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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2262/24479

Title: Leadership for Business Excellence: The Gender Perspective
Author: DREW, EILEEN PATRICIA
Sponsor: Science Foundation Ireland
Author's Homepage: http://people.tcd.ie/edrew
Keywords: gender roles
management theory
leadership
total quality management
business excellence
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: SAI Global
Citation: Leadership for Business Excellence: The Gender Perspective in, editor(s)K. J. Foley and P. Hermel , The Theories and Practices of Organization Excellence: New Perspectives, Sydney, SAI Global, 2008, pp 269 - 293, [Eileen Drew]
Abstract: The adoption of appropriate forms of leadership in response to modern organizational needs has become a major strand of management theory and underpins the pursuit of Total Quality/Business Excellence. With some notable exceptions, most of the leadership literature ignores the gender dimension of leadership This gender blindness and the association ofh management and leadership with men is being challenged through feminist/gender studies drawing upon ideas about power, communication, empathy and equality from the women's movement. Changing gender roles have been evolving in parallel with the quest for Total Quality/Business Excellence. This paper reviews traditional and emerging theories of leadership and management and examines them in the context of changing organizational needs demanded by the adoption of quality and excellence approaches. It explores the broader range of required leadership skills, from a gender perspective, including those previously not considered of value: "people" and interpersonal skills, the ability to build bridges, to be vision/missiondriven and able to react quickly to a constantly changing environment, maintaining competitive strength by holding onto highly trained and valued employees. Drawing upon an international study of 1686 political and business leaders across 27 industrialized countries, the paper presents the views of leaders on gender differences in management style. To validate, and elaborate on, these results, a small national sub sample of Irish political (three male, four female) and business leaders (two male, four female) were interviewed about differences in leadership style between men and women. The unanimous responses from women and men suggest that a difference exists, though there was considerable variation in how that difference was perceived by respondents. The interviewees were also asked about their own personal styles which gave rise to some interesting and gendered observations. The paper concludes by drawing upon the empirical evidence presented against the backdrop of changing leadership requirements within organizations that follow a Total Quality/Excellence path. The adoption of appropriate forms of leadership and a preoccupation with new responses to modern organizational needs has become a major strand of management and organizational texts (Bradford and Cohen 1998); Thorne (1992); Zand (1997); Champy (1995). Some theorists have revisited and refined the works of earlier management theorists (Grint 1997; Wright 1996) while others stress the transformational and learning context for new forms of leadership (Lessem 1991; Tichy and Devanna 1990). With some notable exceptions, most of the leadership literature ignores the gender dimension of leadership and implicitly management and leadership are seen as male roles. This gender blindness came under challenge in the 1980s and 1990s. The source of this challenge to orthodox and 'new' management theories has come through feminist/gender studies which draw upon ideas about power, communication, empathy and equality from the women's movement. Changing gender roles have been evolving in parallel with the quest for Total Quality/Business Excellence.
Description: PUBLISHED
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2262/24479
ISSN: 1 921093 51 X
Appears in Collections:Statistics (Scholarly Publications)

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