Think Manager – Think (Fe)Male: A South African Perspective

By:
Dr. Lize Annie Eliza Booysen,
Prof. Stella Nkomo
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This study is a replication of the original 1973, 1979 and 1989 Schein empirical studies on sex role stereotypes in management. Consistent with Schein’s own studies and similar studies done in the USA, UK, Canada, China, Japan and New Zealand, it was hypothesised that successful middle managers are perceived to possess those characteristics more commonly ascribed to men, by both males and females.

The 92-item Schein Descriptive Index, utilising a five-point scale, was used to elicit sex role stereotypes and the characteristics of successful managers. Three forms of the index, including exactly the same descriptive index, except that one form asked for a description of adult men in general, one for a description of adult women, and one for a description of successful middle managers, were randomly administered.

The sample comprised 560 management students, all practising managers, doing part time MBA studies at the Graduate School for Business Leadership, University of South Africa. Three hundred eighty-eight were males and 172 were females. The respondents were not made aware of the purpose of the study and were informed not to discuss the index with their classmates while responding the questionnaires.

A one-way between-groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted and intraclass correlation coefficients (r’) were calculated to determine the degree of correspondence between the descriptions of successful middle managers and men in general and between successful middle managers and women in general. The results show that for males the hypothesis that managers are perceived to possess characteristics more commonly ascribed to men than to women was confirmed. However it was not confirmed for the females. The SA females actually indicated that women resemble the behaviour of middle managers and not men. The results of this research are discussed relative to findings from other countries and the factors within South Africa that may help explain the results.


Keywords: Sex Role Stereotypes, Gender Roles, Management Stereotypes, Women Managers, Schein Descriptive Index
Stream: Economics and Management
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Think Manager – Think (Fe)Male


Dr. Lize Annie Eliza Booysen

Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership, Leadership Division
Graduate School of Leadership, University of South Africa

Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Lize is a professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at University of South Africa's Graduate School of Business Leadership. She is included as one of 50 role models for South African women and as leadership expert in the book Inspirational Women @ Work, (2003). Lize holds an MA in Clinical Psychology cum laude (Rand Afrikaans University), an MA in Research Psychology cum laude, and an MA in Criminology cum laude (University of Pretoria). Her Doctorate in Business Leadership at UNISA is a pioneering study on The influences of race and gender on leadership attributes of South African managers.

Prof. Stella Nkomo

Bateman Professor of Business Leadership, Leadership Division University Graduate School of Business Leadership,, University of South Africa
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

A former Scholar-in-Residence at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College of Harvard University, her nationally recognized work on race and gender in organizations and managing diversity appears in numerous journals, edited volumes, and magazines. She is listed in Who’s Who in the Managerial Sciences. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a BS from Bryant College.

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