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Naisten johtamisuriin vaikuttavat stereotypiat [The effect of stereotypes on women’s management careers]
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (CFS: Centre for Feminist Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9808-1413
Jyväskylä University, Finland.
2014 (Finnish)In: Hallinon tutkimus, ISSN 0359-6680, Vol. 33, no 4, 332-351 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to analyze existing research and knowledge of stereotypes that affect women’s management careers. The two research questions are: In previous research, what are the stereotypes that have been found to affect women in their careers? What consequences have stereotypes had on career women on the one hand, and organizations on the other? The research method used is content analysis.

The results of this research suggest that women in management are subjected to stereotypical beliefs that women lack various specific and necessary leadership attributes. First, feminine traits are considered career limiting, just as certain masculine attributes are believed to be more suitable in management positions. Another stereotype that affects women in management is a belief of having to manage on their own. Women succeed in managing alone if they can assimilate an androgynous leadership style. A third stereotype is the belief that female leaders are superior to male leaders. In this case, women leaders are portrayed as strong, positive, feminine leaders.

Our analysis suggests that such stereotypes of women managers have the following consequences. Women experience gender discrimination in the recruitment of managers, because they are considered less competent than men. Women’s own beliefs in their abilities can also be based on stereotypes, and thus women can themselves limit their own career potential. Young women in particular experience the adverse effects of negative stereotypes. Stereotypes cause stress, which pushes women to adopt more masculine leadership styles. Women managers are also often token representatives of their gender within a masculine environment. This makes them outsiders and not part of the group. At the organizational level, the negative consequences of stereotypes include a failure to capitalize on available competencies, as well as lack of profitability and inefficiency.

In order to decrease these negative stereotypes, previous research has presented the following options. Women may adapt to the reality of masculine leadership or develop an androgynous leadership style. Thus, diminishing the power of stereotypes is argued to be the individual’s responsibility, and does not necessarily involve questioning the dominant masculinity of leadership. Special solutions aimed at women, such as training and mentoring, are considered important. Research does not mention solutions for men, for example, attitude training. A feminization of leadership styles, suitable for flat, non-hierarchical organizations, and which calls into question the assumption that leadership needs to be masculine, is offered as a way to decrease stereotypes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: Hallinnon Tutkimuksen Seura , 2014. Vol. 33, no 4, 332-351 p.
Keyword [en]
gender; careers; stereotypes; women; management
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-39660OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-39660DiVA: diva2:771508
Available from: 2014-12-14 Created: 2014-12-14 Last updated: 2016-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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