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Sociology example

This excerpt is from a paper on expatriate women who work for multinational corporations.  I think the non-native English-speaking author did a great job presenting this kind of information in her second language.  My task was to fine-tune her organization, reduce the number of words, and to use more idiomatic expressions.

    The reasons just cited for not sending female expatriates are really gender-biased arguments. Adler (1994) has pointed out that they are based on untested and faulty assumptions, but are nevertheless used by companies as valid excuses for not sending women on overseas assignments. She concluded from her study on MBA students that males and females are equally interested in applying for international positions. Furthermore, Antal and Izraeli (1993) assert that if women do not want international positions, it is not because they lack motivation, but because of blocked opportunities and women’s knowledge that their companies favor giving men such assignments (see also Kanter, 1977).

    Adler (1997) has shown that the argument that women lack adequate background for overseas assignments is invalid, since international executives’ educations are usually less specialized than those of domestic executives (i.e., more liberal arts than business and engineering degrees). She further points out that female expatriates tend to be on equal footing with their male counterparts in terms of education and international experience, but tend to hold relatively junior positions within their organizations.

    Hitt and Barr (1989), Kwolek-Folland (1998) and the ILO (1998) attribute the discrepancy between women’s education and achievement to the companies’ gender-based job allocation mechanisms: upon entrance, women are more likely to be placed in “staff positions” in such departments as research, purchasing, personnel, public relations, and administration instead of “line positions” in such departments as production, marketing, and finance. The former spending and support departments are viewed as having dead ends at lower or middle management levels, while the latter revenue-generating and control departments provide more opportunities for advancement to the top company positions. Since candidates for overseas positions are disproportionately chosen from middle and senior management levels, women’s opportunities are restricted in this area.

    Adler also disagrees with the belief that women are incapable of coping with the difficulties associated with living in foreign environments. She argued instead that companies (top male managers) tend to confuse the roles associated with the female spouse of an expatriate with those of a female employee working overseas and thus not to appoint women for overseas assignments. The most common reason for male expatriates’ failure in and early return from international assignments is spousal dissatisfaction, but Adler notes that expatriate wives are usually in more socially isolated situations with greater cross-cultural adjustment problems than female expatriates. Furthermore, Adler presents evidence showing that female expatriates working in the Asian offices of multinational firms benefit from the double standard frequently noted in those countries—that is, women are most likely to be accepted as foreigners rather than be judged as women according to local norms. She also shows that the high visibility of female expatriate managers is actually to their advantage, since they have stronger impact upon first appearance due to their gender, and since many local clients view them as curiosities deserving special treatment. Finally, Adler points out that the strong interpersonal skills of many women are beneficial in general, wide-ranging conversations with local clients.

My revision:
     All of the arguments just cited are gender-biased.  Adler (1994) argues that even though they are based on untested or faulty assumptions, they are nevertheless considered valid reasons for not giving women overseas assignments.  She also offers empirical evidence that male and female MBA students are equally interested in applying for international positions.  In a later study, Adler (1997) refutes what she believes is an invalid argument that women lack adequate background for overseas assignments, since international executives’ educations are usually less specialized than those of domestic executives (i.e., more liberal arts than business and engineering degrees).  She also points out that female expatriates tend to be on equal footing with their male counterparts in terms of education and international experience, yet hold relatively junior positions within their organizations.  In addition, Antal and Izraeli (1993) assert that if women do not want international positions, it is not because they lack motivation, but because of blocked opportunities and the assumption that their companies favor giving men such assignments (see also Kanter, 1977).

     Hitt and Barr (1989), Kwolek-Folland (1998), and the International Labour Organization (ILO)(1998) attribute the ongoing discrepancy between women’s education and achievement to their companies’ gender-based job allocation mechanisms.  That is, new female employees are more likely to be placed in “staff positions” in such departments as research, purchasing, personnel, public relations, and administration instead of “line positions” in such departments as production, marketing, and finance.  The former spending and support departments are viewed as having dead ends at lower or middle management levels, while the latter revenue-generating and control departments provide more opportunities for advancement to the highest positions.  Since candidates for overseas positions are disproportionately chosen from middle and senior management posts, women’s opportunities in this area are restricted.

     Adler (1997) furthermore disagrees with descriptions of women as incapable of coping with the difficulties associated with living in foreign countries, arguing instead that the mostly male managers who control overseas assignments tend to confuse the roles associated with expatriate female spouses with those of expatriate female employees.  One of the most common reasons for male expatriates’ early return from international assignments is spousal dissatisfaction, but Adler believes that expatriate wives usually find themselves living in more socially isolated situations requiring greater degrees of cross-cultural adjustment compared to female expatriates.  She has gathered evidence showing that female expatriates working in the Asian offices of multinational firms benefit from the double standard frequently noted in those countries—that is, women are more likely to be accepted as foreigners rather than be judged as women according to local norms.  She suggests that the high visibility of female expatriate managers is actually to their advantage, since they make a stronger impact upon first appearance due to their gender, and since many local clients view them as curiosities deserving special treatment.  Finally, Adler points out that the strong interpersonal skills of many women are beneficial when they engage in general, wide-ranging conversations with local clients.


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