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WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: CHALLENGES FOR AND CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS OF FEMALE LEADERS BASED ON THREE STATE UNIVERSITIES IN SRI LANKA

Abstract

Historically, different cultures had assigned different behavior roles for women. Traditional society in particular, has clearly segregated the sphere of activities of women to home career, mother and peacemaker within their own households, which eventually regard women as “homemakers”. They are lavishly praised for performing the role well. Yet, the society simply oversees the “expert” disguised in the role. Anyhow, with the advent of globalization and modernization, though biologically woman vis-àvis man is feeble, the attainment of women in comparison to men has touched every walk of life. Though, it is palpable that women are, however, relatively underrepresented in decision-making [leadership] positions in almost all the countries. Thus, their skills, viewpoints and opinions often remain unheard, underrepresented or unnoticed. The objectives of this paper are tripartite; to examine the challenges faced by women as leaders, to classify women leaders based on four important dimensions reflecting upon their effectiveness, and to identify critical success factors that influence women as leaders, based on the State University Sector in Sri Lanka. The research approach of the study is primarily qualitative in nature and is limited to female administrative leaders in three state universities in Sri Lanka. The sample has been selected based on stratified random sampling method and the key source of data collection was a mini-survey guided by a structured questionnaire. Employed women are bound to play dual responsibilities: household and workplace, simultaneously. Even though, an overwhelming majority of such women prioritize household responsibilities as they have been traditionally defined as homemakers rather than breadwinners, which in fact is the greatest challenge for their career advancement. Successful women leaders attribute their success primarily to several important individual and situational factors, and it is women who are masculine and career oriented, who make their way to become effective leaders rather than those who are feminine and family-oriented in their leadership qualities.

Keywords: Challenges, Critical Success Factors, Leadership, State Universities, Women

 

For full Paper: fmscresearch@sjp.ac.lk


Author Biography

W.S. Handapangoda

Lecturer , Department of Business Economics, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Sri Lanka)

N.W.K. Galahitiyawe

Lecturer , Department of Information Technology and Decision Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Sri Lanka)

T.L. Sajeewani

Lecturer, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda (Sri Lanka)