Talking from 9 to 5: Chapter 7

by Diana Stancy on July 23, 2014 · 0 comments

Men and women view perceptions of hierarchy differently. While men are more status oriented, women tend to be relationship oriented. Because of this, women focus on developing strong relationships with co-workers, bosses, and subordinates so that if issues arise, she can reach out to the person necessary and solve the problem effectively. Meanwhile, men focus on the status of a person as incentive to accomplish a task well.

However, Tannen makes it clear that these different perceptions of authority can coincide. She states:

“Hierarchies and alliances, status and connection, are intertwined and inextricable.  In trying to understand the dynamics of interaction, we must see these two forces and inseparable, each one implying the other” (213).

Women are interpreted as more approachable because of their relationship building focus, however, they must be cautious this does not undermine their authority. Tannen evaluates the significance of addressing someone in a formal manner—it can imply superiority, respect, or lack of closeness. Additionally, if one person is addressed formally, while the other is addressed casually, this implies that one is superior to the other.

Based on this information, women tend to be addressed by their first names more often than men, even in leadership positions. While some women perceive this as a lack of respect, Tannen believes this is rooted in the relationship emphasis women have with those at work.

Additionally, Tannen shares the cultural differences that exist concerning status and hierarchy. In American culture, hierarchy is typically seen negatively, even though it exists. Tannen observes that in work environments, American’s believe closeness is distancing as she states:

“Americans tend to assume that hierarchy precludes closeness, so employers and employees cannot “really” be friends, and if they do become friends, complications arise that must be worked out” (214).

While Americans tend to view themselves as individuals working in a group, Tannen observes that Japanese culture promotes a unity within a hierarchical structure. Similar to a family, the hierarchy bonds the group together once everyone understands their place.

Likewise, Tannen examines the different cultural conversational differences. She asserts:

“Pacing and pausing is an element of conversation that differs greatly depending on regional, cultural, and subcultural background” (235).

Tannen uses the example of a British executive and his interaction at his American office. Although dominating conversation can be seen as a symbol of authority, his silence marked his power since his subordinates were unsure what he was thinking.

Tannen concludes that a variety of these conversational habits are valid. True intentions are not always evident through just words and actions are important to consider as well.

Discussion Questions:

1) Why do you think women value relationships with others in the workplace more than men?

2) How can building relationships with professors or bosses in your life improve your overall success?

3) What cultural implications are seen through American’s individualistic preferences?

{ 0 comments }

Author Interview with Debora Spar

Thumbnail image for Author Interview with Debora Spar

Debora Spar, who is the President of Barnard College and author of  Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection, was gracious enough to answer some questions for NeW about her book. The NeW Online Book Club read her book this spring. Read her interview below! What initially prompted you to research and write […]

July 21, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Chapter 7 of the Online Book Club this Week

Thumbnail image for Chapter 7 of the Online Book Club this Week

This week, the Online Book Club will be discussing Chapter 7 of Deborah Tannen’s book, Talking from 9 to 5, “Talking Up Close: Status and Connection.” When an individual addresses another, the formality or friendliness implied speaks to the nature of the relationship.  For example, if a subordinate is referred to by his or her […]

July 21, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

2014 National Conference Award Winners

Thumbnail image for 2014 National Conference Award Winners

The Network of enlightened Women would like to recognize the following individuals and universities for their excellence in advancing the mission of our network!  The following awards were announced at this year’s National Conference in Washington, DC.    NeW New Chapter of the Year: American University “Our chapter was extremely proud to receive the NeW New […]

July 16, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Talking from 9 to 5: Chapter 6

Thumbnail image for Talking from 9 to 5: Chapter 6

Professional women in leading positions face a struggle administering assertiveness while maintaining a feminine image. Men are associated with these positions of power, causing women to be marked when they break the stereotype. Typically, power is defined through speech. For women, Tannen observes: “Femaleness is associated with softeners, mitigation, and politeness, whereas maleness is associated […]

July 16, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

How Do You Network?

Thumbnail image for How Do You Network?

Last week, NeW hosted a lively Speed Networking Night at 201 Bar on Capitol Hill. Participants were animated and ready to network, with business cards in hand and elevator speeches in mind. With only 5 minutes to speak with each facilitator, attendees quickly learned the advantages of the elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is a […]

July 14, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Chapter 6 of the Online Book Club this Week!

Thumbnail image for Chapter 6 of the Online Book Club this Week!

This week, the Online Book Club will be discussing Chapter 6 of Deborah Tannen’s book, Talking from 9 to 5, “She’s the Boss: Women and Authority.” Women in managerial positions are faced with the distinct challenge of balancing authority and assertiveness with femininity. Tannen observes that these positions are typically held by men, thus authority […]

July 14, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Announcing NeW’s Surprise Brunch Author!

Thumbnail image for Announcing NeW’s Surprise Brunch Author!

The Network of enlightened Women is delighted to announce our guest for Brunch with a Surprise NeW Author - Dr. Steven Rhoads! Brunch with Dr. Steven Rhoads will be held on Saturday, July 26, from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at Art and Soul Restaurant on Capitol Hill.  This is an exclusive event; only the first 20 guests to […]

July 11, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Your Picture with Katie Pavlich

Thumbnail image for Your Picture with Katie Pavlich

Would you like to receive your keepsake copy of our Conference group picture with Katie Pavlich?    Instructions: Enter your current mailing address here and type “Katie Pavlich picture” into the message box at the bottom of the page. Press submit and your photo will be mailed directly to you! We hope you enjoyed our […]

July 10, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Talking from 9 to 5: Chapter 5

Thumbnail image for Talking from 9 to 5: Chapter 5

At a certain point in a woman’s career, it appears she eventually hits an invisible barrier, a glass ceiling. Often, this point is reached in a middle management position while male contemporaries are promoted instead. From Tannen’s observations, this is in part because men are more likely to develop relationships with their bosses and other […]

July 9, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

[Elevator] Pitch Perfect

Thumbnail image for [Elevator] Pitch Perfect

You are on your way to an important interview and the CEO of the company walks into your elevator. You have sixty seconds before the door reopens and she is gone, but you want to make an impression. What do you say? This is the perfect moment for your elevator pitch! There is no tool […]

July 7, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →

Chapter 5 of the Online Book Club this Week!

Thumbnail image for Chapter 5 of the Online Book Club this Week!

This week, the Online Book Club will be discussing Chapter 5 of Deborah Tannen’s book, Talking from 9 to 5, “The Glass Ceiling.” Despite the fact that more women are entering the workforce, they appear to reach a limit as their careers progress. This is referred to as a glass ceiling. What is causing women […]

July 7, 2014 0 comments CONTINUE READING THIS POST →