Challenges and Opportunities
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis
Chapter 5: Perceptions of gender, leadership and career development
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...