Women Leadership in the Field of Mental Health, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Qualitative research is a study that seeks to answer the ‘why’ questions not the question ‘how’ (Creswell, 2003). This occurs via unstructured information analysis of things such as open-ended survey responses, interview transcripts, photos, videos, feedback forms, email and notes. This research study does not just depend on numbers or statistics, which mostly applies to quantitative research. In this research, qualitative research will help answer why there is a low number of women leading in the field of mental health. This will be possible with questionnaires designed to get responses from the audiences.

Research question: What percentage do women make in leadership of the mental health field? The mental health field has faced challenges in that there are low numbers of women serving in the leadership arena. Men have always dominated in leadership of institutions even in positions that women could provide the best leadership. The society raises boys and girls differently and thus how these would address things differ. Therefore, there is a need to make a change by reserving positions requiring women leaders in institutions including the mental health field. The audiences addressed in this research are white. Although civilization came to the white people earlier than the black people, there is a notable low number of women leaders in the mental field in the white’s institutions providing services to women. This question will help in solving the anomaly of women leadership in the mental health field. This will be possible using responses, in the questionnaires, to design an appropriate intervention to address the situation.

I chose to undertake this research because a low number of women have been in leadership, in nearly all institutions (ELY et al, 2011: Coughlin et al. 2011). This has led to men occupying positions even those that women should rightly occupy. For example, according to Happell et al (2011), leading an institution dealing with women in addictions needs a woman to provide leadership in order to bring desirable changes. It is also crucial to note that women and men use different methods in leadership. The society raises boys and girls differently and thus how they will deal with situations later as adults differ (Fellin, 2007, p 37). This investigation aims to find out the leadership needs for the mental health field especially those dealing with women. The women need motivation to take up leadership roles in such institutions (Chandra et al. 2009, p 55). This will help their fellow women by addressing what men might have failed to address in the past.

Research methods

Research methods that could be useful in addressing the research question include descriptive research and literature review. A descriptive research refers to a scientific method involving describing and observing a subject’s behavior without using any way to influence it. Descriptive research utilizes elements of both quantitative and qualitative research. Literature review is an evaluation of the sources explaining how it integrates into the proposed research program and the integration of the previous research together. Both descriptive and literature review research are similar in that they do not in any way change the subject. The difference of these methods is that descriptive research involves observing and describing while literature review involves a search and evaluation of the sources. Literature review differs from descriptive study in that it could involve quantitative data. The advantage of descriptive study is that it does not influence a subject’s normal behavior.

Descriptive study will, therefore, give reasons of how the society has neglected women leadership in the mental health field. Literature review has an advantage in helping a researcher stay within the path and getting a direction of reaching the research goals. Thus, the use of this approach will help in keeping the research in the right path by ensuring a review of materials dealing with women in the mental health field. The design of the research will involve questionnaires, relevant data for analysis and the method of analyzing the results. Literature review will give background information of the topic, literature, findings, conclusions and further research for the study. Descriptive research will rely much on instrumentation in measurements and observations. This would happen repeatedly to ensure accuracy, generalizability and reliability of the research.

Descriptive research study will help in cases where it is impossible to measure and test numerous samples required for quantitative experimentation. Literature review will help in finding information necessary for investigation and the drawing of conclusions and recommendations for research. In this research topic, descriptive research is qualitative while literature review gives quantitative information and thus it is quantitative.

Casey et al (2011) used semi structured telephone interviews in a qualitative study concerned with the development, description, and philosophies of mental health delivery services for female veterans. The study discovered a lack of agreement in the field on consequences and the need of adapting existing programs.

Communication differences in the current workforce

In the workforce, we have four generations namely Traditionalists, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Generation Y. Generation Y is an emergent generation with numerous, different ways of communicating. The group also has a different set of values and needs over individuals dominating the current workforce.

Traditionalists are a group that valued one’s trust, loyalty, mutual respect, and the keeping of one’s promises (Macon & Artley, 2009). This group employed formal language, face-to-face communication, and straight-to-the-point speech types as ways of communicating amongst themselves. This group makes decisions and takes charge alone as leaders while, as followers, they operate a style of directive leadership. The practices of traditionalist leadership start with observation and reflection in the workplace, and action comes last in certain situations.

Dogan et al. (2008) asserts that, in the United States, Baby Boomers grew up in a post-war, prosperous and expansion period. This group prefers electronic or face-to face communication, and an open, direct communication style. This generation leads in a consensual and collegial fashion possessing a general concern of the wider society. The leadership paradigm of Baby Boomers can be COP-control, order, predict or OODA much like the Traditionalists (De Vries et al, 2010). The COP and OODA paradigms enforce a structure that is bureaucratic in organizations, and do not encourage changing the system, taking risks, or adapting in a situation. These paradigms require leaders to control and command instead.

According to Macon & Artley (2009), the Generation X’s upbringing met increasing number of women in the employments and a higher rate of divorce. In the lives of this generation, technology played a key role as cable TV and televisions was sometimes babysitters and became standard for the generation. Generation X relies on the use of email when communicating. They would also like someone to address them in a manner that is straightforward and informal. This group is fair, adaptable to change, competent, diversity-sensitive and participatory as leaders while, as followers, they do not like authoritative leadership styles.

Generation Y has developed perspectives and orientations because unlike the past generations its members are in their tender, formative years (Hartman & McCambridge, 2011). Old members of this generation experienced terrorism such as school shootings, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and 9/11 including the U.S. economic growth, during their adolescence and young adult years. This generation differs from X in that it has developed in a well-structured lifestyle constructed by the public education system and their parents. This generation possesses organizational mission in that its member’s value planned jobs and preparatory investments towards a prosperous life they wish to lead in the future. This generation has a developed team mentality due to possession of close ties to friends. In generation Y’s lifetime, technology has played a key role. They have internalized technology because they have never experienced life without it. De Vries et al. (2010) assert that the communication and information processing in this generation occurs via technology. Cell phones, internet, and E-mails are the key drivers of person-to-person exchange of communication. The first sources for many kinds of information in the group involve group chats. However, the information reaches this generation in an unfiltered manner through Internet and TV resulting formation of opinions without discussion.

Generational differences are due to the state of the mind and not age. This is true in light of the four generations discussed above. It is possible to find an old individual and yet we can classify as belonging to the Y generation. This can happen through the influence of the present environment, which is full of technological advances.

Understanding these differences helps those in leadership to ensure that they use the right and suitable manner of communication for the workers. This, in turn, contributes to the success of the organizations. Organizations can ensure social cohesion and development of the spirit of teamwork among their workers. Organizations require leaders who possess generative learning potential in order to understand the importance of directing and developing knowledge. The 21st century has the majority of people in the Y Generation, and thus leaders should adopt the right means and manner of communicating with this workforce (De Vries et al, 2010). The diversity seen in the workforce ought to be in the mind of leaders to ensure proper communication and interventions to ensure meeting the organizational mission.

A relationship leadership theory mostly suits the Y generation, which prefers a people oriented style of leadership. This theory, also referred to as transformational theory dwells on connections between followers and leaders. Transformational leaders focus on the group members performance, but they also emphasize potential fulfillment of each person in the society.

Leadership styles

A servant leader is one not often formally recognized. This leadership style is a democratic leadership form, which allows a whole team to have a chance in decision-making (Astroth et al, 2011). Charismatic leadership involves a leader making his or her team enthusiastic, and energetically driving others in the team forward.

Servant leadership has a number of strengths including all-round employee development, achievement of power through fostering value-based management development. However, it has weaknesses including unsuitable soft approach in a competitive environment and a failure to resolve issues in an effective manner to realize organizational goals.

Charismatic leadership has some strength including the establishment of strong, unchallenged obedience levels, usefulness in difficult circumstances and effectiveness if the leader has a right vision (Jens & Kathrin, 2007). Charismatic leadership is also energetic, has inner clarity, unconventional, exemplary and visionary. However, the style has weaknesses in that its strength of unchallenged obedience creates a people who agree to whatever decision from the leaders. This leadership also leads to insensitivity to others by leaders. This leadership style is unpredictable and can sometimes lack accountability. Values of charismatic leadership are necessary, but if the leaders are poor or selfish, they can rape the minds of the followers and create cults in the organizations.

Charismatic and servant leadership styles compare, in that, both are people oriented. However, they differ in that charismatic leadership may involve domination of leaders in the making of decisions as it can encourage insensitivity to others. Servant leadership, though, slow in decision-making, tends to involve leaders and followers in all aspects of decision-making. It is possible for an individual to possess both leadership qualities and be effective in providing leadership. This can happen by a leader engaging, charismatic and servant leadership styles in situations that demand either of the styles. This is because the two leadership styles tend to complement each other. Servant leadership is excellent in involving all people in decision-making, but charismatic leadership serves best in situations that need quick decisions and actions deemed at bringing quick interventions and changes. Servant leadership may fail in instilling discipline among workers and charismatic leadership can do it instead, thus complementing servant leadership.

References

Astroth, K. A., Goodwin, J., & Hodnett, F. (2011). Servant Leadership: Guiding Extension Programs in the 21st Century. Journal Of Extension, 49(3),

Casey MacGregor (a, b., Alison B. Hamilton (a, b., Sabine M. Oishi, (., & Elizabeth M. Yano (a, e. (2011). Original article: Description, Development, and Philosophies of Mental Health Service Delivery for Female Veterans in the VA: A Qualitative Study. Women’s Health Issues, 21(Supplement), S138-S144. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2011.04.006

Chandra P. S.,  Fisher J. E. , Herrman H. , Kastrup M. , Niaz U. , Okasha, A. & Rondon M. (2009). Contemporary Topics in Women’s Mental Health: Global Perspectives in a Changing Society.
John Wiley & Sons: 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ.

Coughlin, L., Hollihan, K., & Wingard, E. (2011). Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership. John Wiley & Sons: 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ.

Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design : qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches / John W. Creswell. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2003.

De Vries, R. E., Bakker-Pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010). Leadership = Communication? The Relations of Leaders’ Communication Styles with Leadership Styles, Knowledge Sharing and Leadership Outcomes. Journal Of Business & Psychology, 25(3), 367-380. doi:10.1007/s10869-009-9140-2

Dogan Gursoy (a, ⁎., Thomas A. Maier (b, 1., & Christina G. Chi, (. (2008). Generational differences: An examination of work values and generational gaps in the hospitality workforce. International Journal Of Hospitality Management, 27(Special Issue on Hospitality Management in China), 448-458. doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2007.11.002

ELY, R. J., IBARRA, H., & KOLB, D. M. (2011). Taking Gender Into Account: Theory and Design for Women’s Leadership Development Programs. Academy Of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 474-493.

Fellin, P. (2007). Mental health and mental illness: policies, programs, and services. Peacock Publishers: University of Michigan.

Happell, B., Palmer, C., & Tennent, R. (2011). The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program: desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes from the perspective of nurses. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 20(5/6), 901-910. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03510.x

Hartman, J. L., & McCambridge, J. (2011). Optimizing Millennials’ Communication Styles. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(1), 22-44. doi:10.1177/1080569910395564

Jens Rowold (a, ⁎., & Kathrin Heinitz, (. (2007). Transformational and charismatic leadership: Assessing the convergent, divergent and criterion validity of the MLQ and the CKS. The Leadership Quarterly, 18121-133. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2007.01.003

Macon, M., & Artley, J. B. (2009). CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? A REVIEW OF THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN A MULTIGENERATIONAL WORKFORCE. International Journal Of Business Research, 9(6), 90-94.

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