Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

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Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

Today, women with a lot of potentials to register great success in the organizations they work constantly face discrimination based on their gender (Bryman, 2013). The case study Madison, Jones and Jones exhibit a classic situation in which women are being perceived as incapable of holding and maintaining particular senior positions; thus most of the time they face stiff resistance from men despite their qualifications, extraordinary ideas, talents, and skills. Although gender discrimination against women does not go beyond the perception of what women can achieve, sexual discrimination surpasses this to include a scenario where both a man and woman might hold the same senior position and engage in activities with the same performance within the firm. However, with sexual stereotyping, the man may be paid more than the woman and even goes a notch higher by being provided with instant promotions on different schedules at a higher rate compared to the woman (Bryman, 2013).

Overcoming Discrimination in the Workplace

Through the provided case study, this paper will outline an example of a classic type of discrimination against women in the modern-day working environment where men dominate in almost every aspect. Also, the paper will describe a detailed individual and situational factors related to ethical leadership and outline strategies/steps Laura could have taken in order to ensure that she overcomes the barriers she was facing. Moreover, the case study will outline the leadership attributes that are perceived to be desirable on a universal stage. Furthermore, the paper will outline what the president of the firm Laura was working could have done in order to ascertain that there was the presence of an equal opportunity for all workers in the organization. Finally, the paper will describe how special assignments exhibit their relevance for the development of leadership skills.

Challenges Faced by Laura

The new positions accorded to Laura implied that she would face a lot of challenges, particularly from men who did not consider her as an equal in the organization. Although all the male managers knew she was capable of suggesting approaches and methodologies that would bring forth success to the firm, they were not ready to appreciate her since they viewed her as inferior to them. By discriminating her based on gender, the male managers knew that Laura had no chance of advancing beyond a particular point despite her professional expertise, skills, qualification, and talent. The male managers often disregarded Laura's ideas in board meetings only to receive credits later after they present the same suggestions. In this case, Laura was discriminated based on her gender.

The Role of Ethical Leadership

The ethical tone of an organization is shaped and structured by leadership (Yukl, 2013; Hargreaves et al., 2014). In this regard, in order to meet the increased ethical requirements, firms should have focused on changing their leadership approach. The ethical tone of a leader defines the goals and outcomes of an organization. The situational factors that are likely going to influence the worker's notions of a leader as being ethical include ethical role modeling, the ethical context of an organization, and the moral intensity that the leaders face. The leadership of the organization that Laura was working for did not provide her with an ideal behavior to imitate. The consequence of the behavior of the leaders of the firm Laura was employed adversely affected her. Laura internalized the values and attitudes of her senior leaders but could not find any characteristic to emulate as modeled behavior. Thus, with most leaders in the organization exhibiting poor or lack of fairness, caring, and honesty, Laura did not associate them with ethical leadership; hence, the reason why she had no mentor in the organization.

The Ethical Climate at Laura's Organization

The ethical climate of the organization Laura was working for did not support ethics-related behaviors and attitudes. In this regard, Laura felt that the firm’s cultural factors did not support ethical conduct by promoting new male managers who had joined the organization during the same period with her. As a leader with strong ethical behaviors, Laura was not impressed with the way the management and leadership of the organization she was working for; hence, she, together with other two friends terminated their commitment to the organization and decided to leave and start their own firm because of the misfit with the firm's climate and cultural practices.

Moral Consequences of Leadership Actions

The leadership of the organization that Laura was working for did not put much emphasis on the consequences of their actions, such as poor recognition of their moral aspects of a particular situation. For instance, the leadership of the firm did not recognize their move of subjecting Laura to gender discrimination as being morally wrong. The harm/consequence of their actions is exhibited when Laura resigned from her position and decided to start her organization where moral awareness will be present.

Importance of Social Interaction and Recognizing Efforts

Although Laura was not a fan of playing golf, she was not given an opportunity to have social interaction with other members through an informal relationship with senior managers. Thus, there was no platform for her to share her creativity and talent. In an effort to ensure that her potential was noticed by the high authority, Laura decided to meet with the president of the organization who assured her of a promotion. Laura exhibited her personality characteristic of being open to the president and even went a notch higher by deciding to stay with the company for another one year. Although Laura knew getting a promotion was not going to be an easy task, she exercised self-control and trusted the words of the president that indeed she was going to be promoted.

Machiavellian Leadership and Manipulative Approaches

The high need for power and control for the best of others is exhibited by Laura when she confronted the president and asked for her efforts to be appreciated by being offered a promotion. Laura was unhappy about her advancement despite her toiling effort to register better and improved results. Moreover, through her progressive success, Laura’s good intention for the company was seen when she hoped to become a partner in the firm and help build it together to achieve greater success. The Machiavellian leadership of the organization that Laura was working for was motivated to use manipulative approaches to ensure that she was never going to rise or be equals. In this regard, Laura’s ideas were constantly being used by other leaders and take credit for her efforts.

Barriers Faced by Women in the Workplace

Women constantly face barriers such as structurally related obstacles that prevent them from accessing significant informal networks such as sporting events or simple after-work drinks (Hargreaves et al., 2014). Most of the time, men assume or rather ignore that these activities are not interesting to women; thus, they don’t invite them to such events, which in return prevent them from achieving particular goals and targets (Yukl, 2013). However, such barriers among others could have been remedied if she had found sponsors that were in pole positions to make informed decisions concerning the authority, which in return could have given her credit for what she did. Other ways through which Laura could have overcome the barriers include and not limited to changing the mindsets of the institution, changing the individual mindset, and creating room for lifestyle choices.

Desirable Leadership Attributes and Equal Opportunities

In her course of leadership, Laura exhibited universally desirable and effective attributes such as intelligent, decisive, positive, communicative, excellence-oriented, and administratively skilled. Moreover, workplaces such as Laura’s should have policies that advocate for equal opportunities for all workers. The employees are supposed to shun any issues that depict discrimination (Yukl, 2013). The president of the organization that Laura was working for should promote positive action approaches in certain circumstances, such as providing room for promotion for women who have registered exemplary performance. Also, the president should create equal opportunities for managing the disparities in the organization and prevent discrimination and promote a good working environment.

The Relevance of Special Assignments for Leadership Development

The special assignment given to leaders provides them with chances of facing new opportunities and challenges, which in return, equip them with new relevant skills (Hargreaves et al., 2014). The professional individual relevant skills Laura received from the series of assignments enabled her to handle responsibilities in her new position as a team manager of projects. Thus, special assignments not only equip some individual relevant skills but also play a central role in preparing a person into greater roles and responsibilities of leadership.

The Importance of Ethical Leadership

In a concluding remark, although the concept of leadership has been a concern for many years, one of the central pillars that cannot be disputed is ethical leadership (Hargreaves et al., 2014). The potential of exhibiting great leadership qualities has been identified by the overwhelming success that Laura registered working in her previous and new firms. Therefore, the leadership qualities an individual exhibits define the direction and future performance of an organization and how the employees perceive leaders.


Bryman, A. (Ed.). (2013). Leadership and organizations. Routledge.

Hargreaves, A., Boyle, A., & Harris, A. (2014). Uplifting leadership: How organizations, teams,   and communities raise performance. John Wiley & Sons.

Yukl, G. A. (2013). Leadership in organizations. Pearson Education India.

January 19, 2024


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