Abstract: Women and Organizational Leadership: International Dimensions

Angel Kwolek-Folland, Terry M. Dworkin, Cindy Schipani, and Virginia Maurer


This paper reports on an ongoing project initiated by scholars at the University of Florida, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan (the Pathways Research Group) to examine how women and men obtain positions of organizational leadership. In particular, it explores some of the international dimensions of business mentoring and networking gleaned from preliminary results of an international survey of MBA graduates. Preliminary survey data suggest that women and men create and utilize mentoring and networking differently, and that there are important differences internationally in how individuals make use of networks and mentors in their leadership careers. In an increasingly global economy, developing a full range of leaders competent to deal with multinational cultural challenges is more important than ever. To the extent that individuals spontaneously rely on networking and mentoring to hone their career skills, it would be useful for scholars—and corporate leaders—to understand how such relationships develop and nurture, or fail to nurture, leadership talents. This report on some of the findings from the Pathways to Leadership focus groups and survey suggests the complexity involved in exploring basic workplace leadership issues for women and men in an international context.