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Women in Power

Women in Power: The Personalities and Leadership Styles of Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 448
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  • Book Info
    Women in Power
    Book Description:

    For each of her subjects, Steinberg provides a personality profile based on biographical information, an analysis of the patterns that comprise the personality profile using psychodynamic insights, and an examination of the relationship between personality and leadership style through an exploration of various aspects of political life - motivation, relations with the cabinet, the caucus, the opposition, the media, and the public.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7502-8
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Figures and Tables (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction (pp. 3-14)

    Over the past fifty years of political leadership around the globe, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher have emerged as giants among the most senior elected members of government. As historians begin selecting this period’s important political figures, they will observe that each of these three women, whose lives and careers were rich and eventful, left an indelible stamp on her state’s political, social, and economic development.

    Currently, excellent biographies of all three women exist, filled with important insights about their early lives and their leadership. Few attempts have been made, however, to examine female prime ministers as a...

    • 1 Indira Gandhi: From Prime Minister’s Daughter to Prime Minister (pp. 17-45)

      Loved and reviled during the course of her tenure as India’s third prime minister (1966–77 and 1980–84), Indira Gandhi remains a continuing subject of interest and fascination, as witnessed by the continued emergence of new biographies. An opinion poll on who was the “best Prime Minister India has ever had,” conducted by theIndia Todaynews magazine in September 2001, gave Gandhi 41 per cent of the vote, while her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, polled no more that 13 per cent.¹

      Born into India’s most prominent political family on 19 November 1917, in the Anand Bhawan family home in...

    • 2 Mother India: The Personality Profile of Indira Gandhi (pp. 46-71)

      Gandhi’s biographers have offered their readers a portrait of a woman with an extremely complex personality structure. As part of her personality profile, shyness and diffidence operated in conjunction with Ambitious, Contentious, and Dominant traits – a highly unusual combination of personality patterns. Moreover, unlike other political leaders analysed using this model, Indira Gandhi displayed a profile in which all ten of the personality patterns that have an adaptive or normal component (i.e., excluding the erratic and distrusting) were diagnostically significant (i.e.,present, receiving scores of 5 or more). Each of these patterns was eitherpresentorprominentand the scores...

    • 3 Indira Gandhi’s Leadership Style (pp. 72-112)

      This chapter analyses the empirical evidence of Gandhi’s leadership style during her tumultuous years as India’s prime minister. Cluster A explores Gandhi’s motivation, her task orientation, and her personal investment in performing her duties as prime minister; Cluster B examines her management style, both with her cabinet and in the realm of information gathering; and Cluster C studies Gandhi’s interpersonal relations with members of the civil service, her personal staff, the caucus, the extra-parliamentary party, the opposition, the media, and the public.¹(See Table 2.)

      In the area of motivation, the four factors that shaped Indira Gandhi’s political choices –power,pragmatism,...

    • 4 Golda Meir: From Immigrants’ Daughter to Prime Minister (pp. 115-144)

      Golda Mabovitch (Meir) was born in Kiev, Russia, in May 1898. She was one of eight children, of whom only three daughters survived: Sheyna, the eldest, Golda, and a younger sister, Zipporah, later called Clara. The four sons and one daughter who were born in the nine-year interval between the births of Sheyna and Golda died in infancy.¹ The birth of a strong and healthy girl, named Golda, broke that pattern.

      The first eight years of Golda’s life were spent in Kiev and Pinsk, during difficult and turbulent times, when anti-Semitism raged and the Czarist order was beginning to crumble....

    • 5 The Jewish Grandmother: The Personality Profile of Golda Meir (pp. 145-171)

      Though she was widely perceived in the foreign press as a genial, grandmotherly figure, Golda Meir’s personality is more properly characterized as evincing a strong mixture of Dominant/Controlling traits in conjunction with a Contentious/Complaining pattern. Unlike Indira Gandhi, whose personality profile revealed four patterns that scored at levels of 19 or more, Golda Meir had only one score that reached 18, the Dominant pattern (Scale 1A). Her other scores, in descending order of magnitude, were 17 on the Contentious pattern (Scale 5B), 12 on the Conscientious pattern (Scale 6), 12 on the Aggrieved pattern (Scale 5A), and 11 on the...

    • 6 Golda Meir’s Leadership Style (pp. 172-208)

      Golda Meir’s commitment to the establishment of a Jewish state was unceasing, and her role as a member of the government was significant, but what kind of leader did she prove herself to be as prime minister? This chapter explores the empirical evidence of Golda Meir’s leadership style in three broad groupings. In Cluster A, Meir’s motivation, her task orientation, and her investment in job performance are examined; Cluster B analyses Meir’s management style, both with her cabinet and in the realm of information gathering; and Cluster C studies her interpersonal relations with senior civil servants, her personal staff, the...

    • 7 Margaret Thatcher: From Grocer’s Daughter to Prime Minister (pp. 211-238)

      Margaret Roberts (Thatcher) was born in 1925, the second and last child of Beatrice and Alfred Roberts and the younger sister of Muriel by nearly five years. During her early years, she grew up in the small town of Grantham above her father’s grocery store in which all the members of the family helped out. Her mother was a traditional caregiver, and both parents were strict Methodists. As a result, life in the Thatcher household revolved almost exclusively around religion, duty, and hard work. Part of Alfred Roberts’s definition of duty was his service to the community in which he...

    • 8 The Iron Lady: The Personality Profile of Margaret Thatcher (pp. 239-263)

      As the longest serving British prime minister in the twentieth century, Margaret Thatcher stimulated a wide range of emotions among her colleagues and the electorate. She was both loved and hated, admired and feared. People responded to her with great intensity – the result of her forceful personality. Unlike either Indira Gandhi or Golda Meir, Thatcher’s personality profile was characterized by the strong preeminence of a single personality pattern, the Dominant (Scale 1A). Three other patterns emerged asprominent(scores from 10 to 23), but at the low end of their respective scales. The analysis of the data for Margaret Thatcher...

    • 9 Margaret Thatcher’s Leadership Style (pp. 264-300)

      As we have already done with Indira Gandhi and Gold Meir, this chapter examines and classifies Thatcher’s leadership as prime minister within three clusters of the theoretical framework developed for the study of leadership style.¹ Cluster A explores Thatcher’s motivation, her task orientation, and her investment in performing her duties as prime minister; Cluster B examines her management style, both with her cabinet and in the realm of information gathering; and Cluster C studies her interpersonal relations with members of the civil service, her personal staff, the caucus, the extra-parliamentary party, the opposition, the media, and the public² (See Table...

  9. Conclusion (pp. 301-320)

    This comprehensive study of the lives and tenures of three female prime ministers has been driven, from the start, by two distinct yet interrelated premises. The first and most fundamental one posits that personality patterns arguably have a discernible impact upon the nature and nuances of political leadership. In order to delimit the relationship between personality and leadership behaviour more precisely, this book adopts a novel approach to the topic: the introduction of an analytical methodology that is both systematic and reproducible. As such, it can be broadly and comparatively applicable to the joint study of prime ministers’ personalities and...

  10. APPENDIX Conceptual Framework and Methodology (pp. 321-366)
  11. Notes (pp. 367-410)
  12. Bibliography (pp. 411-422)
  13. Index (pp. 423-436)