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Chapter 11: Systems Theory: Changing the Hegemonic Impact on Leadership Advancement for Women
SummaryCompared to men, women do not have equal access to power and organizational leadership positions. The premise behind mental models in the leadership advancement of women, based upon the poor representation of women in executive leadership positions, is twofold. First, there is a greater propensity toward prejudice and bias toward women that continue to perpetuate the problem and act as barriers to the advancement of women via a masculine groupthink concept. Second, by limiting the interaction with women at executive leadership levels, organizations will not benefit from the female decision-making perspective, which represents a large portion of the American and world public.
Hegemonic masculinity is deeply entrenched among the more powerful leadership positions of many American organizations. The issues perpetuated by this concept create barriers to the advancement of women to senior leadership positions. Gender-related stereotypes and the expectations of and for women based upon stereotypes ensure that organizations must revisit cultural mental models to create equal opportunities for women who aspire to senior positions.
The status of women and issues of inequality are deeply ingrained in the cultures, practices, and traditional views of people in the U.S. and around the world. Organizations are challenged to become learning organizations that will realize the full potential of everyone in the workforce to produce better business results, and challenge the status quo. Systems Theory offers possible solutions to the barriers to leadership advancement opportunities for women and other minorities.