A cultural feminist approach towards managing diversity in top management teams

Syed, Jawad and Murray, Peter A. (2008) A cultural feminist approach towards managing diversity in top management teams. Equal Opportunities International, 27 (5). pp. 413-432. ISSN 0261-0159


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to challenge the customary emphasis on masculine values in top management teams (TMTs) and offer a cultural feminist approach to improving women's participation in leadership roles in organisations.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the theory of diversity and 'difference', instead of 'sameness', to demonstrate the relationship between feminine values, team member diversity, and team effectiveness. The paper develops a three-tier approach to making better use of gender diversity in TMTs: unravel masculine hegemony in the workplace; create awareness of
distinct values offered by women as team members and team leaders; and progress team diversity from the customary token representation to gender inclusive team structures and routines.
Findings – The paper suggests that TMTs benefit when learning to accommodate and integrate feminine values, along with masculine values, into an inclusive work culture that enhances teams' performing capacities.
Research limitations/implications – Token representation is only one dimension of gendered disadvantage. Several complex forms of gendered disadvantage reside at macro-level or extraorganisational layers of life. Therefore, tackling masculine hegemony should involve a multilevel approach that tackles gendered disadvantage in domains as wide as work, organisation, and society.
Practical implications – Through the three-tier framework for managing diversity in TMTs, the paper offers a practical way forward, moving beyond the current functional-structured approach towards TMTs.
Originality/value – The paper argues that conventional diversity management practices remain influenced by a hegemonic masculine approach towards increasing women’s participation in employment. Furthermore, a narrow emphasis on 'sameness' instead of 'diversity' of women and men reinforces male hegemony, contributing to the perpetuation of low numbers of women in TMTs.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2010 04:25
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2017 02:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural studies; feminism; equal opportunities; gender; leadership; senior management
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910402 Management
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1108/02610150810882288
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/9073

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