Analysis of gender role socialisation influence on perception of leadership style of males and females.
Many women have taken up higher positions in their companies in recent times both in South Africa and all over the world. Many more women are taking professional courses and will definitely find a place in the leadership position in the big companies (Sekaran, et al. 1992). As a result there is big change and there will be more changes in the demography of labour force. These changes make it essential that leaders understand how to capture the synergy for the emerging diverse group of employees. The best and brightest workers, whom we all seek, are coming out of a labour pool that is increasingly made of women. The aspirations of women have been changing dramatically as a result of civil rights movement and women movements and South Africa is a good example of the countries in the world where women have better opportunities of leading big organisations (Watson, et al. 2004). The inclusion of women in the leadership position of many companies has aroused the interest to investigate if there is a difference in the way women and men lead. This is important because the role of leadership and the style of leadership have been identified as the primary factors in determining organisational performance and competitiveness (Rechardson, et al. 2008). A major part of this study discussed and analysed the leadership style differences of men and women leaders. The study also took into cognisance of the importance of agents of socialisation such as the family (husband and wife), the media, religion and education on gender role in the society. We discussed the gender role ascribed to male and female in the society and how this has influenced the perception of their leadership styles. Males and females received different orientation from the media, religion, schools and colleges on how men and women suppose to behave. And how these orientations influence perception, interaction, and ultimately the leadership styles is an interesting area of study and somewhat more difficult to define (Rechardson, et al. 2008). A review of such differences serves as a starting point in the study of gender differences in behaviour and in the leadership styles; and why women may offer unique strengths essential to healthy growth and operation in an organization. The results of this study did not show much difference in the leadership styles of men and women leaders but there are a few differences in the leadership dimensions of the transformational and transactional leadership style. The Asian female leaders score higher in charisma than their male counterpart. Within positions female frontline (supervisors) scored higher on motivation (idealised influence), while the male middle managers scored higher on task oriented leadership behaviour. However insignificant the differences may be, it is wise to mention that women scored slightly higher than men in the leadership styles traditionally ascribed to women. For example, the results of table 26 show women leaders scored slightly higher than men in the participative/democratic and transformational leadership styles and they equally scored slightly higher in some dimensions of transformational leadership, intellectually stimulating, charisma, and motivation. Men scored slightly higher in autocratic, transactional and delegate leadership styles. Men also scored slightly higher in other dimensions like management by exemption and task oriented behaviours.