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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 906-912

The perception of queen bee phenomenon in nurses; qualitative study in health sector


1 Health Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sabahattin Zaim University, Istanbul, Turkey
2 Health Management, Institute of Health Sciences, Uskudar University, Istanbul, Turkey

Date of Acceptance13-Feb-2019
Date of Web Publication11-Jul-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. H Sengul
Sabahattin Zaim University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Health Management, Istanbul
Turkey
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/njcp.njcp_308_18

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   Abstract 


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate how Queen bee syndrome, which is known as the mobbing behaviors of female employees from other female employees or managers, as perceived by nurses who are predominantly female workers. Materials and Methods: The universe of the qualitative type patterned research was formed by 12 nurses between the ages of 20 and 40 who worked for at least one year in different parts of a private hospital on the Anatolian side of Istanbul province. Maximum diversity sampling method for purposes was used for sample selection. The research data were collected in the form of written recording and voice recording with an unstructured interview form, which includes the structure, gender, competence, support, conflict, and competition themes created by the researchers to evaluate the characteristics of Queen bee syndrome. Focus group interviews were held on 30 April 2018. The results were evaluated using descriptive analysis and indicator methods. Results: In the study, the nurses' responses to interview questions were examined and women managers felt more emotional than men managers, and therefore they were less successful in problem-solving than men managers, but they were more successful in communication among women. The majority of nurses stated that women managers are more suitable for management in healthcare, that they are open to change, but they are not enough for men to solve the problem due to the fact that they are more concerned with the details. In addition, a significant part of the nurses, more than one female managers can cause competition and conflict in the workplace, especially women managers with similar status, said that this situation is seen more. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the woman is adapting to the Queen bee syndrome because of her ambition, competition, and emotional approaches, but that she has not been able to produce enough of it due to the environment.

Keywords: Female nurse, female manager, Queen bee syndrome


How to cite this article:
Sengul H, Cinar F, Bulut A. The perception of queen bee phenomenon in nurses; qualitative study in health sector. Niger J Clin Pract 2019;22:906-12

How to cite this URL:
Sengul H, Cinar F, Bulut A. The perception of queen bee phenomenon in nurses; qualitative study in health sector. Niger J Clin Pract [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 11];22:906-12. Available from: http://www.njcponline.com/text.asp?2019/22/7/906/262517




   Introduction Top


Although women constitute half of the world's population, they cannot be represented sufficiently in business life or management levels.[1]

In Europe's largest public companies, women constitute only 21.1% of executive boards and hold only 3.6% of executive directors. In the United States, these figures are comparable to 19.2% of corporate board presidents and 4.4% of CEO positions held by women in 500 largest listed companies.[2] Although the benefits of gender diversity in organizational management are clearly documented, women are not sufficiently represented in leadership recommendations.[3] The researchers tried to identify the factors responsible for the inadequate representation of women in the workplace. Initial studies have been clearly investigated for gender bias, especially for men. In later studies, it was found that women who have reached high positions sometimes do not support the development of other women.[4] This is generally referred to as “Queen Bee Phenomenon” and is used to describe stereotypes about women who are discriminating against their female counterparts.[5] Women leaders (subconsciously and consciously) take away other women in higher management positions to maintain their position.[6] Women who are successful in male-dominated environments and who are likely to ratify gender stereotypes in achieving high status are described in this syndrome.[7]

The Queen bee syndrome is a condition in which women who are particularly in the upper echelons manage their work by ignoring other women. There are some studies that support women's behavior patterns. For example, a recent survey among women in the Netherlands found that women's board members identified themselves with more attitudes than women's behaviors, and even more masculine than male colleagues.[8] Another study compared the self-definition of women and men directly in young and senior positions and found that female leaders identified themselves as more masculine and ambitious than young women, and even described these as masculine and ambitious at comparable levels to their male peers.[9]

In Queen bee syndrome, female managers may be more masculine, physically, and psychologically distant from other female employees, and express themselves by legitimizing the existing gender hierarchy.[10] It may be that the most obvious way for women who want to achieve leadership position is to emphasize masculine traits and leadership styles. Because stereotypes about successful leaders and women's roles can be disadvantageous for women to reach leadership positions.[11],[12] Queen bee syndrome is the result of gender discrimination rather than the main cause of gender inequality at work. This syndrome should be seen primarily as a typical result of women's personalities or natural competition against other women, but is triggered by negative stereotypes in male-dominated business environments. According to Tajfel and Turner (1979), this judgment is based on social identity theory, which explains that the basic identities of individuals are part of their sex.[10] According to the theory, when members of the disadvantaged group remain a minority within the organization, they may perceive the typical characteristics of their groups as worthless or unacceptable.[13] In this case, the identities of female employees can be compromised. In the work environment, sexist behavior is generally assumed to come from men. However, recent research points out that women who are successful in male-dominated environments have a negative role in the advancement of their female subordinates.[14]

Darks, Ellemers, Laar, and Groot (2011), according to studies, prejudice on gender expressed by women provides a strong legitimacy for women's disadvantaged position at work. In this case, the advancement of successful women in their careers can prevent the progress of women under them. This shows that women's representation in management levels is quite low.[15] Studies on this subject have attempted to explain the reasons such as social prejudices, barriers imposed by women, negative attitudes towards both sexes. When the literature is examined, studies on Queen bee syndrome have been conducted on various examples such as lawyers,[16] faculty members,[14] bank employees,[17] policemen,[18] teachers,[19] but it is observed that there is not enough work on healthcare for nurses. In the literature, the first person to examine the Queen bee syndrome defined by Staines et al. in the nursing profession was Halsey. Halsey said the Queen bee syndrome reduces professional competition between nurses.[20],[21] Donna Stultz Hawfield, a nurse, replicated Halsey's study in order to investigate the Queen bee syndrome in nursing educational settings. The purpose of the study was to identify whether the Queen bee syndrome existed among nurse educators, and to determine whether Queen Bee-ness increased as faculty progress higher up the academic ladder.[22]

Knight said that “The knowledge of Queen bee syndrome contributes to the understanding of attitudes and behaviors that interfere with collegial relations between nurses and facilitates leadership practices in nursing. With this understanding, nurses can develop and support strategies to help each other and progress”.[23]

The aim of this study was to determine the views of female nurses in a private hospital in the context of Queen bee syndrome. In this respect, interview questions try to determine the relationship between female managers and nurses. The determination of this relationship can serve as a guide for male managers and nurses to improve mutual understanding and to create closer working environments without experienced women in the hospital environment.


   Materials and Methods Top


Objective

The aim of this study is to investigate the perception of Queen bee syndrome by nursing professionals, known as the mobbing behaviors of female employees from other female employees or managers, and to create awareness.

Type of the study

One of the qualitative research methods of this study was the Focus Group interview method.

The Universe and sample of research

This study, which is a qualitative type, created 12 nurses between the ages of 20 and 40 who worked with the same administrator for at least one year in different parts of a private hospital operating on the Anatolian side of Istanbul province. The selection of samples from the universe was carried out with the maximum variety of sampling methods.

Data collection

The data, in line with the literature, where the problem exists is the main theme of 4 prepared by the researchers contains “Unstructured interview form, gender, age, marital status, educational status, years of service” that includes individual information such as management positions where the problem is “Personal Information Form,” “disclosure and consent form” was collected by using Focus Group interview method. A semi-structured interview form was formed and a literature review was made to determine the opinions of nurses regarding the relationship between women's managers within the framework of “Queen bee syndrome.” Interview questions were prepared in order to determine the status of women managers at the management level in general, the importance of gender in management, the relationship between nurses and managers, the character and adequacy of women managers. On the draft form created based on the literature, two academicians and an administrator from the field were interviewed and the problems of meaning and inadequacies were eliminated. The four main themes in this form are structure, gender, competence, support, conflict, and competition.

In order to determine the participants to be included in the study, the Director of Health Care Services of the private hospital was informed about the research. Hospital management and nurses ' working systems were informed. He made recommendations to the Director of Health Care Services on when and where to conduct the interviews. Prior to the interviews, the participants who agreed to participate in the survey “information and consent form” were informed and signed. On April 30, 2018, 12 women nurses were appointed by considering the working intensity of the Health Care Services Manager. Interviews were conducted at the private hospital's annex building 4. The meeting room, which was reserved for education on the floor, was held in a single group of 12 people. Interviews took about 90 min. The interviews were terminated after continuing until there was no new information left by both the participants and the researcher. The data were collected by the researchers in the form of written recording and audio recording. Prior to the study, written permission and ethics committee approval were obtained from the top management of the hospital by the researchers.

Evaluation of data

Research data were analyzed with descriptive analysis. In this descriptive analysis, the data were summarized and interpreted according to the previously determined themes. In the analysis process, the data obtained as written and audio recordings were transferred to the computer environment as text. The data were classified according to the themes: Nurses, N1, N2. The frequencies and percentages of individual information were calculated and expressed. The data obtained was reported in detail and the research was validated by taking direct quotations. The data were also evaluated by a different expert to ensure the reliability of the study. The data was analyzed again and classified under themes. [Confidence = consensus/(consensus + disagreement) × 100] with the formula of confidence was determined as 0.80. In this case, the separation of opinion was calculated as 0.20. The reliability ratio is 70% and above, indicating that the study is a reliable study.[24]


   Results Top


According to the results of the study, all of the participating nurses were female (n: 12), up to 41.56% (n: 5) aged 29 and over, 58.3% single (N: 7) aged 41.6% with a service year of 1--5, 66.6% with a high-school graduate (n: 8), and 66.6% with a mid-level administrator (n: 8) [Table 1]. Two of the participating nurses were adult intensive care, one of whom was infant intensive care, two of whom were operating room and sterilization, five of which were different bed service, one of which was education and infection, one of which was an emergency nurse, and all of them were women.
Table 1: Individual characteristics of nurses

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Evaluation of themes in unstructured interview form

These themes are structure, gender, competence, support, conflict, and competition.

Structure

In this theme, the difficulties and difficulties experienced in working with women managers, attitudes and attitudes exhibited by women managers according to their personality characteristics, success in problem-solving, strategic thinking and decision-making skills were examined. These questions were asked.

N(1) women should be in management, they are emotionally more human than men, and I can share that I can't share with men. Depending on the status, I think that all the managers can be capricious and ruthless, regardless of whether they are male or female. But women can be more elaborate. N(2) female managers strive more to learn, problem-solving skills are many, but more ambitious. More tense, egoistic, and capricious. Sometimes, conflict can occur because of ego and contention. N(4) It is difficult to deal with women than men, and they are more elaborate. There are times when she behaves like a man. The feelings of womanhood preclude your professionalism. At some point he can cut and throw, and empathy can be inadequate. N(7) women are more resourceful, but men are easier to manage. Women are cruel to their own. Men are tolerant to women. I'm more afraid of women, kindred, more personal.

It was the opinion of the majority of women executives (N1, N3, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, N11) and therefore less successful in solving the problem (N1, N3, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, N12) than men managers (N1, N3, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, N12). It was stated that female managers were ambitious (N1, N2, N3, N10, N12), therefore, they felt more emotional and felt more sentimental about the events (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N7, N10, N12), but they were more successful in communication (N1, N6, N8, N9, N11).

Gender

The gender of male or female according to whether the administrator's a difference, which received information about the choice and why.

N(1) women should be in management, emotional human according to men, female managers understand better, emotionally. I share that I can't share with men. N(6) I prefer women Manager. N(9) my manager should be women, women communicate better with women, there is no competition. N(7) I look at it, but I don't look at sex. N(8) female/male does not matter, the character is important. N(12) would love a male executive. It will be clearer, everything will be certain, she will be a detail. The man will solve things in a shorter time. The man's authority is stronger, it comes from birth. N(10) I would like a male manager, more clearly and conscientious, women are ambitious and self-interested. She tortures women. I know everything. Better communication with the male manager can be established, more compatible.

In general, the majority of nurses stated that they wanted women managers to be (N1, N2, N4, N6, N9, N11). The reason for this was that the health sector was more likely to be women (N4, N6), women were more emotional and they were more concerned about many things (N1, N2, N4, N7, N8, N9, N11). Only three participants stated that gender was not very important in the managers (N7, N8, N11). The participants who stated that they would prefer male managers, the reason was that the men were more clear, conscientious (N3, N5, N10, N12) and the problem solution was suggested that they would not want to hurt the other person when they were talking. It was also stated that women persecute both their sexes more.

Competency

The purpose of this theme was to evaluate the logic, authority, competent work, planned work, political skills, effort, education, adaptation to change and openness, problem-solving skills of the female and male managers. Responses to these issues were evaluated.

N(1) men dictators set up authority according to women, women are more elaborate and political. I don't care about sex for education, I care about experience. Ladies make more effort. N(2) The technical information of women managers is more. For learning, women make more effort, problem-solving skills are many. Decision-making processes are detailed and easy. N(3) After a point, the female ruler is not good, he is weak of authority. Women are prejudiced, they say I know everything. Men understand. The woman is a detail, the man makes a quick decision. I'd like to work with a man. N(4) men make decisions faster, women are more experienced and hardworking, political. N(5) men are more adaptable, problem-free, do not enlarge, adapt to change more easily, women are more detailed, so they enlarge problems, emotional and indecisive. She's more planned and programmed. N(7) men are tolerant to women. I'm more afraid of women, kindred, more personal. She looks at aesthetics and detail. Male problem solving is focused. The woman speaks harder and more clearly, and the man is practical and superficial. N(8) The woman is more eloquent, detailed, and inadequate for problem solving and rapid decision-making than the man. Women are more complicated, men take the job from below.

A large part of the participants stated that women work more planned and detailed (N1, N3, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, N11), that they are more appropriate for Health Care Management (N4, N6), that they are open to change and that they are more logical (N1, N4, N5, N8, N9). On the other hand, women executives were less satisfied with their ability to solve problems because of because of excessive attention to detail (N1, N3, N4, N5, N7, N8, N9, N12).

Support, conflict and Competition

Women's and men's managers' empathy, motivating and encouraging their employees in business, favoring their friends and communicating skills, encouraging women to behave like men to compete, not supporting the rise of women who depend on women to act as men, their ambition, overly controlling attitude, self-affirming sense of self-determination, creating fear, discouragement of other women.

N(1) when more than one woman is an administrator, we have a conflict and we can enter into an awkward race. Our manager chooses women and women as sub-managers. But he chooses because of experience. It directs us to improve ourselves. N(2) The fact that we are all women causes a conflict of power and a race. I also support training. Our Manager supports us, he doesn't see us as competitors. I'd be steeper if it was an obstacle, but I don't have it right now. The Female Executive is more ambitious. N(3) We have conflicts, but we solve them. Our manager looks at the person he can manage, not the sex. He doesn't see it as a competitor, he's got a good place. There are times when he behaves like a man. At some point he can cut and throw, and empathy can be inadequate. Appreciate it, thank you, support it. N(7) I have a conflict and competition with my colleagues at the same level, but everyone takes care of their work. Women compete more, they have a lot of ambition. N(10) there is competition where the female Manager is, there is gossip and there is an open search. Sometimes I think my manager is over-supervising and wants to keep the power. I have the feeling that I want to be left alone by giving you the message that you are deprived of.

A significant part of the participants stated that the presence of multiple women managers was competition in the workplace (N1, N7, N8, N10, N12) and conflict (N1, N2, N3, N8, N10). In support, all participants stated that women managers were given adequate and necessary support to the employees (N1-N12). Enthusiasm and man-favored activities were moderate (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9, N10, N12), excessive greed and control (N1, N2, N4, N7, N10, N12). However, disrespecting authority and others does not appear too much (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9, N10, N12), and there was no obstacle to elevation (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9, N10, N12). Competition and conflict were mostly seen in women executives with similar status (N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9, N10, N12).


   Discussion Top


In this study, it was aimed to examine how female employees were perceived by members of the nursing profession of Queen bee syndrome, which is known as mobbing behavior seen by other female employees or managers. For this purpose, the opinions of the nurses were gathered in four main themes.

As the first theme, the structure theme, which includes the behaviors and attitudes exhibited by women managers according to their personality characteristics, temperament, and character, was determined. When the nurses' responses to interview questions were examined in this theme, it was stated that women managers exhibited a high degree of negative behavior and characteristics. In particular, it was the opinion of the majority that women executives felt more elaborate than men, and therefore less successful in problem-solving than men. It was stated that women executives were ambitious about their behaviors according to their personality, so they felt more emotional and felt more emotional about the events, but they were more successful in communication among women. In the literature, it was emphasized that women managers behaved negatively because of their emotional orientation, they had problems in the work and they were overloaded with colleagues because of high performance anxiety.[25],[26],[27]

The second theme was gender. In general, the majority of the participants expressed their desire to have women executives. The reason for this was that the job, that is, the health sector, is more likely to be women, women are more emotional and they think about many things in detail. Only three participants expressed that gender was not very important in the managers. The participants stated that they would prefer a male manager, the reason was that the men were more clear, they were conscientious and the problem solution was faster, they thought strategically, and they did not want to hurt the person they were talking to. It was also stated that women persecute both breed more. Akman and Akman (2016) found that 85.8% of female teachers in the working environment did not matter the gender of the manager, and 50% of them were male managers and 7.1% of them were female managers. In addition, 78.5% of respondents reported that the presence of multiple female managers in the workplace would negatively affect the environment.[19] In the literature, the majority of women want to work with male managers and this is because they express their wishes more clearly.[25] In contrast to these studies, it has been determined that women's employees prefer to be the managers of their hemcins, and women's employees have more positive thoughts towards women's managers.[28],[29] These results are supported by the data obtained from the study.

The third theme of the study was the theme of competence. According to the statements seen under the theme of competency, most women nurses work more planned and detailed than women managers, more appropriate to management in healthcare, more open to change and more logical, but women managers were less likely to solve problems due to overuse of details than men managers, and they could not provide authority was thought to be less. When it is considered that these negative thoughts about the adequacy of women managers are identified with men, it can be assumed that women managers try to act in a masculine perspective. It is estimated that the time for women to actively participate in business life is late, and the number of female managers is low and they gain less experience.[25] In the literature, it is emphasized that there is a bias based on gender discrimination and that the underlying cause of bad relations between female managers and female employees is the effect of male dominant environment on female managers.[30]

The fourth theme of the study was support, conflict, and competition. A significant part of the nurses said that having more than one female manager leads to competition and conflict in the workplace. In support, all nurses stated that women managers were given adequate and necessary support to the employees. Enthusiastic about the work and the popularity of the man was seen at a moderate level, while extreme greed and the feeling of control were at the forefront. However, disrespecting authority and others did not appear too much, and there was no obstacle to the rise. Competition and conflict were mostly seen in women executives at a horizontal level, with the same status as each other. These results were evaluated as the opinions that women managers could discriminate positively towards women nurses. When these positive views are examined, women managers can empathize with understanding the special circumstances of their sexes, help in solving problems, and, if necessary, show a shifting attitude. In a number of studies, it has been determined that the number of female workers in the workforce decreases the rate of women quitting [31] and increases the rate of promotion.[32]


   Conclusions and Recommendations Top


In general, analysis findings suggest that the gender, structure, competence, and support--conflict--competition themes in all of them maintain the distinction between women and men, albeit slightly, but that professionalism is more important. The results of this study indicate that the woman is adapting to the Queen bee pattern due to her ambition, competition, and emotional approaches, but that she is not able to reveal enough of it due to the environment. In our society, certain tasks and areas have been assigned in the working life of women. In these areas, mainly in education and health, the characteristics of the Queen bee of female employees may be relatively higher than in other areas. It is useful to carry out advanced studies in this field.

In the present study, it was observed that women nurses had no spiritual support both in their work environment and in their private lives and that conflicts between women were intensifying, and that various activities, including hospitals and non-governmental organizations, could positively affect the process to improve the empathy between the employees and increase the social support. In the hospital environment, it is recommended that male administrators and nurses should guide to improve mutual understanding and establish closer working environments without experienced women. It can be thought that the negative outlook of nurses to female managers is due to lack of experience. It is recommended to increase the number of women managers, to make positive discrimination against women managers, and to provide leadership training. In this way, a new management approach can be established in line with the sensitivity and interest of the nurses working with female nurse managers.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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