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Success and Betrayal: The Crisis of Women in Corporate America.

Reminiscent of Gail Sheehy's Passages and Daniel Levinson's The Seasons of a Man's Life, Success and Betrayal outlines the predictable developmental stages that career women in large organizations go through. A must on the reading list for physician executives, this book reveals at each of these stages the warning signs for women to recognize the myths being perpetuated in corporate America. Insight is gained into the psychological pits women fall into on the way to success in an organization--the burn-out along the way and the corporate betrayal often at the end. The authors expose the myths of "Corporation as Father, Family, or Lover," as well as the myths of "Unlimited Potential" and "Meritecracy."

Studying the life cycle of professional women, the authors propose that the real sign of a women's success and authority is responsiveness to her intuitive "Authentic Voice Within" and her ability to pursue goals without waiting for the patriarchal approving pat on the head from the corporation.

Besides being caught up in bartering for a title or negotiating an equal pay increase, women must develop an internal reward structure that will sustain them through the tortuous twists and landings a professional career in the 1990s entails. First, they are "Wooed and Won" by the lure of the corporation. Being most often the first daughter in a family, professional women work doubly hard for years on the "Proving Up" climb. The merits and drawbacks of mentoring are discussed. Then an "Uneasy Peace" cultivates the "Seeds of Disenchantment" at a time of apparent success. During this landing, women begin to recognize the "Myths of Irreplaceability and Individual Recognition." Women at this stage approach a "Pivot Point." Critical decisions need to be made on this landing. It is similar to the "glass ceiling." Little did they realize that at this stage they will be handicapped by the unrecognized gold-plated handcuffs or "golden chains" established earlier in their careers. Three paths appear. Women either leave in defeat, depression, and anger; leave for an entrepreneurial activity; or risk reclimbing the ladder and "paying the dues" all over again in another organization. Or they climb up to the "Platform of Reconcilable Differences." For many women, love of the five Ps--people, participation, prestige, pride, and a spirit of pioneering--keep them in their organizations at this stage. They can listen to their "Authentic Voice Within" and become more focused in their accomplishments.

Women have different agendas and different rewards. What do women want? Recognition, affirmation and growth, and a power that comes from mastery, not from control. There may be no such thing as the "Androgynous Manager." Middle management women may obtain the same (if not more) degrees, read the same management literature, and even ape the style of male managers, but they cannot become "one of the boys." Lots of practical advice is offered throughout this very readable journey. The authors go beyond Rosabeth Kantor's classic Men and Women of the Corporation to point the way for many professional women.--R.F. Pagano, MD, MBA, Fallon Clinic, Worcester, Mass.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American College of Physician Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Author:Pagano, R.F.
Publication:Physician Executive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Words:505
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