Date of Award

Spring 1992

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Turner, Lynn

Second Advisor

Shuter, Robert

Third Advisor

Buzzanell, Patrice

Abstract

This study investigated perceptions of both supervisory and subordinate personnel in a major midwestern metropolitan law enforcement agency to determine the effects biological sex has on perceptions of women in general and perceptions of the communication competencies of women as leaders. The field of law enforcement was chosen because it has long been considered a male dominated working environment that can be stressful for women. Female law enforcement personnel demonstrated a more positive regard for women in general and a more positive regard for the communication competencies of women as managers than did males. Employees who tended to view women in a positive manner also tended to view positively the communication competencies of women as managers. Individuals who had worked for or with a female manager had more positive regard for women in general and more positive regard for the communication competencies of women as leaders than those who had not worked for a female supervisor. This study also sought to explore the types of skills men and women in law enforcement perceived necessary in a good leader and the skills men and women recognized in themselves. Both supervisory and subordinate personnel agreed that the composite of a "good supervisor" defined by males and females was trustworthy, had the skills of planning, organizing and goal setting, and had the knowledge to support his/her decisions. Males and females did differ in the manner in which they expressed themselves and the types of skills they said they possessed. Males cited experience in law enforcement. Females cited abilities to organize and handle stress.

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