Differences in Gender Communication
Introduction This paper attempts to review for the reader a selection of literature that study and analyze the differences that exist between men and women and the manner in which they communicate. Not only do these pieces of literature fall into different categories and specialties, they also deliver varied opinions and results as to what causes the differences discussed. By becoming familiar with the many aspects of gender communication differences, the responsible worker or manager can synthesize those findings into a methodology that enhances work place communication. The literature available on gender communication differences, when analyzed, display themes of discussion. They are listed below in order of importance, followed
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They posit the notion that posture and body language do more to hinder effective communication between genders by subconsciously indicating discomfort, uneasiness, aggression, and impatience (Wharton, 2005). Wharton explains how a female manager giving directions to a male subordinate may invoke in the male a belief of her incompetence. This is because her body language suggests to the man that she is too nervous, when this is actually not the case (Wharton, 2005). On the other hand, Kitchen describes how a woman subordinate may believe her male manager to be angry with her when he is merely being direct and succinct (2001). In yet a different perspective, Sorenson depicts the nodding of heads by women to be interpreted by their male co-workers as agreement and acceptance, when they are merely intended by the women as an indication of attention (Sorenson, 2001). A secondary trend in the literature detailing non-verbal communication behavior in the workplace deals with the issue of sexual harassment, represented here by Gustafsson. He argues that while overt (verbal) sexual harassment occurs, there are more subtle ways in which men create a communication gap through unconscious attitudes or mannerisms that put women on the defensive (Gustafsson, 2000). All of these pieces of literature are valuable by providing to the reader different scenarios that encapsulate the essence of the gender communication gap.