data coding and categorisation, and provided additional background information.

Women entrepreneurs, managers and executives in industries based in Metro Manila, the
dominant business location in the Philippines, comprised the research population. Filipinas

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managing small-scale ventures such as sari-sari stores, footpath vending and market stalls,
were not represented in the study. The author first visited Manila in 1994, to consult with
Filipina executives and entrepreneurs regarding the research scope, design and sampling
procedures. In November, 1994, a sub-sample of Filipina managers completed pilot
questionnaires. Because of the differences in industry and organisational structures between
the Philippines and Australian, North American or European organisations, no predetermined
sampling frame was imposed on the study. The Philippines National Census and Statistics
Office classifies ‘small’ enterprises in the Philippines as those having less than 20 employees,
‘medium’ enterprises between 20 and 99 employees, and ‘large’ enterprises 100 or more
employees. Many managers and entrepreneurs in developing economies, however, run small,
family-based businesses as part of the ‘informal sector’. As indicated by Austin (1990),
Hoffarth (1990) and Licuanan (1992a), such small, family-based businesses ‘produce socially
acceptable goods but through an informal system’ (Austin, 1990: 135). The initial
questionnaire responses and followup interviews helped to determine the sampling frame for
the direct observation component of the study, to ensure industry sector representativeness as
far as feasible within the constraints of the responses.

Mail survey questionnaire

In 1995, 56 Filipina managers and entrepreneurs returned completed questionnaires


(Appendix A), from a sample of 222. The response rate to the first phase of data collection,
although less than desirable in Western business research, compared reasonably with previous
mail surveys of business leaders in developing economies (see Salehi-Sangari and Lemar,
1993; Syrett, 1995; Yin, 1995). Table 1 summarises the survey response distribution
according to industry sector and enterprise size. Filipina managers and entrepreneurs of large
and medium sized organisations were over-represented, in comparison with the number of
small, family businesses in the Philippines (Eviota, 1992; Hoffarth, 1990; Licuanan, 1992a;
Samonte, 1990).

TABLE 1
SURVEY RESPONSE DISTRIBUTION:
INDUSTRY SECTOR BY ENTERPRISE SIZE
Industry Sector Small Medium Large Not stated TOTAL
1. Agriculture 1 1
2. Manufacture 1 1 5 7
3. Retail trade 1 1
4. Construction 1 1 2
5. Mining 1 1
6. Finance, Real Estate, 2 4 16 22
Insurance, Businesses

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7. Community, Social, 5 4 6 15
Personal
8. Utilities 1 1
9. Transport, 2 2 2 6
Communication
TOTAL 11 11 32 2 56*
* One respondent held executive positions in two industry sectors.

Within the broad industry sector classifications in Table 1, specific industries represented by
questionnaire respondents included the following:

1. agriculture – coconut;
2. manufacturing – chemicals/pharmaceuticals, paper conversion, electronics, industrial
metal products, icecream/dairy products, confectionery;
3. retail trade;
4. construction – mass housing, real estate development;
5. mining/minerals – oil, petroleum;
6. finance/business – accounting, banking, audit and management/business consulting,
insurance, information technology consulting, computer technology, technology
transfer/commercialisation, market research;
7. community/social/personal services – education, social development, government
planning, entertainment, local government, beauty salon, scientific research/health
funding, tourism/travel, environmental technology consulting;
8. utilities – water supply;
9. transport/communication – shipping, shipyard operations, graphic design,
communications/media.
Table 2 summarises questionnaire respondent data according to positions within industries,
using the same industry classifications as in Table 1. The classifications of questionnaire
respondent positions do not include situations where respondents indicated they held more
than one position. One or more women in each of sectors 2, 4, 6 and 7 described their
positions in dual roles, such as ‘Executive Vice-president, General Manager (sector 2), Vice-
president, Divisional Head (Sector 2), ‘Vice-president, manager’ (sector 6), President,
General Manager (Sector 6) Vice-president, Treasurer (sector 7), President/CEO (sector 7),
Vice-president, President (sector 4). The dual roles specified appeared to be a function of
industry and enterprise size. Women leaders of manufacturing enterprises and small
enterprises tended to indicate they had dual roles. The dual roles arguably reflected
enterprise ownership structure, with dual roles more likely to be common in family-owned
businesses.

TABLE 2
SURVEY RESPONSE DISTRIBUTION:

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INDUSTRY SECTOR BY POSITION IN ENTERPRISE
INDUSTRY SECTOR POSITION IN ENTERPRISE
Pres/VP, Exec, Owner/ Dept/Line Prof, TOTAL
Assoc VP, Div Manager Manager Partner,
CEO Head Other, ns*
1. Agriculture 1 1
2. Manufacture 5 1 1 7
3. Retail trade 1 1
4. Construction 2 2
5. Mining 1 1
6. Finance, real 9 9 1 3 22
estate, insurance,
businesses
7. Community, 3 6 1 3 2 15
social, personal
8. Utilities 1 1
9. Transport, 1 1 3 1 6
communic. (1 ns)*
Total 21 18 1 9 7 56
* position not stated = 1.

Semistructured interviews

Questionnaire respondents were asked if they knew any Filipina business leaders in their
industry who were both effective strategic leaders and effective strategic managers. Forty-
one of the 56 respondents indicated in the affirmative, while 11 said there were none. Thirty-
five women were identified as effective strategic leaders and strategic managers. A number
of women were nominated by two or more questionnaire respondents and additional
informants from the network snowball sampling process.

In August 1995, the researcher wrote to all women nominated as effective strategic leaders
and strategic managers, requesting an interview. Where relevant, supporting correspondence
from leading Filipina executives was provided. Twenty-five women indicated their
willingness to be interviewed: others were either overseas on business or did not wish to be
interviewed. The final sample of 21 organisations included two large organisations in which
business peers identified more than one senior woman manager as being effective strategic
business leaders. Table 3 summarises the final participating organisations in the study,
according to industry sector and enterprise size.

TABLE 3
PARTICIPATING ORGANISATIONS:
INDUSTRY DISTRIBUTION BY ENTERPRISE SIZE
INDUSTRY SECTOR ENTERPRISE SIZE
Small Medium Large TOTAL

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2 Manufacturing 1 2 3
3 Retail trade 1 1
4 Construction/development 1* 1*
5 Mining/minerals 2 2
6 Finance, Real Estate, 5* 5*
Insurance, Businesses
7 Community, Social, Personal 1 1 2# 4#
8 Utilities 1# 1#
9 Transport, Communication 2 2 1 5
TOTAL ORGANISATIONS 3 4 14*# 21*#
*The Filipina executive in one large corporation had responsibilities in two industry
sectors.
#The final sample of 21 organisations included two large organisations in which
business peers nominated more than one senior woman manager.
For all 21 participating organisations, additional organisation and industry documents were
collected and analysed. Documents included annual reports, policy manuals, organisational
charts, planning documents, review reports, minutes of meetings, product/service information
publications, and newspaper and business periodical articles.

Participant observation and key informant interviews

On completion of the followup interviews with ‘highly effective’ women entrepreneurs and
corporate managers, women from ten organisations in a range of industries gave permission
for the researcher to spend time with them in their business environment, and to interview
other organisational members.

During the interview and field observation processes, the researcher used purposive and
theoretical sampling procedures to identify other organisational members to be interviewed,
types of information to verify or disconfirm emerging patterns and contingencies, and
additional sources of information. Purposive sampling criteria included organisational
members whose position required regular or frequent contact with the key research
participant, and interviews with organisational members whom the researcher considered
most likely to be in a position to confirm or disconfirm emerging hypotheses about the nature
of the key research participant’s strategic leadership and management characteristics.
Pertinent organisational documents such as annual reports, minutes of meetings,
organisational charts and policy manuals were collected for the key organisations of interest.
Field observation methods included formal interviews and informal conversations with peers,
subordinates and superiors, attendance at committee meetings and training sessions,
participation in work-related social activities, and conducting professional activities.

Data coding and analysis procedures

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QSR NUD*IST (Non-Numerical Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorizing)
software was used to analyse qualitative data from all stages of the study (QSR, 1994; 1995;
1997). ‘Constant comparison’ (Glaser, 1992) of themes and codes from questionnaire,
interview and observational data to allow categories and subsequent properties associated
with ‘effective strategic management and strategic leadership’ to emerge. The cultural,
political and economic context for data categorisation and for the emerging model of
effective strategic management and strategic leadership was taken into consideration
throughout the research process, through participant feedback and through examination of
Filipino leadership and management literature, and of recent and contemporary publications
on Filipino business, economics and politics. As Hoffarth (1990) found that Filipina
corporate managers tend to have personal values that match the values of their organisation,
evidence of organisational values from corporate documents, employee statements and
researcher observations was included in the analysis.

The following section discusses categories which reflected the contexts of culture and gender
dynamics in the Philippines.

RESULTS: CULTURE AND GENDER IN PHILIPPINES MANAGEMENT

While the businesswomen and entrepreneurs who participated in the research have direct
power and influence through their official positions as business leaders, they exercise this
power within the wider context of gender roles and dynamics in the Philippines 4. While
maintaining anonymity, the dynamics identified are presented with reference to direct quotes
from female and male managers and employees. Direct quotes are italicised.

Effective strategic leadership criteria in the Philippines include ‘vision’, ‘innovation’,


‘understanding of the external industry environment’ ‘drive or commitment’ and ‘focus on
clear goals’. Industry peers associate effective strategic management with ‘control’,
‘discipline’, ‘efficient use of resources’ and ‘well-organised’. The head of a large family
corporation described the only senior woman executive as ‘the voice of reason that keeps us
[the senior executive triumvirate) from flying off in too many direction’.

Indications of the blend of Filipino social characteristics with the country’s Hispanic legacy
appeared in research participants’ preferences for both strategic leaders and strategic
managers to possess culturally embedded qualities of compassionate involvement and
concern (Franco, 1986; Jocano, 1990), and to assume ethical responsibilities associated with

4
See Roces (1998) and Roffey (1999b) for further analyses of gender and power in the Philippines.

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the imperatives of delicadeza (moral responsibilities associated with power and influence:
Jocano, 1990; Roces, 1990).

Cultural norms of familism and collectivism, dynamics of kinship groups and alliances,
gender role expectations and images, and such values and interpersonal considerations as
pakikisama (‘smooth interpersonal relations’), maintaining amor propio (self-esteem) and
avoiding hiya (shame), utang na loob (reciprocal obligations) and expectations of the Filipino
leader as gabay (guide), informed national and community levels of meaning of effective
Filipina business leadership.

Appendix B includes a section of the QSR NUD*IST coding scheme under the ‘culture’
theme. There were 29 documents coded at the broad ‘culture’ node. The subsets of ‘culture’
included ‘values’, defined as Filipino values in relation to management, ‘dynamics’ defined
as ‘cultural dynamics and effective strategic leadership’, and a sub-dimension of the
‘dynamics’ node labelled ‘power and influence’. There were 31 documents coded at the
‘values’ node, 30 documents at the ‘dynamics’ node, and 28 documents at the ‘power and
influence’ node.

The following fieldnote extract, coded at the ‘dynamics’ node in the QSR NUD*IST program
indicated three key areas of culturally embedded dynamics which affected the interpretation
of effective business leadership:

1. interpersonal dynamics - decision-making, pakikisama, getting along with others.


2. family business dynamics
3 business and social networks - link also to political dynamics
Interrogation of the data for patterns within these areas generated a more meaningful
appreciation of the industry, organisational structure and historical contexts in which effective
Filipina managers and entrepreneurs functioned. There were indications of changing trends
in the relationship between kinship alliances, leadership power, and professionalism in
Filipino enterprises.

The following section discusses the culturally embedded nature of the strategic business
leadership dynamics identified in this study, and the pressures to integrate modern managerial
professionalism with existing Filipino business leadership dynamics.

Kinship alliances, power and professionalism

The community dynamics in the Metro Manila business-political links, family business elites,
Makati business networks, and relationships with other regions in the Philippines affected

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Filipina business leaders’ strategic orientation and behaviour. Data from the study
demonstrate the reciprocal connections between political dynamics, kinship alliance groups
and business leadership. These dynamics were reflected across industry and organisation
size, including enterprises in the retail, media, utilities and manufacturing sectors, and real
estate, corporate philanthropy and education organisations. The strategic nature of the
connections can only be interpreted in the context of Philippines history, social structure and
cultural values.

The consultative, collaborative leadership style used by one Filipina banking leader, and her
emphasis on appropriate staff selection, training and development, setting challenging targets
and rewarding performance which met or exceeded targets, supported the organisation’s
revised strategies to deal with increased industry deregulation and competition:

with all the new opportunities that we see in the market, … we plan to … come up
with new products, new services, which would make us competitive, so we are
constantly meeting with our staff - we are encouraging actually the lower levels who
may have more ideas, because they’re the ones in direct contact - they’re the ones in
the battlefield, to … really give their suggestions.
Filipina business leaders’ strategic application of culturally embedded kinship dynamics
transcended industry and organisational boundaries, and at times included a strategic social
responsibility dimension. The head of a corporate philanthropic foundation found that she
was able to utilise kinship dynamics and her own network connections in empowering
program beneficiaries while simultaneously facilitating corporate workplace relations. In the
context of an industrial negotiation, the foundation:

set up a credit program for their employees, as well as for the community
surrounding the plant. ….. we designed a program for the employees earning at that
time less than 5000 pesos per month. If they had a relative who wanted to go into
business - so it was very clearly a productive loan for setting up an enterprise, even if
that meant just a sari-sari store, or maybe buying a tricycle so that the son could -
be a tricycle driver, to augment their income…..about 30 of these borrowers have
formed themselves also into cooperatives. …. we try to set up an organisation, or link
them up to an organisation that will continue the support to whatever we have set up
with us. And so - and that - in a way I ….You know, the Filipinos are an extended
family system, and so that proved very successful. So in a way, we were able to show
that, you know, you can undertake development work that also somehow benefited the
company, even in a very indirect way. And with that I think we kind of established our
strategic position within [this company] and we have continued to do that - looking
for opportunities, so that the companies will also be motivated to share more with the
poorer sectors of the community.
This interview extract shows the strategic benefits both to the corporate foundation and the
company, through utilising existing extended kinship group alliances. The strategic

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dimensions of corporate philanthropy are evident above, and are linked to national economic
development as well as corporate performance. Industry knowledge, professional and
interpersonal skills, and strategic awareness were fundamental criteria for assessing strategic
leadership effectiveness. This executive was rated highly on these core dimensions, as were
‘effective strategic leaders and strategic managers’ in finance/banking, insurance, education,
community, transport and manufacturing sector organisations.

Perceptions, image and effective leadership behaviour

Perceptions of gender appropriate image and behaviour influenced both peer nomination of
effective business leaders, and their responses to leader behaviours. During axial coding of
questionnaire responses and interrogation of data for variance in conditions, a culturally
embedded gendered dimension began to emerge from respondents’ criteria for effective
strategic leadership and strategic management and their descriptions of effective Filipina
business leaders. As summarised in Table 5, professional competence and strategic
leadership abilities were accompanied by descriptors emphasising gendered personal
attributes, sensitivity to others’ needs, and acceptance of family responsibilities.

TABLE 5
AXIAL CODING OF QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES:
CULTURALLY EMBEDDED GENDER DIMENSIONS
skills and abilities gendered characteristics
compassion,
professional competence attractiveness/beauty,
pleasant appearance/well-groomed,
and charming and well-mannered,
nurturing,
strategic leadership abilities sensitivity to others’ needs,
patience and diligence,
loyalty,
humility,
responsible for family

The gendered cultural implications of the Tagalog adjective maganda began to emerge in
subsequent analysis of these descriptors. Maganda describes socially acceptable behaviour
for a Filipino woman, incorporating gendered connotations of ‘virtue’ and ‘beauty’ (Roces,
1998: 17). The Philippines perception of ‘beauty’ extends beyond physical characteristics: a

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maganda Filipina is impeccably groomed and fashionably dressed. A ‘virtuous’ Filipino
woman is the moral guardian of the family, and represents ethical social norms. Although the
Tagalog term malakas is normally used to describe Filipino males who are in positions of
direct power and influence, a Filipina manager was likely to be perceived as having power
and influence (malakas) if she possessed maganda characteristics, had professional
competence and access to influential networks. She was also expected to exercise her power
in ethical ways. The ethical dimensions of Filipina businesswomen’s behaviours and values,
and their relationship to management strategies, were connected to the ways in which they
exercise power, and the cultural context of ethical business leadership. The meaning of the
cultural and gendered contexts of industry peers’ perceived desirable values such as
‘honesty’, ‘integrity’, and ‘good moral character’, and sensitivity to interpersonal dynamics,
became more apparent during the final data analysis.

In family business succession planning, maganda attributes, use of palakasan dynamics and
developing adult children’s management competencies were integral components of
prominent Filipina entrepreneurs’ strategies. Physical attractiveness and good grooming,
public recognition through success in beauty competitions, education in prestigious
Philippines and overseas institutions, and developing strategic kinship group alliances within
the Philippines and the international business connections were intertwined.

The cultural expectation of Filipina as responsible for the family unit was embedded in
questionnaire responses that reflected Filipina peers’ perceptions of women’s roles and
socially appropriate behaviour. In a range of industry sectors, the perception of the ideal
Filipina business leader as a firm but kind’ woman skilled in fostering interpersonal harmony
appeared in such descriptors as ‘Women leaders should be firm but must be compassionate
too. She should be a boss and a co-employee at the same time’ (communications/media);
‘Possesses the right touch in handling people: tough but kind’ (banking); ‘Good
communication skills, pleasant/charming…. Good in managing people, secure, self-
confidence, firm, assertive’ (computer technology).

When questionnaire data were examined for variance in conditions associated with gendered
themes, the firm but kind theme showed the most consistent pattern across industry and
enterprise size. In relation to ‘familism’ and effective leadership, there were some internal
contradictions in individual questionnaire responses. These contradictions were not evident
in interviews and observations. While one respondent from the finance/business sector
focussed on women’s familial support roles in describing two effective Filipina business

‘The Voice of Reason?' 14


leaders, her generic descriptions of ‘effective strategic leaders’ and ‘effective strategic
managers’ did not include a familial dimension. She stated that effective strategic leaders and
strategic managers should both be career-oriented, ‘intelligent, articulate, [have a]
financially comfortable background, [and a] strong spiritual-religious orientation’. They
should also be ‘Career-oriented and driven, with long-term goals’. Effective strategic leaders
should be ‘driven by long-term goals’, whereas effective strategic managers should be ‘cost-
conscious, time-conscious, [have] financial acumen’, and be ‘driven with day-to-day goals’.
This questionnaire respondent, however, described the business leaders she nominated not
only in terms of business competence and human relationship skills, but also in terms which
reflect a gendered familial context for effective Filipina business leadership:

Mrs X… is able to turn in very good rapport with employees, as well as good
financial returns for [her organisation], even as she is still able to co-author financial
books with her husband.
Mrs. Y…. has the respect of her employees, and she is always good at her business,
even if diverse, while at the same time inspiring her children to be honor students,
and her husband to be among the better-known [senior businessman in leading
company].
In early analysis of questionnaire data, there was no clear indication of the gendered and
cultural dimensions of the ways in which effective Filipina business leaders such as ‘Mrs X’
and ‘Mrs Y’ enacted their business leadership roles.

Where entrepreneurial characteristics such as ‘creative’, ‘instinctive’, ‘persistence’, ‘turning


visions into reality’ and inspiring stakeholders formed part of a questionnaire respondent’s
ideal characteristics, the terms used to describe the effective business leaders nominated
extended beyond traditional Filipino female norms. The dominance of the masculine frame
of reference, however, is implicit in the descriptions of two Filipina entrepreneurial business
leaders nominated as effective strategic leaders/strategic managers:

This lady, I believe, is one of the best woman leaders in the business circle at present.
In a business dominated by male counterparts, we can consider her performance at
par with males.
The emancipation of the woman that she can contribute, her female grip, her cool,
competent style, astute management of people….
These quotes arguably reflect the cultural norm for the male Filipino business manager to
have official power, and for women traditionally to exercise unofficial rather than overt
power. The implicit endorsement of these entrepreneurs as role models for other Filipinas
may indicate that Filipino women in entrepreneurial ventures would not be in a position to

‘The Voice of Reason?' 15


assume business leadership responsibilities unless empowered in some way to transcend
traditional culture-gender roles and expectations.

A further dimension of the gender discourse concerned images of the organisation as


‘family’. The following section analyses the meaning of this dimension in terms of culture
and gendered values.

The Philippines organisation as ‘family’: gendered perspectives

Images of their organisation as an extension of the family network appeared in interviews


with both Filipina business leaders and their employees. Such images were common
regardless of industry sector, ranging from financial services, education, manufacturing,
transport and travel enterprises. The image of a business organisation as ‘family’ is common
across a number of Asian collectivist cultures (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993;
Weller, 1998), and is most obvious in the context of family business enterprises (Hamlin,
1997). In the Philippines, family business Filipino-Chinese business families contribute
significantly to contemporary Philippines business operations in a wide range of industries,
but there is still a tendency to appoint sons to executive positions (Roman, Echanis, Pineda,
Rodriguez and Sicat, 1996). When taken in organisational context, however, the meaning of
the images in this study varied. Where research participants reported a history of patriarchal
leadership in the organisation, the dilemmas faced by senior women managers involved peer
perceptions of women’s roles in the organisation and society. A Filipina manager reported the
need to assume multiple roles to manage effectively in a patriarchal organisation: ‘The
[consultant]… actually said, “ you can, you can get into the role of a mother, a student, a
teacher, a parent, all rolled into one, a wife, a maid, all rolled into one”. It’s the only way I
survive here, I guess’. Another Filipina manager added a more complex gendered dimension
to the image of ‘organisation as family’:

the whole [organisation] is one big family. ….. The father, the father knows best …... It’s
still like that, and so here, in [the organisation] if you are a female employee you either
are looked at as a mother, as a wife, as a girlfriend, a mistress, a sister, or a maid. …
And you’d better be able to juggle those roles in a very good manner so still you come
out as a professional.
These women’s roles are perceived in kinship rather than business or economic terms, in
contrast to the roles expected of Filipino men. While Filipino men are also perceived in
terms of kinship affiliations, they are also perceived in terms of career choices and economic
roles. The extended kinship roles indicate the range of roles Filipino males may feel more

‘The Voice of Reason?' 16


comfortable expecting women to take, rather than joining them in directly powerful business
leadership positions.

This issue was reflected most succinctly in comments from a Filipina business leader who
was the only female on an executive management committee. When asked by a male
colleague ‘how does it feel to be the only female here?’, she replied ‘What female are you
talking about? Is there a female here? What female?’ Her description of the contexts for such
comments indicated that she was perceived partly as a token woman, but more significantly
as an executive whose gender threatened to change the management dynamics. Despite the
challenges of negotiating peer attitudes and conflicting expectations, her value as a role
model for junior women in the organisation was acknowledged by female work colleagues.

In the education, transport, travel, manufacturing and finance sectors, reference to the family
nature of the organisation embodied a gendered management discourse. Filipina business
leaders were able to draw on the familism dynamics and cultural expectations of ‘woman as
mother’ to implement organisational strategy and reinforce staff performance. Between
organisations, however, the extent of ‘matriarchal’ image projected by individual managers
varied. Women managers in organisations which had higher proportions of professionally
qualified staff combined ‘nurturing’ management with professionalism and rational
management by objectives. ‘Matriarchal’ business leaders tended to combine a ‘maternal’
image with either authoritative or autocratic leadership style.

The dilemma facing Filipina managers, regardless of ‘matriarchal’ or ‘nurturing’ image, lay
in developing strategies to foster employee initiative and independence. Interview and
observational data were analysed to determine the extent to which manager-employee gender
variables accounted for perceived or reported employee dependence. The primary conditions
associated with employee dependence, however, were employee skill level and hierarchical
position relative to the woman manager, and leadership style. Although both ‘nurturing’ and
‘matriarchal’ managers, and ‘autocratic’, ‘authoritarian’ and ‘authoritative’ managers alike,
expressed some frustrations with the challenges of developing employee initiative and
individual responsibility, there was more direct evidence that regardless of industry sector,
‘authoritative-nurturing’ managers who ‘led by example’ had generated higher levels of
employee independence and initiative combined with loyalty and respect. The extent to which
business leaders in the Philippines are perceived to demonstrate culturally sensitive
behaviours in the workplace may give these women a strategic advantage in their business
operations.

‘The Voice of Reason?' 17


Changing social roles and work practices? implications for Filipina business leaders

Consistent with Jocano’s (1990) report, this study found that Filipino women are still
perceived as being in charge of family financial matters. Women working outside the home
are expected to maintain the household as well as manage their paid employment
responsibilities. While women managers in this study accepted their dual responsibilities for
both enterprise and family management, their personal experiences influenced their attitudes
and expectations. The extensive use of household help enabled most executives and
entrepreneurs to fulfil their business commitments. In contrast, a senior university
executive’s insistence of driving her own car to and from work, rather than using a driver,
was regarded with some surprise by her professional colleagues. With a commitment to
education for Filipino women, the manager of a small business enterprise was exhorting her
maid to increase her employment options, and was sponsoring her participation in a computer
training program. This manager had come from a small community outside Metro Manila,
and displayed considerable entrepreneurial acumen in her successful career development.

Research participants’ comments reflected both traditional cultural norms and increased
awareness of strategic leadership behaviours exhibited by Filipino women in a changing
business environment. In exercising her leadership and influence within a large family
corporation, a woman executive combined both traditional gendered behavioural expectations
and professional competence. Similarly, an entrepreneurial technology management
consultant combined culturally appropriate feminine interpersonal skills (including use of
carino terms of endearment) with group leadership and task management skills in steering a
(predominantly male) peak council meeting towards agreement with her preferred policy and
planning outcomes.

The following section discusses the implications of changing work practices for women
managers in the Philippines, from the perspective of research participants.

Technology is assisting some Filipina managers and entrepreneurial small enterprise


owner/operators reconcile tensions inherent in effective business leadership and ‘family
caregiver’ roles, through home-based business operations. An environmental management
consultant described her strategies for meeting both work and family expectations:

unlike the other women that you have talked with that hold their business outside, I
have insisted to hold my office at home. - fortunately I have a relatively big enough
house for my needs …. , and so I converted - now we have three rooms that a
converted into offices and I always say that since this is a ‘thinking work’, I really
love to have it there. ….. because of that, I have been able to, I think, attend in a

‘The Voice of Reason?' 18


balanced way to my home responsibilities and the very high demand of my work.
Consulting is a very demanding work. I have to work, like until 2 o’clock in the
morning, but then I am at home, so I don’t have any problem.
Despite changes in education and career development for women, and the ready identification
of effective women business leaders, the boundary-spanning challenges of ‘Filipina as family
strength’ and contemporary business leadership roles remain. The changing roles of women
in contemporary Philippines society was also seen to be adding pressure of Filipino males.
According to one successful Filipina entrepreneur:

there are two pressures on our men, the fact that - also at that age group they are also
successful, .... and then they have to cope with wives who are successful - --- and busy
---- and independent ..... I think it is changing.... the women - some of them are now
marrying foreigners who are older - .....
At the same time, however, the Philippines government was actively encouraging
professionally educated Filipinos working overseas to return home to assist in developing the
country’s competitive position. Filipinos who were professionally competent but mahina
(that is, those who were not linked to powerful Filipinos in business or politics and therefore
lacking in influence) volunteered spontaneous comments about the difficulty in gaining
access to managerial positions in family corporations in the Philippines. Paradoxically,
leading Filipino executives consistently spoke about the urgent need for skilled people in
their organisations, and the need to develop competent managers. A senior Filipina executive
in a large finance sector organisation asserted that:

this firm has never sacrificed its principles, ........so that is what I liked about it , and
the fact that it really is based on a meritocracy - regardless of whose son or daughter
you are, you will rise up in the basis of what you have accomplished.

The data raised several issues in relation to other writings pertinent to the business leadership
and organisational contexts of national and community culture and ‘values’ (e.g. Hofstede,
1980a; Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993). Trompenaars
and Hampden-Turner virtually excluded perceptions of women business leaders from their
analysis, and their interpretation of the meaning of ‘family cultures’ in relation to work group
organisation or authority structures therefore overlooks the gender dynamics in both the
Filipino kinship structures and organisational dynamics. Although there were measurement
and sampling constraints in Hofstede’s research, the extent of his impact on international and
cross-cultural management writings warrants comparison of the present study with his
theoretical framework.

Culture and values: a comparison with Hofstede’s research

‘The Voice of Reason?' 19


In comparing the findings with Hofstede’s research, particular reference was paid to the
Power Distance, Individualism-Collectivism and Uncertainty Avoidance dimensions.
Analysis of the situational context of each source of data in this study helped contribute to a
richer understanding of each individual business leader than was intended in Hofstede’s
aggregate research, and provided a foundation for cross-case comparisons.

The High Power Distance (PDI) scores in Hofstede’s research were associated with low
geographic latitude (e.g. tropical countries), large population size, and low GNP (Hofstede,
1980a: 121-125). Hofstede (1980a: 129) explains the unexpectedly high PDI score in his
Philippines sample partly in terms of its history as a Spanish colony. The Philippines PDI
score was 21 points above Hofstede’s predicted values, in contrast with the lower PDI values
in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and India, which were colonised by the British.

Hofstede’s study could arguably have led to the expectation that, because the Philippines
sample rated high on Power Distance, respondents to the present study would describe
‘effective strategic leaders’ and ‘effective strategic managers’ in terms of centralised control,
autocratic behaviour and meeting the psychological dependency needs of employees. Factor
analysis of Hofstede’s data indicated that subordinates in high Power Distance countries
prefer an autocratic manager (Manager 1 below) or a persuasive/paternalistic manager
(Manager 2):

Manager 1 Usually makes his/her decisions promptly and communicates them to


his/her subordinates clearly and firmly. Expects them to carry out the decisions
loyally and without raising difficulties.
Manager 2 Usually makes his/her decisions promptly, but, before going ahead, tries to
explain them fully to his/her subordinates. Gives them the reasons for the decisions
and answers whatever questions the may have (Hofstede, 1980: 406).
The factor analysis yielded a positive loading of .74 on low Power Distance for Manager 3
(the consultative type):

Manager 3 Usually consults with his/her subordinates before he/she reaches his/her
decision. Listens to their advice, considers it, and then announces his/her decision.
He/she then expects all to work loyally to implement it whether or not it is in
accordance with the advice they gave (Hofstede, 1980: 406).

Although Hofstede’s methodology enabled him to draw conclusions about societal rather than
individual subordinate values in relation to preferred managerial style (Hofstede, 1980a), he
found a negative correlation between educational level of subordinates and Power Distance.

‘The Voice of Reason?' 20


Employees with higher educational levels valued a lower Power Distance relationship with
their superiors than did employees with lower educational levels.

Content analyses of interview transcripts and observational data in the present study provide
partial support for the positive relationship between education level and low Power Distance
across industries. Subordinate position power relative to the Filipina manager appeared a key
consideration, however, and position power and educational level were closely linked in the
professional service and education sectors.

There was congruency between comments from Filipina business leaders who had a strategic
orientation and described their leadership or managerial style in terms of Hofstede’s
‘Manager 2’, and comments from their immediate subordinates. ‘Manager 1’ self-reports,
participant comments and observed behaviour were more consistent in manufacturing
organisations than in any other sector. In two large non-manufacturing organisations,
congruence between executives’ self-descriptions in consultative or collaborative terms with
participant descriptions or researcher observations was less than between data sources in
other organisations in the same industries. Executive strategic orientation transcended
‘autocratic’ and ‘persuasive/paternalistic’ attitudes and behaviours, regardless of industry
sector.

Executives who reported and demonstrated ‘Manager 3’ style were perceived by both key
participants and the researcher as less consistently strategic in their leadership orientation.
There was, however, a high level of trust and loyalty demonstrated and reported by
immediate subordinates of these executives.

When assessing Filipina strategic business leadership characteristics in the contemporary


Philippines business context, it may be more appropriate to deconstruct Hofstede’s
‘persuasive/paternalistic’ style into two separate dimensions. The ‘persuasive’ component, in
a strategic leadership context, is predicated by an assumption that the business leader has a
strategic vision of the organisation’s future direction, and has the personal ‘presence’ (or
charisma), prestige, respect and communication skills necessary to articulate the strategic
direction. In the present study, this component was reported and observed in entrepreneurial
and ‘intrapreneurial’ Filipina business leaders regardless of their managerial style in terms of
Hofstede’s categories.

As a ‘matriarchy’ construct appeared in interviewee comments, the second component, a


‘paternalistic’ style, was examined from a ‘matriarchal’ perspective in the Philippines cultural
and organisational context. There was a greater degree of ‘fit’ between matriarchal attitudes,

‘The Voice of Reason?' 21


values and behaviour in organisations which had a family business origin, and where the
Filipina executive described and demonstrated a form of ‘benevolent maternalism’ in
business management and employee development.

The ‘implicit model of organization’ as ‘family’ in Hofstede’s analysis of High Power


Distance/Weak Uncertainty Avoidance societies (Hofstede, 1980) was partly supported in the
present study. Where a ‘benevolent maternalism’ Filipina leadership style was evident, the
familial functions of the organisation were described by participants and observed by the
researcher. The responsibilities of the organisation in directly assisting semi-skilled or
unskilled employees meet basic human needs (such as food and shelter) as well as providing
employment was evident in such cases. The ‘organisation as extended family’, however, was
also described by Filipina executives and their skilled professional subordinates in
organisations where the executive managerial style was not consistent with ‘benevolent
maternalism’.

The validity of the Uncertainty Avoidance dimension in explaining Southeast Asian values,
however, is lower than that of Power Distance or Individualism-Collectivism (Hofstede,
1980a; Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Smith, Dugan and Trompenaars, 1997). Countries such as
the Philippines which have a strong Western influence may be expected to show a stronger
influence of Uncertainty Avoidance on organisational behaviour than cultures which are more
strongly based on Chinese values (Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Smith et al, 1997).

Case data in the present study indicate that professional level and position power moderate
Hofstede’s (1980a: 223) location of the Philippines on Hofstede’s Large Power Distance/Low
Individualism’ quadrant. Collective group norms of behaviour and largely unquestioned
compliance with Filipina manager’s directions were observed in support staff workgroups in
manufacturing and service organisations. Employees with higher levels of position power
(e.g. professional partners, academic colleagues) had more consultative, collaborative
relationships with their Filipina executive, and demonstrated more individual initiative in
work-related behaviour.

The strength of walang hiya (without shame) in condemning Filipino behaviour which
violates the collectivist norm, is connected to behaviour which is ‘perceived as getting ahead
at the expense of anybody else’. It is not a rejection of individual achievement based on hard
work, but a normative statement about culturally appropriate means of achieving career goals.
The perception of culturally acceptable behaviour is central for organisation peer approval of
existing workplace members and for acceptance of managers appointed from outside the

‘The Voice of Reason?' 22


organisation (‘whenever you bring somebody in from the outside, everybody’s watching him’).
When revisiting Filipino management writers such as Gonzalez (1987) and Jocano (1990),
the researcher inferred that these writers assume that business leadership dynamics predicated
on fatalism (bahala na) and shame (hiya) operate regardless of gender considerations. Within
the gender discourse, however, the ‘invisibility’ of women in Filipino management language
dominates the last quote.

Research participant descriptions of the behaviours associated with organisational colleagues’


judgement of ambitious Filipinos as either shameless ‘bad guy’ (walang hiya) or ‘good guy’,
and of the organisation ‘in-group’ critical appraisal of outsiders, were presented exclusively
in masculine referents. The language used to describe the broad cultural imperative (‘the
culture says … you can never EVER be perceived as getting ahead at the expense of anybody
else’) does not have a gender referent. The dynamics of individual achievement behaviours,
however, and the cultural values which influence group judgement of those behaviours, are
presented in terms of a masculine collectivism.

CONCLUSION: EMIC AND ETIC PERSPECTIVES

Although functional role parameters of business management (planning, coordinating and


allocating resources) may be universal, the enactment of these roles is moderated by culture
and gender dynamics. Characteristics of effective Filipina business leaders embedded in the
culture and gender discourses include strategies for exercising power, and for negotiating the
boundaries of traditional female role expectations, values and behaviours.

The ‘visionary’ and long-term orientation required of ‘strategic leaders’ also appears to
transcend cultural boundaries, but the ways in which Filipina executives and managers
communicate their strategic vision, generate support for their strategies, and implement their
long-run strategies have distinctive meanings within the context of cultural values, dynamics
and gender roles. The manner in which each woman negotiated strategic advantages for her
organisation was contingent on the nature of her leadership style, characteristics of her
colleagues and subordinates, and community level connections.

In the Philippines context of public images of power and influence, perceptions of effective
business leadership play a significant role in developing and maintaining a strategic business
advantage. Strategic leadership requires instrumental networking with powerful allies within
the Philippines and in the international business arena. The perceptions and expectations of
their industry peers, organisational colleagues and subordinates enhanced Filipina leadership
effectiveness.

‘The Voice of Reason?' 23


There are elements in the gender discourse which appear to be universal, across both
individualistic Western societies and collectivist societies such as the Philippines. Key
gendered domains pertinent to women in management and leadership positions include the
dual work-family responsibilities still expected as the cultural norm in both industrialised and
developing economies, and the predominantly ‘masculine’ nature of both the business
organisation and strategy-making (Calas and Smircich, 1993; Collinson and Hearn, 1996;
Fondas, 1997).

The gendered elements of power and influence in the Philippines affect the ways in which
women executives and entrepreneurs exercise their business leadership. Debates about
‘women’s ways of leading’ (Rosener, 1990) or ‘the female advantage’ (Helgesen, 1995),
grounded in individualistic social structures and industrialised economies, have been
generated from cultural contexts that provide only a partial fit with the Philippines business
environment. The assumptions behind the ‘feminine-in-management’ discourse (Calas and
Smircich, 1993) are based largely on Western research indicating that women in general are
more relationship-oriented, flexible, adaptable and less hierarchical than men, and hence
more appropriate business leaders for contemporary turbulent business environments. It has
been argued, however, that this discourse may, in fact, ‘incorporate a patriarchally defined
“female” into traditional managerial activities and their instrumental orientation’ (Calas and
Smircich, 1993: 74). The ‘masculinity’ discourse embedded in hierarchical structures and
processes in Philippines organisations is consistent with those described by Collinson and
Hearn (1996) and Kanter (1977) in relation to Western organisations and assumptions about
management. The economic and social class structures of the Philippines differ in such
substantial ways from those of developed industrial economies that Western research and
debates on the ‘feminine-in-management’ have not been embraced to a comparable extent
within Philippines management discourses. Writers on Filipina management and
entrepreneurship (e.g. Hoffarth, 1989; 1990; Licuanan, 1992a; 1992b; Rutten, 1990), and
critical theorists such as Eviota (1992) dealing with the gendered political economy in the
Philippines, are approaching a common dilemma from different perspectives.

Women in the Philippines already contribute significantly to both the formal and informal
economies. In a global business environment, Filipina women risk being relegated to low-
paid positions which require ‘attention to detail’, ‘persistence’ and compliance, so that
Philippines businesses can compete effectively. At the same time, however, Licuanan
(1992b; 1992c) indicates that Filipino women who wish to develop managerial career paths
may lose some of the domestic support traditionally available from within the extended

‘The Voice of Reason?' 24


family and paid household help. This dilemma is exacerbated by global business strategies
and organisational structures.

When the study began in 1994, there was optimism about economic development in the
Philippines and other Southeast Asian economies. There was some optimism about the
increased participation of Filipino and other ASEAN women at managerial levels (Licuanan,
1992a; 1992b; 1992c), as the ASEAN countries increased their level of industrialisation.
This optimism was based on an assumption that positive effects of increased national wealth
would flow on to women as well as men in the Philippines and elsewhere in the region. As
consumption increases in emerging Asian markets ‘the development of elaborate new
femininities based on the consumer/wife/mother and the consumer/beautiful young woman in
the region can be seen as central to the very development of these burgeoning economies’
(Stivens, 1998: 6). By 1998, however, the Asian financial crisis had seriously affected the
rate of development of the Philippines and other ASEAN countries. Under the changed
economic environment, forecasts made by Licuanan about Filipino women’s increased
participation at managerial levels warrant review.

In their public credibility and peer approval, the women executive and entrepreneurs in this
study provide a form of ‘role model’ for future Filipina business leaders. It appears, however,
that minimum baseline conditions are required for Filipino women to assume leadership
positions and to exercise that leadership effectively. Not all potential business leaders in the
Philippines have had the educational and economic opportunities available to the majority of
women who participated in this study. The political, economic and social environments in
which Manila-based executives and entrepreneurs operate differ substantially from those in
rural Philippines (Eviota, 1992; Pertierra, 1995; Rutten, 1990). While it has been argued that
Filipino women control the purse strings and dominate household management more than in
some other developing economies (Hoffarth, 1989), the extent of the class gap in wealth
distribution in the Philippines arguably prevents a substantial proportion of Filipino women
and men from access to resources which would provide the minimum competencies
necessary for effective business leadership.

There are indications that the construction of ‘class’ in the Philippines is changing to
accommodate broader definitions of the ‘middle class’, as ‘the middle class, middle strata or
middle sectors are now being seen as important in political, economic and cultural terms’
(Turner, 1995: 97). Such reconstructions do not necessarily deal with the gendered
dimensions of economic power and business influence. Until barriers to access of financial

‘The Voice of Reason?' 25


resources, leadership competency development and family support systems are lowered, it
will be difficult for many Filipino women to reach managerial levels, even though role
models are already visible.

As countries move from agricultural to manufacturing economies, women have historically


increased their representation in urban labour forces (del Rosario, 1995; Hoffarth, 1989;
1990; Adler and Izraeli, 1994). Developing economies and industrialised nations alike have
seen an increase in the proportion of women with educational and technical qualifications
consistent with those of males in organisations, but comparatively slow rates of promotion to
management positions (Adler and Izraeli, 1988; 1994). The processes by which women
move into management positions varies between countries, and reflects the specific political,
cultural and economic conditions in each country.

‘The Voice of Reason?' 26


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‘The Voice of Reason?' 33
APPENDIX A

MAIL SURVEY COVER LETTER AND QUESTIONNAIRE

STUDY OF FILIPINA MANAGERS AND ENTREPRENEURS

This study is of women who are highly effective strategic leaders and strategic managers in
your industry in the Philippines.

Strategic leaders help develop a vision of their firm's future, and motivate employees to help
achieve the firm's goals. Strategic managers are usually responsible for developing and
implementing business plans to ensure their firm's long-range survival. Not all effective
strategic leaders are effective strategic managers, and not all effective strategic managers are
effective strategic leaders.

The questionnaire asks you to describe what you consider to be the personal characteristics of
effective strategic leaders and strategic managers in your industry, and to identify women in
your industry whom you think are both effective strategic leaders and effective strategic
managers. The questionnaire is in five parts. Part A asks for information on your own firm,
for background purposes. Part B asks for your opinion on the characteristics of effective
strategic leaders and strategic managers. Part C asks you for details of one or more women
whom you consider to be both an effective strategic leader and strategic manager. Part D
asks you to suggest the names of other women in your industry who may also be able to help
me in this study. I will then send these women a copy of this questionnaire. Finally, please
complete Part E (Granting of Permission) before returning the questionnaire. If there is any
question you would prefer not to answer, you are not obliged to reply to that question. You
and those whom you recommend are free to withdraw from the study at any time, and your
name/s will be kept confidential if required. I will make a copy of the summary results of the
study available to any participant who requests it.

PART A: BACKGROUND INFORMATION

1. Name of firm
2. Your firm's core business
3. Your position in the firm
4. How long have you been with the firm? (years)
5. How long have you held your present position? (years)
6. How many people are employed in your firm?

PART B:
CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE STRATEGIC LEADERS AND STRATEGIC
MANAGERS

In your opinion:

7. what are the personal characteristics of effective strategic leaders in your industry?
8. what are the personal characteristics of effective strategic managers in your industry?
9. Are there women senior executives in your industry who are both highly effective strategic
leaders and highly effective strategic managers?
YES q NO q (Please tick one)

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If you answered `yes' to question 9, please continue to Part C. If you answered 'no' to
question 9, please turn to Part D.

PART C: WHO ARE EFFECTIVE STRATEGIC LEADERS AND STRATEGIC


MANAGERS?

I wish to interview Filipinas who are both highly effective strategic leaders and strategic
managers in your industry. If you know of such women, I would greatly appreciate the
information requested in questions 10-13. I will contact these women and seek permission to
interview them. If you recommend more than two women, please make additional copies of
Section C and return with them with the questionnaire.

10. Name of effective strategic leader/strategic manager/s:


Name (1) ____________________________________________________
Name (2) ____________________________________________________

11. What is the core business of her firm?


(1) _________________________________________________________
(2) _________________________________________________________

12. What is her position in the firm?


(1) _________________________________________________________
(2) _________________________________________________________

13. Please describe briefly your reasons for recommending this woman/these
women:

PART D: OTHER PARTICIPANTS

If you can suggest other women in your industry whom you think could help me in my study,
please list the names and addresses of such women .

PART E: GRANTING OF PERMISSION

Please complete this section. Please be assured that your wishes will be respected.

May I use your name when I contact the women whom you have identified in Section C?
YES q NO q (Please tick one)

Confidentiality of information

I understand the purpose of the study, and I wish/do not wish (please delete as appropriate)
my name, to remain confidential to the researcher and her supervisor
I wish/do not wish (please delete as appropriate) the name of my firm to remain confidential
to the researcher and her supervisor.

Signed ____________________________ Date ________________

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APPENDIX B

EXTRACT FROM QSR NUD*IST CODING AND INDEXING REPORT:


‘CULTURE’ THEMES

(2 2) /themes/culture
*** Definition:
cultural issues from data
This node codes 29 documents.
***************************************************************
(2 2 1) /themes/culture/values
*** Definition:
Filipino values in relation to management
This node codes 31 documents.
***************************************************************
(2 2 2) /themes/culture/dynamics
*** Definition:
cultural dynamics and effective strategic leadership
This node codes 30 documents.
***************************************************************
(2 2 2 3) /themes/culture/dynamics/power and influence
*** Definition:
Copy of node (2 3) .
This node codes 28 documents.

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