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Review Sarah Rutherford's (2001) article on 'sameness difference' in male and female management styles. What conclusions does she reach what contribution does - Book Report/Review Example

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One of the prominent developments of the twentieth century in the Western world was the rise and wide expansion of feminist world views. As a consequence of that process, many of the existing inequalities that negatively influenced women in social, economic, and cultural spheres were removed or significantly reduced…
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Review Sarah Rutherfords (2001) article on sameness difference in male and female management styles. What conclusions does she reach what contribution does
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Download file to see previous pages Aside from such court cases, there is also an ongoing public discussion of the possible limits for the equality between men and women (Halford and Leonard, 2001; Karsten, 1993). Indeed, as when placed in similar circumstances men and women may tend to behave in different ways, it is necessary to have a better knowledge of existing difference and, also importantly, of sameness between general effectiveness of men and women within the same fields of activity. In this regard, Sarah Rutherford, a consultant specialising in organisational culture and diversity, in her article "Any Difference An Analysis of Gender and Divisional management Styles in a Large Airline" provides results of a very insightful research that explores a specific aspect of the sameness/difference between women and men, namely their managerial approaches, and does so in a specific and at the same time quite representative environment, namely in a large airline. Let us take a closer look at the research of Rutherford, single out important conclusions that she reaches, and try link her contribution with wider debates on management and gender.
Sarah Rutherford opens her article with the general observations about the ongoing debate "as to whether woman manage differently from men and whether this may constitute a reason for womens lack of progress to the top echelons of organizations" (Rutherford, 2001, p.326). In this way, by presupposing the possibility of existence of real barriers for the career progress of women in business on par with men she immediately suggests that the topic of her research may be placed into the wider social context of what she calls "a feminist theoretical framework" (Rutherford, 2001, p.326) that recognises that inequalities exist. At the same time, Rutherford quickly moves on to an assumption that in reality things may be more complex and that it may prove to be quite difficult to clearly separate management peculiarities dictated by individual traits, including the gender of a manager, from those dictated by business function and specifics of an organisation. Also, before detailing the findings of her research the author expands the relevant underlying theoretical base by discussing the very notions of masculinity and femininity as not determinants based purely on biological differences between genders but as socially constructed behavioural patterns. For example, she points out that display of a certain range of emotions that both genders experience is traditionally considered to be a feminine way of reaction, an observation which will be very useful later in the article. So, already in this part of the article we encounter one of the very important points of the author that as far as masculine and feminine social roles have corresponding modes of behaviour, it is possible for men to mimic feminine roles, and vice versa. As will be evident from the authors report of the results of the research, this phenomenon indeed takes place, and, moreover, its usage by both genders is perhaps the most influential factor in the part of management discourse which deals with differences between managerial peculiarities of men and women. In fact, this early observation is very important for wider debates on management and gender as it rightfully broadens the scope of traditional feminist criticism of existing inequalities in treatment of men and women. It does so by pointing out that such strategies as the adoption by woman ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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