WST./MGMT. 315 – WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP                                         

Analysis of women's historical and contemporary role in American management.

3 Credits

M.W.F. 10:10 – 11:00 in Todd 303.


SPRING 2015                                                                                                                                                              


INSTRUCTOR: Maggie Reed                                                        PHONE:  335-3989                   

OFFICE: Todd Hall 440D                                                               E-MAIL: mreed@wsu.edu             

WEB PAGE:  public.www.wsu.edu/~mreed/    NOTE: This IS NOT Angel.                                                                                                                               

OFFICE HOURS:  Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays 12:00 until 1:00, or by appointment.

                                      I can usually also be found between 9:30 and 10:00 on M.W.F.



Heim, Pat & Murphy, Susan A.  In The Company of Women. 2001 Tarcher/Putnam.

Kristoff, Nicholas D. & WuDunn, Sheryl. Half the Sky. 2009 Vintage Books


The reading schedule can be found in the Timetable at the end of the syllabus. Be aware that reading entails more than giving passing recognition to words. It requires comprehension and remembering what you have read, the ability to integrate it with other material from the class, and maybe even having an opinion about it. If memory is not your strong suit, take notes about what you read and bring them to class. Questions will be asked about the assigned readings. A correct response to such questions will not be, “I haven’t read it”, or, “I think I read it”, or, “I know I read it but I can’t remember any of it”. The Paul and Elder guide will help you with this and a Reading Preparation Sheet is attached to this syllabus.                                                                                                                                                                    Additional readings may be assigned on an ad hoc basis and students are also recommended to keep up to date with current news, local, national, and international. Popular newspapers and periodicals (New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report, etc.), televised news programs, and business publications (Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, Working Woman, etc.) are all good sources and provide information which may be of use both in class and in some of the assignments.


COURSE CONTENT                                                                                                                                             

First, it must be stressed that this is a cross-listed class with the primary emphasis being Women’s Studies. While the focus is on the workplace, be aware that this cannot be adequately addressed by looking at the workplace only. Consequently, the importance of the social framework within which the working world operates is of major importance.

This course addresses a wide range of topics pertaining to women’s role in and contributions to management and leadership in America. It should be emphasized at the outset that this includes all women:  those of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, national origins, classes, and beliefs. Women are not a homogeneous group, and diversity among women is central to the subjects covered in the course and is integrated throughout. The same is true of men. Our social expectations of women exist in the same world as our social expectations of men, hence we cannot consider one group without reference to the other. To put it simply, because this is a Women’s Study class does not mean it’s just about women.

Alexis de Tocqueville long ago observed that as people become more equal, they find the remaining inequalities more and more difficult to tolerate. Those who feel that they are not yet fully equal, despite considerable broadening of their opportunities, grow steadily more discontent.  Such may be said to be the case for large numbers of women in today’s workplace, particularly those who aspire to management and leadership positions. The questions to be asked, therefore, are what is the nature of the inequalities and why do they still persist? In addressing this, students should learn how to apply critical thinking to the material that will be used.


The class is organized into the following sections:

I To begin, it is necessary to define some fundamental terms and concepts. For example, sex and gender, gender identity, stereotypes, and so on.   

II  Next, we need to understand what businesses are and what management and leadership involve:  what do managers and leaders do; what are their responsibilities and what are our expectations of them; how do we measure their success; what traits, abilities and characteristics comprise a good and effective manager or leader? Research indicates that good managers and successful leaders all demonstrate identifiable skills and competencies which may not be gender-specific, but which tend to favor males rather than females. Understanding these characteristics is of central importance to women who wish to advance in the workplace. Understanding how women may be disadvantaged is also important to male managers and leaders who wish to maximize the human potential in their organizations.                                                                                                    

 History can provide us with numerous good examples of women who have excelled in positions of management and leadership both in this country and elsewhere in the world – women who have successfully led countries and armies, owned and managed businesses and households, formed, organized and run charitable endeavors and political causes, and women who have demonstrated entrepreneurial skills. Yet women are only just beginning to play a significant role in American business leadership, and still play no role in some parts of the world.   

III  Section three addresses some of the specific issues of inequality faced by women managers and business leaders in today’s workplace. Numerous pieces of legislation have been enacted over the years in an attempt to “level the playing field” for women and minorities, and yet the inequities persist: unequal pay, harassment, lack of advancement (the glass ceiling), discrimination in hiring practices, workplaces which are not always female- (or minority-) friendly in their culture and practices. Some of the attempts to rectify these problems have resulted in negative responses, e.g. white male backlash and a growing antipathy to affirmative action programs, which also deserve scrutiny. Yet, without question, since the middle of the twentieth century gains have been made and the character of the workplace has changed, and these changes (their nature and the reasons for them) will also be discussed.   

IV  Businesses do not operate within a vacuum but within society, and can, indeed, be seen as constructs of society. Attitudes and behaviors which are encountered in society as a whole will also be present in the workplace. Thus, in order to more fully comprehend what takes place in business, it is necessary to understand the corresponding social mores.                                                                                                                          

Anthropologist Marjorie Shostak observed that despite the substantial differences in how women live and what they do in different parts of the world, one generalization can be made: in the overwhelming majority of societies, women have lower status than men – both by their own accounts and by observation of the culture as a whole – and their activities are less highly valued than men’s activities. Margaret Mead also recognized this when she wrote, “In every known society, the males’ need for achievement can be recognized. Men may cook or weave or dress dolls or hunt hummingbirds, but if such activities are appropriate occupations for men, then the whole society, men and women alike, votes them important. When the same occupations are performed by women, they are regarded as less important”.  At the heart of these observations are gender roles, gender stereotyping, and gender stratification.                                                                                                                       

In this section of the class the origins of gender roles will be investigated together with the ways in which they have been justified and maintained over time. Although the terms sex and gender are often used interchangeably, in actuality they refer to different (although related) conditions. It is necessary, therefore, first to understand the differences between sex and gender in order to permit an informed understanding of gender roles. Reference to gender categories and role expectations deriving from other societies and cultures can be helpful in this area.

The fifth section of the class will examine the differences in communication style (verbal and non-verbal) exhibited by men and women. Effective communication is known to be an important skill in the workplace and central to managerial and leadership activities, yet despite the fact that females are generally considered to have better language competencies than males, the voice of authority is still overwhelmingly male. Understanding the differences in male and female communication patterns can be key to improving women’s opportunities for advancement and also to making men more effective communicators.   

VI  In section six students will present their findings from a research project that they will have undertaken. In addition to sharing information, this also allows students the opportunity to practice another skill – effective communication – which is important in the workplace and necessary to career advancement.



By the end of the semester, students should be aware of the history of working women, women’s capabilities in the workplace and the obstacles that women continue to face in their careers.


Students should also have a greater understanding of the complexities of gender on our expectations of males and females and how those expectations are limiting to both sexes.


An appreciation of the gendered nature of world view should also be gained together with cross-cultural comparisons of the differing social expectations of women and men.


EVALUATION                                                                                                                                                                   The workload for this class is as follows:                                                                                                                                 


Individual Research Assignment                                               150 points                                                                                  Term Paper  (a group/team assignment)                                                              200 points                                                                            Proposal for Term Paper                                                                                                    50 points                                                             

Class Contribution/Participation                                               100 points                                                                   

Total                                                                                                    500 points



All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the designated date. They must be in hard (paper) form; e-mailed attachments will not be accepted. Late submission of assignments will be permitted only if authorized by the Instructor before the due date and will be permitted only in cases of unavoidable personal or family emergencies. Unless a prior agreement has been made, late submissions will be given only half of the points otherwise earned. Running out of paper or ink cartridges for your printer, not being able to find a printer on campus, finding a virus or fault on your disk, not being able to get onto a computer in one of the labs, having your computer’s hard drive crash at the last minute, being busy with other courses, having to attend an interview are not valid excuses. You will be given the assignments in plenty of time before the due date. Procrastination and poor time management generally result in poor quality work and difficulties in meeting deadlines. Both can be avoided. Be aware also that assignments can always be handed in early and that written work will not be accepted from students who are habitually absent or late. This class requires more than submitting assignments on the due date to get a passing grade.


Attendance & Class Contribution/Participation                                                                                                        

A prerequisite of contribution/participation is attendance, and regular attendance is expected of all students. To encourage this, roll will be taken each class period (beginning week 2), and unexcused absenteeism will result a deduction of one point for every class missed during weeks 2 - 12, and five points for every class missed during weeks 13 - 16. Anyone with more than five unexcused absences during the semester will have their grade reduced by 25%.

If a genuine problem prevents you from attending, notify me before class, and I will try to accommodate you. If a student’s absences become excessive for any reason, they will be required either to drop the class or take an Incomplete grade.                                                                                                                                 

Be aware that attendance, for purposes of this class, refers to more than being physically present; I expect to have your full attention not just part of it while you attempt to multi-task. Students who are physically present but engage in non-class related activities (sleeping, filling out your day planner, engaging in private chats, text messaging, reading non-class related material, etc.) will be treated as absent and the penalty point(s) will be deducted. Non-class related activities which are also disruptive may incur a more severe penalty (see Expectations, below).Participation in/contribution to class discussions is important and comprises a significant part of your grade (18%). There are good reasons for this: 

As will be discussed during the semester, the recognition of women’s contribution and advancement in the workplace can be hindered by differences in communication style between women and men; many females (and some males) have a reluctance to speak out, leading to a lack of recognition.

The belief that students should be active participants in their own education and that an interactive approach is more conducive to learning. 

Get into the routine of contributing right from the outset; the habit of silence can be difficult to break and a missed opportunity to contribute is precisely that and will result in missing points that cannot later be recovered in full.                                                                                                                                                              

Students are encouraged to speak up and overcome any reticence they may have about voicing their opinions and ideas or asking questions, and to take the opportunity to practice a behavior which will be expected of them in the workplace. Paul and Elder’s book on Critical Thinking should be helpful with this. Be aware, also, that active participation provides you with the opportunity to have some control over what goes on in class.                                                                                                                                                                 Points will be awarded based on students regularly taking a meaningful part in class discussion, (as opposed to chatting with your friends), responding to questions, offering opinions, and actively engaging in other class activities. The emphasis is on contribution, i.e. offering something salient, pertinent, insightful, and worthwhile to class discussions, and not simply rambling on about the irrelevant or otherwise making noise.                                                                                                                                                  Do not mistake attendance or listening for participation; no matter how good your attendance record or how attentively you listen to others, being present but remaining silent will not earn you contribution points. However, attendance is a prerequisite for contribution, and a poor attendance record will have a negative effect on participation.                                                                                                                                                                             

Bear in mind that contribution is a behavior that will be expected of you from your future employers; this class provides you with a good opportunity to practice. Participation also gives students a chance to take some initiative in directing class discussion and, hence, to make this more of an interactive experience.



 The following grading scale will apply:

94% - 100%        A                                      80% -  82.99%     B-                                  65% -  69.99%   D+                               

90% -  93.99%    A-                                    77% -  79.99%     C+                                  60% -  64.99%   D                                  

87% -  89.99%    B+                                  73% -  76.99%     C                                     Below 60%        F                                   

83% -  86.99%    B                                     70% -  72.99%     C-      


Grades will not be "curved" (i.e., made fit to a pre-specified distribution) nor will the cutoff points be adjusted downward, thereby raising student grades. Neither will grades be “adjusted” to accommodate individual need or sense of what is deserved.                                                                                                                           

Your work will be graded according to output. While this may be associated with input, remember that the two are not always equivalent; effort and hard work do not always produce results of a high standard.                                                                                                                                                                              


Requirements to earn specific grades (letter-grade equivalencies such as, numerical scores for an A, B, C, D, or F or other grading criteria to determine student progress and grades) can be found at http://www.registrar.wsu.edu/Registrar/Apps/Acadregs.ASPX/#90).    


EXPECTATIONS                                                                                                                                                                   This is an elective class and consequently my expectations of students are high. Anyone who is not prepared to give the class their full attention and best effort should closely examine their reasons for being enrolled.                                                                                                                                                                                 Students are expected to conduct themselves in a civil and appropriate manner. Anyone engaging in conversations, reading non-class related material (either electronically or in hard copy), sleeping or other forms of unacceptable behavior will be asked to leave. Repeated occurrences of such behavior will result in an F for the class.                 


 The fact that there are no tests or quizzes does not mean that the class is an easy option.                              

 Some students may be tempted to think that skipping class, not taking notes, and/or not keeping up with the readings is acceptable behavior. It isn’t. The assignments are a method of testing and I expect to see material from lectures, discussion, videos, and so on incorporated into and applied to the written assignments. Hence the importance of getting notes for any class you may miss. Equally, I expect students to be up to date with the readings, have knowledge of and opinions about what they have read and be able to respond to questions about the material during class discussions. This, also, is a form of testing. If it becomes evident that students are not completing the assigned readings, tests or pop quizzes will be introduced as an incentive.                                                                                                                                                It is the individual responsibility of students to ensure that they remedy deficits resulting from missing a class. To this end, I suggest that you establish an arrangement with a fellow student who can provide you with notes for any class you miss.                                                                                                                                                                     


 I expect classes to start and finish on time. If you must arrive late or leave early please find a seat near the door and avoid interrupting the class. I can, and will, take action to the detriment of anyone who, in my opinion, consistently disrupts the class; I will lower her/his final grade by one full letter grade, e.g. from a B to a C.

 Commit yourself to attending class, keeping up with the readings, and participating in class exercises and discussions. Approach the class with a positive attitude as this will help you both to get more out of the experience and make it more pleasurable for you and for the rest of us. You, and you alone, are in control of this.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the class it is your responsibility to ask for clarification or further information. Do not rely on the omniscience of the instructor to anticipate your every need.


POLICY ON ACADEMIC DISHONESTY                                                                                                                                

Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university. Any student who attempts to gain an unfair advantage over other students by cheating, will fail the assignment and be reported to the Office Student Standards and Accountability. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010 (3).


STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES                                                                                                                Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus: Pullman or WSU Online: 509-335-3417,  http://accesscenter.wsu.edu,  Access.Center@wsu.edu




Washington State University is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It is highly recommended that you review the Campus Safety Plan (http://safetyplan.wsu.edu/) and visit the Office of Emergency Management web site (http://oem.wsu.edu/) for a comprehensive listing of university policies, procedures, statistics, and information related to campus safety, emergency management, and the health and welfare of the campus community.”




H&M  = Heim & Murphy

K&W = Kristof & WuDunn


WEEK           SECTION & TOPIC                                                                        READINGS      

                        I & II

1, 2*, 3             Introduction to the class. Topics to be covered,

                        expectations and assignments.

                        Basic terminology (sex, gender, stereotypes, metrics, etc.)

                        Background history.

*Monday, 19th January is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Class will not meet.




4, 5, 6*            Management & Leadership                                                              H&M Intro.  

                        What managers & leaders do                                                 

                        Characteristics of good managers and leaders                 

                        Existing research on the subject




7, 8, 9              Gender inequality in the workplace                                                 H&M Chs. 1-5

                        Pay differentials                                                              

                        Glass ceiling                                                                    

                        Hiring practices                                                              



*Monday, 16th February is Presidents’ Day. Class will not meet.



10                    Spring Break




11, 12, 13          Gender roles and stereotypes - origins, justifications,                   K&W All


                        History and changes.                                                     

                        The views of different disciplines




14 -16              Differences in female and male communication.                          H&M Chs.6-11

                        Media influences on gender roles.



As you will see, this is an outline timetable. If the class is to be interactive, we need some degree of flexibility to accommodate your input.