In most non-western societies, the self-system (personal standards of judging and guiding one’s actions) is much more inter-dependent on family and society, whereas in western societies, especially in the U.S., it is dependent on the individual self. Cross-cultural studies suggest that a person’s behavior should be understood in the context of their social experience and social roles. In all the cultures and countries studied, however, the status of women is universally lower than men; consequently there is a need to explore the causes. Professional women have made some strides in penetrating managerial ranks in the library and information science profession, but they still experience inequality in compensation, promotion, and in appointment to powerful middle or high-level positions. It seems that social needs and cultural influences play a very important role in the acceptance of women as managers or leaders.

This study compares the managerial motivations of Library and Information Science (LIS) students from the United States, India, Singapore, and Thailand. The students responded to a questionnaire containing 41 statements dealing with motivation to manage, and 16 demographic questions. The respondents consisted of 665 students from the United States, 808 from India, 73 from Singapore, and 284 from Thailand. (The data from Japan was not analyzed because the sample was too small-not a valid sample). The major gender differences show up by gender and country in ‘Social Acceptance,’ ‘Rigidity’ and ‘Women as Managers.’ Even when a majority of both genders agree to accept women as managers at the conceptual level, acceptance of women as managers lags behind men in societies according to the results of this study. In some of the countries studied, a substantial number of women do not have the confidence that they can handle managerial jobs as objectively and aggressively as men.

Publication Date

Spring 2004