Are competitors with high heels more likely to win the business marathon in the new millennium?

University essay from Handelshögskolan BBS

Abstract: ‘Women are supposed to be in the kitchen and take care of the children while men earn the money and go “job-hunting”.’ – Statements like this have been common in a lot of countries, cultures and families for many decades now. However, the world is constantly changing and so are the circum-stances the two sexes live in. During the last 20 to 30 years there has been a drastic change concern-ing the newly opened possibilities for females to enter leadership positions. The questions that come to our mind immediately when hearing those readings are such as: • What factors does a certain leadership style depend on? • Could there also be other reasons beside the gender aspect why humans react in a certain way? • What attributes and characteristics are required from today’s leaders? Although there are many more questions that can be asked regarding this topic, the ones mentioned above, which make up the research questions of this study, seem to be the most important ones. Following an inductive research process, empirical material was gathered through questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. This collected information and the shared experiences are the representative data in this particular thesis from male and female leaders in different companies/organizations and various environments concentrating on our two home countries Sweden and Germany. Supported by a theoretical framework which consists of theories, books and articles of many well-known au-thors, especially the studies by the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the reader will get a wider knowledge of the empirical data. A separate chapter about the depending leadership styles and the ‘condition-theory’ by Immanuel Kant will help to explain certain behaviours by male and female leaders as well as describe the rea-sons why our society sees the leaders’ characteristics the way it does. The conditions that are relevant in this thesis are about the attitudes, soft skills such as communication aspects, attributes being used to describe daily situations as well as personal features of current and future leaders in prospect of career chances and risks. The following thesis aims for a clearer picture and greater awareness of particular settings and should be beneficial for current and future leaders from both sexes in all kinds of environments as well as people who work together with leaders frequently to gain a better understanding of their behaviours and decisions. Last, but not least there will be a part with a general review as well as personal reflections upon this topic and suggestions for further and future research areas besides the analysis of the whole thesis work.

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