THE ERA OF BEAUTY AND MONEY IN THE OFFICE IS OVER

 

Leadership has been the subject of much research and thousands of articles and books have been written about it for many years. According to Amazon.com’s records,  13,593 books have been written and are still on sales about leadership and only 347 of them are on “Women and Leadership”. This ratio of  2,5% is related with the 3,5% of women top-level managers.

 

Is leadership a manly attribute? We know that females especially in our country are very successful as middle level Managers in Accounting, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations functions in Training, Service, Banking and Tourism sectors and are preferred because of their attention to detail, their perfectionism, their ability to communicate and their compromising attitude. Then why is the percentage of female managers lower when it concerns the top management?  I have observed certain realities when I interviewed 1500 managers (male and female) that I met during the selection and evaluation of top management candidates for Amrop International projects during the last eight years and my academic interest and studies.  For instance, female Managers do not wish to be candidates for top management positions and are not as enthusiastic and willing as male managers.  In other words, in time perhaps they suppress such desires, or perhaps they do not choose this in order to have a balanced life quality in their sociological and family roles. Sometimes they become hesitant because of the fear of success or being unsuccessful that being a top manager might cause.  As a result, becoming a “General Manager” which is much desired where female workers are middle level managers lessen in years and they often hesitate when really offered a “General Manager” position.  However, males are more enthusiastic about taking a “General Manager” position, which they feel is a good opportunity, and a position they can easily handle.

 

In recent years the subject of women and leadership has become an important issue, along with the increasing number of female managers in critical positions.  There are big differences observed while examining the characteristics of the leadership of males and females.  30 female administrators filled out a questionnaire, which was comprised of 20 questions regarding sexual characteristics, during the Amrop Hever Group’s “Women in Leadership” Forum at the 7th Human Rights Summit on May 16, 2002, which clarified the subject of the Women and Leadership in Turkey.

 

Looking at the results of the research outlined above and the results of the “Bern Sex Role Inventory” done by Sandra Lipritz Bern on British managers, it reveals that female managers find their sex more compassionate (83%), more gentle (53%), more understanding (73%), warmer (83%), more affectionate (83%) and more loyal than male (Table 2).  Differently some neutral characteristics like “friendly” and “unpredictable” which could be taken both as a male or female characteristics – was connected with female sex roles.  In the study, the BSIR research that formed the base, for the male roles (Table 1) none were connected to females.

When female managers took into consideration the sexual roles, they found males more aggressive than females, but at the same time more self confident, acting as a leader, free and ready to take risks. A neutral characteristic like “adaptable” was regarded more as a male characteristic.  None of the female characteristics were connected to males.

 

The neutral characteristics, “happy,” “secretive,” and “unsystematic,” were perceived as both male and female characteristics by the female managers who participated in the research.  The male characteristics of  “ambitious” and “competitive” were perceived as such by both sexes.

 

The result of the questionnaire indicates that male and female characteristics are strongly separated by female managers.  Both male and female behave as expected by social environment and society and evaluate the other sex with these expectations and patterns.  As a matter of fact, the questionnaire results show the six female characteristics out of eight and the five male characteristics out of six support this idea.  According to female managers, females are understanding to others, they guide the balance and the harmony between people, but at the same time are showing them affection and compassion.  Male managers, on the other hand, are viewed by female managers as aggressive, self-confident, and brave to act as a leader, and lead the community.Also female managers perceived the neutral characteristic of “adaptable” to a man and the neutral characteristics of “unpredictable” and “friendly” to a female, against society’s common pattern.

Table 1. The Results of the Bern Sex Role Inventory

 

1.    Aggressive

M

2.    Understanding s

F

3.    Friendly

N

4.    Unpredictable

N

5.    Ambitious

M

6.    Defends own beliefs

M

7.    Self reliant

M

8.    Gentle

F

9.    Acts as a leader

M

10.  Compassionate

F

11.   Happy

N

12.  Independent

M

13.  Competitive

M

14.  Willing to take risk

M

15.  Loyal

F

16.  Warm

F

17.  Secretive

N

18.  Unsystematic

N

19.  Affectionate

F

20.  Adaptable

N

Even though, traditionally ambition and competitiveness are related to male sex roles, the turning of these characteristics to neutral show that woman have accepted and taken in consideration is roles in order to be successful in the business world whose rules are defined by men.  So, female managers do not take into consideration these prejudices about women, this is an important sign that women are ready to climb up the career ladders with a richer background and broader repertoires of behavior.

 

Table 2: The Results of the Turkish Woman Leaders’ Questionnaire (16 May 2002)

 

 

Women

Men

Neutral

Total

N

%

N

%

N

%

N

1.    Aggressive

1

0.03

16

0.53

13

0.43

30

2.    Understanding

22

0.73

1

0.03

7

0.23

30

3.    Friendly

15

0.50

5

0.17

10

0.33

30

4.    Unpredictable

16

0.53

5

0.17

9

0.30

30

5.    Ambitious

9

0.30

7

0.23

14

0.47

30

6.    Defends own beliefs

10

0.33

9

0.30

11

0.37

30

7.    Self reliant

6

0.20

14

0.47

10

0.33

30

8.    Gentle

16

0.53

10

0.33

4

0.13

30

9.    Acts as a leader

4

0.13

14

0.47

12

0.40

30

10.  Compassionate

25

0.83

2

0.07

3

0.10

30

11.  Happy

14

0.47

2

0.07

14

0.47

30

12.  Independent

5

0.17

14

0.47

11

0.37

30

13.  Competitive

7

0.23

11

0.37

12

0.40

30

14.  Willing to take a risk 

8

0.27

13

0.43

9

0.30

30

15.  Loyal

28

0.93

1

0.03

1

0.03

30

16.  Warm

25

0.83

1

0.03

4

0.13

30

17.  Secretive

9

0.30

9

0.30

12

0.40

30

18.  Unsystematic

8

0.27

9

0.30

13

0.43

30

19.  Affectionate

25

0.83

0

0.00

5

0.17

30

20.  Adaptable

1

0.03

22

0.73

7

0.23

30

 

Table 3.  The separation of sexual roles in the answers of women managers  

 

Female sex roles:

Compassionate, gentle, understanding, warm, affectionate, loyal, friendly, unpredictable

 

Male sex roles:

Aggressive, self reliant, acts as a leader, independent, willing to take a risk, adaptable

 

Neutral sex roles:

Ambitious, competitive, happy, secretive, unsystematic

 

According to female managers, females are understanding to others, they guide the balance and the harmony between people, but at the same time are showing them affection and compassion.  Female managers as aggressive, self-confident, and brave to act as a leader, and lead the community, on the other hand, view male managers.  In addition, this research reveals that women managers find females as ambitious and competitive as men.   So, female managers do not take into consideration these prejudices about women, this is an important sign that women are ready to climb up the career ladders with a richer background and broader repertoire of behavior.

RESEARCH INDICATES:

  • In connection with the results of the research done with the participation of 30 female managers and the result of the “Bern Sex Role Inventory” done by Sandra Lipritz Bern on British managers, it reveals that female managers find their sex more compassionate (83%), more gentle (53%), more understanding (73%), warmer (83%), more affectionate (93%) and more loyal than male.
  • Contradictorily, both male and female neutral characteristics of “friendly” and “unpredictable” are related to the female sex roles.
  • In the BSRI research, none of the male characteristics (Table 1) are related to females.
  • The neutral characteristics perceived by the woman managers who participated in the research, as both male and female characteristics are “happy, secretive, and unsystematic”.  However, the female managers connect male characteristics like “ambitious and competitive” to both sexes.