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Journal cover: Women In Management Review

Women In Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425
Currently published as: Gender in Management: An International Journal

Online from: 1985

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Gender, language and the workplace: an exploratory study

Document Information:
Title:Gender, language and the workplace: an exploratory study
Author(s):Fiona Sheridan, (Department of Management, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Citation:Fiona Sheridan, (2007) "Gender, language and the workplace: an exploratory study", Women In Management Review, Vol. 22 Iss: 4, pp.319 - 336
Keywords:Gender, Language, Leadership, Workplace
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09649420710754264 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The study aims to examine the role that gendered talk plays in the workplace in both task and non-task related interactions.

Design/methodology/approach – The research undertaken is a hybrid of qualitative and quantitative research using a single case study. The case study, comprising mixed gender and mixed status employees of an American multinational corporation, demonstrates similarities and differences between women's and men's speech patterns in this workplace setting. Through the recording and subsequent transcription of meetings that took place among the participants, a data archive was created, enabling analysis of the conversations to take place.

Findings – The research findings imply that organisations may need to move away from cultures that favour particular talk related norms to ones that facilitate the integration and assimilation of different types of talk, recognising that women and men use language differently.

Research limitations/implications – The speaking dimension of communication is very rich and can be understood at many different levels. Thus, by virtue of the nature of this undertaking along with the richness and the time and energy constraints within which it operated, it was impossible to broaden the scope of the inquiry any further. It is necessary to continue this research involving various other combinations of participants on a gender and a status dimension.

Practical implications – This research uncovers the impact of gendered talk on decision making and leadership in the organisation.

Originality/value – This paper offers valuable insights for practitioners in relation to the challenge faced by organisations in their need to achieve a more balanced representation of women and men in decision-making positions.

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