One of the most important issues concerning the workforce at Nagel Partners is its gender demographic. The proportion of male to female employees is approximately even at the lower levels. However, the number of female role models available to these women employees is disproportionately low, amounting to only about 10% at the executive levels. Nagel Partners’ executives have expressed concern about the profitability of training more female employees to fill managerial and executive positions, and this concern is justified. However, it would prove very beneficial to this firm to embark on such a training scheme, since many women do tend to give out their best performance under situations that are generally different from those that male leaders and managers are able create.
One of the major divisions in leadership type is between task-oriented (production-oriented) and relationship-oriented (employee-oriented) leaders. While a task-oriented leader tends to focus on the accomplishment of production goals, relationship-oriented leaders are foremost concerned with the well-being of their subordinates (Lewitz & Bem, 1983). However, once the task has been accomplished, the task-oriented leader is usually better able to focus on relationships.
The opposite is true for relationship-oriented leaders, who are able to facilitate the optimal completion of tasks once it has been established that needs of subordinates (or of the group) have been met (1983). In a firm like Nagel Partners, which focuses on a predominantly task oriented job (accounting), task orientation is a necessity. However, considering that employees are human beings, a holistic look at management would warrant the inclusion of a more relationship-based orientation.
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The type of leader that a woman will prove to be (whether task- or relationship-oriented) may have an impact on her performance as a manager. Though this cannot be considered true in all instances, women have generally been perceived as being more relationship-oriented than men (“Masculine and Feminine,” 2005). This has also been seen by many as having the ability to affect productivity as a manager in a task-oriented firm.
However, in a firm with such a large population of valuable women workers as Nagel Partners, it can be seen that women do have the capability to perform tasks well. Furthermore, it has been stated by several leadership researchers that leaders who are relationship oriented lead divisions that perform as well as those of leaders who are task-oriented (2005). One of the keys behind this is the fact that relationship-oriented leaders are capable of creating an atmosphere in which tasks can be performed at optimal levels (2005).
Since women generally have a natural proclivity toward being relationship oriented (“Masculine and Feminine,” 2005), then the need for such a leader might be considered to be very large at Nagel Partners. Females workers trained to occupy leadership positions are likely to have a positive effect on the productivity of their female subordinates, as they have a natural inclination toward creating the atmosphere in which these persons can produce their best work. Training would, however, likely be necessary in an effort to increase these female managers’ tendency toward the more task-oriented goals of giving directions to and setting standards for employees.
The ability for employees to identify with those in leadership positions is also an important component in a manager’s power or influence with employees. The large proportion of women on the payroll at Nagel Partners would allow for increased identification, were more women to be trained and placed in managerial and executive positions. Despite this fact, it has also been shown that many females have trouble subordinating men (Lewitz & Bem, 1983).
Some women may have an innate problem with this, while others might come across male employees who are reluctant to behave subordinately toward a female manager. Since as many men as women work at Nagel Partners, training is necessary to improve prospective female managers’ ability to relate well to both sexes. This is an especially good idea since it has been shown that training has the ability to transform less assertive women by increasing their assertiveness in given situations. Women were able to increase the efficacy of their performance in mixed-sex groups as a result of such intervention (1983). Therefore, training women to become managers in this firm would prove beneficial.
One possible challenge to be faced by increasing the number of female managers is that in the workforce culture of the United States, masculinity as a leadership type seems to be generally given a higher value. First of all, this operates under the assumption that achievement and assertiveness are masculine traits. While this is not always the case, when training female leaders, considerations should be made regarding methods of enhancing (or, if need be, instilling) those attributes.
The fact that these women will be leading other women makes any inherent femininity traits an invaluable leadership tool. However, the fact that these women would also be leading men makes it necessary that those who do not already possess masculinity traits be trained in that area. All these factors would make the training of female managers very beneficial to Nagel Partners.
“The ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ sides of leadership and culture: perception vs. reality.” (2005). Leadership and Change. October. U. of Penn. Retrieved on February 23, 2007 from
Lewittes, H. J. & S. L. Bem. (1983). “Training women to be more assertive in mixed-sex task- oriented discussions.” Behavioral Science. 9(5), 581-596.
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