Management Education for Women—and Men?
The thesis of this chapter is that the traditional content of most MBA and other higher education programmes on management should be reconstructed to consider the special problems faced by women in management and employ strategies to teach both men and women how to mitigate them. This chapter begins by discussing gender inequality in management positions and reasons why women are under-represented, despite general acceptance of the importance of gender diversity for organizational success.
It reports examples of informal activities to improve women’s position in the workplace, such as mentoring and efforts to enhance the status of women by ‘spreading the word’ of their professional competence through conferences, workshops, ‘women in business’ groups, and literary publications. Formal management education programmes for women are summarized, including those offered in collaboration between academic institutions and business companies. Arguments are made for the introduction of transformative learning to management programmes, by which participants might move from a paradigm in which women are assumed (by themselves as well as men) to be poor managers in need of masculine support, to another which empowers women to recognize their unique strengths and capitalize on them.
Examples are provided of teaching methods for transformative learning, such as creating classroom environments that convey a sense of trust and security, in which students feel free to experiment with new behaviour in learner-centred approaches that promote student autonomy, participation, and collaboration. An appendix contains the details of an ‘ice-breaker’ game as an example of an exercise for the start of a management education course that includes transformative learning, to encourage new students to relax and get to know each other as a constructive prelude to their studies.
KeywordsManagement education Women in management Transformative learning
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