ERIC Number: ED384103
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Constructing a Feminist-Inclusive Theory of Leadership.
Irby, Beverly J.; Brown, Genevieve
There are some who argue that the existing theoretical paradigm used in leadership training programs should be modified to include the feminist perspective. This paper presents findings of a study that investigated male and female perceptions of effective leadership skills. Indepth interviews were conducted with 120 executives--60 men and 60 women. Half of the male and female respondents were leaders from business and government; the other half was comprised of educational leaders. Both male and female respondents perceived women as giving more attention than men to detail; men were seen by both genders as delegating detail to others. Both genders perceived men as relying on their past experiences to solve problems; women were viewed as more emotional than men and apt to seek input from others. Both men and women perceived male leaders' authority to be automatic and based on gender; women's authority was viewed as being earned over time and through hard work. The majority of respondents reported that they preferred to be supervised by males. In general, all respondents tended to see the following as strong leadership characteristics: (1) seeking input; (2) encouraging others to be involved in decision-making; (3) sharing power and credit; (4) empowering others to improve skills; and (5) maintaining open communication. However, both men and women held subtle negative views of feminine leadership traits. Men reported that their leadership styles evolved from innate abilities and on-the-job training; women said they were influenced by mentors and formal training. Differences between educational leaders and business/government leaders were not identified. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 18-22, 1995). For related document, see EA 026 787.