An Analysis of Female Executives: Focusing on Stress Management, Conflict Management, Decision Making, Goal Setting, & Communication, Including a Unique Research Instrument.
Differences between males and females have been sighted as “so obvious that all of us, even as small children, consider them basic to identifying both self and others” (Hall 1). Perhaps less considered is that the differences between men and women are not simply biological differences; there is also the element of gender that cannot be overlooked. This thesis analyzes current studies on women in management. The first basic assumption is that there has been (and continues to be) significant research dealing with men at an executive level. Thus, mainly female and feminine characteristics of management will be considered. The first tenet that is explored is that gender is different from sex and draws some conclusions based on this masculine/feminine based—or, as it will be referred to in the future, trait based—approach. Research is then presented regarding historical and current institutional stereotypes of women; a basic outline of the GOLD Research Project and a summation of the current barriers to success that women face is included. Various research from different scholars is used to analyze the five variables of interest in this thesis: communication, decision-making, stress management, conflict management, and goal setting. The unique research tool used in this analysis is then presented by addressing the basic background of the survey, including the group to which it was presented, its methodology, validity and reliability. Conclusions are then drawn based on a comparison of prior research to current results. Finally, some myths of leadership that are still ingrained in the organizational system of today are presented. Some precursory comments on hope for the future are offered, and the thesis is concluded with the author’s reflections and suggestions for ways to incorporate a trait-based approach to management in today’s organization.