As a result of these differences in Downloaded by UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA

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that hierarchical position is clear to everyone. As a result of these differences in Downloaded by UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA At 19:44 23 December 2016 (PT)
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A cultural feminist approach 419 communication strategies, women expect to ‘‘wait’’ their turn to speak and show an inclination towards fairness whereas men generally compete for the floor in order to establish a winner. Similarly, Claes (1991) suggests that men’s and women’s public discourses are visibly different. For instance, men tend to take over by talking more often in meetings, thus influencing the agenda for conversation. Power over speech is indeed more about powerful participants controlling the contribution of those with less power (Fairclough, 1989, p. 46). Consequently, female voices in TMTs are marginalised and communication styles remain undervalued in organisational and group interactions. A number of characteristics can be identified relating more to the way women communicate and interact in TMTs. Women tend to: use imperatives in communication; tasks become requests; avoid conflicts and aggression; frequently say ‘‘sorry’’ and feel responsible; follow an open door policy; give importance to personal relationships; and seek approval. Also, women use indirect intonations in their speech, fear the abuse of power preferring to be ‘‘nice’’ and attribute their success to others (Kanter, 1977). This means that unless the structures and networks for mediating and diffusing values, knowledge and experiences are expanded to include both women’s and men’s unique potential, organisations will remain impoverished in managing gender diversity (Claes, 1991). However, despite popular belief that feminine language generally lacks power and strength (Lakoff, 1975), feminine language can be redefined as a valuable interactional skill. Indeed, women’s talk could be described as ‘‘feminine’’ but not without value (Claes, 1991). In feminine language, workers are requested, not commanded, to perform tasks. In such conversations, aggressive behaviour and rude directness is avoided. Instead, women prefer to use indirect manners, with rising intonations, in order to preserve good relations within and outside the workplace. In fact, women’s converging conversational styles (Giles and Coupland, 1991) make interaction easier by diminishing felt differences between conversational partners. A recent conceptual model developed by Murray and Syed (2006) provides a basis by which to identify essential team learning domains that lead to increased team effectiveness. One of the domains (the enlightened domain) referred to dynamic listening and talking skills that expose and highlight organisational issues through any medium or forum designed to maximise the quality of free-flowing interactions. Enlightened behaviours accordingly involve both interpersonal and interactive skills; scholars generally support the view that women rate highly on both (Kabacoff, 1998; Kousez and Posner, 1990). Organisations create interactive domains (e.g. meetings, socialisation) as a way to enhance and maximise the need for free-flowing talk whereas the benefits of interpersonal skills are well known. Research suggests that women give
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