Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Women’s Studies in Communication 23:1 (2000), pp. 111–130.

doi: 10.1080/07491409.2000.11517692


Copyright © 2000 Organization for Research on Women and Communication; published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


In this study we interviewed 30 women managers to better understand ways in which they experience gendered values and behavior in organizational leadership and their responses to those experiences. The results, based on a constant comparison, thematic analysis, indicate the emergence of surprisingly strong and similar perceptions among the 30 women that there are distinct feminine and masculine power orientations in leadership communication with corresponding sets of gendered values: (a) open/closed and (b) supportive/intimidating. Their most common responses were: (a) rejection of masculine power, (b) self-doubt and blame, (c) competence, (d) confrontation, (e) isolation, and (f) resignation. These women judge masculine values to be harmful, overpowering, and ineffective and view feminine values much more favorably, yet they see themselves as isolated in both their values and numbers. Focusing on this sense of isolation, we suggest renewed discussion of ways in which women managers can connect through support for one another, and we offer to that discussion a suggestion for action-oriented networking.