Observational Research for Leadership Specific to Gender and Ethnic Diversity

The evolution of leadership theory brought attention to early study findings that identified leader traits based on a narrow segment of the population. As diversity in leadership gained consideration, the subject was often added to the foundation of earlier studies. Western (2013) warned that “diversity issues are marginalized in management circles and business schools” (p. 99).  This assignment focuses on leadership specific to gender and ethnic diversity.

Leaders in all settings have an obligation to recognize their own biases and observe individuals and cultural dynamics as objectively as possible.  Take the opportunity in this Critical Thinking Assignment to practice objectivity in research.

  1. This Critical Thinking Assignmentculminates in the form of a management report* based on data from your own observational research within your work environment or community organization.  The problem that you are investigating is the low percentage of women in formal leadership positions in the organization.  Gather scholarly articles on two leadership theories associated with diversity and especially gender diversity to serve as a backdrop for your investigation.
  2. To prepare for the observational research, Western (2013) [required reading] suggests that observers work to set aside any preconceived notions of what might be discovered.  Western uses the term “follow the actors” to describe how an objective observer strives to follow the leads of the group members rather than assuming what is might be involved. Also, look beyond the human actors to note the role of non-human elements of the setting.

    Select a group or team within the organization to observe and answer the following:
    • Who is sitting at the leadership table and who is absent?
    • Whose voices are heard and whose aren’t, and why?
    • Whose values and interests are being represented?
    • Is there leadership that goes unnoticed?
    • [NOTE: if you are unable to physically access a location for observational research or to conduct such observations in general, you may complete this assignment by doing one of the following: a) enlisting the support of another person who can help you interpret the group; b) write a paper on the best practices to employ, using a group scenario that you construct and describe. Address all the questions and requirements in the regular assignment; or c) ask a group if you may observe them using SKYPE or FaceTime, for example. Reach out to your instructor for more assistance]
  3. Once the observations are completed, prepare the data for analysis.  You might define categories or identify themes based on what was recorded.  Then analyze the data according to relevant diversity leadership theories that you gathered, from this weeks required readings, and from the lecture. 
  4. Prepare a management report* for a hypothetical audience of managers that have a stake in the stated problem.

The management report:

Include five (5) sections within a maximum of five pages (in addition to the required title and reference pages and appendices).  The report sections include:

  • The Introduction of your investigation including a statement about why the research is important (remember your audience!)
  • A description of how you collected the observational data, prepared data, and analyzed for results. Explain why these methods are appropriate (support with scholarly sources)
  • A literature review of the two associated theories
  • A discussion of the results and how the managers might use the findings to address the stated problem
  • A summary of the investigative process and a closing statement of what you, the researcher, learned from the study.
  • Use appendices to include raw data, data preparation worksheets, or analytic tools. 

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