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Female Leaders: How networks influence women aspiring to become leaders
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Business, Economics and Design, Linnaeus School of Business and Economics.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

According to Ibeh et al (2008) organizations with women in top management positions tend to excel financially, but if we look at recent statistics women are strongly underrepresented in those positions. In Sweden, 5 of the 291 stock market companies have a female CEO (, 2011). I started to wonder how this could still be a problem, when we are an equal society in many other ways. I found in my first search for literature that female networks were not as researched about as male networks which made this area both difficult to find other research in but even more important to conduct. My hopes are that this thesis will bring more interest into this field of research and have a positive impact on the development of more female leaders.

What I try to find the answer to in this thesis is how female networks influence women aspiring to become leaders and how these networks could work more as supportive networks.

I conducted my research by having 5 interviews with female leaders that has been successful. We had long discussions about what made them successful and how their female networks works. I have also used a great deal of literature, both literature that has done similar interviews in order to support my arguments but also literature in the subject Networks. I used an actor’s view, which means that I tried to understand what these women have experienced and tried to give them a fair picture.

I found that there is a big difference between informal and professional networks and that woman were more likely to grade informal networks higher. Informal networks could be very unsupportive to women’s careers. In these informal networks I found that women tended to push each other to become "good girls" and do everything perfectly which could be conceived as very stressful and become an obstacle when women tries to excel in their career. In order to dismantle yourself from the wishes of the group that you need to be perfect I found that a high self esteem was something crucial that all of my interviewed women seemed to have. In order to "fight" the female laws that women are learned that they should follow you need to believe in yourself.

The implications I found that can be done in this area is that women need to grade professional networks higher, we need to bring our profession into our informal networks and we also need to be supportive inside our informal networks in order to change this statistics. Since people are very dependent on having good relationships with other people, we are likely to listen to each others criticism. This change is not done in one day, and therefore we also need more research within this area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 68 p.
Keyword [en]
Networks, Female Leadership
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-12510OAI: diva2:422999
Subject / course
Management and Organization
Educational program
Leadership and Management in International Context, Master Programme, 60 credits
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-06-23 Created: 2011-06-14 Last updated: 2011-06-23Bibliographically approved

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