A cultural feminist approach towards managing diversity in top management teams

A cultural feminist approach towards managing diversity in top management teams Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to challenge the customary emphasis on masculine values in top management teams (TMTs) and offer a cultural feminist approach to improving women's participation in leadership roles in organisations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the theory of diversity and “difference”, instead of “sameness”, to demonstrate the relationship between feminine values, team member diversity, and team effectiveness. The paper develops a three‐tier approach to making better use of gender diversity in TMTs: unravel masculine hegemony in the workplace; create awareness of distinct values offered by women as team members and team leaders; and progress team diversity from the customary token representation to gender inclusive team structures and routines. Findings – The paper suggests that TMTs benefit when learning to accommodate and integrate feminine values, along with masculine values, into an inclusive work culture that enhances teams’ performing capacities. Research limitations/implications – Token representation is only one dimension of gendered disadvantage. Several complex forms of gendered disadvantage reside at macro‐level or extra‐organisational layers of life. Therefore, tackling masculine hegemony should involve a multilevel approach that tackles gendered disadvantage in domains as wide as work, organisation, and society. Practical implications – Through the three‐tier framework for managing diversity in TMTs, the paper offers a practical way forward, moving beyond the current functional‐structured approach towards TMTs. Originality/value – The paper argues that conventional diversity management practices remain influenced by a hegemonic masculine approach towards increasing women's participation in employment. Furthermore, a narrow emphasis on “sameness” instead of “diversity” of women and men reinforces male hegemony, contributing to the perpetuation of low numbers of women in TMTs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Equal Opportunities International Emerald Publishing

A cultural feminist approach towards managing diversity in top management teams

Equal Opportunities International, Volume 27 (5): 20 – Jun 27, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0261-0159
DOI
10.1108/02610150810882288
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to challenge the customary emphasis on masculine values in top management teams (TMTs) and offer a cultural feminist approach to improving women's participation in leadership roles in organisations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the theory of diversity and “difference”, instead of “sameness”, to demonstrate the relationship between feminine values, team member diversity, and team effectiveness. The paper develops a three‐tier approach to making better use of gender diversity in TMTs: unravel masculine hegemony in the workplace; create awareness of distinct values offered by women as team members and team leaders; and progress team diversity from the customary token representation to gender inclusive team structures and routines. Findings – The paper suggests that TMTs benefit when learning to accommodate and integrate feminine values, along with masculine values, into an inclusive work culture that enhances teams’ performing capacities. Research limitations/implications – Token representation is only one dimension of gendered disadvantage. Several complex forms of gendered disadvantage reside at macro‐level or extra‐organisational layers of life. Therefore, tackling masculine hegemony should involve a multilevel approach that tackles gendered disadvantage in domains as wide as work, organisation, and society. Practical implications – Through the three‐tier framework for managing diversity in TMTs, the paper offers a practical way forward, moving beyond the current functional‐structured approach towards TMTs. Originality/value – The paper argues that conventional diversity management practices remain influenced by a hegemonic masculine approach towards increasing women's participation in employment. Furthermore, a narrow emphasis on “sameness” instead of “diversity” of women and men reinforces male hegemony, contributing to the perpetuation of low numbers of women in TMTs.

Journal

Equal Opportunities InternationalEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 27, 2008

Keywords: Cultural studies; Feminism; Equal opportunities; Gender; Leadership; Senior management

References

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    Claes, M.
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    Edmondson, A.C.; Roberto, M.A.; Watkins, M.D.
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    Elron, E.
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    Kirkman, B.L.; Rosen, B.
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    Pettigrew, T.F.; Martin, J.
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    Rigg, C.; Sparrow, J.
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    Singh, P.; Finn, D.; Goulet, L.
  • Employment prospects for skilled migrants: a relational perspective
    Syed, J.
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    Syed, J.
  • Leadership and gender: a dangerous liaison?
    Trinidad, C.; Normore, A.H.

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