In 1949 the German constitution set down the entitlement to equality for men and women in the Federal Republic of Germany in article 3. Until the late 1950s it was up to men to decide where to live and how to utilise families’ assets. Women were not permitted to decide on their participation in the labour market but had the duty to administer the household and help their husbands. When Angela Merkel became chancellor of Germany in 2005, she was not only one of the most influential politicians in the world but also one of the few female leaders who managed to break through the glass ceiling.
Chancellor Merkel herself blocked Minister of Employment, Ursula von der Leyen’s attempt towards affirmative action. As a matter of fact Germany is lagging behind when it comes to women in leading positions. In 2010, only 0,9% of the leadership positions in the 100 largest German companies and 2,6% in the top 200 companies were held by women. (Holst & Wiemer, 2010) This is in stark contrast to the fact that at team-leader level in German companies, women represent 20% of the staff after representing almost 60% of university graduates.
This underrepresentation, which illustrates the topic of this study, is especially difficult to understand since recent studies have shown a positive correlation between the proportion of women in management positions and companies’ performance, which made approximately 10% more in terms of profits with a balanced gender policy (Wiemer, 2010).
As a consequence, Germany is facing a discussion on the introduction of a women’s quota for management positions in German companies. Currently there is a great debate going on concerning the pros and cons of a women’s quota.
Kapitel 3.1, Transactional versus Transformational Leadership:
Famous sociologists like Max Weber, Bernard Bass or McGregor Burns have done the most important research on transformation leadership. Burns advanced this theory mainly from descriptive research on political leaders and juxtaposes transformational leadership with transactional leadership. In Burns’ opinion, leaders are not born nor made, but evolve from a structure of motivation, values and goals. In order to relate to the concept one must understand the essential differences between transactional and transformational leadership.
The basis for leadership is the relationship between two people, which again is maintained by the level of exchange between both. The greater the exchange between two individuals, of any kind - materialistic or non-materialistic, the stronger the relationship. (Stewart, 2006)
The transactional relation is based on requirements, conditions and rewards for efforts. (Bass, 2006)
For instance, if employees deliver good work they get a generous bonus in return. Leaders leading in this manner are called transactional leaders.
Accordingly managers know about the connection between the effort shown and reward given as well as use the standard measures of incentive, reward, punishment and sanction in order to control subordinates. These managers promise rewards for good performance and look out for unconventionalities from rules and standards applying corrective actions when necessary. Moreover, this style is more oriented to the present, only dealing with current issues. (Bass, 2006) To put it in a nutshell, the transactional motivation is done by setting goals and promising rewards for the expected performance.
‘Transactional leadership is a prescription for mediocrity (…) intervening with his or her group only when procedures and standards for accomplishing tasks are not being met - If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.’ (Bass, 2006, p. 20) A manager with this behaviour pattern uses disciplinary threats to get employees to perform, which is ineffective and in the long term counterproductive.
According to Eagly, men are more likely to be transactional leaders. Her findings suggest that male managers being transactional leaders paid attention to their follower’s problems and mistakes, waited until problems became severe before attempting to solve them and were absent and uninvolved at critical time. (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001)
How these findings come along with transformational and female leaders will be discussed in the following passages.
Transformational leaders on the other hand are simply described by unconditional, dedicated and committed. They rather use empowerment than control strategies achieving influence over their employees. Transformational leaders influence major transformations in the attitudes and conventions of organisation members and build commitment for the companies mission, objectives and strategies. This kind of leadership can be observed on the micro level - relationships between individual; as well as the macro level - intention to change social systems and reform organisations. Those leaders also value ideals and morals such as liberty, justice, equality, peace and humanitarianism. (Yukl, 1989)
The irony is that this leadership style is metaphorically explained with a mother and her unconditional care for her kids. Related to working environment Hay describes the style as follows:
‘(…) Occurs when leaders broaden and elevate the interest of their employees, when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purpose and mission of the group (…) transformational leaders elevate people from low levels of need, focused on survival to higher levels (…) engender trust, admiration, loyalty and respect amongst their followers.’ (Hay, 2011, p. 3)
Transformational leaders are determined to reach a certain mutual goal and are an inspiration to their followers. This leadership kind also likes to develop employees, provide encouragement and takes over a mentoring task in order to promote individual growth opportunity. Following Bass: leaders transform followers making them more aware of the importance of their work and by encouraging them to surpass self-interest for the sake of the organisation. (Bass, 2006)
‘Transformational leaders recognise and exploit an existing need to demand of a potential follower and look for potential motives in followers, seek to satisfy higher needs and engages the full person of the follower.’ (MacGregor Burns, 2003, p. 28)
Empirical data by Bass confirmed that there are four common dimensions of transformational leadership.
The first stage is:
1) Idealised Influence - The leader inspires subordinates with charismatic visions and behaviour.
2) Inspirational Motivation - The leader’s ability to encourage others as well as to commit to the company’s vision and follow a new idea. They encourage staff to become part of the organisation and ist culture. Followers grow trust and respect towards the leader.
3) Intellectual Stimulation - The leader’s capacity to inspire and encourage staff’s innovation and creativity and see meaning in their work & accomplishments.
4) Individualised Consideration - The leader’s skill in coaching subordinates and understanding their specific needs and talent. This also ensures that all followers are included in transformational organisational processes.
Judith Zylla-Woellner was born in Eisenhuettenstadt/Germany in 1981. She studied Sociology, Psychology and Economics at the Free University in Berlin, at the Lund University in Sweden and at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge/UK. She received a German Diploma in 2008 and her MBA in 2012. Throughout her academic and professional career she has always been interested in the issue of women in management positions, particularly of women in Germany. She is married and lives in Berlin.
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- Artikel-Nr.: SW9783954895908
- Artikelnummer SW9783954895908
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- Verlag Anchor Academic Publishing
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- Veröffentlichung 01.02.2014
- ISBN 9783954895908