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Differences In Communication: Women Communicating In The Management World

2500 words - 10 pages

IntroductionThe management world has been dominated by men until now but there is still a "steady flow of women into management world" (Larwood and Wood, 1995). Many women seem to have difficulties in communication as they move up their career ladders towards a male-oriented management cultures. The male-oriented management culture, for the majority of women, as Loden suggested, is still an "alien culture where enormous trade-offs are required to achieve even moderate success" (as cited in North, 2003, p.378). To avoid seeing the male-oriented management culture as an alien culture, many women, as claimed by Tannen, have considered themselves no more different from men (as cited in North, ...view middle of the document...

Although I had hours of tapes of conversations between women and men it did not seem to me that I had enough data from women to draw any conclusions… I almost despaired of ever being able to record sufficient sustained speech to identify any possible features specific to women. Of course it took some time for me to appreciate that the salient characteristic of women's talk in conversation with men was silence (as cited in North, 2003, p.380).Social ExpectationsWomen have been quieter than man due to specific but different expectations imposed by the society onto them; these expectations are known as gender roles. The gender roles cause women to be calm, quiet listeners, as a friend of Veciana-Suarez commented, "Girls [are] tended to be calmer than boys. Boys like to play rough" (as cited in Veciana-Suarez, 2003, p.391). Women hone their listening skills back to when they were in the early stages of children development (North, 2003, p.380-381). As McClelland said:Boys and girls differ in early aggressiveness behaviour through… cultural upbringing. Boys typically display aggressive behaviours… as a way to identify their presence and identity. Unsure about whether or not they are heard, they seem to be speaking to the world loudly… Girls on the other hand seem to pay more attention to what goes on around them and modify their behaviour accordingly. They are more about relationship [and] interdependent (as cited in North, 2003, p.381).Cultural NormsWomen are bounded cultural norms when they communicate. It limited women to communicate indirectly, encouragingly and paying great attention to the details when they listen. The cultural norms, as described by Sandler, Carli and Spender, "do not prepare [women to speak] their fair share of the time" (as cited in North, 2003, p.382). It only allows women about one-third of the air time in conversations with men. If women speak more than one-third of the air time, as suggested by Spender, they are perceived as domineering by both men and women (as cited in North, 2003, 380). In one of her tape recording experiments which was done with a group of academic feminists who were quite certain that the one-third/two-thirds rule would not characterize their conversations with males, Spender founded that "fourteen feminists who believed that they had a fair share of the conversation spoke between 8 percent and 38 percent of the time" (as cited in North, 2003, p.380). Spender reacts:In my own case I have found it difficult - and impossible - to discover what happens if women aim, not for what feels like a fair share, but for half the conversation time. Difficult because a woman has to break every rule in the polite conversation book if she tries to talk for half the time: It feels unfair, rude, and objectionably overbearing. For me it has also been impossible to talk for 50 percent of the time… The highest score I have ever attained… was 44 percent and this was accompanied...

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