When Women Lead : Integrative Leadership in State Legislatures

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Until recently, the study of legislative leadership has been the study of men. Scholars have taught students that legislative leadership is transactional, a kind of competitive bargaining procedure to broker particular interests. When Women Lead: Integrative Leadership in State Legislatures brings to light the important contributions that women as legislative leaders make to the institutions in which they operate. Cindy Simon Rosenthal shows us how (and where) women are "integrating" the ranks of the legislative hierarchy, a forum in which they have been all but absent. She also argues that women are "doing leadership" in an innovative, inclusive style that subtly redefines both the appearance and meaning of political leadership.

Contradicting the assumption that legislative leadership is inherently transactional, Rosenthal posits an integrative style emphasizing collaboration, shared problem-solving, and consensus. Further, she argues that women committee chairs come to their roles from different life experiences, and so employ motivations, tactics, and visions of leadership that differ in important ways from their male counterparts. Her findings suggest that women tend to see political leadership as something more than the act of satisfying particular interests.

This study of women who chair state legislative committees examines one of America's largest cohorts of women in institutional leadership roles, thus making an important contribution to our understanding of gender, organizational leadership, and state legislatures. Rosenthal ably demonstrates that legislatures are not gender-neutral and that legislative leadership must be understood within a gendered context. Numbers and power therefore constitute critical variables throughout this study. While stereotyping has not disappeared in some states, women across the country—as illustrated in When Women Lead—are effectively redefining the framework and the assumptions central to political leadership in other locales.

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What People Are Saying

Alan Rosenthal
When Women Lead, a study of integrative leadership, is solidly grounded in theory, nicely shaped by empirical method, and admirably informed by practical insight. It makes a unique contribution to the study of women and politics specifically and of legislatures more generally.
Jane Maroney
[This book] effectively expresses major concerns regarding the differences between make and female legislators and provides insight as to why these differences exist. As an insight into the processes of managing, decision-making, and presentation, the book allows anyone who wishes to delve into the political realm to truly understand the variety of leadership styles of legislators.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195115413
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Cindy Simon Rosenthal is both Assistant Professor of Political Science and Assistant Director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, where she teaches courses on state government, intergovernmental relations, public policy, and women in politics. She brings to her academic career more than eighteen years' experience working with state legislatures on management, procedural, and leadership issues, and her work has appeared in State Legislatures, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, State Government, Oklahoma Politics, and Policy Studies Journal.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
1 Integrating Leadership in State Legislatures 3
2 Gender, Leadership, and Legislatures: Theoretical Roots 18
3 The Origins of Different Committee Styles 32
4 The Components of Integrative Leadership: Motivation, Behavior, and Style 54
5 The Constraints of Place on Leadership 77
6 Oklahoma: Leadership in No-Woman's Land 96
7 Ohio: Gender Power in a Time of Leadership Transition 117
8 Colorado: Defining the Standards of Leadership 137
9 A Vision of Integrative Leadership 159
Appendix: Methodology 168
Notes 181
References 219
Index 233
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