Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers
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Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers

Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore

In a changing world where women have dominated as graduates from universities in the West, recent research has shown that the same trend is also strikingly evident in the newly emerging markets. Tapping into this female talent pool is extremely important and advancing women’s careers has become a key business issue. This Handbook lays out a number of promising approaches. First the business case for doing so is presented. The challenges facing women are reviewed, followed by various programs that address particular needs such as mentoring, leadership development programs for women, work and family initiatives, and succession planning. Finally, case studies of award-winning organizational initiatives are described.
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Chapter 11: Beyond bias and barriers: a biopsychosocial lens for understanding gender communication in organizations

Susan S. Case and Angela J. Oetama-Paul


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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