Gender Differences in Business Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Gender Attitudes in Business Students

An Analysis of Beliefs, Values, and Attitudes Relative to Gender and Professions

Significance and Conclusion

There is a body of evidence that suggests many disparities in the representation of gender in certain segments of the academic and business professions. For example, previous research has indicated that women, on average, are less likely to attend business school than males and are also less likely to hold high-ranking positions in organizations. Although there are many factors that are involved in such trends, and many societies have made significant progress towards minimizing the gender gaps, there is still much to be understood about the challenges that women face into entering into certain professions. This research will consider whether there is differences inherent in the genders that could help explain the outcomes that have been observed in various professions. The proposal outlines a research plan that will investigate differences in beliefs, attitudes, and values relative to work in a population of business students and contrast these differences with a student population majoring in a different academic discipline.

Presentation of the Topic

There is a body of research that has examined ethic values and beliefs along gender lines in many different circumstances. Personal and professional values and/or beliefs about the world and cultural norms can have many implications for life in general, as well as in specific endeavors such as educational achievement or professional development. Many of these beliefs or ethical positions are typically are passed down through the generations and are frequently challenges when people reach major milestones in their lives. For example, after a transition to college, a student will often have to reconcile new information with their previous beliefs, revise them so that they fit with the new information, and in some cases beliefs are replaced with new individual beliefs or entire belief systems.

In many cases beliefs and values, coupled with attitudes towards work, can determine what kind of profession or occupation that you might seek in your life. Furthermore, many of factors seem to be correlated or mediated by different aspects of gender and gender norms that are present in society. For example, there may be different preferences among gender towards positions that could compromise their ethics, types of expectations that are perceived about behaviors associated gender roles in organizations, and even the style of leadership that is used by member of different sexes, as the research suggests. Although, some research has been conducted about the differences that are apparent in genders, attitudes towards work, and personality profiles that have studied women in leadership roles, there does not appear to be much research in the literature that is target on these factors in new generations of female business students and their motivations for studying these practices.

Research Question

How have women's attitudes, beliefs, and values changed over time relative to the perceptions of a position in a business environment? What is the current view about the glass ceiling among female business students and has its salience been reduced?

Are there behavioral profiles that are more common in the new generation of business students? At varying levels of study?

Are female students taking on male attributes to be successful in this environment? Such as being more willing to making ethically compromising decisions that they perceive will be required to be successful? Or are they beginning to craft their own style?

H1. It is hypothesized that women are beginning to adopt more masculine traits at a greater rate as more and more women have accepted leadership roles and have influenced the overall business culture.

H2. It is hypothesized that the behavioral profiles will reveal many commonalities in female business students. It is also hypothesized that women who are at higher levels will have higher levels of the traits associated with leadership in business such as individualism, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism among others.

H3. It is hypothesized that the normalization of female leadership and the change in cultural norms and barriers related to women will attract women to these opportunities and there will be an increased willingness among potential students to accept these roles and thus there will be a high percentage of female students enter into business programs. It is also hypothesized that even though a trend may exist in which male and females are closer in nature than previous generations, there will still be some differentiation between men and women.

Literature Review

There is a body of research that has examined ethic values and beliefs along gender lines in many different circumstances. Personal and professional values and/or beliefs about the world and cultural norms can have many implications for life in general, as well as in specific endeavors such as educational achievement or professional development. For example, one study examined how a personal values system as well as a personal value of work and its prioritization among a group of students, in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of many of the different objectives and motivations for students included in the population (Underwood & Harrison, 2009). The combination of such factors in a population at a relatively early stage in their professional careers can have a significant influence on their levels of motivation are their future career paths.

To investigate the different perspectives that exist in this population, the researchers used a three-tiered framework that was based on the students' perceptions of the role work based on their religious views. The argument was made that since the majority of students have some religious basis for their belief systems towards work and these three categories were proposed to measure differences (Underwood & Harrison, 2009):

1. Work should be diligent, but work should not become idol. Perfectionism can be idolatry.

2. God calls each person to a personal vocation

3. Making a nice living, even for one's family is a secondary effect to the primary motive. Making a nice living is under God's control and He has the right to choose either riches or poverty for his child.

The researchers hypothesized that there would be significant difference in these perspectives based on gender and found that the data did support this position. Specifically, females had an inflated perception of the extent that the work environments' culture would adhere to their own personal values while males exhibited a drastically different perception of the extent their belief systems would align with those in the workplace (Underwood & Harrison, 2009). This demonstrates that value systems and personal orientations to work can correlate to gender differences within some populations.

Given that beliefs and ethical values play such an important role in lives on many different levels, there has been a significant amount of attention devoted to how these beliefs arise during development, as well as the degree in which these beliefs can be static or dynamic throughout an individuals' lifetime. For example, the stage of life from adolescence to young adulthood has been defined as 'emerging adulthood', a time period characterized by a high degree of change, diversity and experimentation, typically followed entrance into the labor force are examples of life course transitions which occur during young adulthood (Copen, 2008). The major transition people's lives from one stage to the next can mark an important threshold in which many of their beliefs or ethical ideals can be challenged or supported in some cases. For example, many beliefs are passed down through generations and these ideals can serve as the basis of a worldview which then must be applied to the external environments in which one encounters. Therefore, the transitional periods would reasonably either confirm or challenge worldviews as individuals traverse new stages in their lives.

There seems to significant evidence that suggests the transmission of educational attainment from parents to children influences the timing of young adults' first unions as parents -- and grandparents -- influence young adults' beliefs, values and behaviors (Copen, 2008). Furthermore, the evidence also demonstrates young adults' values toward individualism and collectivism are malleable over the life course. Furthermore, there are also likely stages in one's life in which these beliefs are likely to change. For example, when an individual gets married then they have an incentive to adapt more of a collectivist-based perspective that includes more consideration that goes beyond the self and the same could be said in the case of a transition to parenthood in which one cares for a child. Since components of these roles can be different by considerations of particular circumstances as well as gender, it is reasonable to suggest that this could be one source of differences in the generation and confirmation of different beliefs that each gender acquires through their personal development.

One of the most important applications of the values and beliefs that an individual hold is when people are required to make decisions that could do harm to others. One common example of such judgments can be illustrated by a manager in an organization whose decisions about things such as organizational strategy, operations, or human resources can…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Brandt, T., & Laiho, M. (2013). Gender and personality in transformational leadership context: An examination of leader and subordinate perspectives. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 44-66.

Copen, C. (2008). TRANSMISSION AND TRANSITIONS: YOUNG ADULTS' BELIEFS, VALUES AND LIFE COURSE TRANSITIONS IN FAMILIAL CONTEXT. University of Southern California, 1-47.

Kennedy, J., & Kray, L. (2014). Who Is Willing to Sacrifice Ethical Values for Money and Social Status?: Gender Differences in Reactions to Ethical Comprimises. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 52-59.

Mumford, M., Helton, W., Decker, B., Connelly, M., & Van Doorn, J. (2003). Values and Beliefs Related to Ethical Decisions. Teaching Business Ethics, 139-170.

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