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Management is characteristically gender bias in many aspects(Broadbridge & Hearn, 2008). In recent history lots of criticisms and voices arise regarding the gender aspects around all over the world including Sri Lanka. Women face uncountable challenges while attainment to the leadership sector and management sector. That was a burden problem in the past than the present(Christiansen, LoneLin et al., 2016). Asia, European region and other regions facing gender related problem. There are millions of women engagements to the work force in all over the world. among those millions only few women engage to the higher managerial positions(Christiansen, LoneLin et al., 2016). Gender diversity enhances the level of the firm with relating to the financial situation. Worldwide researchers were found with the gender diversity of the managerial positions, generate innovate ideas and different strategies to drive the firm in different perspectives(Christiansen, LoneLin et al., 2016).
Worldwide most of the companies are reluctant to recruit women employees to the highest managerial positions. There is a negative perception towards the women employments and the working ability. Most people believe managerial characteristics are highly associated with the men rather than women(Balgiu, 2013). As a result most of the women lose their job opportunities in the managerial sectors due to the tradition that the way of people are thinking. Worst case scenario is people tend to judge women without doing any examine and make decisions through the traditional mind set. Whether employed or not, both men and women have negative attitudes towards women as managers(Balgiu, 2013). There are plenty of women with lots of potentials and capabilities. Some studies found that during the last two decades in the world there has been an increase in the proportion of women at entry and middle-level management positions. Women at the highest levels of business are still rare. Resulting largely from the activities of the women’s movement, policies of the political system, and corporate equal opportunity initiatives(Bombuwela & De Alwis, 2013).
Those kinds of situations can be seen in Sri Lankan context. With the time access to the education for the male and female was equalized. As a result both male and female populations are well educated and competition between genders towards the job opportunities also increased. In previous society most of the job opportunities are male oriented. Reason behind that was from the ancient people defined role of the different genders. In that case they thought men are the workers to the society and women belong to play a role of mothers in the society. Women are the factor that bound family together in social context. With passing the time different political eras made changes to the Sri Lankan society. Especially development of the education sector created boom to the society. Education which had been limited to the only one sector then open-up to the whole society. As results, perception toward women labor, social norms became change.
With the social changes that traditional framework destructed and women play important roles in the society including social, cultural and economic responsibilities. Because of that with the time create lots vast job market to the women employments. Millions of women labors engage to the work force in all over the world(McGinn & Oh, 2017). With that rearranged the society according to the responsibilities of the women. According to the International Labor Organization data this changes shown in all over the world(McGinn & Oh, 2017).
Even though women engagement to the labor force high in the society, there is an inequality with respect to the recruitments of jobs. Still there is a disparity for women go to the higher managerial positions compared to the men. In Sri Lanka also most of the private companies are hiring male labors to their positions. But the interesting point is according to the statistical data in the Ministry of Higher education and University grant commission more than half students in the public universities are girls. Therefore there should be reasons for cause disparities to different job positions. This mainly sees as problem in higher managerial positions in most of the firms. Hence need to study about the different causes to this problem and effect of gender to the management sector in Sri Lanka. Therefore this paper will provide effect of gender to the management sector in Sri Lanka and the causal factors for them.
“Either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.” (Oxford Definition)
According to this definition gender is a social and cultural concept rather than the biological concept. Gender represents the sex roles in the particular society. According to the social cultural background, sex roles are different for male and females.
“Management is the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives.” (Dictionary definition)
Manager is a person who responsible for the controlling and admiring a group of a people and resources in a particular institute. Managers have five key functions. Those are planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. Managers need to plan or narrow goals from their broadest to most intricate form. Managers should have ability to organizing and create a structure for long term tasks, short term tasks and the communication.
According to this, management can do any people who have the ability to that. From the management definitions reflect any gender hold the managerial position if they have suitable management qualities. But the problem is still there is an effect of gender to the management sector.
Women represent the more than half of the population in Sri Lanka. But labor force participation rate is less than the men (Bombuwela & De Alwis, 2013). Sri Lanka labor force survey latest annual report data (2016) reflects the statistics for that.
Most of the surveys reveal most of the women population has entry barriers to the workforce due to the house works. Even though women are the prominent proportion in the country, labor force participation rate decline because of the traditions of the country and social cultural situation. These constraints applicable for the highest managerial positions same as the labor force participation. Further labor force survey shows the employed population with related to the occupation. In that case clearly shows less proportion of the female population engage to the higher managerial positions in Sri Lanka.
Above data reflect the present Sri Lankan situation with regarding the employability of women in the highest managerial position.
Hotel management sector is another gender bias industry in Sri Lanka. Most of the men are involve to the higher managerial positions in hotel industry management in Sri Lanka. According to the data on World Travel & Tourism Council, women hold less than 40% of all managerial positions, less than 20% of general management roles and between 5-8% of board positions(Silva, 2017). Researches reveal constraints that are barriers to women enter to the hotel industry. Those are old boy network, male bias and stereotyping, lack of assertiveness, family and work conflict, unhelpful boss and insufficient career planning. There are different models and theories such as Human Capital theory (Becker, 1975 cited by Zhong, 2006) and The New Home Economics Theory (Becker, 1981, 1985 cited by Zhong, 2006) explain the Economic disparity related to the different social factors. From the results they have shows there is a negative relationship between the constraints and career development in women in the hotel industry. Gender harassment and perceptions are considered as huge barriers to the managerial positions of hotel industry in Sri Lanka. Rather than these major factors there have different other factors influence to that kind of special industries. Such as lack of opportunities, lack of training programs, financial barriers etc.(Acid, 2014). That reveals according to the different industries and occupational cultures make effects to the management sector gender basis.
Different research studies were found different reasons and concepts for this gender effect and they used different concepts. One of the concepts that used to the studies is Glass Ceiling concept. The Glass Ceiling concept was introduced by the United States Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. They define Glass Ceiling concept as “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.” (Federal Definition). There are different ideas regarding the Glass Ceiling concept. Some people say there is no glass ceiling in the world and it will not affect to the women career developments (Bombuwela & De Alwis, 2013). In a study that conducts in the Sri Lanka with related to the private sector, they found only around 25% affect glass ceiling concept to the women career development in executive and management positions. Other 75% determine by the other external factors. Further research reveals Career Focused, Family Support and Attitudes towards Organization are the other factors that affect to the engage to the higher management positions in their career paths (Bombuwela & De Alwis, 2013).
Different research studies reveal different causal factors to the gender impact on management sector. Studies reveal working hours affect to the women engagement to the managerial positions. That says with short working hours more women engagement to the higher managerial positions. (Christiansen, LoneLin et al., 2016). In the Sri Lankan context that can be a reason for the low women engagement to the highest levels. The thing is most of the highest managerial positions have more responsibilities than other employees. Therefore managers should have spent more working hours than others. Even though situation is having more skilled women labors, they might be reluctant to work in highest positions with the limited time. So it can be an internal force to them to select their career path. It depends on the social roles that woman plays in the society.
According to the World Bank reports, globally large proportion of boys gets primary and secondary education than the girls but girls are more educated at a tertiary level. But in some countries there have less women participation to the labor force (World Bank). According to these facts researchers have identify three personal characteristics which challenge to the hold and reach higher managerial positions. Those are, Double burden, Confidence and, Gender Bias and Stereotype
Double burden is a situation reflects the responsibility for the both work and the household. This situation is named as the Double Burden syndrome. Most of the Africa and Asia region women suffer from this syndrome. Which is reflects the responsibility for the work and household. Confidence is another factor that challenges women to enter the higher managerial positions. Women have less confidence with compare to the men in the society. As an example conducted a survey on MBA students in India and MBA survey reveals, MBA women consider themselves as they are co-capable with other women, but men consider themselves they are more capable than the other men. That clearly shows most of the women have less confidence about them. Women do experience in gender bias. Most of the times they are facing biasness, when evaluate the performance for the promotions. Women should do hard work for the equally competent with the men.(Patel, 2011)
Another two factors are heuristic and biases. Those are describes impact of decision making in the higher management positions. Heuristic explain by the Prospect theories. Heuristics allows making decisions without the information. Those can be risk averse or the risk taking. This ability can be varying from the gender basis. In most of the higher management positions managers should make decisions with or without clear information. So, large portion of the women are risk averse. Therefore gender will affect to the decision making process for the certain levels. As a result cause impact to the selection criteria for the higher management positions. Sensitivity is another factor that researchers reveal making differences in gender. Women are more sensitive than men in most of the situations. So women hold higher social sensitivity and men tend to react by action. Result of the higher social sensitivity would be creating bias decisions to the different problems. So that can be negatively affected to the role of the managers.(Patel, 2011)
Therefore gender factor will affect to the both men and women to success in their career. That can be due to the internal forces and the external forces. Without any influence from the society also gender can affect to the women to achieve their higher management goals due to their personal characters.
Research studies reveals according to the different industries and occupational cultures make effects to the management sector gender basis and it cause negative impact to the women to develop their career to the higher managerial positions(Acid, 2014).
Below research created model shows; each of the characters can be influence according to the gender. Finally it will affect to the management positions and career development for both genders.
Most of the research articles have not clear conclusion about gender effect and the performance of the firm related to the management level. Research evident there is no relationship between the gender composition and the financial performance in the particular company (Rhode & Packel ,2014). From that results we can get a conclusion regarding the there wouldn’t be a gender effect to the decision making, resource allocation and the other management functions. Hence there can have equal opportunities to the both genders to set at the higher managerial positions. In this research they have identified two main statements. Those are, the overall labor participation rate is not a good indicator for the represent women participation to the higher managerial positions and there is positive relationship between full time employment among working women and the share of women in corporate positions(Korabik, Baril, & Watson, 1993). According to that statements those kinds of constraints could impact on the research findings.
According to the factors discussed above can conclude following factors that make effect to the management positions in gender basis. Most of the researchers found that due to the gender diversity in the particular firm, firm performance and the financial situation can be increase. So with the diversity of the gender emerge creative ideas and strategies to the firm. Therefore we can conclude both men and women in the higher managerial positions create gender diversity and it will create wealth to the firms.
When considering the gender effect to the higher management and administrative positions women are highly suffered than men. Under that statement can conclude different factors which make constraints to the women go to higher managerial position. Related to the Sri Lankan context those are, Glass Ceiling, high social sensitivity, gender harassment, risk taking behavior, Double Burden, Confidence, Gender bias, Working environment and socio cultural factors. Furthermore in a Sri Lankan context, women are playing huge role in the family. Even though women are highly educated, due to the family bonds women are reluctant to take higher management positions.
These results can be imply for the development of the management positions according to the Sri Lankan context and among that can be increase performance of the management sector and financial situation of it. Furthermore from implementing those things can achieve gender equality among the Sri Lankan community.
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