Successful Professional Women of the Americas
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Successful Professional Women of the Americas

From Polar Winds to Tropical Breezes

Betty Jane Punnett, Jo Ann Duffy, Suzy Fox, Ann Gregory, Terri R. Lituchy, Silvia Inés Monserrat, Miguel R. Olivas-Lujan and Neusa Maria Bastos F. Santos

This accessible and original book relates the fascinating story of successful women across the Americas: women who are managers, business owners, university professors and administrators, doctors, lawyers and government ministers.
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Chapter 5: Personality, Management/Leadership Styles and Views on Great Leadership

Betty Jane Punnett, Jo Ann Duffy, Suzy Fox, Ann Gregory, Terri R. Lituchy, Silvia Inés Monserrat, Miguel R. Olivas-Lujan and Neusa Maria Bastos F. Santos


Suzy Fox and Ann Gregory One of the oldest debates in the study of human behaviour is whether people’s successes and failures can be attributed to factors within the individuals themselves or to factors in their external situations (Heider, 1958). Accordingly, a key question underlying this Successful Women of the Americas project was the extent to which the women we studied attributed their own success to internal or external factors. As we shall see, there were differences in perceptions and emphasis. Yet virtually all the women we interviewed were aware of both characteristics within themselves (personality, style, values and beliefs) and characteristics of their environments and life experiences (opportunities, education, support systems and discrimination) that helped or hindered their efforts to achieve professional success. In this chapter, we listen to our women describing themselves – their own words about their personality characteristics and the management/ leadership styles to which they attribute their success. To hone in on their leadership beliefs and values, we also asked them to name the individuals they saw as great leaders, and to identify the qualities these great leaders possess. We look for systematic differences between women of different national cultures, and also seek fundamental commonalities among successful women, regardless of country. In Chapter 6, we examine the women’s descriptions of demographic and family factors, external situational factors, barriers and support systems they have experienced that they feel have contributed substantially to the successes and challenges in their professional careers. Again, we will...

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