Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 11: Beyond bias and barriers: a biopsychosocial lens for understanding gender communication in organizations
Despite a massive influx of women into the workforce, and increased upward mobility of women into management, persistence of gendered communication styles and strategies in work accomplishment are prevalent. Explanations for the persistence of communication differences between men and women range from a primarily environmental focus to a primarily biological focus. The two-culture theory of cultural differences attributes communication variation between groups of people to socialization: childrearing, schooling, peers and the social environment, creating differences in the absence of innate differences. These differences develop through the transmission of cultural beliefs and gender stereotypes (Case, 1988; Tannen, 1994). Sociocultural biases and barriers are another environmentally focused explanation, suggesting society discriminates on the basis of gender, giving preference to male styles and behavior. Power, privilege, stereotypes and institutional bias are prevalent explanations (Case, 1993a) that still exist in some contexts, although their explanatory value has declined in importance.
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