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Women and Leadership (Book Reviews)

Read "Through the Labyrinth". For each of the eleven chapters, summarize main points in each chapter, 200 words per chapter maximum. Next, give your opinion of the authors' ideas. How do they compare to your experiences and to other ideas you have read about related to leadership? What most surprised you? This section should be 300.

Read "Disappearing Acts". Fletcher's study examines how women's relational way of leading are misunderstood and devalued in the workplace. Summarize the concept of relational leadership. What do the results of Fletcher's study show about relational leadership? Compare/contrast this theory to the ideas presented in the first book. Finally, what is your view of Fletcher's theory and findings? 750 words.

Read "Enlightened Power". Summarize the three sections of the book, focusing on the themes that connect the essays, referencing the essays to support your ideas. Secondly, pick one or more essays that support Fletcher's ideas on relational leadership. How did the authors' experiences or ideas relate to Fletcher's? Which essay in "Enlightened power" had the most relevance to your work situation and why? Which essay was the most inspiring to you and why?

Also, describe your reaction to these readings. Have your ideas about leadership changed? Has the way that you intend to relate to women or women leaders in the workplace changed? If so, how? Feel free to add any other reactions you have to the readings.

1. Coughlin, L., Hollihan, K., & Wingard, E. (Eds.) (2005). Enlightened power: How women are transforming the practice of leadership. New York: John Wiley. ISBN 9781118085875.
2. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press. ISBN 9781422116913.
3. Fletcher, J.K. (2001). Disappearing acts: Gender, power, and relational practice at work.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262561402. (

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below should get you started. This appears to be a lengthy and complex task as each of the books you are being asked to review are all in-depth studies of women and power. For such a complex task, you need to have a simplified outline so that all you need to do is 'fill it' in with what is needed. What I will do for you below is get you started on these tasks - give you the foundational ideas that you can use as a basis. I suggest this simple outline:

Through the Labyrinth:
1. Summary of main points according to chapter (you can expand on each of the main idea from here) - 400 words
2. Opinion of ideas in relation to leadership and what was surprising - 100 words

Disappearing Acts:
1. Summary of the book - 200 words
2. On relational leadership (explanation of the concept) - 200 words
3. Comparison/contrast with book 1 - 200 words
4. Opinion on theory - 150 words

Enlightened Power:
1. Three section summary - 300 words
2. On Enlightened Power - citation from essays - 300 words
3. Relevant essay to you - 100 words
4. Most inspiring - 100 words

1. Reaction to the reading - 100 words
2. Ideas on leadership - 100 words
3. Relating to women - 100 words

You can also use the listed resources to further explore the topic. All the best with your studies.

AE 105878/Xenia Jones

Women and Leadership: A review of 3 Books

Book 1: Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders

This particular book by Eagly and Carli provides a close examination of the path women take to attain power and influence in today's world. They believe that even in a world that has progressed to push for gender, ethnic and social equality, with laws protecting against discrimination, women leaders in elite power positions are rare. For them, the glass ceiling used to explain what women come up against is no longer an apt metaphor - in this book they propose that what women are presented is a maze, a labyrinth full of obstacles that stop women from truly achieving, from coming into power. They offer 7 reasons and a discussion going through the 11 chapters of the book. They study how far women have come in terms of leadership and if it is true that women leadership is resisted; they look into stereotypes and prejudices against women; they study if groups and organizations construct obstacles specific for women leadership. Drawing from a host of bodies of knowledge including psychology, sociology, business management, public administration, economics and political science - what appears is a discursive study that yields patterns of a labyrinthine construct that stop the arising and development of women leaders.

In chapter 1, the authors break down the glass ceiling metaphor, declaring it a mismatch to today's challenges, in chapter 2 they present today's women leaders - where they are, what they do, situating them in a world of men and the paths they have charted. In chapter 3, they deconstruct the 'natural leadership' notion of men utilizing psychological principles. In chapter 4 they discuss how domestic responsibilities for women at home hold them back and how men can change things by stepping up in the home front. In chapter 5 they look into the possibility that discrimination still presents an obstacle looking into inequality in a host of areas like wages and availability of organizational advancement. In chapter 6, they look at the psychological construct that presents a bias against female leadership.

In chapter 7, they look at the obstacles against women leadership in organizations - especially the elements that result to or offer resistance. In chapter 8, the leadership of women through a number of case studies and research is pitted against the leadership of men, looking into the biases against women leadership. In chapter 9, they look at the varied ways organizations compromise women leadership by creating barriers within the organization. In chapter 10, they look at specific cases of women who have triumphed through the labyrinth, presenting 2 camps - the 'act-masculine' and 'act -feminine' approaches and how ultimately, those who succeed plot a course that is multifaceted, subtle and more complicated than either can present. Lastly in Chapter 11, the authors ultimately look at the performance of women leaders - how good or bad they are as portrayed in the media, with the media becoming the constructive element to creating women-leadership image.

Opinion & Reflection:
Reading the work of Eagly & Carli (2007) was enlightening as it really drove home the idea that it is not just a simple case of 'making things equal' between men and women in legal terms that will drive out inequality and lead women to reach their potentials, to truly achieve. In a sense, for me, the legal elements are just the beginning. There is still so much to reform, to develop, to truly achieve a fair system. The women exemplified (i.e. Hillary Clinton) who have truly achieved power and ingrained their decidedly feminine construct in yielding and achieving incredible feats of steering society and organizations towards greatness are astounding. Reading through them made me appreciate the true cultural, social, political, economic and psychological barriers in place - from here I came to understand that there is no one singular ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, outlines, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) of doing a comprehensive review of 3 books tackling the topic of women and leadership. Each of the reviews for the 3 books are provided an outline based on the tasks set. A discussion set follows based on this outline to give the student information and ideas in relation to completing the task. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.