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Men and women are labeled in our society for possessing certain traits and characteristics. It is apparent that men and women communicate completely different. This is especially apparent in the business world specifically amongst female and male management. Men tend to communicate in a goal-oriented style, which is seen as being very productive and straight to the point. As for women they typically communicate with a greater emphasis on the engagement of others in reaching goals and making decisions. Men typically fall under the category of Group X mangers, a style of management that is all about production and has little concern for the feelings of the workers. Women tend to fall under Group Y management which puts more focus on the workers and the process. These two ways of managing curbs our view on how female and male leaders should perform.(Beasely,2005).
According to Vangela M. Wade, an attorney and certified diversity management practitioner with the Wade Group of Jackson, Miss. States that, "Our society expects male leaders to be aggressive, authoritative and stern, but fair and decisive in their judgments and decisions. However, women with the same leadership or communication styles are sometimes said to be too emotional, difficult to work with or for, and too aggressive. Even women subordinates sometimes find it difficult to work for women leaders with what is viewed as a 'masculine' style. Generally, women are more comfortable communicating with other women in a level, 'dead-even' style-even at differing levels of authority". (Beasley, 2005,pg.91-92). Stereotypes play a huge role in our society especially in the corporate culture. Do these stereo- types really hold true in the business world or is this just another common misconception made by society? In my research I will prove how different men and women are in managing. I will determine if one management style is superior to the other and if the stereotypes hold true. Lastly I will be using the character Michael Scott from the television show the office to illustrate the different approaches men and women take on managerial communication.
We all have varying views on what are the best decision making and management styles, some people tend to look at certain leadership techniques as being too weak and un decisive, while others look at them and think they are very open minded, fluid, and relaxed. This is the management style men tend to clash with. Men have the tendency to make quicker more aggressive decisions; this bothers women in the workplace because they typically like to be more democratic and gather more incite from others. The differences in non-verbal communication between men and women are vast; this is one of the biggest factors dividing the two sexes. Women nod their heads showing attentiveness to the talker, while men nod their heads to show compliance. The essence of a good manager knows when to utilize these certain types of communication styles, this goes for both sexes. An excellent manager will know when to employ immediate and decisive decision making in certain situations, and in other times seek input and opinions from subordinates to reach the most productive and rewarding outcome.(Beasley, 2005).
Studies have shown that people are much more accepting of the collaborative and nurturing type management that is so often labeled to women, as opposed to the male standard of power and control. These may not be harmless stereotypes after all; they are linked to why men and women have different advantages and disadvantages in the business world. In 2002 about 1.2% of women held CEO positions in the fortune 500 companies. 71% had no female executives. (Robinson, 2003).
Some of these problems may be directly linked to social standards within society especially in the educational phase for men and women. Boys are taught to aspire to be a CEO of a tech company or huge corporation, while girls tend to want to be a CEO of a small business or a clothing company. One of the biggest factors for women is lack of role models in the business world. Unlike men, women are less likely to pursue their MBA after college, which puts them at a disadvantage in the competitive work market. A survey conducted using 888 women and 796 men all MBA alumni shows that the reason for the lack of women in the MBA programs stems from the scarcity of female role models in the executive world. (Olian, 2001)
The ideal for the best management styles have always had a very bias masculine view on what is appropriate and productive. This has been the norm for the managerial model for a very long time, but theorist say this is changing. The masculine style is dying and the androgynous approach is emerging. This androgynous technique emphasizes that managers should take on both female and male type managing styles, and blends them together. This will allow them to be versatile in decision and problem that occurs. Managerial style greatly affects the type of business specifically small business versus the corporate business. In a small business there are usually one or two managers and their company is a representation of their managerial styles. A more decisive masculine manager would typically have a business that conveyed this method. Big corporations have a massive collaboration of managerial styles which conveys the culture of the company, there is not just one manager who is setting the precedent. (McGregor, Tweed, 2001)
A proven strength female managers have over male managers is their ability of impression management, this is the ability control or manipulate the image people hold of you. This gives women the ability to adapt to any situation and environment, especially when dealing with employees and customers. This proven skill might also give women a leg up in the interview phase. (Schoderbek, Deshpande, 1996)
The biggest factor in determining why men and women manage differently might stem from their views on careers and success. Both men and women view success based on income and a money, but beyond this belief they differ. Women put more importance on success as being able to have control over their own life and destiny; women require more fulfillment in their job. Men think of success as achieving goals and getting recognition for a job well done. The difference in managerial styles might just come down to biology men to tend to operate using their left brain which has to do with logic, as for women they work more right brained which has to do with intuitiveness.(Romano, 1994)
There has been ample research done in determining the differences between female and male managerial styles. The stereotypes have been drawn about men being aggressive cut throat business men and women being passive, democratic and constantly seeking input from others to achieve a goal. The research suggest that there are some very apparent differences in the way men and women approach managing, but the main difference is societal not physiological. Men and women are expected to operate in a certain manner and if they do not this is viewed is being confrontational or weak. The stereotypes are becoming less predominant we have more managers like the manger on ââ‚¬Å“NBCââ‚¬â„¢s The Officeââ‚¬Â Michael Scott, who is the regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin, a failing paper company located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Although he is a fictional character he plays right into a stereotypical group Y manager. Michael is very unproductive; he is more concerned with joking around and forming relationships with his employees and customers than he is with productivity and achieving goals. Although this is a T.V show, playing off the research and my own experience we are seeing more and more men taking on new approaches to what is typically considered a feminine style of managing. A good example of this is In Season two episode seven: The Client, Michael and his corporate boss Jan Levingston-Gould have a meeting with a huge client in order to keep his business. Jan assumes a more masculine role of management; where as Michael takes on what is typically associated with a more feminine communication type. Jan tries to get right down to business with the customer, where as Michael starts to make a connection with him. Michael begins the meeting by ordering a Blooming Onion and telling a very poorly delivered joke. After hours of camaraderie, booze and baby back ribs much to Janââ‚¬â„¢s Amazement Michael seals the deal and wins the clients business. Michael made a real connection with the person; he was more concerned with his feelings and was acting as his equal. This kind if attentiveness and communication style is more associated with women. This is a sales technique that has been used by many male salespeople, they really get to know a customer and make a connection. This is not a new revelation in business; men have been utilizing this communication technique for years. This may be a fictional T.V show but it is also a social commentary on the changing communication and management methods that are going on in the business world.
For a long period of time these stereotypes were used to keep women out of positions of power, even to this day these labels still influence the career goals women have. If you name the top five CEOs such as Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Lloyd Blankfein, James McNerney, Fredrick Smith, none of which are women.(Cohan, 2007) This makes it extremely hard for women to find role models and try and break the old norms.
We live in a fast paced changing society; business is at the cutting edge change. For a very long time women have been subjected to preconceived notions that they do not have the backbone to be assertive decision makers. In this paper I deciphered if the gender stereotypes hold true in the workplace and that if one managerial type is superior to the other. I have concluded that men and women do have some very different physiological traits, but it comes down to the individual and their personal communication style. More than ever people are beginning to accept a more feminine style of communication from men and a more masculine communication type from women. The researches have concluded that the best managerial communication technique is a combination of assertiveness and intuitiveness. To be a truly successful manager one should take a more androgynous approach to their managerial communication practices.