An Empirical Test of the Propositions by Gray and Tannen Relating to Gender Communication in Malaysia

Kamarul Zaman Ahmad


Purpose: This research tests the propositions relating to gender communication by Gray (1992, 2002) in his two books titled “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” and “Mars and Venus in the Workplace” and a third book written by Tannen (1990) “You just don’t understand: Women and Men in Conversation.” These three books have been the source of gender-related controversy since their publication. Design/methodology/approach: The questionnaire was divided into three parts and contained statements or views of the authors of each of the three books. The sample was selected by stratified random sampling and consisted of 182 executives and non-executives (73 males and 109 females) in the post office organisation in Malaysia. Findings: T-test results show that out of 23 statements made by Gray (1992), only 8 were supported, 10 were not supported, and 5 were actually true for the opposite gender. 6 out of 10 pairs of statements derived from Gray (2002) were supported, and 4 were not supported. Research, practical and social implications: Results from this sample suggest that men are more likely than women to agree with Gray (2002). Results also showed very weak support for Tannen’s (1990) research. Interestingly, the results from this sample suggest that men have a greater tendency to gender-stereotype other men and women. Originality/Value: This is the first research in Malaysia, to test propositions relating to gender communication, from the three books. The two books by Gray are found in most big bookstores in Malaysia, and the third book is less easily available. However, results suggest that most of the principles in all the three books, which were written as a guide to gender communication, are in fact, not applicable to this sample in Malaysia.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)

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