The Gendered impact on organisations of a critical mass of women in senior management

Colleen Chesterman, Anne Ross-Smith, Margaret Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on the findings of a recent Australia-wide empirical study that investigated the impact of the presence of senior women executives on management cultures. The study involved interviews with 255 senior executives in Australian organisations from the higher education, public and private sectors. It sought to analyse gendered organisational practices and procedures embedded within such cultures. We found that both men and women clearly agreed that the presence of women in senior roles had changed management cultures and influenced methods of decision-making. Yet we also found that the influences that women were seen to have on management cultures were often described in terms that reinforced traditional gender stereotypes. The paper argues that valuing management based upon traits and orientations traditionally associated with women and “the feminine” has the potential to further engender inequality at senior levels in organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-92
Number of pages24
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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