By way of introduction to the topic, this report commences with a brief review of the literature on gender differences, superior-subordinate communication and communication congruence within the superior-subordinate dyad.
The study that was conducted examined the different perceptions that superiors and their subordinates have of their communication with one another and the consequences of -these perceptions upon subordinates' levels of job satisfaction. Two hundred and seventy-three middle managers, and one of their subordinates completed a structured questionnaire that investigated their communication with each other in terms of frequency and initiation, levels of recognition and self-disclosure, and level s of dominance by managers. Gender was found to have a significant impact on the perceptions of the communication occurring within superior-subordinate dyads.
Managers did not differ in their perceptions of their communication with their subordinates, generally believing it to be more frequent and with more recognition of the subordinate. Subordinates, indicated the exact opposite. The largest differences in perceptions occurred within dyads comprising of task- oriented female managers and their female subordinates. Across, the different manager-subordinate dyads, subordinates' perceptions of the communication predicted their job satisfaction; however there was less evidence of a correlation between subordinate-manager communication congruence and the job satisfaction of subordinates.
In the light of these findings, it is suggested that superiors make an endeavour to become acutely aware of the communication perceptions of their subordinates and where necessary, take steps to reverse negative perceptions. The issue of what constitutes effective leadership is addressed especially as it relates to perceptions of female managerial behaviour. Overall, it is advocated that both male and female superiors should develop an approach that is more androgynous to ensure that task and people concerns are both equally' attended to, and more importantly, that subordinates are able to discern this.