Does the Stereotype Apply?

The application of gender theory in my internship is different than expected. Gender theory generally says that men are more likely to be task oriented and women are more likely to be relationship oriented. The gender makeup of my internship was an interesting one to observe because while there were a decent number of women in the office, there were also plenty of men.

The nature of the work in the Office of Admission is definitely more relationship oriented to begin with. The office works to build relationships with prospective students with the hope that they will want to apply to the University of Richmond. Therefore, it would make sense for the individuals that work in the office to have a more relationship oriented outlook on life, as well as the work that they do day-to-day.

Though this is the case, I have noticed that some of the men in the office do seem to be more task oriented. The individual that was in charge of the tour guides on campus did form great relationships with the tour guides, but moved into a new public relations position this summer that is definitely more task oriented with more itemized goals from my understanding.

Another male admission counselor in the office was task oriented in a lot of what he did, and preferred to do things in the office that related more to advertising or marketing strategies, rather than building relationships with prospective students.

Overall, however, the individuals in the office did seem to have a good balance between tasks and relationships, which could also be attributed to the nature of the work. As my supervisor said, admission work is “marketing with a heart.” This takes shape in the fact that admission counselor do have a set of things that they need to accomplish and a set of things they are looking for in prospective students, but it is a very human field and there are a lot of relationship factor involved.

I think the Dean of Admission is a good example of this. I’ve mentioned before he has a different way of running things than would be expected, and that is true with gender theory as well. He is very much relationship oriented in his leadership style. He does have a good balance with tasks and relationships, but when necessary relationships seem to always win out for him. From what I’ve seen this works well for him, as he is well liked, but also very respected in the office. He does very well with prospective students too.