Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

This book documents the progress that managerial and professional women have made in advancing their careers, and the challenges and opportunities that remain. In the context of increasing numbers of women entering the workplace and indeed pursuing professional and managerial careers, it examines why so few women occupy the top positions in corporations.

Chapter 5: Perceptions of gender, leadership and career development

Claartje J. Vinkenburg and Marloes L. van Engen

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational behaviour

Extract

Claartje J. Vinkenburg and Marloes L. van Engen1 INTRODUCTION This chapter will link perceptions of leadership and gender to career development in organizations. The growing number of women in the workforce has not led to a similar representation of women in higher management positions (see ‘Reframing the “glass ceiling” debate’, Ch. 4 in this book). Since the 1970s, the glass ceiling phenomenon has drawn the attention of many scientists and the quest to its causes and its obstinacy has resulted in a large body of literature with analyses at the societal, organizational, interpersonal and individual levels. The research presented in this chapter cross-cuts these levels of analyses – as perceptions play an important, perhaps decisive, role on all of these levels. The focus is on the perception of women, men and leadership, and on how these perceptions influence the careers of men and women in organizations. As will be shown, stereotypes about the roles that men and women in our society typically occupy influence the behavior displayed by individual male and female leaders. Furthermore, these stereotypes influence how male and female leaders are perceived and valued by the people they are working with. Simultaneously, individuals all have their own implicit leadership theories, which are beliefs held about how leaders behave in general and what is expected of them. The career opportunities and career development of men and women in organizations are expected to be based on or at least colored by perceivers’ implicit leadership theories and stereotypes of...

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