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Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

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.
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Chapter 15: Different yet equal

Sarah Rutherford


Sarah Rutherford INTRODUCTION There has been much debate in recent years around the topic of whether men and women manage in the same way and, more importantly, if any difference acts to women’s disadvantage. The joint Catalyst and Opportunity Now survey (2000) on senior women managers in the UK showed that while the top career strategy for women’s advancement was consistently exceeding performance expectations, almost as important was developing a style with which male managers are comfortable. This finding matched other Catalyst findings from research done in the US and Canada. In Europe, the joint Catalyst and Conference Board research findings (2002) were less clear with some difference of opinion about whether the survey item on fitting one’s behavior style to what is typical at one’s employer’s was an important component of getting ahead, with some respondents contending that the European work environment was more open to variations in personal style and that women can embrace their femininity. However, more women (44 percent) than men (34 percent) report adjusting their behavioral style to suit the organizational style. My own research (Rutherford, 1994) in two large organizations showed that a large majority of women respondents thought that they had a different management style from men (84 percent) while 55 percent of men thought that women had a different style from them. Even more marked were the statistics for the predominantly male investment bank, where 88 percent of women thought they managed differently but only 23 percent men thought that women managed...

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