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CAN WOMEN BE GOOD LEADERS

MUHAMMD UMAR IRSHAD - SAQIB SHOUKAT


Department of Social Sciences
Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall Campus
muir1000@student.miun.se –sash1002@student.miun.se

Introduction
It is said that male leaders are more effective in the organizations and feminine is not
enough to make an organization successful. We have choosen three research articles
in this regard to make a comparison of these statements. The research reveals the
gender role stereotypes having different hypothesis for leaders in leadership styles.
And these stereotypes play significant role for evaluating the leadership behaviors and
traits if the gender identity is consistently understood.
Research into leadership and gender has tended to focus ont he inequalities that
women encounter, while trying to raise the business hierarchy.
The purpose of this study is to make compariosn of the male leadership and female
leadership effectiveness.
Summary
The articles we have choosen for our paper, research has been conducted in three
areas of gende leadership.
 The first one is “The moderating effect of gender on leadership intervention
impact.”
 Can leader step outside of the “Gender box?”
 The road to the glass cliff. Differences in the percieved suitability of men and
women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing the organiztions.
In these research articles the feminie leadeship abilities are evaluated and a
comparison has been made between male and female leadership in different
situations. For example; in well progressing and declining organizaitons.
1) The Moderating Effect of Gender on Leadership Intervention Impact
For the last three decades workforce environment has changed itself rapidly. When
thinking about leadership or managerail roles, one can be more emphasized on
stereotypical male attribute rather than emphasize on stereotypical female attribute. It
is assumed that female can not play leadership roles effectively and can not forcefully
influence others. It is due to their kind and sympathetic nature.
The main difference between male and female is considered that males are supposed
to be more confident ambitious, courageous, dominant and risk takers. On the other
hand females are supposed to be kind, caring, friendly and avoid risk taking. Also
women are viewed as less effective than men, as the number of their male followers
increase. (Eagly, Makhijani and Klonski 1992).
In this research two categories were formed to be examined.

1. (a) All-male
(b) All-female
2. (a) Majority-male (75%)
(b) Majority-female (75%)
We found the following results
1. The impact of leadership intervention for all male and all female groups, it
was found that effect size for all-male group was almost equal to the effect
size of all-female group. This means that leadership intervention have an equal
and positive impact across gender.
2. The effect size for all majority-female group was 18,6% greater than that of
majority-male group. However, the impacr will likely to be very depending on
a number of factors and difference is not too much as it seems.
2) Can Leaders Step Outside of the Gender Box? An Examination of Leadership
and Gender Role Stereotypes
Second articlessuggested that gender role stereotypes are still exit and they create the
expectations that how male and female behaves in leadeship roles. Echiejile (1995)
categorized the leadership styles into masculine maangement and feminine
management. Male leaders are expected to use transactional leadership styles and
have the instrumental traits, whereas women are expected to use transforamtional
leadership style and have the expressive traits.
These two hypothesis were tested:
Hypothesis 1: Participants will be more likely to indicate that a leader showing a
masculine leadeship style is a man rather than a women.
Hypothesis 2: Participants will be more likely to indicate that a leader showing a
feminie leadership style is a women rather than a man.
This research examined the efect of using gender-consistent and gender-inconsistent
style on four outcomes to assessed the leader by their subordinates which can be
explained as under;
(a) Subordinates perceptions of leader effectiveness.
(b) Subordinates trust in the leader.
(c) Subordinates satisfaction with the leader.
(d) Subordinates motivation.
The result showed that the leader in masculine leadership condition was rated higher
on instrumental traits and transactional leadreship styles than the feminie leadership,
whereas the leader in feminine leadership condition was rated higher on expressive
traits and transformational leadership style than the masculine leadership. This
indicates that manipulation of leadership style was successful.
3) The road to the glass cliff: Differences in the perceived suitability of men and
women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing organizations
Three experimental studies have been presented in this article for observing that
women are more likely than men to be appointed on leadership positions where
gender role vaires time to time. Sometimes men were appointed on top ranks and
sometime women. This diference si based upon demographic characteristics,
management styles. Ability to manage the crises, career path and effectiveness as
leaders.
Ryan and Haslam (2005) examined the share price performance of companies before
and after the appointment of male and female as a board directors. Share price
performance was stable when man was appointed while it becomes poor when a
woman had appointed. This suggests that women were more likely than man to find
themselves on a “glass cliff”. Women’s leadership style tends to be more charismatic
than that of man in times of crises, fear and uncertainty.
In first experimental study of glass cliff phenomena was conducted by management
graduates in which men and women are more likely to be chosen for leadership
position when organizations are in crises. Two hypotheses were taken which is as
under;
“Women would be more likely to leadership position in a company when its
performance was declining rather than improving (H1)”
“Glass cliff positions would be well-defined in companies where core business was
masculine in nature, rather than feminine (H2)”
Women were found to be good leaders when the organisation was in declining stage,
it suggests that women have more leadership abilities when encountered with crisis
situations.Our results discovered that when company was in declining rather than
improving male candidates have less leadership abilities. To examine this issue,
second study was conducted.
Second experimental study was conducted by high school students, on the base of first
study in which same procedures, methods and evaluation process were adopted,
revealed that when company performance was declining than female candidate
perceived more ability than the male and appointed on senior position. In particular,
counterbalancing ensured that the effect did not reflect systematic difference in the
main candidate’s attractiveness or perceived suitability of men and women for
leadership position and this was confirmed by data obtained on additional measures.
Third experimental study was conducted by business leaders to examine the equally
qualified male and female candidates for leadership position in company’s either
whose performance was declining or improving. Two more hypotheses were taken to
test the participant’s evaluation of candidate suitability.
“Leadership position in failing companies might be perceived to provide a better
career opportunity for women rather than men (H3)”
“Leadership position in failing companies might be perceived to be more stressful for
women than for men (H4)”
This study describe clearly that women are specially selected for risky leadership
positions associated with organizations in crises, this increases our confidence that
women tends to be selected for glass cliff positions because these positions are
stressful. Glass cliff positions offer women best opportunity to break into top
management.
Evaluation:
Leadership involvement seeems to be neglected some of the inbuilt differences when
comparing male and female .there is some uncertainty associated with them. There
may be some demographic differences in these studies. So the reliability seems to be
doubtful. There is a need to answer a number of questions that are remained
unsnswered. In one research, data is gathered from the students that have no
experience of a professional organisation, so it makes the results unreliable. As the
research should be conducted in professional organisation inssterd of university
graduates. It clearly remains for future work to investigate the processes in greater
depth. The broader task for researchers is to identify the general social psychological
principles that affect gender leadership and shape behaviors. One thing is that these
researches are limited to examin the leadership abilities in business organisations, not
in the non-profit seeking organisations like Police, Armed forces, NGO’s and social
welfare organisations. An other thing is that there is a large number of studies
conducted with male leadership than with female leadership, so the sources for the
evaluation of female leadership effectiveness were less than the sources for male
leadership, this casts a question mark on the reliability of the conclusions derived
from the comparisons. But at least we have a better idea of what is available for
analysis to help the future work in this area.
Conclusion:
These three studies provide us significant approach towards the gender leadership and
the psychological aspects that contribute to this effect. And these approaches are
about female leadership abilitites, their capacity to work and to take a decision under
stressful conditions, and to manage crises. It is stated in the research conducted that
women can be more effective leaders as compared to men when there is a crisis
situation and the organization is in declining stage.
However, leadership in some of the professional jobs are said to be only for the men
where courage and high mental involvement under stress is necessary. For example,
armed forces.
For the last some decades, women involvement in business organizations is increased,
and womens have proved themselves as good leaders. That is why it is not surprising
that female managers constituted the majority in employment sectors such as medical
and health services, human resource management, social and community services and
educational sector.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), women held about 46% of the
managerial positions by 2004. The increasing number of female managers in
organizations illustrates that women can exhibit effective leadership roles.
References:
The Moderating Effect of Gender on Leadership Intervention Impact: An
Exploratory Review
http://online.sagepub.com
http://jlo.sagepub.com/content/15/4/325.full.pdf+html
Can Leaders Step Outside of the Gender Box? An Examination of Leadership
and Gender Role Stereotypes
http://online.sagepub.com
http://jlo.sagepub.com/content/15/1/30.full.pdf+html
The road to the glass cliff: Differences in the perceived suitability of men and
women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing organizations
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