Gender distinctions in the moral and cognitive development of adults: The interaction of ways of knowing, decision-making, communication, and leadership behavior of women administrators in higher education
Abstract (Summary)In general, most women have different ways of knowing, communicating, and acting from most men. Women's characteristic modes of thought, expression, and action are complementary to, not in conflict with, those modes that are more characteristic of men. The particular qualities that women demonstrate can and do have value in the governance of modern institutions. Institutions that include women along with men in their governance, and also allow expression of their particular women's gifts, benefit from this inclusion. Centuries-old prejudice and fear prevent modern institutions from enjoying women's strengths as well as men's strengths in their administration. Organizations in our society which have historically not included women have recently opened to the participation of women in administrative roles. This change in organizations is laudable; however, researchers in the last two decades have shown that merely the presence of women is not enough. At the same time that organizations have been opening to women in administrative roles, researchers have shown that women are different from men in how they work in organizations and in how the organizations respond to women. Because of the work of scholars such as Miller (1976); Gilligan (1984); Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule (1986); and Tannen (1990), it is now known that women are different from men in their moral and cognitive development and in communication; therefore, women are likely to be different from men as administrators in organizations such as higher education institutions. How do these factors--that organizations are including women in administrative roles, that women are different from men, and that women's differences affect their work in organizations--contribute to the impact that women have on organizations and vice versa? This research study provides insights into and analyses of the above questions based on in-depth interviews of five women administrators in higher education in the New England area. In this thesis, I draw on the research of others to demonstrate women's different, characteristic ways of knowing, communicating, and behaving. Then I show through others' research and my own with women administrators in higher education how women's ways are both expressed and thwarted in the governance of the institutions these women serve.
School Location:USA - Massachusetts
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/1996