Glass and Cook (2016) studied male and female Fortune 500 CEOS—including all 52 of the women who had held one of those jobs by 2014. They report, “Women are more likely than men to be promoted to high-risk leadership positions and often lack the support or authority to accomplish their strategic goals As a result, women leaders often experience shorter tenures compared to male peers.”Women in powerful positions have a harder time than men eliciting respect and admiration from subordinates. As a result, female power-holders are seen as less legitimate than male counterparts (Viall, Napier, and Brescoll, 2016, p. 400).
Despite the challenges, women have made progress. Attitudes are changing, support mechanisms (such as day care) have increased, and cultural views have shifted. A study of gender and leadership in higher education underscores the importance of culture and the policy context that it spawns:
In secular Sweden there are strong policies that are implemented at all political levels supported by the public discourse, while in Ireland such measures are few and the equality infrastructures and discourse have been weakened by the state. In Sweden women have come to dominate the Rector/President/Vice Chancel- lor positions, and each gender has between 40 and 50 percent of the other leading positions. In Ireland, there are no women in the top position and their percentage of other leading positions is between 13 to 25 percent (O’Connor and Goransson, 2015, p. 323).
Perhaps the strongest force for continued advancement is the talent pool that women represent—they make up more than half the population and have a growing educational edge over their male counterparts. Glass and Cook (2016, p. 55) note that, despite the many barriers, an increasing number of women are getting to the top of large corporations. “Prior to the year 2000, only seven women had been CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Twenty-four women became CEO between 2001 and 2010, and from 2011 to 2014, 22 women became CEO.” In 2009, Ursula Burns at Xerox became the !rst African American woman to head a major U.S. corporation and the !rst woman to succeed another woman.
Between 1986 and 2006, the proportion of female presidents of American universities more than doubled—to almost one in four—and Harvard put a woman in the job for the !rst time in 2007. Princeton accepted no women until 1969, and 30 years later, some of its
Reframing Leadership 345
WEBC17 05/26/2017 2:40:16 Page 346
mostly male alumni worried that their beloved alma mater might be on the skids when the !rst woman president appointed the !rst female provost. But grumbling at alumni gatherings could not change the fact that women were making gains even in America’s most elite academic institutions.
REFRAMING LEADERSHIP Each of the frames offers a distinctive image of leadership. Depending on leader and circumstance, each turnof the kaleidoscope can reveal compelling and constructive leadership opportunities, even though no one image is right for all times and seasons. In this section, we discuss four images of leadership summarized in Exhibit 17.4. For each, we examine skills and processes and propose rules of thumb for successful leadership practice.
Architect or Tyrant? Structural Leadership Structural leadership may evoke images of petty tyrants and rigid bureaucrats who never met a command or rule they didn’t like. Compared with other frames, literature on structural leadership is sparse, and some structural theorists have contended that leadership is neither important nor basic (Hall, 1987). But the effects of structural leadership can be
Exhibit 17.4. Reframing Leadership.
Leadership is effective when Leadership is ineffective when
Leadership Leadership Frame Leader is: process is: Leader is: process is:
Structural Analyst, Analysis, design Petty Management by architect bureaucrat or detail and !at
Human Catalyst, Support, Weakling, Abdication resource servant empowerment pushover
Political Advocate, Advocacy, Con artist, thug Manipulation, negotiator coalition building fraud
Symbolic Prophet, Inspiration, Fanatic, Mirage, smoke and poet meaning-making charlatan mirrors
346 Reframing Organizations
WEBC17 05/26/2017 2:40:16 Page 347
powerful and enduring, even if the style is subtler and more analytic than other forms. Collins and Hansen (2011) argue that great companies develop and adhere to a set of durable operating principles that are speci!c, methodical, and consistent.
One of the great architects in business history is Jeff Bezos, who has built Amazon into one of America’s most dominant !rms with a relentless focus on building structure and technology to support a relentless focus on customers. Bezos follows in a long line of structural leaders that can be traced back at least to Alfred P. Sloan Jr., who became president of General Motors in 1923 and remained a dominant force until his retirement in 1956. The structure and strategy he established made GM the world’s largest corporation. Lee (1988) described Sloan as “the George Washington of the GM culture” (p. 42), even though his “genius was not in inspirational leadership, but in organizational structures” (p. 43).
GM founder, Billy Durant, had built GM by buying everything he could, forming a loose combination of previously independent !rms. “GM did not have adequate knowledge or control of the individual operating divisions. It was management by crony, with the divisions operating on a horse-trading basis. The main thing to note here is that no one had the needed information or the needed control over the divisions” (Sloan, 1965, pp. 27–28).
Uncontrolled costs and a business slump in 1920 created a !nancial crisis, and GM almost sank (Sloan, 1965). In 1923, Sloan’s !rst year at the helm, GM’s market share dropped from 20 percent to 17 percent, while Ford’s increased to 55 percent. But change was afoot. Henry Ford had a disdain for organization and clung to his vision of a single low- priced, mass-market car. His cheap, reliable Model T—the “Tin Lizzie”—was a marketing miracle at a time when customers would buy anything with four wheels and a motor if the price was right. But Ford stayed with the same design for almost 20 years and dismissed the need for creature comforts. Sloan surmised that consumers would pay more for amenities like windows to keep out rain and snow. His strategy worked, and Chevrolet soon began to gnaw off large chunks of Ford’s market share. By 1928, Model T sales had dropped so precipitously that Henry Ford was forced to close his massive River Rouge plant for a year to retool. General Motors took the lead in the great auto race for the !rst time in 20 years. For the rest of the twentieth century, no one sold more cars than General Motors.
The dominant structural model of the time was a centralized, functional organization, but Sloan felt that GM needed something better. He developed the world’s !rst division- alized organization The basic principle was simple: Centralize planning and resource allocation; decentralize operating decisions. Under Sloan’s model, divisions focused on making and selling cars, while top management worked on long-range strategy and major funding decisions, relying on headquarters staff for the information and control systems they needed.
Reframing Leadership 347
WEBC17 05/26/2017 2:40:16 Page 348