Topic: Leadership

Author(s), Title and Publication
Ruderman, M. N.; Ohlott, P. J.; Panzer, K.; & King, S. N. (2002). Benefits of multiple roles for managerial women. Academy of Management Journal, 45(2), 369-386.

This article used two studies to examine the relationships between female managers’ multiple life roles and their psychological well-being and managerial skills. In study 1, the authors interviewed 61 female managers about what they believed were the contributions of their personal lives to their effectiveness as managers. Results revealed that the managerial women felt participating in non-work roles contributed important resources to their managerial role performance. These experiences provided 1) opportunities to enrich interpersonal skills (e.g., understanding, motivating, respecting, developing others); 2) psychological benefits, with feelings of self-esteem and confidence derived from personal experiences enhancing their confidence at work; 3) emotional support from friends and family; and 4) opportunities to practice multitasking. Participants felt their personal interests and background provided key sources of information at work, and that they learned leadership skills through their experiences in family businesses and participation in community and religious organizations.

Study 2 then investigated the relationships among female managers’ commitment to multiple roles and their psychological well-being and management skills. The authors surveyed 276 female managers to assess their multiple life role commitment (perceptions of personal investment in five key life roles: occupational, marital, parental, community, and friendship); psychological well-being (life satisfaction, self-esteem, and self-acceptance); and managerial skills. Results indicated that managerial women who are committed to a variety of roles seem to be very satisfied with their lives, possess a strong sense of self-worth, and have excellent interpersonal and task-related managerial skills.

Implications for Practice
Organizations may need to recognize the psychological and professional benefits of a multiple-role life for their employees, and encourage and assist employees in transferring their learning from non-work roles to work arenas.

Location of Article
The article is available online at: (read online for free, free registration needed)

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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