Gender Prejudices and Leadership Efficiency: Differences in Leadership styles and Striving For Equality

Gender Prejudices and Leadership Efficiency: Differences in Leadership styles and Striving For Equality

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Gender inequality in the work place, despite many measures to enhance the position of women such as enforcing quota, still persists. This prevents women from fully assessing their rights as enshrined in inter alia the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights 1976). This inequality is clearly visible in the top positions held by women; in America, for instance, only 14.6% of the executive officer positions in the Fortune 500 were held by women (Catalyst 2013).
Mark D. Agars argues that gender discrimination and stereotypes underlie these differences, and that women especially face these biases as they climb the ladder (Agars 2004). He mentions that these stereotypes effectively maintain the glass ceiling, a term used to describe the disadvantage women face if they want to climb up in the hierarchical order of a business (Zeng 2011). Considering the very low percentage of women in power, existing prejudices about the competence of female leaders might not have changed. This essay will illustrate that a difference in perceived effectiveness of leadership styles of women could be seen as an explanation for this. In order to understand how prejudices influence ideas about the effectiveness of leadership styles, the existing literature on social identity theory and social identity theory of leadership will be explored.

Social Identity Threat
Social Identity Theory can be seen as the basis of the underlying prejudices about males and females: a sense of 'we' and 'them' naturally forms, and as Tajfel and Turner have argued, intergroup relations are formed by finding positive distinctiveness (Tajfel and Turner 1979). Michael A. Hogg claims that group ide...

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Stets, Jan E. and Peter J. Burke. 2000. "Identity Theory and Social Identity Theory." Social Psychology Quarterly 63, no. 3: 224-237.

Tajfel, H. and J.C. Turner. 1979. “An integrative theory of intergroup conflict”. In The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Edited by W.G.Austin & S.Worchel. Monterey: Brooks.

Zeng, Zhen. "The Myth of the Glass Ceiling: Evidence From a Stock-Flow Analysis of Authority Attainment." Social Science Research 40, no. 1 (2011): 312-325. (accessed March 21, 2014).

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