Women in Business


There are four mini papers in the course, each requiring you to complete research on a given topic and integrate the course material.

Mini Paper #3 is due at the end of Module 6 and deals with evaluation of the traits commonly assigned to male and female leaders.

In Chapter 6 of the textbook, there is a discussion on the research on sex/gender stereotypes and leadership stereotypes that began with Virginia Schein back in the 1970s. Over the past 40 years, various researchers, including Powell himself, have found that little has changed in the way society views male and female leaders. Specifically, there is still a tendency among men and women alike to prefer male leaders over female leaders and a prevalent stereotype that links masculine traits to effective leadership.

Research conducted since the late 1990s on transformational leadership, however, has sought to change this predominate “think good manager/leader–think male” connection. As summarized by Powell, numerous studies show that women score higher on each dimension associated with transformational leadership while men score higher on non-transformational dimensions that are less effective for leadership.

Transformational leadership provides us with a mixed-gender formula for what makes a leader successful in helping followers become fully engaged, respectful team members who work together to achieve personal and organizational success. Some aspects of transformational leadership are more feminine in their focus while others are more masculine in focus. In other words, leaders need both to be effective.

For this assignment, select two well-known leaders—one female and one male—and review information on their leadership style and behaviors. Be sure to select leaders about whom enough published material can be found. Identify and describe their leadership style and behaviors, linking these to the theories described in Chapter 6. Discuss how each leader is perceived with respect to his/her gender-related traits (more masculine or feminine) and how effective/successful each has been or are perceived to be.

For example, two popular, successful female leaders with differing gender traits are Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, and Oprah Winfrey, American media mogul and international philanthropist. Merkel, the first female and youngest Chancellor in the country’s history, is noted for her masculine characteristics, which many associate with her interests in, and training as, a scientist in the field of physics. Winfrey, the first African-American billionaire and highly respected media figure, is noted for her feminine traits of compassion for others. Both have been successful in their spheres of influence as leaders.

Two popular, successful male leaders with differing gender traits are Nelson Mandela and Donald Trump. Nelson Mandela, though he began his political activism with an aggressive philosophy that included violence as a viable alternative against the war on apartheid, experienced a powerful transformation in his 27 years as a political prisoner that led him to a more compassionate view of others and the emotional intelligence needed to negotiate peace.

Donald Trump, a lightning rod for controversy, is without doubt a successful businessman who personifies the masculine traits of independence, aggressiveness, and competitiveness. His blunt, no-nonsense approach to dealing with people appeals to some; while others find such behavior offensive. Regardless of whether one likes or dislikes him, he is a successful businessperson (proving his financial resilience time and again), who isn’t afraid to take on a challenge.

List of Potential Leaders for the Assignment

Here is a list of leaders that you may select in completing this assignment. However, these are just suggestions. You may choose other leaders not on this list, but be sure to confirm your selection with the instructor to ensure the leaders you choose have enough published material about them to complete the assignment.

Male and Female Leaders of the World

Male Leaders

Female Leaders

Henry Fords

Oprah Winfrey

Sam Walton

Anita Roddick

Jack Welch

Martha Stewart

Lee Lacocca

Meg Whitman

Michael Bloomberg

Carly Fiorina

Jeff Bezos

Mary Kay Ash

Richard Branson

Andrea Jung

Nelson Mandela

Indra Nooyi

Rupert Murdoch

Irene Rosenfeld

Bill Gates

Margaret Thatcher

George Soros

Patricia Woertz

Jeffrey Immelt

Angela Braly

Walt Disney

Ellen Kullman

Michael Dell

Ursula Bums

Donald Trump

Carol Bartz

Anthony Robbins

Coco Chanel

Mark Zuckerberg

Debbi Fields

Steve Jobs

Estée Lauder

Mahatma Gandhi

Indira Gandhi

The resulting paper should be a summary and analysis of each leader you have selected. Organize your paper into the following sections:

  1. Title page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Introduction (1–2 paragraphs summarizing the topic and identifying the leaders selected)
  4. Background (brief description of each leader including their background, major achievements, and failures)
  5. Analysis (brief analysis of each leader’s gender-related traits, for example, masculine and feminine traits they demonstrate, and a brief analysis of how these particular traits relate to their leadership style/behaviors. Include in your analysis a discussion of whether or not you believe their sex and gender has helped or hurt their success or failure as a leader)
  6. Conclusion (1–2 paragraph review of your findings

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