Gender Issues in Organizational Leadership

Course Details

DYNM 601: Gender Issues in Organizational Leadership

Program Information

This is a Graduate course that satisfies the following requirements:
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Course Information


This seminar will explore the intersection of gender and organizational behavior as it has evolved within the social and economic context of this country. We will examine the social, cultural, and structural dynamics within organizations that differentially affect women and men, as well as the gender-linked resources each brings to organizations. Topics that will be addressed include the debate over the current situation of women in the workforce; the social construction of gender; the relationship of gender and power in understanding gender dynamics in the workplace; the intersection of gender and class; gender issues in organizational leadership; policy and practice as reinforcers of gendered dynamics; the interaction of culture and organizational structure; and restructuring organizations to better meet the needs of women and men in today's culture. The course will 1) address the development of a theoretical framework for understanding gender issues in the workplace; 2) explore more specific ways in which policies and practices have differential effects on employees and managers by virtue of gender; and 3) focus on alternative conceptualizations, structures, policies, and practices that could make it possible for both men and women to be successful in the workplace and to avoid gender-based discrimination. In this last section we will specifically discuss various organizational change processes that address gender issues within organizations.


  1. A 6-8 page paper (double-spaced, 1" margins and type size no smaller than 11 points) that describes and analyzes policies and/or practices in your organization that have differential effects on people according to gender. To successfully complete this assignment, you will need to gather "data" inside your organization to explore possible gendered effects of policies or practices or to illustrate or demonstrate your position. Limit yourself to a thorough analysis of one or, at most, two related policies or practices. It is essential to use the literature from the course, or other readings you may have done in this area (you are neither required nor expected to do any reading outside of the course assignments for this paper), to ground your analysis. During weeks 7 and 8 of class, each student will be asked to make a 10-15 minute presentation of the major findings and analysis presented in her/his paper. DUE: WEEK 7
  2. Final paper. Take one issue related to gender and organizations that is of particular interest to you (e.g., sexual harassment, management styles, the "glass ceiling," policies that affect work-family balancing, etc.), and do a literature review of the issue (to do this well you will have to go to the Penn library and/or use the computer to locate useful literature that leads to your own analysis of the dynamics of the issue as it exists in the workplace. Then, discuss the issue and its implications for your workplace (approximately 10-12 pages). DUE: WEEK 12
  3. The seminar will involve a substantial amount of reading from both required books and a bulkpack. Writing assignments will focus on students' examination and assessment of gender-linked dynamics in their own workplaces. Classroom time will be structured according to a seminar format including some presentations of material by the instructor, group discussions of readings, student presentations, and group discussion and examination of students' own organizational experiences as they relate to the course material.
  4. Students are expected to attend all classes in this course, as class discussion and participation are an essential part of the course content. A great deal of what students learn, including synthesis of the readings, takes place in class. Therefore, any student missing more than two classes for any reason will not be able to complete the course successfully.


  • Lips, H. (1991). Women, Men and Power. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
  • Tannen, D. (1994). Talking from 9 to 5. NY: William Morrow.
  • Tavris, C. (1992). The Mismeasure of Woman. NY: Simon and Schuster.
  • Anselmi & Law (1998). Questions of Gender. NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • Bulkpack