Women Expatriate Leaders: How Leadership Behaviors Can Reduce Gender Barriers

Carly Speranza


Multinational organizations that have integrated female expatriates into their leadership ranks have experienced a number of benefits; still, many organizations are still hesitant to send females overseas because they perceive that women will have difficulty in the cross-cultural environment. This study contributes to the limited body of work on female expatriate leadership and shows through phenomenological interpretation analysis of in-depth interviews with senior-level female expatriates from the U.S. government, how women expatriates can reduce gender barriers and successfully lead by employing specific leadership behaviors.  These leadership behaviors, as expressed by study participants, include competence, display of respect, and listening.  When employed together, these behaviors provide female expatriates an opportunity to gain trust, develop relationships, and socially deconstruct existing bias against women leaders.


Female leadership; expatriate; cross-cultural environment; gender barriers

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17062/cjil.v3i1.58


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