Do female entrepreneurs have different leadership styles than employed female managers – Literature review Example
DO FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS HAVE DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLES THAN EMPLOYED FEMALE MANAGERS? By Literature Review Knopik & Moerer (2008, p. 138) assert that leadership style similarities and differences exist between female entrepreneurs and employed female managers. They add that the differences and similarities emerge in that from the definitions of both manager and leader, there are conjunctions as well as disparities with regards to leadership. Leadership is defined as “the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (138). Again, leadership can be influenced by situational or environmental forces (139). These factors are responsible for the differences in that an employed manager exists in different settings from an entrepreneur.
The emerging differences in terms of settings between the two is defined by Powell & Eddleston (2008, p. 24). First of all, they state that women go for entrepreneurship in search of freedom and value. As is the case with entrepreneurship, the owner does things their own way. Pervasively, the employed manager exists in opposite settings to the entrepreneur in that as Kanter (1977, p. 69) asserts, organizations impose rigid (fixed) roles of female leaders. Therefore, the employed female manager has to adhere to the organization’s policies and regulations, meaning she enjoys less freedom than her entrepreneur counterpart. These differences, he says, are what lead to the differences when it comes to styles of leadership.
One key difference is that entrepreneurs’ actions aim at individual gains as compared to managers whose actions should be for the organization’s good. An entrepreneur makes personal judgments that align to their personal visions (Formaini 2001, p. 2). In short, entrepreneurship is about private vision while in the manager’s case, the vision is shared. In this case, it emerges that entrepreneurs are more likely to apply an autocratic style of leadership. In this style of leadership, the leader (entrepreneur) makes the entire decisions on her own without requiring the input of others (Bass & Bass 2009, p. 449).
The manager or leader, in this case, is defined by the purpose of their power in the organization (Mourkogiannis 2007, p. 26). Their shared vision is made up of factors such as providing inspiration and morale to their followers (employees), being innovative, encouraging relationships, and creating a sense of direction for them. As such, the leadership of the manager is more of the people than their individual demands (Merrick-Bakken 2005, p. 48). In the light of this, a female manager can apply multiple leadership styles that support the mass good rather than their individual gains. As such, female managers can apply transformational, transactional, laissez-faire, or participative styles of leadership since they are group-based approaches. This is contrary to the personalized style of leadership that would be applicable in the case of an entrepreneur.
In a study presented by Butler (2003, p. 232), research conducted on Russian managers and entrepreneurs revealed that indeed, differences in leadership styles exist. First of all, it was justified that managers are more likely to use passive laissez-faire leadership style. In this style of leadership, the employees (followers) are allowed freedom from any supervision, meaning hierarchies are not valued in the manager settings. Again, it was revealed that entrepreneurs are likely to use charismatic and inspirational styles of leadership (Butler 2003, p. 232). In the charismatic style of leadership, the leader acquires trust from their followers by taking personal risks and practicing self-sacrifice for the sake of the entities they rule. The leader therefore stands out above their subordinates as “heroes” (Martin 2006, p.44). Further differences were shown in that managers did not use performance-based incentives to create motivation as much as the entrepreneurs did (Butler 2003, p.232).
These differences can be explained by Fagenson (1993, p. 33) who claims that these contrasting preferences on the mode of leadership style to use are influenced by personal value system as situational factors. For instance, managers felt that in achieving their goals, they needed to possess attributes such as being forgiving, compassionate, loving, self-controlled, and helpful. In evaluation, these traits point at a person-centred approach towards leadership. On the other hand, Fagenson adds that entrepreneurs focused on traits such as being ambitious, logical, independent, imaginative, courageous, and capable. These traits on their part portray an individual-based approach to leadership. As such, these statements point at Kouzes and Posner’s assertions that entrepreneurship depends on private vision while the manager depends on a shared vision (1995, p. 28).
Knopik & Moerer (2008, p. 147-48) support Kouzes and Posner in that they define leadership as not being about the leader but about the organization as a whole. Everything, including leadership that the leader applies is considerate of everyone around the leader. This explains why female managers apply group-based leadership approaches. Again, they state that apart from just focusing on themselves, female entrepreneurs focus more on their clients and personal gains than they do regarding their employees’ welfare. As such, this explains why entrepreneurs use leadership approaches that are more personal than they are general.
Bass, B, & Bass, R 2009, The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. Simon & Schuster.
Butler, J 2003, New Perspectives on Women Entrepreneurs.IAP Publishers.
Fagenson, E, & Marcus, E 1993, “Perceptions of the Sex-role Stereotypic Characteristics of Entrepreneurs”, Entrepreneurship Theory & Era Dice 15. 1: 33-47.
Formaini, R 2001, “The Engine of Capitalist Process: Entrepreneurs in Economic Theory”, Economic and Financial Review/ Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. 2-11.
Kanter, R 1977, Men and Women of the Corporation. New York: Basic Books.
Knopic, M, &Moerer, T 2008, “Women Leaders and Entrepreneurs: Learning from One to Teach the Other”, Journal of Women in Educational Leadership 66. 136-153.
Kouzes, J, & Posner, B 1995, The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep getting Extraordinary Things done in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Martin, B 2006, Outdoor Leadership: Theory and Practice. Human Kinetics.
Merrick-Bakken, P 2003, “The 21st Century Leader”, Credit Union Magazine 71. 7: 46-49.
Mourkogiannis, N 2007, “Purpose: The Starting Point of Great Leadership”, Leader to Leader 44. 1: 26-32.
Powell, G, &Eddleston, K 2008, “The Paradox of the contented Female Business Owner”, Journal of Vocational Behavior 73. 1: 24-36.