Advertisement

Examining the Politics of Gendered Difference in Feminine Leadership: The Absence of ‘Female Masculinity’

  • Alison Pullen
  • Sheena J. Vachhani
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Leadership and Followership book series (PASTLEFO)

Abstract

This chapter takes ‘female masculinity’ as a way of teasing out the tensions and contradictions implicit in current approaches to feminine leadership and the ways that they stress the competitive advantage of women in the workplace. Current approaches to feminine leadership run the risk that the entry of the feminine into leadership might actually attempt to control and serve to further oppress women’s subjectivity through its appropriation of the feminine. To advance leadership thinking, ‘feminine leadership’ requires being read as a contradictory site which promotes flexible and ambiguous portraits of gender and leadership. This notion of female competitive advantage obscures the problematic gender binaries on which the juxtaposition between feminine and masculine leadership is based. This construction and constriction of femininity negate a multiplicity of subjectivities and require closer examination especially in relation to how the re-appropriation of gendered binaries which demarcate sexual difference and mark femininity as under control or within ‘acceptable bounds’ may serve to promote inequality. Given this critique, we conclude that closer attention to feminist ethics, especially a turn to understanding femininity and leadership as relational, allows us to explore and promote the possibilities of an ethical openness to otherness.

Keywords

Leadership Gender Politics Feminine leadership Female masculinity Ethics 

References

  1. Adams, R. (2000). Masculinity without men: Review of Judith Halberstam, Female masculinity. Duke University Press, 1998. Retrieved July 1, 2012, from http://www.columbia.edu/itc/english/adams/g6651-001-x01/HalberstamReview.pdf
  2. Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included – Racism and diversity in institutional life. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alimo-Metcalfe, B. (1995). An investigation of female and male constructs of leadership and empowerment. Women in Management Review, 10(2), 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Appelbaum, S. H., Audet, L., & Miller, J. C. (1995). Gender and leadership? Leadership and gender? A journey through the landscape of theories. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 24(1), 43–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bathurst, R., & Ladkin, D. (2012). Performing leadership: Observations from the world of music. Administrative Sciences, 2(1), 99–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bell, E., & Sinclair, A. (2016). Re-envisaging leadership through the feminine imaginary in film and television. In C. Steyaert, T. Beyes, & M. Parker (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Reinventing Management Education (p. 273). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Borgerson, J. (2007). On the harmony of feminist ethics and business ethics. Business and Society, 112(4), 477–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borgerson, J., & Rehn, A. (2004). General economy and productive dualisms. Gender, Work & Organization, 11(4), 455–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowring, M. A. (2004). Resistance is not futile: Liberating Captain Janeway from the masculine-feminine dualism of leadership. Gender, Work and Organization, 11(4), 381–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butler, J. (2005). Giving an account of oneself. Fordham: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Calás, M., & Smircich, L. (1993). Dangerous liaisons: The ‘feminine-in-management’ meets ‘globalization. Business Horizons, 36(2), 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chanter, T. (1995). Ethics of Eros: Irigaray’s writing of the philosophers. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Cockburn, C. (1991). In the way of women. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Colgan, F., & Ledwith, S. (1996). Women in organizations: Challenging gender politics. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Crosby, C. (1992). Dealing with differences. In J. P. Butler & J. W. Scott (Eds.), Feminists theorize the political (pp. 130–143). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Diprose, R. (1994). The bodies of women: Ethics, embodiment and sexual differences. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Diprose, R. (2002). Corporeal generosity: on giving with Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas. New York: SUNY.Google Scholar
  18. Due Billing, Y., & Alvesson, M. (2000). Questioning the notion of feminine leadership: A critical perspective on the gender labelling of leadership. Gender, Work and Organization, 7(3), 144–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eagly, A. H. (2005). Achieving relational authenticity in leadership: Does gender matter? The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 459–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eagly, A. H. (2007). Female leadership advantage and disadvantage: Resolving the contradictions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31(1), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2003). The female leadership advantage: An evaluation of the evidence. The Leadership Quarterly, 14(6), 807–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eagly, A. H., & Johnson, B. T. (1990). Gender and leadership style: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 108(2), 233–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Edlund, C. J. (1992). Humanizing the workplace: Incorporating feminine leadership. In M. T. Bailey & R. T. Mayer (Eds.), Public management in an interconnected world (pp. 75–88). Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  24. Ely, R., & Padavic, I. (2007). A feminist analysis of organizational research on sex differences. Academy of Management Review, 32(4), 1121 1143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fondas, N. (1997). Feminization unveiled: Management qualities in contemporary writings. The Academy of Management Review, 22(1), 257–282.Google Scholar
  26. Ford, J. (2005). Examining leadership through critical feminist readings. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 19(3), 236–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ford, J. (2006). Discourses of leadership: Gender, identity and contradiction in a UK public sector organization. Leadership, 2(1), 77–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ford, J., & Harding, N. (2007). Move over management: We’re all leaders now. Management Learning, 38(5), 475–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ford, J., & Harding, N. (2011). The impossibility the ‘true self’ of authentic leadership: A critique through object relations theory. Leadership, 7(4), 463–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ford, J., Harding, N., & Learmonth, M. (2008). Leadership as identity – Constructions and deconstructions. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  31. Frenier, C. (1996). Business and the feminine principle: The untapped resource. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  32. Friedman, M., & Bolte, A. (2007). Ethics and feminism. In L. M. Alcoff & E. F. Kittay (Eds.), Feminist philosophy (pp. 81–101). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  33. Grant, J. (1988). Women as managers: What can they offer to organizations. Organizational Dynamics, 16(1), 56–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Grosz, E. (1989). Sexual subversions. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  35. Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Halberstam, J. (2005). In a queer time and space: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives. London: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Harding, N., Lee, H., Ford, J., & Learmonth, M. (2011). Leadership and charisma: A desire that cannot speak its name? Human Relations, 64(7), 927–950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Harris, J. R. (1990). Ethical values of individuals at different levels of the organizational hierarchy of a single firm. Journal of Business Ethics, 9(9), 741–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harvard Business Review. (1991, January–February). Debate: Ways men and women lead. pp. 151–160.Google Scholar
  40. Helgesen, S. (1995). The female advantage: Women’s ways of leadership. New York: Currency/Doubleday.Google Scholar
  41. Irigaray, L. (1985). This sex which is not one (C. Porter, Trans.). New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Irigaray, L. (1991). The philosophy of the feminine (M. Whitford, Trans.). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Irigaray, L. (1993a). An ethics of sexual difference (C. Burke & G. C. Gill, Trans.). London: Athlone.Google Scholar
  44. Irigaray, L. (1993b). Je, Tu, Nous – Toward a culture of difference (A. Martin, Trans.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Irigaray, L. (1993c). Sexes and genealogies (G. C. Gill, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Irigaray, L. (1997). Women on the market. In A. D. Schrift (Ed.), The logic of the gift: Toward an ethic of generosity (pp. 174–189). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Jaggar, A. M. (1992). Encyclopedia of ethics. New York: Garland Press.Google Scholar
  48. Kanter, R. M. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  49. Knights, D., & Kerfoot, D. (2004). Between representations and subjectivity: Gender binaries and the politics of organizational transformation. Gender, Work & Organization, 11(4), 430–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Knights, D., & O’Leary, M. (2006). Leadership, ethics and responsibility to the other. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(2), 125–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ladkin, D. (2008). Leading beautifully: How mastery, congruence and purpose create the aesthetic of embodied leadership practice. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(1), 31–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ladkin, D. (2012, January). Perception, reversibility, “Flesh”: Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology and leadership as embodied practice. Integral Leadership Review, 12, 1–13.Google Scholar
  53. Ladkin, D., & Taylor, S. (2010). Enacting the ‘true self’: Towards a theory of embodied authentic leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 21(1), 64–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lämsä, A.-M., & Sintonen, T. (2001). A discursive approach to understanding women leaders in working life. Journal of Business Ethics, 34, 255–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lipman-Blumen, J. (1992). Connective leadership: Female leadership styles in the 21st century workplace. Sociological Perspectives, 35(1), 183–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Marshall, J. (1984). Women managers: Travellers in a male world. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  57. Metcalfe, B., & Linstead, A. (2003). Gendering teamwork: Re-writing the feminine. Gender, Work and Organization, 10(1), 94–119.Google Scholar
  58. Nguyen, A. (2008). Patriarchy, power, and female masculinity. Journal of Homosexuality, 55(4), 665–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Painter-Morland, M. (2008). Systemic leadership and the emergence of ethical responsiveness. Journal of Business Ethics, 82, 509–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pullen, A., & Knights, D. (2007). Undoing gender in organizations. Gender, Work and Organization, 14(6), 505–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pullen, A., & Rhodes, C. (2010). Revelation and masquerade: Gender, ethics and the face. In R. Simpson & P. Lewis (Eds.), Concealing and revealing gender (pp. 233–248). Palgrave: Basingstoke.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pullen, A., & Rhodes, C. (2013). Corporeal generosity and the ethics of resistance in organizations. Organization, 21(6), 782–796.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pullen, A., & Taksa, L. (2016). In the name of the other: Nicknaming and gendered misrepresentation/s of women leaders. In C. Elliot & V. Stead (Eds.), Gender, media, and organization: Challenging mis(s)representations of women leaders and managers. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  64. Pullen, A., & Vachhani, S. (2013). The materiality of leadership. Leadership, 9(3), 315–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pullen, A., & Vachhani, S. (n.d.). The ethics of feminine leadership (Unpublished working paper).Google Scholar
  66. Ropo, A., & Sauer, E. (2008). Corporeal leaders. In D. Barry & H. Hansen (Eds.), The Sage handbook of new approaches in management and organization (pp. 469–478). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rosener, J. B. (1990, November–December). Ways women lead. Harvard Business Review, 68, 119–125.Google Scholar
  68. Rosener, J. B. (1995). Sexual static. In K. Grint (Ed.), Leadership – Classic, contemporary and critical approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Sandberg, C. (2013). Lean in: Women, work and the will to lead. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  70. Schilt, K., & Connell, C. (2007). Do workplace gender transitions make gender trouble? Gender, Work & Organization, 14(6), 596–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sedgwick, E. K. (1995). Gosh, Boy George, you must be awfully secure in your masculinity! In M. Berger, B. Wallis, & S. Watson (Eds.), Constructing masculinity (pp. 45–60). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Sinclair, A. (2005). Doing leadership differently. Melbourne: University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Trethewey, A. (1999). Disciplined bodies: Women’s embodied identities at work. Organization Studies, 20(3), 423–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Trinidad, C., & Normore, A. H. (2005). Leadership and gender: A dangerous liaison? Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(7), 574–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Tyler, M., & Cohen, L. (2008). Management in/as comic relief: Queer theory and gender performativity in the office. Gender, Work & Organization, 15(2), 113–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vachhani, S. J. (2012). The subordination of the feminine? – Developing a critical feminist approach to the psychoanalysis of organisations. Organization Studies, 33(9), 1237–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vecchio, R. P. (2002). Leadership and gender advantage. The Leadership Quarterly, 13(6), 643–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vine, P. (1997, November–December). Battling the myth of superwoman. British Journal of Administrative Management, 12–13.Google Scholar
  79. Vinkenburg, C. J., Jansen, P. G. W., & Koopman, P. L. (2000). Feminine leadership – A review of gender differences in managerial behaviour and effectiveness. In M. J. Davidson & R. J. Burke (Eds.), Women in management: Current research issues (Vol. 2, pp. 120–137). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Vinnicombe, S., & Singh, V. (2002). Women-only management training: An essential part of women’s leadership development. Journal of Change Management, 3(4), 294–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wajcman, J. (1998). Managing like a man: Women and men in corporate management. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  82. Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y., & Nkomo, S. (2010). Unpacking diversity, grasping inequality: Rethinking difference through critical perspectives. Organization, 17(1), 9–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Pullen
    • 1
  • Sheena J. Vachhani
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marketing and ManagementMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Economics, Finance and ManagementUniversity of BristolCliftonUK

Personalised recommendations