Patriarchal Power in Organizations

In western organizations the ideal of a good manager is still implicitly included in the notion of hegemonic masculinity that represents qualities such as competitive, aggressive, nonemotional, goal orientated, and psychologically and physically strong (Connell, 1987). Hegemonic masculinity is the culturally dominant and most powerful form of masculinity. It is based on heroism, where the hero controls and guides his subordinates (Block, 1996, 1999). The dominant forms of masculinity, construed in aversion to femininity, are those that dictate how organizations are managed (Cheng, 1996). Patriarchal leadership was common, and possibly functioning, in times when people worked in hierarchic organizations where work was organized into assembly lines (Block, 1996, 1999), but, according to Koivunen (2002), patriarchal leadership does not fit today's more flexible expert organizations. Leadership by partnership, a concept brought forward by Block (1996, 1999), where jointly agreed goals are the way to motivate and lead people, is much more appropriate, especially in modern expert organizations (Koivunen, 2002). Women could have a lot to contribute in expert organizations, since they tend to use leadership by partnership instead of a hierarchical model of leading.

Himanen (2001) argues that computer hackers will become heroes of the information society. He claims that the heroes will be men. There will be no room for women in the information society. Women will be left to perform the invisible domestic tasks, and their main function will be to further men's careers. There seem to be very few women in higher-level positions in information technology (e.g., Silicon Valley) (Ruckenstein, 2002). However, Koivunen (2002) argues that the development of computer networks such as Linux, where everyone is allowed to change the code, will decrease the hierarchical system of organizations and present everyone with the opportunity to take part in developing the code.

Kanter (1977, 1993) has discussed metaphorical male "homosocial reproduction"—how men attempt to reproduce their dominant power relations by only uniting with and sharing the same occupational space and privilege with those males they deem similar in image and behavior, cloning themselves in their own image, and forming so-called old-boy networks (Auster, 1993; Wirth, 2001). Koivunen (2002) argues that men's physical power and size affects their career development more than capabilities or education. Martin (1996) shows how homosocial male networks tend to preclude women from high-status jobs by sex segregation and selection procedures, and seek to discredit women while elevating men. Male homosociability not only keeps women out of key organizational roles, but also controls the behavior of other men and punishes men who behave differently. Vianello and Moore (2000) conclude their cross-cultural research report on women in top positions by saying that executive women feel that the greatest barrier to their career development are male networks that they have a hard time entering. Martin (1996) has drawn attention to men's domination of assessment, selection, and promotion—processes that isolate women.

Zuboff (1988) claims that male managers protect their status and power by mystifying their knowledge and exaggerating their abilities rather than by sharing knowledge. Women are marginalized in meetings because men refuse to hear them, ignore the contribution they are making, or attribute it to a male participant (Josefowitz, 1988). Women in senior management have experienced a great deal of male hostility and misogyny because men have felt that women are taking their jobs (Gutek, 1989). Nicolson (1996) and Hite (2000) argue that women's constant exposure to sexism in organizations is an overriding reason why more women are not in authority, and those few that do reach senior positions often sacrifice their feminine identity and relations with other women to do so. According to the Finnish Gender Barometer 1998 (Melkas, 1999), 30% of women claim that they experience disparaging behavior at work at least every now and then. Nearly one-third of women claim that they have experienced sexual harassment, ranging from dirty jokes to proposal of sexual relations, during the past 2 years. Women on top often feel isolated. However, some enjoy their token positions; they consciously keep distance from other women, do not help other women to further their careers, show envy and jealousy towards other women, and prefer to work with men. This is referred to as the "queen-bee" syndrome (Kanter, 1977).

Davidson and Cooper (1983) have shown that female managers encounter greater sources of stress than male managers. Women managers experience high levels of gender stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, and report greater pressure than their male counterparts at all management levels. In addition to work stressors, women have to deal with substantially more domestic pressures than the majority of men (Davidson & Fielden, 1999; Nelson & Burke, 2000). Considering the fact that women have to balance on the "tightropes" of traits, verbal styles, appearance, and work versus family responsibilities (Auster, 1993), the resulting stress reactions are hardly surprising. Despite a substantial amount of stress, many women enjoy their leading role, authority, and influence. A woman's enjoyment is increased if she has a supporting partner (Vianello & Moore, 2000).

According to Nicolson (1996), the only way women can fight patriarchal power in organizations is by networking and supporting other women; according to Nicolson, men recruit, promote, and mentor other men, and women should support each other in the same way. Arroba and James (1987) suggest the same: if women are excluded from male networks, they can form their own networks and overcome some of the effects of "tokenism." Kuusipalo, Kauppinen, and Nuutinen (2000) argue that women, who themselves have passed through the glass ceiling, claim that they are excluded from the male world in a large part because they do not have access to male-dominated networks and lack the informal contacts that are vital to their career development.

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