Differences in Communication: Women Communicating in the Management World

Essay by ngelsaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2007

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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, 2003, p.378). However, according to Tannen, "pretending that women and men are the same hurts women [as well], because the ways they are treated are based on the norms for men" (as cited in North, 2003, p.378). Hence, "women may indeed different from men in a number of ways, including how they [communicate]" (North, 2003, p.378).

These differences affect women's success in the organizations.

General DifferencesIn today's organizations, effective communication skills are essential. However, women carry out these skills differently than men and "research over the past 25 years shows that most women use speech strategies in the workplace different from those used by most men" (Fisher and Weiss, 1998). According to Hawkins and Penley (1985), "Communication is a process". During this process, information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or behaviour (Johns and Saks, 2005). The most obvious difference, as Spender concluded, is that "women consistently speak less frequently than men and listen more" (as cited in North, 2003, p.379). A linguistic researcher Dale Spender remarked:After week - indeed months - of making tapes and listening to them with the aim of identifying the characteristics of...