Our research shows that men and women differ in their use of communicative abstraction, with men using more abstract communication than women. Because people rely on communicative abstraction as a heuristic cue for power and status, women’s tendency to use less abstract communication may interfere with their ability to emerge as leaders. We provide recommendations for how managers can support women’s growth and leadership emergence in light of our findings. We further highlight strategies that men and women can adopt to tailor their communication to the demands of the context.
Priyanka D. Joshi
San Francisco State University
Priyanka Joshi is an assistant professor of Management in the Lam Family College of Business at San Francisco State University. Professor Joshi’s research examines questions related to gender and leadership, communication and influence, and entrepreneurship. Professor...
Cheryl J. Wakslak
University of Southern California
Cheryl Wakslak is the McAlister Associate Professor in Business Administration at the University of California’s Marshall School of Business. Professor Wakslak’s research focuses on how people use abstraction to connect with people across different forms of...
Harvard Business School
Laura Huang is an associate professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Professor Huang’s research examines interpersonal relationships and implicit bias in entrepreneurship and in the workplace. She is an award-winning researcher and was named one...
George Washington University
Gil Appel is an assistant professor of marketing at the GW School of Business. Professor Appel’s research has focused on the rapidly growing digital domain, within which he is interested in two main arcs: The first arc is the evolution of digital markets, from e...
by Nancy DiTomaso, Catrina Palmer Johnson
The burgeoning literature on gender inequality and the increasing attention to women’s leadership roles make it difficult to see the broader picture of where...
by Kristina M. Durante, Alexis Rittweger
Despite women’s gains in today’s workplace, there is still a long way to go toward gender parity. One factor contributing to inequity is social norms related to...