Questioning the notion of feminine leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Traditionally, leadership has been equated with masculinity. Managerial jobs, at least in business and on senior levels, have been defined as a matter of instrumentality, autonomy, result-orientation, etc. something which is not particularly much in line with what is broadly assumed to be typical for females. Today, however, there seems to be a broad interest in leadership being more participatory, non-hierarchical, flexible and group-oriented. These new ideas on leadership are often seen by students of gender as indicating a feminine orientation. This article argues that it is necessary to critically discuss the whole idea of gender labelling leadership as masculine or feminine and suggests that we should be very careful and potentially aware of the unfortunate consequences when we use gender labels. Constructing leadership as feminine may be of some value as a contrast to conventional ideas on leadership and management but may also create a misleading impression of women's orientation to leadership as well as reproducing stereotypes and the traditional gender division of labour.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-157
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Volume7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes