Gender Differences in Organizations – Diversity and Inclusion

Gender Differences in Organizations – Diversity and Inclusion

  • Do the roles of men and women vary among cultures?
  • What determines gender characteristics?
  • Do physiology or culture drive the effects of gender on one’s personality?

Many stereotypes infest our perception of gender differences. In many western cultures, we view men as dominating, aggressive, and task-oriented and they exhibit higher sexual drive than women. Women, on the other hand, are delicate, home-centered, and interested in love. There are more than a few exceptions to these stereotypes. The reality is very different. That is why we should vary of pseudoscience, distortions, and deletions that we use to justify these generalizations.

Culture is a set of common behavior that we are exposed to in the ecosystem we live in. This shapes our sexual behavior and personality. Culture tends to subtly reward and criticize certain behaviors. Men and women, boys and girls attend to different systems and models of behavior. Mass media too contributes to the classical conditioning that takes shape in the early years. Boys playing with guns and cars, and girls in pink frocks often appear in commercials. This contributes to the sense of “expected” social behavior in children.

Many research studies on gender diversity have overthrown age-old stereotypes about the nature of men and women. Many generalizations about masculinity and femininity have been debunked. There are significant differences, physiologically, between men and women. It is also suggested that there are as many if not more differences among women and among men than between men and women.

Gender Differences in Organizations

Gender differences in organizations have had a significant impact on the way we communicate and exercise influence on our environment. These stereotypes have had a negative effect, especially on women. We view only men as managers, leaders, and employees in the workplace. Many research studies (such as Mason, 1994) have shown that there seems to be a difference in the purpose of communication between men and women.

Women tend to communicate to build connections and nurture relationships. In contrast, men tend to use communication to exert dominance and assert their point of view. This also stems from the difference in social objectives of the two genders as pointed out by Miller in 1976. Women tend to strive for social interactions and men for driving their independence. Together, these tendencies result in women being more expressive, they value cooperation and have a more communal orientation whereas men tend to assert themselves, establish dominance and focus on outcomes from every conversation (Maltz & Borker, 1982).

The Role of Culture

Based on the immediate surroundings and role models in early childhood, both men and women may develop varying degrees of masculinity and femininity in the classical sense. Because of the social pressure and social roles that men play, they often develop traits that are related to physiological predispositions – like developing high-order visual skills, sexual drive, and dominating nature. On the other hand, women may develop, based on their social roles, social exposure, and their surroundings, and backed by genetic predispositions, high order verbal skills, and nurturing nature.

Overall, it is good to realize that our perception of gender differences in organizations is a part of stereotypes, false assumptions, distortions, and deletions. While there is a physiological difference between men and women, it is the social context that results in the formation personality or behavioral style of an individual. This includes social roles and social demands on an individual.

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