This article researches on female leadership, to show that women have some advantages in typical leadership style but are disadvantaged by evaluation of their competence as leaders, that is largely prejudicial especially in organizations that are male-dominated. Its also elucidates that there is a rise in female leadership and attributes that rise to qualities that women exhibit in leadership that are befitting to contemporary organizations (Jogulu & Wood 2006). The article examines the following hypotheses based on empirical research:
Women and men differ in leadership style.
Female leaders face prejudice and discrimination
There is significant shift in leadership requirements to suit Contemporary organizational needs.
Female leadership might be better or additionally effective in meeting organizational needs than male leadership
All hypotheses were supported and hence they point out that women have both advantages and disadvantages as far leadership is concerned, however their disadvantages arise mainly in roles. Women have also changed significantly increasing their investment in human capital, changing their behaviours to include masculine attributes hence gained entry into male-dominated fields. In addition there is organizational change due to civil rights legislations and also re-definition of leadership roles which were previously defined effective leadership based on stereotyped evaluations that associated some roles specifically to men.
The research question was – do women have some advantages in typical leadership style? The question is then broke further in to three hypotheses to tackle the topic in detail. The research question and the hypotheses have served well their purpose by first bringing in to light traditional theories on leadership, then demystifying the stereotypes against women on leadership and lastly bringing out ignored female strengths.
The researcher contrasted his views with those of other research reviews by addressing questions as put out in the hypotheses. His was done through meta-analysis which is a statistical method that joins together, summarizes, and evaluates previous quantitative research. The technique combines study findings to give measures of an average degree of an effect and to test through statistics whether the differences in these results can be explained by the characteristics of the studies reviewed. One of the requirements of meta-analysis is that the studies under review should address the same hypothesis question and this was true in the article. One advantage of using the methodology is that is that it combines large numbers of studies which otherwise would have overwhelmed as he tries to get accurate generalizations and summaries.
Participants were obtained from both organizational sites and non-laboratory settings and they were either managers, students or other non-student groups. The researcher also depended on both published and unpublished data. Sample of data on different sexes and leadership styles from different researchers that were compared were as follows:
Dobin and Platz (1986)- found 17 studies which gave 8 studies
Eagly and Johnson (1990)- found 161 documents which gave 162 studies
Eagly, Karau and Makhinjani (1995) 87documents which gave 96 studies.
From the discrepancies between the documents and studies obtained from each research, it is evident that the more the documents researched the more accurate the findings are as demonstrated in the second sample. Therefore though the method could be right some samples that have no extensive searches could alter the otherwise true state of the expected findings (Eagly & Carli, 2003).
The other disadvantage about the sample is that using participants outside organization set ups might be a disadvantage because they might be aware of the true state of affairs in an organization and their observations will mostly be based on hearsay. This negatively affects the findings because there was no distinction between them and those in organizational setups (Eagly & Carli, 2003).
Data used in this research was obtained from secondary sources which were meta-analysis of researches carried out by different individuals. In order to meet the objective of the research, all data collected must have focused on answering the hypotheses questions. There was a four-step criterion to determine whether any meta-analysis work had the quality required to make it as a valid sample:
To check whether the search conducted by the meta-analyst was extensive enough to cover relevant topics
Whether at least two judges of interjudge status coded the findings
Determine whether analysis of the databases of studies was done thoroughly.
Establish whether the discussion of the size effects, weakness and strings of studies was appropriately done.
This criteria ensured that the quality of the meta-analysis samples that were used were of the required standard hence ensuring that the quality of the findings were also credible. Secondary data is easier to obtain and is also cost effective. However, due lack collection of their primary data one cannot establish the objectivity of the person who collected the primary data.
Evaluation of contribution to leadership theory and/or leadership practice
This study provides that women have some leadership qualities that are essential in meeting organizational needs and it contributes particularly to the development of female leadership. The article points out to organization management boards’ to change their criteria of hiring leaders where whereby leadership roles are defined in masculine terms. In addition it provides a wider pool of leaders to choose from when hiring and hence ensures selection on performance rather than stereotypes. It also acts as an impetus to women who seek leadership positions to be able to position them strategically even in male-dominated roles. This they can do by exhibiting agentic qualities while combining them with their supportive qualities of leadership (Eagly & Carli, 2003).
The research also comes as a wake-up call to men in leadership and those aspiring that in the near future management of organizations will no-longer require masculine characteristics of power accumulation rather it embrace transformational leadership of support to subordinates. This research also provides a window for the government to see the hurdles women face to reach top leadership positions and hence it will be able to develop policies that promote female leadership. As a result the untapped women potential will be used promote the development that country.
This research also provides an avenue of cooperation between males and females, because effectiveness of different sexes in different roles, they can supplement one another in there areas of strengths and weaknesses. This will ensure increased production instead of one viewing the other as inferior or competitor. The research also brings out the neutral view of leadership roles which defines leadership in terms of competence instead of traditional ideologies (Leavitt, 1989). This ensures that those selected for given positions are qualified and hence the tasks assigned will be effectively accomplished. Lastly this research provides information to organizations on how they can bring out the overshadowed leadership qualities. This is achievable by changing organization’s practices, cultures and roles that demean women.