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Shifting the management paradigm for women



Proposes that women will not make significant advances in American businesses unless the focus shifts from a preoccupation on gender awareness to one of multicultural awareness. Discusses the whitewash dilemma and dominant assumptions about women in management to help explain the current management development paradigm that fails to recognize diversity among women. Makes a case for increasing organizational education about racial and gender similarities and differences which are crucial for establishing a successful multicultural organization where a new, all-inclusive paradigm can prevail and the voices of all women can be heard. An analysis and critique of the women in management field precedes by an emerging model of individual and organizational stages of awareness. Finally proposes recommendations for interventions to shift existing management development practices towards the new paradigm.
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Shifting the management
development paradigm for
Bonita L. Betters-Reed and Lynda L. Moore
Simmons College, Boston, MA, USA
Although the workforce in America is becoming increasingly diverse, the
predominant paradigm for educating and managing this new labour force has
remained rooted in an exclusively Anglo-American male mindset. Even
management development strategies designed to focus on white women and
women of colour have suffered from the tendency to encourage women to “think
male”. In addition, racial and ethnic differences between women have been
ignored, creating the “whitewash dilemma”; white women have gained
significant access to the middle and some access to the top of organizational
hierarchies while women of colour trail behind. This essentially creates a racial
and ethnic hierarchy within organizations[1].
This article presents several explanations as to why current management
development paradigms do not acknowledge differences between white women
and women of colour. The consequence of this failure is seen in management’s
inability to develop an effective programme that advances women of colour.
Given that women of colour represent the fastest-growing part of the future
workforce, their development for management succession is a critical issue for
businesses in the USA.
Women of colour will not be significantly represented in managerial ranks
without a paradigm shift. This article attempts to help management
development shift the paradigm by analysing the current paradigm. Specifically,
underlying assumptions of the current paradigm that have inhibited the
progress of women of colour into management are explained. The evolution of
women in the management field as it relates to the exclusion of women of colour
is then presented. Management and feminist thoughts that influence the shift of
the management development paradigm for women are analysed. A model of
individual and organizational stages of identity awareness with emphasis on
women, in order to assess current levels of awareness, is proposed. Finally,
recommendations are made for managers and educators who wish to shift their
organizational paradigms for the inclusion and advancement of all women, and
for movement towards the multicultural organization of the future.
The authors are grateful to Jenice Durham and Mary Jo Klick for their assistance with this article.
They also benefited from the helpful suggestions of Jean Ramsey and the Editors.
Journal of Management
Development, Vol. 14 No. 2, 1995
pp. 24-38. © MCB University Press,
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Paradigm shift and the whitewash dilemma
Paradigm shifting is a fad of the 1990s as Huey indicated in a recent article[2].
A paradigm is simply the conventional wisdom about how things have always
been done and must continue to be done. A paradigm “shifter” throws out the
rules of the game and institutes radical, not incremental change; a leader who
ferments revolution, not evolution. For many white women and white men in
management, the recognition of the whitewash dilemma is a paradigm shift
that suggests they must be disloyal to their own race. They may not see the
difference between benefiting from a social position of unearned racial privilege
and maintaining loyalty to one’s own race. For white women who struggled to
gain entry to the managerial ranks, it is difficult to acknowledge that racial
privilege has played an important role in their mobility and that racial
advantage is not available to their female colleagues of colour. This
acknowledgment requires managers to recognize the exclusivity of white male
and female organizational clubs and networks.
The current management development’s paradigm for women is based on
assumptions and generalizations about the white woman’s organizational
experience and the white male’s definition of success. Based on the authors’
research, teaching and consulting experience, two key assumptions are
identified that contribute to the whitewash dilemma and prevent the shifting to
a new inclusive paradigm in management development for women. These
assumptions reflect underlying notions of racial privilege as experienced by the
dominant white majority group in organizations:
(1) White women are normative models of professional success. Managerial
behaviours perceived as the most professional are those typically
attributed to white males – assertiveness, rationality, etc. White women
are generally perceived as being the most successful in emulating these
behaviours and being promoted because of them. Women of colour who
do not act in this manner are perceived by many as “unprofessional” and
therefore bypassed for developmental opportunities or responsibilities
which will increase their career mobility[3]. The normative model for
professional behaviour is still white, and many women of colour do not
yet recognize it owing to a lack of racial identity awareness. White
women, because they do not understand their own racial identity, do not
acknowledge their racial privilege which creates a comfort level and
access to organizational cultural norms which women of colour do not
(2) White women’s singular focus on gender (at the expense of race) creates a
communication barrier with women of colour. Many white women are
aware of their gender identity but unaware of their racial identity and
how this affects relationships with women of colour[5]. White women
often feel oppressed by white men and fail to realize that they too can be
the oppressor. Women of colour’s reaction to their apparent insensitivity
is one of alienation and anger.
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These erroneous assumptions that reflect a majority group perspective
decrease the quality and accuracy of communication between white women and
women of colour. For white women in particular, hearing the voices of women of
colour in management is painful and confusing. Bell[6], in her study of the
bicultural life experience of career-oriented black women, explains that white
women have fewer cross-cultural experiences and therefore can easily base
their perceptions of black women on negative stereotypes and incorrect
assumptions. Black women may not feel emotionally safe interacting with
white women.
The old paradigm reflects the failure of white women and men to identify
with the white race. This historical racism perpetuates the privileged power
base and status of this majority group in American businesses. Racial
awareness, however, does not automatically create ethnic awareness of
difference within race. As long as issues of race and gender are seen as the
minority group’s responsibility, then the focus is on fixing “them” or letting
“them” educate the majority group. This power perspective is yet another form
of dominance[7]. Management development and education programmes will
reflect this dominance as long as the operating assumption is that there are
“common” problems affecting leadership development for all women. As
assumptions regarding personal identity and relationships change, so too must
assumptions regarding organizational and work design.
Managing diversity
The managing diversity movement in the USA has been the impetus for
challenging current dominant organizational paradigms. Managing diversity is
the popular American term for improving the management of an increasingly
diverse workforce. It is predicted that early in the next century women,
racial/ethnic minorities and new immigrants will dominate the new entrants in
the American workforce. This major change poses many challenges for
business managers, who are predominantly Anglo-American, white males and
increasingly, white females. Historically, management education and
development research and practice in the USA have been dominated by an
Anglo-American perspective. Even the inclusion of women in management and
a gender perspective in management research and writing has done very little
to diversify and change this Anglo-American foundation. More specifically, the
women in management field, similar to the feminist movement in the USA, have
excluded women of colour. Consequently, only white women have made
significant advances in most American firms. So although “glass ceilings and
walls” exist for all women, they exist to varying degrees according to the
female’s race and ethnicity. In essence, the glass ceiling is “whitewashed”,
creating a hierarchy of access and mobility for all women in management (and
those aspiring to management). Betters-Reed and Moore[8] used the term
“whitewash dilemma” to describe the racial and ethnic differences in
professional advancement for women; it is also a useful metaphor for describing
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the current management development paradigm for women that likewise
excludes women of colour.
A brief look at the recent statistics reveals the disparity between white
women and women of colour’s progress. In 1990, 35 per cent of managers were
white females and only 7 per cent were minority females. The economic status
of all women managers is a bleaker story with only 2.4 per cent of all white
women managers earning salaries which fall into the top decile or more,
compared with seven times that number of men (15.7 per cent of all white men
managers placed in the top decile of managers earnings in 1992)[9]. The
percentage of minority women was reported to be too small to be even reliable.
As Alexander[10] indicated, “while white women complain about the glass
ceiling that keeps them from the very top ranks, women of colour are hardly
present in the management pipeline. Faced with both racism and sexism,
they’re still struggling to land middle-management jobs”. It is clear that
although white women have made considerable progress into the managerial
ranks, their progress has not paved the way for women of colour. Integrating
women managers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds into significant decision-
making positions is a major challenge we face as the “pipeline” for women of
colour bulges at entry level and constricts mobility and quality performance
throughout its path.
Critique of the women in management field
The purpose of this section will be to address the white privilege base of the
field of women in management and to highlight recent literature which
demonstrates how women of colour can be doubly hindered by gender as well
as race.
Since its beginnings in the early 1970s with the appearance of Hennig and
Jardim’s The Managerial Woman[11], “women in management” has become a
well-recognized and important field within management studies. A basic
assumption underlying historical women in management research has been
that organizations as currently conceptualized are basically fine and that the
problem becomes one of adapting women to the normative dominant
organizational culture. Research on women in management grew out of the
demand to challenge the prevailing management education paradigm that
might be summarized as “think manager, think male”[12]. Research attempted
to expose gender biases in existing research and, more importantly, critique and
challenge the male-dominated corporate hierarchy. What happened, however,
was that most of the writing repeated the same exclusivity error that gave rise
to its existence. That is, much of the early writing has only addressed one group
of women managers and as such we have learned little about the effects of race
and gender on the status of women in management positions[13-15]. The irony
for all women with this dilemma is that, as Calvert and Ramsey indicate, “we
know a lot about certain classes of white males – their ambitions, their
expectations, their values and their beliefs about how organizations should
operate. On the other hand, we know almost nothing about what women’s
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experiences, values, beliefs, expectations and aspirations would look like if
brought fully valued into the organizational arena[14, p. 83] It can be safely
assumed that, if so little is known about the majority of women in management,
even less is known about minority groups of women and their experiences and
potential contributions.
Calvert and Ramsey[14], in their review of women-in-management research,
call for a new set of assumptions that would include women. The major focus of
the women in management field has generally been on women themselves as
they entered and advanced in organizations. The emphasis has not been on
gender per se, but the implications of gender for organizations. For example,
most of the writing and research has focused on the “fit” between women and
organizations. In fact, the assumption in most of management education is that
human resources must “fit” or adapt to the organizational culture. If until very
recently the dominant organizational structure has been hierarchical and
reflective of a white, male, Anglo-Saxon culture, then the notion of “fit” is a
paradox for women; especially women of colour. Management education may
assume difference as deficient and encourage assimilation by the minority
group to “fit” the majority group’s philosophy. The implicit (and sometimes
explicit) assumption has been that women would succeed if they adopted the
characteristics of effective white male managers. The classic example of this
thinking is found in[16]. This and other writings of the 1970s and 1980s
continued to emphasize how women needed to adapt to existing organizational
cultures in order to achieve. “How to succeed” popular management training
books and seminars proliferated during this 20-year period. The constantly
reinforced message was essentially that women could succeed only if they
became more assertive, competitive, dressed for success and became more
politically and socially astute. Training and development programmes adopted
this philosophy of adaptation as the business of helping women succeed caught
on in both corporate and management consulting circles. White women began
to enter business schools in unprecedented numbers, starting in the late 1970s,
in what would be a decade-long upswing which peaked in 1986[17]. In 1970 only
3.9 per cent of Master’s degrees conferred in the fields of business or
management were earned by women. By 1990, however, a full 34 per cent of
those degrees were received by females[18]. Notably, data do not exist on
women of colour. Business school curricula reflected this trend by offering
elective courses which focused on these differences, which were targeted
primarily at women and addressed issues women needed to face to adapt to
male organizational cultures[15]. As the number of female business school
applicants and graduates increased, women became as technically and
professionally educated and skilled as their male counterparts.
Management development of the last ten years has included considerable
emphasis on managing diversity and perhaps even more energy selling the
merits of such work. Yet, Morrison[19] maintains, development is often the
missing link in diversity strategy. In 1993, Shellenbarger[20] reported the
results of the National Study of the Changing Workforce by the Families and
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Work Institute with a headline pronouncing loyalty weak and divisions of race
and gender deep with younger workers. More than half of the surveyed workers
of all ages said they preferred working with people of the same race, sex, gender
and education. Thus, as Morrison suggests, no amount of diversity strategy
will solve the challenges of the increasingly diverse workforce and marketplace
if such strategies are conceived within yesterday’s paradigms that give
privilege to white women and men.
Parallel developments in popular management thinking
As a result of competitive pressures and strategic revisioning, American
companies are “downsizing” or “rightsizing”, creating flatter organizational
structures, and more decentralized authority and decision making. The trend is
towards more collaborative styles of working across organizational
departments to create an environment where teamwork encourages innovation
and creative problem solving. Senge[21] has spurred interest in the importance
of understanding open models of communication among all employees for the
purpose of improved learning and performance. Total quality management
demands that these principles be adopted as well. Newspaper and magazine
articles appear daily which cite the popularity of companies whose work is
done in teams of higher creativity and problem solving. The Business Week
cover story on “The horizontal corporation”[22] cites numerous examples of
horizontal models at large complex firms such as AT&T, Motorola, Xerox,
General Electric, and Pepsi-Cola. The Eastman Chemical Co. organizational
chart actually looks like a pepperoni pizza. Ernest W. Deavenport Jr, who is
represented by the centre slice of pepperoni, says, “We did it in circular form to
show that everyone is equal in the organization. No one dominates the other” (p.
80). These trends in organizational structure are shifting the paradigm of
thinking away from traditional hierarchical models of organization and
management towards what some organizational researchers would say is a
feminist or woman-centred approach.
White feminist and multicultural feminist theory
Although popular trends appear consistent with the trend towards feminization
of organizations and management, there is little interface between the male
authors of the TQM type movements and the feminist organizational
deconstructionists[23,24]. Yet hierarchical models of organization have
continued to be criticized by some feminists as reflective of the white male
dominant groups’ cultural belief and value system. Schaef[25] refers to this as
the “white male model”. Ferguson[23] attempts to deconstruct assumptions that
result in organizational models and management practices that have met male
needs, reinforced male values, and best fit male experiences of the world around
them. Owing to the power of Anglo-Saxon males (and increasingly females) as
previously discussed, the “white” part of the white male model has only recently
begun to be explored in the management field[12,26]. Quality management
concerns which emphasize better communication, e.g. lateral linkages in a firm
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and strategic alliances between companies, and empowerment of all employees
would be well received by adapting feminist perspectives. This shift in
perspective is needed to move organizations from the status quo. However, a
different perspective alone will not suffice; transitional phases are needed to
facilitate organizational change and growth.
A critical difference between the historical male literature and feminist
literature that denounces hierarchies is that feminist scholars (including men)
examine the cause of the historical tradition of vertical organizational
structures with a high degree of departmentalization. Some assumptions that
guide this model and result in the dominance of stereotypically masculine
behaviours in organizations have been identified. For example, hierarchical
structures are essentially rational bureaucracies; competitive systems with
formalized rules and rituals. One consequence of competition is that
homogeneity is rewarded and diversity or difference minimized. Such policies
and practices conflict with the demands of an increasingly multicultural
workforce and the changes needed to accommodate a shifting cultural milieu in
organizations and management. While rationality continues to be valued over
creativity, the paradigm shift for management development of women cannot
occur. This is because emotionality and relatedness-qualities are generally
ascribed to women and racial/ethnic groups other than Anglo-Americans; the
paradigm shift cannot occur if ascribed only to women and minorities. Yet,
current management and leadership theories tout the importance of these
ascribed feminine qualities in achieving excellence and competitive
Complementing recent criticism of traditional hierarchies and their exclusive
nature is the perspective of a woman’s “voice”. The concept of voice is explained
by Gilligan[28] as representing two different modes of thought and
communication rather than a generalization about either sex. In hierarchical
organizations, the voice of authority dominates all other voices. Therefore,
those with relatively little power have rarely been heard or valued; their stories
have been lost or suppressed. Betters-Reed[15] explained this phenomenon in
terms of the historical evaluation of management curricula. The early stages of
business theory and practice omit women from the management profession and
discount the presence of women in the workforce. Therefore, the roots of
management development are found only in a white male voice and women’s
contribution and voice are lost and undervalued.
Several recent studies have highlighted the unique contributions that white
women bring to management and organizations. First, instead of merely
adapting to existing organizational norms, women are bringing their own
unique ways of managing to organizations. Rosener[29] and Helgesen[30] are
probably best known for their writing which focused on female leadership style.
Their studies, which address “women’s ways of leading” state that women often
view authority and the use of power differently from the traditional hierarchical
model. They espouse inclusive models that share power and authority.
Helgesen’s “web of inclusion”[30] is much like Deavenport’s pepperoni pizza
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metaphor, with leaders at the centre of their organizations rather than at the top.
More recent work by the authors indicate that women’s “voice” or style of
managing and leading reflect the notion that there are distinct cultural
differences among women in management[15,31]. Recognition of one’s own
racial and gender difference makes it possible to hear many different voices in
today’s organization, as well as recognition of one’s own identity. Other writers
have highlighted the fact that the concept of voice as historically documented is
representative of the dominant group’s white authority and can only therefore
be that of white women[32-37]. The concept of women’s voice as discussed in
early writings of Gilligan[28], Belenky et al.[38] and Helgesen[30] appears to
document only this unique way of white women communicating, managing and
Steps towards a new management development paradigm
In order to shift the management development paradigm for women, a process
for assessing stages or levels of individual and organizational awareness of
racial identity is also helpful. Building on the racial identity work of Jackson
and Hardiman[39] and Palmer, J.D.[40] and Palmer, P.M.[41], we have developed
a model for stages of individual and organizational awareness for diversity
among women. This model may provide some assistance to organizations
attempting to develop their own cultural audit of current management
development approaches. As with any stage theory, we recognize that it can
appear overly simplistic, and implies a linear progression from one stage to
another. Human development is far too complex to attempt to suggest that our
model of racial and gender identity is comprehensive, yet we believe it is
valuable to present a conceptual and analytical tool to enable individuals and
organizations to shift current paradigms. We also caution readers to use this as
a diagnostic tool in only a general sense; white women and women of colour not
only have different developmental experiences but also do not always parallel
each other; as European-American theorists, we recognize that our model is
culturally biased and not wholly accurate. Developmental models have yet to be
developed and tested by multiracial teams or minority women. Increased
awareness of current dominant organizational models and behaviour might
help shift towards a more inclusive and therefore realistic paradigm for
management development for women.
Individual stages of racial and gender identity awareness
There are four identifiable stages of awareness that an individual experiences
as she or he learns about racial and female identity. The first stage of individual
awareness of diversity among women suggests that all women are alike. It
supports the melting pot theory of assimilation and the premiss that those who
are qualified will rise to the top irrespective of race, class or gender. American
white women in this stage may have experienced some successful assimilation
or adaptation and therefore find it difficult to believe that the “try harder”
solution is impossible for women of colour. It is also difficult for any woman to
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move to the second stage where difference among women is acknowledged if
she perceives gender as the primary issue. In their words, if “we” could only
beat the men (or be more like them) there would be no problem.
The second stage of individual awareness is where women acknowledge that
discrimination and prejudice exist and begin to see themselves as majority or
minority group members. For the racial/ethnic minority women, cultural pride
and/or rage regarding the injustice of exclusion may emerge here. White
women, on the other hand, may feel the guilt, shame, and/or ambivalence of
their cultural privilege. White women in the second stage of identity
development frequently feel terribly conflicted about rejecting former race and
gender attitudes and values and experimenting with new ones. The
embarrassment of one’s own ethnocentrism and educational limits can be a
major hurdle to moving on to stage three.
In the third stage, white women begin examining personal identity on a more
critical level and overcoming any barriers to tearing apart the old identity. They
begin to participate in awareness groups, educate themselves about historical
facts of their racial/ethnic culture, and reject the majority group’s definitions
and stereotypes. Women of colour may embrace their difference with pride and
may become politically active.
The fourth stage illustrates the personal learning from the changed
behaviour in stage three. Women become knowledgeable about racial and
cultural similarities and differences, accepting and respecting differences
among women. For women of colour, this traditionally means they have a dual
awareness of their own culture as well as that of the dominant group, what Bell
calls “bi-cultural” identity and awareness, although many women of colour may
learn this at a very early age because of the experience of being a “minority”
person living in a “majority” culture[6]. In this last stage, both white women
and women of colour acknowledge the commitment needed for continuous
learning about one’s own and others’ racial and gender identities.
Stages of identity provide a useful way of thinking about the emerging new
paradigm for women as well as other minority groups[42,43]. Various stage or
phase models, such as the one discussed here, can help managers move the old
paradigm by challenging static definitions of people and culture. Likewise,
understanding stages of organizational awareness and development can help
managers assess the current status of their firm, thereby knowing what
interventions or activities are most appropriate for further growth and
Organizational stages of racial and gender identity awareness
Very little is written about diversity stages of contemporary US organizations
with emphasis on women. Cox’s[44] work on the multicultural organization is
the best known and most useful heuristic generic model available. Our
abbreviated version presented here is highly informed by his work and related
research. When we looked at the goal of moving towards an inclusive multi-
cultural organization that Cox says “values diversity and is willing to utilize it
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and encourage it”, we focused primarily on the issues of white women and
women of colour[44].
The early industrially-based business organizations of this century
essentially excluded all women and people of colour, creating a false but
persistent picture of the normative organization. Therefore, the first stage of
organization is one of unawareness or exclusion. It fails to give any credence to
women in the workforce. At most, women are occupationally segregated. That
is to say, white women and women of colour were only found in lower stratum
jobs and not acknowledged for their contribution. The foundation for our
contemporary organizations is represented in stage one as monolithic, white
and male.
Stage two of organizational, racial and gender awareness provides access for
white women and women of colour. For all practical purposes stage two began
long after World War II (and the infamous Rosie the Riveter) with the advent of
the Civil Rights and the Women’s Movement in the 1960s. Stage two in
organizations reflects approaches previously discussed in the first stage,
adaptation of individual awareness and the early development of women-in-
management curricula. During this stage, in which many 1990s organizations
are stuck, white women confront white male dominance and gain entry to
positions of power by being more like them. It is, however, the few exceptional
white women that acquire upward mobility, and even then they tend to be in
staff positions. The stage two organization still excludes most white women
and women of colour from any career development opportunity. The cost to the
organization is evident in their high turnover rates and failure to adapt to
changing environments. These symptoms generally instigate a reaction and
movement towards stage three which emphasizes retention. As managers ask,
“Now what do we do?” more systems for responding to the problem are added
to the implicit message, which is that white women and women of colour are the
problem. Added support systems operate from the premiss that the minority
groups are deficient. Consequently, they have the effect of further marginalizing
white women and women of colour causing disillusionment and anger for all. It
is during this third stage that the glass ceiling gets identified, but it is primarily
a white woman’s barrier as most women of colour have yet to reach it.
In stage four, organizational emphasis is on mainstreaming and inclusion of
women owing to the recognition of the structural exclusion evident in stage
three. Diversity issues become less of a compliance response and (slowly)
become linked to good business sense by focusing on identifying the
increasingly diverse market. Women of colour become integrated to a certain
extent, and as a result are empowered through formal authority to negotiate for
greater understanding and response. And although the dominant
organizational group (usually white men and increasingly white women) starts
to appreciate differences and “management of diversity” is an acceptable
practice, the prevailing attitude and assumption is “zero sum game”. The
organization may gain the benefits of a diverse population, but at the expense
of the previously entitled majority group. Similar to stages one and two of an
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individual development, racial and gender awareness is about “others”, not
about being white and in power. Many organizations engaged in diversity
development programmes are stuck here and need to confront the contradiction
between their expressed value of diversity and their failure to empower white
women and women of colour. Backlashes such as those evidenced by the cries
of reverse discrimination and attempts to divide the minority groups against
one another undercut development towards a multicultural organization.
For organizations that begin truly to “walk the talk”, valuing diversity
among women is not a foreign concept. Structural integration occurs and
women of colour are represented in various levels and functions of the
organization. Stage five organizations embrace informal networks rather than
viewing minority support systems with suspicion. Conflict is at a much lower
level as managers respond constructively. For white women and women of
colour, however, conflict is accepted as a norm when attempting to work
through differences that are affecting interpersonal relationships and work
The multicultural organization of stage five looks, thinks, and acts differently
as previously marginalized groups are integrated, yet no group is excluded as a
result of this shift. The multicultural organization will recognize what was
previously called women’s issues or domestic issues as human issues and
equally relevant for workplace policy. The criteria that Working Woman
Magazine used for woman-friendly companies, such as flexible work schedules
and benefits or child care, will be challenged as white women’s issues and
women of colour participate in future definitions of “friendly companies”.
Organizations in stage five will not be homogeneous in nature, but rather
flexible and responsive to the diverse workforce and external constituents. We
have barely begun to conceptualize what a truly multicultural organization will
look like and how it will change the workplace. As two white, female
managment educators, it is impossible for us to do so.
Management development for women – philosophy and
We are firm believers in the positive impact of increased education and
awareness around race/gender. Bringing women’s voices in all their diversity to
management development will challenge the dominant exclusive paradigms
and help us to move to authentic, collaborative and productive relationships in
all walks of life. The new paradigm for management development for women
recognizes the racial and cultural similarities and differences among women. As
a result work will be conceived differently. Education and training programmes
will be designed to meet the needs of diverse groups of women and will not
represent women as a monolithic group. The new paradigm must acknowledge
that race and gender are major bases of discrimination in society and directly
influence the status of women in organizations. This acknowledgment will
result in programmes which address the needs of women not typically
perceived as “management”. The concept of management development will
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encompass women at all levels because managing diversity and developing
managers go hand in hand: it is about effectively developing employee potential
at every level. It is also about breaking down artificial barriers between home
and work.
Formal and informal management developmental programmes for women
must address the issues previously identified and include the following goals:
(1) increase individual awareness of racial identity within gender;
(2) identify differences between women of colour and white women to
challenge myths and stereotypes about similarities among women, while
not discounting likenesses;
(3) explore organizational stages of development as they relate to racial
privilege and their impact on management thought, practices and
cultures – organizational interventions must be customized to fit
existing cultures and company needs; however, there are a few
prescriptive guidelines which may prove useful as a company attempts
to appraise management development for women in this new manner.
We have found the following suggestions helpful in our research and
consulting in these issues:
homogeneous focus groups can address issues of racial/ethnic
identity and explore similarities and differences;
homogeneous groups should specifically address their lack of
awareness of other racial groups and compare perceptions and facts;
homogeneous groups should specifically identify how cross-racial
mentoring and networking occurs;
focus groups should be led by facilitators of the same race/gender to
enable participants to feel comfortable discussing attitudes and
behaviours openly;
frameworks for assessing individual and organizational stages of
awareness of these issues should be developed;
personal action plans should be developed to ensure goal-oriented
learning and behavioural change as a result of new levels of
a racially mixed women managers’ group should explore patterns of
communication and networking among women and assess their
leadership role in facilitating individual and organizational change;
white women managers must understand their unique role and
responsibility in assuming leadership of this type in their
The old management development paradigm creates barriers to opportunity
for women in organizations. Management education development programmes
which fail to acknowledge these differences among women will merely reinforce
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the status quo through the perpetuation of a dominant ethnocentric
organizational culture. Once an organization has made a commitment to being
more inclusive, management development programmes must reflect and
reinforce that commitment and contribute to cultural change. However, the
majority group, given its dominant power and authority base in the
organization, has a responsibility for creating change. Management
development and education professionals are in a unique position to recognize
exclusionary behaviour and act as role models and catalysts for change. Given
behavioural training in leadership and organizational behaviour and theory,
professionals should be attuned to these issues and recognize their leadership
role and opportunities for influencing organizational change. Mentoring,
diversity training and leadership development programmes must include cross-
racial/ethnic activities in order to get maximum benefit for investment in
human resources. Bringing women’s “voices” into management development
paradigms will shift the model for effective organizational and managerial
behaviour. Notions of hierarchy are already shifting, but newer forms of
organizing and co-ordinating work may emerge. Although some feminists
insist on non-hierarchical structures as the only effective way to organize, we
contend that having a clear chain of command and authority is valuable in some
situations. Although we maintain that competition is a valuable organizational
dynamic, collaboration can be equally effective in competitive situations.
Individuals and organizations must come together to produce improved
solutions, products and organizational strategic partnerships. Today’s
competitive business environment requires new ways of thinking and behaving;
women, in all their diversity, bring innovative perspectives and approaches to
traditional notions of organizational and managerial behaviour. Issues of
leadership, motivation, competition, co-operation or authority relationships can
be re-examined through the lens of women’s experiences. The process of
critically examining the underlying assumptions of our current concepts can
lead to new concepts and create innovations required in today’s competitive
business environment. It is the responsibility of management education and
development to forge a new paradigm for organizational change through the
inclusion of all women. However, a paradigm shift itself will not solve all the
problems addressed here. Issues of institutionalized racism must be examined
to identify how power and access have been denied to women of colour. A
cultural audit which aggressively analyses statistics to identify patterns of
organizational discrimination is a first step. Formal and informal paths of
power must be located and analysed for cultural bias; only then will
management development programmes address true multicultural managerial
development. The true test of lasting structural change in an organization and
perhaps the ultimate test of a culturally sensitive management development
and education programme is not the paradigm or vision but the actual
employee statistics of an organization, particularly after downsizing. In today’s
global marketplace, these numbers and the resulting benefits of increased
utilization of all human resources can mean the difference between a
The management
monoculturally stagnant organization and a multicultural and internationally
competitive firm.
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... A necessary step in reducing the leadership gap involves the detection of ineffectual cultures, including those possessing leadership behaviors that do not take the expectations and experiences of all organizational members into account (Hofstede, 2011). The current singletrack leadership archetype, specifically, the prevalence of middle-aged, White male educational leaders in U.S. education large-scale (Allan, 2003;Betters-Reed & Moore, 1995), reflects this persistently pervasive gap. As such, there is a responsibility on the part of all extant stakeholders to provide and promote equitable, justice-based spaces for all those who do not fit the extant and longstanding leadership stereotypes. ...
... According to Betters-Reed and Moore (1995), progress, in this regard, requires investigating the origins of inequity, the preservation and duplication of imbalanced structures, the social consequences of stratification, and the ever-changing systems of inequality. The theory and research on this topic, however, remain largely underdeveloped, making it difficult to implement "good" policy to address inequities in this capacity. ...
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... A review of the literature revealed there was a common assumption in many studies that all women within an organization have similar concerns and experiences, regardless of their racial and ethnic differences (Bell & Nkomo, 2001;Ferdman, 1999). Research suggests that white women themselves often have perpetuated this view by assuming that all women face similar barriers such as the "glass ceiling" (Hymowitz & Schellhardt, 1986) and therefore have like experiences at work (Bell et al., 1993;Betters-Reed & Moore, 1995). The glass ceiling metaphor describes the subtle, i.e., invisible (glass) barriers, ceilings encounter by women in their endeavours to reach the higher echelons of an organizational hierarchy. ...
This qualitative research study examines Black women’s leadership experiences in Canadian banks and their perceptions about opportunities for mobility and advancement to executive management positions. The purpose of this research study is to explore and contextualize the epistemic complexities of Black women’s leadership experiences in the Toronto banking sector. The study’s data are collected through in-depth interviews and focus groups with Black women working in leadership positions. Further, this study seeks to examine: (1) the lived experience of Black women’s leadership in Canadian banks; (2) the perceived incongruity between Black women as leaders and those who are seen as possessing characteristics, qualities, and social capital for leadership roles; and (3) how the discourse of multiculturalism, employment equity policies, and corporate climate has impacted Black women’s mobility and advancement opportunities to executive management positions. This study utilizes theoretical frameworks of Critical Race Theory, Black Canadian Feminist Thought, and Intersectionality Theory to explore and examine Black women’s leadership experiences. My analysis engages with discussions of race, gender, class, sexism, and how the construction of whiteness is manifest in institutional power, and how that construction is written and read upon Black women’s leadership to understand the absence of Black women in executive management positions. The findings indicate that being Black and a woman in banking sector negatively impacts their career mobility and advancement. Black women remain locked out of leadership opportunities as they encounter institutional climate of anti-Black racism and sexism, which deems them unfit and incompetent for senior and executive roles based on negative racial stereotypes and lack of sponsorship. Ultimately, these findings relate to the factors and conditions that make Black women’s executive leadership in the Toronto banking sector so exceedingly rare. This study is one of the few Canadian examinations of Black women’s leadership experience in the banking sector.
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