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Cultural constraints on the emergence of women as leaders

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  • Toh, Soo Min
  • Leonardelli, Geoffrey J.
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    Abstract

    Women, who have historically been less represented than men in leadership positions, emerge as leaders in some societies more than others. Unlike previous cultural explanations for this effect (rooted in differences in values, practices, or gender roles), we argue that a culture's tightness – its strength of norms and social sanctions – can provoke a resistance to change practices that historically placed men in leadership positions. Tighter cultures will yield fewer women represented among top leadership positions. Moreover, cultural tightness moderates the degree to which egalitarian practices – where individuals from both genders are treated equally – lead women to emerge as leaders. Specifically, differences in egalitarian practices are more likely to predict the emergence of women as leaders among tight rather than loose cultures because such practices are more strongly implemented in tight than weak cultures. Analysis of publicly available data reveals some preliminary support for predictions. This research concludes that loose cultures will be more receptive to changing existing cultural practices, but that tight cultures are more successful in implementing and sustaining such changes.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090951612000144
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of World Business.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 604-611

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:worbus:v:47:y:2012:i:4:p:604-611

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/620401/description#description

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    Related research

    Keywords: Culture; Tightness; Women leaders; Gender egalitarianism; Leader emergence;

    References

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    1. Lori D Paris & Jon P Howell & Peter W Dorfman & Paul J Hanges, 2009. "Preferred leadership prototypes of male and female leaders in 27 countries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(8), pages 1396-1405, October.
    2. Cristina B Gibson, 1995. "An Investigation of Gender Differences in Leadership Across Four Countries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 26(2), pages 255-279, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Emir Ozeren & Omur Ozmen & Andrea Appolloni, 2013. "The Relationship between Cultural Tightness–Looseness and Organizational Innovativeness: A Comparative Research into the Turkish and Italian Marble Industries," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 475-492, March.

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