Tech & Work

Companies with more women in senior management roles make more money

According to new research by economics experts, companies that have women in senior management roles make more money. Here are the statistics.

According to new research by economics experts, companies that have women in senior management roles make more money. Here are the statistics.

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There's an old song that goes "You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ole Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Jim."

After a few years of blogging about Career Management on TechRepublic, I feel confident that I can substitute the messing around with Jim part of the lyrics with my own: You don't blog on TechRepublic about gender differences in the corporate world. (Because, man, you get an earful from readers.)

But because I don't learn lessons well, I'm going to do that very thing. However, I will be using the likes of Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (writing for The Washington Post), and researchers at Pepperdine and Columbia as human shields as I walk onto the battlefield.  Consider the following facts:

  • Economists at Davos this year speculated that the presence of more women on Wall Street might have averted the downturn.
  • Ernst & Young rounded up studies that show that women can make the difference between economic success and failure in the developing world, between good and bad decision-making in the industrialized world, and between profit and loss in the corporate world. Their conclusion: American companies would do well with more senior women.
  • Organizations such as Columbia University, McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs, and Pepperdine University, have done research that document a clear relationship between women in senior management and corporate financial success.
  • Pepperdine found that the Fortune 500 firms with the best records of putting women at the top were 18 to 69 percent more profitable than the median companies in their industries.
  • Catalyst, a research firm focused on women and business, found that Fortune 500 companies with three or more women in senior management positions score higher on top measures of organizational excellence. In addition, companies with three or more women on their boards outperformed the competition on all measures by at least 40 percent.

So, these are the stats. The "why" is less straightforward. Do companies that have female executives fare better on the bottom line because they pay those women less than their male counterparts? That wouldn't explain long-term success.

Maybe it has more to do with diversity, and the effect that comes from having (and considering) varying points of view before making decisions. According to the piece in The Washington Post, testosterone can make men more prone to competition and risk-taking. Women, on the other hand, seem to be wired for collaboration, caution, and long-term results. In fact, an economist at the University of Michigan, Scott Page, uses mathematical models to demonstrate that a diverse group will solve a complicated business problem better than a homogeneous group. So, maybe it's not that women make better leaders. Maybe it's that women and men make better leaders together.

I'm happy to see some solid statistics on this topic. For too long, right-brained skills involving circumspection, forethought, and diplomacy have been denigrated to "soft skill" status (whether the skills are practiced by women or men). It's about time these skills have come to the forefront and been given some teeth.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

44 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

It is a well documented fact that Women Entrepreneurs are far more successful than men are. It seems that in general, women have a better head for business.

gary
gary

This gender thing is getting out of hand. You can't say anything about an American woman unless it is positive and then again it must not include any reflection on her physical appearance or tastes. Women are as capable as men. That is where this discussion should stop but American woman (including Ms Bowers) just don't want to leave it at that. This may to an indication of what Ms. Bowers advances as the success of women in business. They are more mission-oriented, blood-thirsty and ruthless than their male counterparts. "To get even for the all the injustice, I'm going to rub men's noises in the dirt" Think about it, though. Ms. Bowers would you be comfortable working of one of these successful women? If she is petty enough to blame all men for past gender injustice, do you think that she will hesitate when it comes to walking over you? As a final remark, Governor Dean has a story about his office in Vermont. After noticing that it was made up exclusively of women, he instructed his chief of staff that the next hire would be a man. She shot back, "Governor, you don't understand. We can't find any qualified men." That is in the same obnoxious category of Carly Fiorina's remark that John McCain did not have what it takes to run a major corporation.

NCWeber
NCWeber

This might explain why in Japan it is tradition for female head of the household to have full control of the house finances.

AV .
AV .

Having men and women in senior management roles is a definite plus in many ways, not only money, because its inclusive and diverse. An all male or all female senior management team creates a "Good Ol'Boys (or girls) Network" environment thats closed to everyone else. Its really not fair. Men and women both add value to a business in different ways. They complement each other and are stronger together. I can't understand why women still haven't attained equal status with men in every workplace. Sure, women have come a long way and some have found success. But the rest of us are still looking at a glass ceiling and our skills are undervalued. Especially in small and mid-sized businesses, not Fortune 500 companies. AV

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

simply that they have better hiring practices. Instead of hiring the best bloke for the job , they hired the best person. Another piece of odd socks statitics in my opinion.

Mabrick
Mabrick

I think there is another thing at pal here at least from the risk taking perspective. It comes from a study of gambling addiction in older people. According to the study, the older we get the less weight we but on the negative potential for our decisions. With gambling addiction, the promise of reward (a big payout) eventually becomes all the player's mind contemplates and the risk (losing the grocery and mortgage money) is completely overlooked. Does that fact that many companies are run by older men relate? How about that women in charge tend to be younger since that ceiling is only now being broken? I would love to she a correlation done not just on gender but on age and gender. Do companies run by older women make less profit? The verdict is far from settled here I think.

kristina_johnson
kristina_johnson

Agree with the studies, gender diversity (all diversity) amongst high influential, decision-making positions will have a huge part of this positive finding.

cawwilsontx
cawwilsontx

...saving all that money on the payroll. They already are, no doubt. June unemployment for men was 32% higher than women. (10% vs 7.6% http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm ). Because when you retain the lower-paid woman, you still get twice the work out of her. Fifty years ago we worked twice as hard for half as much; now we're up to 78 cents to the boys' dollar for the same job description.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

That kind of over reaching statement is stupid. Unless the survey took information from ALL companies EVERYWHERE, then it is all speculation. I think women in high places is great (all but one of our C-level execs are women.), and think it is great for business. Don't think it is worth titles like this blog post. We are all in this together.

tony
tony

I think the "men + women" make the best mix is probably nearest the cause. The worst companies I have worked in promoted "yes men" and in another role (selling risk management tools) the companies who are greatest need are those who do not want to be told uncomfortable facts. My own experience over many years has been the more women in management, the better a company has been to work for. As an engineer, I like to avoid the politics and do the best job I can on the facts. In general (but not always) women listen to the facts - maybe that is why they take fewer risks. There is interesting research on gambling odds that are relevant to risk taking - basically although the view is that the longest odds give the best return, a study of 6 million horse races in the US showed that betting on outsiders gave a 50% return and on the favourites gave 90% return. (I don't bet on horses because neither of these figures are above 100%). This tends to suggest that if risks are taken in the same vein, men, the big risk takers, will get a lower return than women taking the lower risks. There is the old saying that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts". One thing - we may soon have a better idea because Norway recently mandated that large companies should exceed a reasonable percentage of women in senior management positions. The short term effect of this could potentially be negative, as women have not had as much chance to get the experience, but in about 5 years it would be very interesting to see if Norway's large companies have progressed relative to their counterparts in other countries. In nature, biodiversity is the name of the game, and wherever "man" has introduced a monoculture it has been problematic. Therefore in companies, good collaboration of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints is likely to result in fewer mistakes; equal involvement by women increases that diversity.

smartin
smartin

THE question is WHEN did these companies put women into senior management?

norm
norm

Congratulations on having the courage to say what has been know and obvious for years. We wouldn't have 4756 dead and 38,000 wounded American soldiers if a woman had been president.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

company's placed more women in executive positions because they were profitable, or if they became profitable because the women were in executive positions. I remember the studies from my psych classes that supported the observation that, on average, women do better than men when it comes to "collaboration, caution, and long-term results."

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Of course, it's hard to draw any useful, firm conclusions without actually being able to see the source data. And one should always keep in mind that correlation does not imply causation. However, I am not particularly surprised by the final numbers reported by the studies. Note, I did not say that I either agree or disagree with all the conclusions drawn and asserted by the article authors. It's just speculation on my part, as I haven't the hard data to look at and am well aware that one can prove almost any point one wishes to prove using statistics, but I'd tend to agree that it is likely that that at least some of the conclusions drawn are correct. Male and female are not equal, nor are they the same. Never have been, never will be. Each gender has its own strengths and weaknesses. Genetically, biologically, psychologically, and mentally. I'm speaking generally, of course. None of this applies to any particular, single individual. So it'd seem to be reasonable that organizations that have a more diverse blend of people, and of the sexes, where appropriate would benefit from a more balanced set of views, opinions, and mix of strengths and weaknesses. I only say "where appropriate" because there are certain endeavors and activities that are clearly more suited to being either male or female dominated. But these are few, and the exception rather than the rule. In short, I can't really see much in your article, or in the one you link to, that I find surprising or that I would disagree with. A few nitpicky points but that'd be about it.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

A couple of my more successful clients are run by women -- and they aren't undercompensated. Both companies have achieved long-term success (and both are weathering this recession quite well) by patiently sticking to their strengths rather than launching new ventures. Whether it's instinctive or learned, I think women are better at doing just that.

philip.kelley
philip.kelley

It would indeed be interesting to know if the companies with women executives that earned 18% to 69% more than their peers paid their executives (female, male, and combined) correspondingly less. Also, what is the overall percentage of male to female executives? If (as it once was) women executives are rare, then it would seem safe to say the odds are good that only the most skilled women get appointed to such posts, while it takes less skill for a man to get the same position (and probably higher pay). Not that I want this to be true. I hope the facts are otherwise, and wonder if these researchers have any data on these points.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The disparity in compensation between males and females at the executive level. There may be additional contributing factors, but I think you're far too quick to dismiss the impact of unfair salary practices based on gender. For example, the long term success of a company shouldn't have any bearing on if the executives are male or female, or what they are paid. I don't see how that correlates at all.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

to agree with much of what you say. However, some things to think about. One, the gender pay gap. Most of the studies, in the U.S. at least (I don't follow the data for other countries), cite numbers that are not truly an apples to apples comparison. For instance, the 20% pay gap most often referred to is based upon Census data. Which is a measure of the median wage/salary earned for ALL jobs. To use those numbers is an apples to oranges comparison in most cases. The reason? Despite 40 some odd years of trying to close pay gaps between the sexes, and of encouraging women to apply for what have traditionally been higher paying, male dominated jobs ... the number of women who have actually entered many of those job fields, and who stayed in them, is fairly low. Not true in all cases of course. The percentage of females enrolling into schools to become doctors or lawyers has skyrocketed. But, for instance, while there are more women than ever before in the well paid blue collar trades (electrician, plumber, welder, carpenter, mason, etc) those trades remain overwhelmingly male dominated. If you don't know, in much of the U.S. a journeyman electrician (for instance) can make as much, or more, than the average college grad. However, darn few women try to get into those fields, and of those who do, many leave it after a few years. OR, they shift from being a working new construction electrician to a job in electrical parts sales, or take a position within the facility maintenance department of some company with large buildings, become a job estimator, etc. Within the electrician field of work, those types of jobs typically pay less. And tend to be the sort of jobs that male electricians only take once they've gotten older and want to "ease up" a little bit after the years of field work have beat up their bodies to the point that they're feeling an accumulation of assorted aches and pains. But within the electrician career, field repair or installation is where the big bucks are. It is, however, physically demanding and one must often work in uncomfortable and possibly dangerous conditions. I am just using that as an example. As I'm quite familiar with the field. Besides working with computers and programming, I am a licensed electrician. And in fact teach part time some specialty courses at a trade school. There, we actively solicit females to apply. But for all our efforts I rarely see more than 2 or 3 females in a class of 30 students. And of those, 1 or 2 will drop out before graduating. Of those who graduate, less than half will stay in the field long enough to reach journeyman status. But the same is true of other traditionally male dominated trades. Around here, a good journeyman pipe fitter will earn around $40 and hour plus benefits. (That's more than the average for someone in the IT fields in this area) However, the job as its drawbacks. As was noted by one gal I in that field I knew well. She was all fired up and enthusiastic. At first. Wasn't so happy one day when I ran across her as she was laying pipe and trying to weld at 10 below zero (Fahrenheit). Nor the day I ran across her while she was sweating ass off working in an operating boiler room where the room temperature was at around 110'F ... at floor level. Her task at the time was to be putting in some new pipe above a working boiler, and the temperature up there was likely somewhere around 150 to 160'F. And I won't bother mentioning the demands of lifting and carrying some heavy loads that were expected of her. She gave it her best shot, but after a very few years gave it up. I don't knock her for that. It's a tough field of work. The average pipe fitter by age 40 is suffering from a bad back, his knees are going bad, and he usually has an accumulation of assorted scars, previously broken or cracked bones, etc. And is usually full of horror stories, if you want to listen to him, about this or that tough job. But my point is, that the census data showing a 20% disparity can't be taken as is, without taking into account other factors. For instance. Let's take a couple of college math majors. One male, and one female. Both taking roughly the equivalent courses and making roughly the same grades. The reality is that after graduation it is far more likely that the female grad will seek a job as a math teacher. While the male grad is more likely to try to get into an R+D job, engineering field, etc. I'm not just speculating. As reported by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, "Female students tended to study areas with lower pay, such as education, health and psychology, while male students dominated higher-paying fields such as engineering, mathematics and physical sciences." So SOME of the problem in pay disparity, actually rests with the choices that women tend to make. Another example, from my past as a career Navy man. At one point I had a female marine mechanic working for me. I'd just taken over as her boss. And she was upset that while she had enough years in service to have otherwise earned it, she'd not been promoted to Petty Officer First Class. One of her claims to me was that the promotion selection board was obviously favoring males over females. I didn't know what the problem was at first, but told her I'd look into it. Which I did. I reviewed her service record and told her that the main problem I saw was that she did not have enough arduous sea service. Navy sailors normally rotate between assignments ashore and assignments at sea aboard a ship. For "sea duty" one can elect to try to get assigned to combat line vessels (read that as meaning long periods at sea, 12 to 16 hours work per day, 7 days a week. With a break, time off ashore, maybe of 3 or 4 days once every couple months while the ship is deployed). Or one could request assignment to an easier sea duty, such as a repair vessel that spends most or all of its time in port, aboard a hospital ship (ditto, in port most of the time), etc. She countered with the argument of asking why she should have to ask for assignment to the toughest sort of duty, when an easier sort could fulfill her "sea duty" obligations. And ardently insisted that the promotion review board was prejudiced against female sailors. Now, I'd served on those promotion review boards. In the Navy way of doing things, the members of those boards are selected at random from various locations and assignments all over the Navy. And any particular member of the board can NOT review the record of anyone from his or her own unit. So you don't see the records of the people you know. Further, before you see a record, someone else has gone through it and removed/blacked out anything that gives a hint as to the race, creed, color, or gender of the person being considered for promotion. It's the Navy's attempt to ensure as much fairness and impartiality as possible. You just see the facts of their performance evaluations, types of duties successfully carried out, assigned responsibilities, educational background, etc. In any event, I just looked at her and told her she'd asked my opinion, and she had it. If I were sitting on the board, which I had in the past, and saw her record (which was excellent) and compared it against others which I would see (some of which would also be excellent), it'd come down to a simple fact. Who turned out that same excellent performance under the more arduous and demanding circumstances? She was lacking in what we called the "hardship" factor. She didn't want to hear it. Not even after I pointed out that another female I had working for me at the time, a Boatswains Mate, had made Petty Officer First Class well within the average time span. Of course, that Boatswain's Mate HAD asked for and gotten several assignments to arduous sea duty. And performed well during those tours. Chuckle, in fact my Boatswain's Mate was always spitting and cursing about the fact that the Navy had MADE her take an assignment at shore duty. And kept asking me when was the soonest she could gracefully ask for reassignment back to sea without it adversely affecting her service record. Get my point? Now that isn't to say that their are not legitimate claims of pay disparity between the sexes. According to that same group I mention above, the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, when they adjust for KNOWN mitigating factors and try to compare apples to apples as versus apples to oranges, they calculate that on average the pay disparity is something like 5%. With women making about 5% less on average, with all other factors equalized out. IOW, comparing men and women in the SAME jobs, with the same responsibilities, same prior qualifications, etc. What accounts for the remaining differential? No one is sure of all the facts. At some places, certainly there may be some gender prejudice, conscious or unconscious. In other cases, its thought that men more readily and aggressively pursue and ask for pay raises. But no one is sure of all the facts. The one thing everyone is sure of because the numbers are clear about it is that still; 40 some odd years after the push to get women to go into the traditionally male dominated, higher paying jobs; most women are still electing to pursue the traditionally female dominated jobs. In a recent study of college students the findings were, "Female students tended to study areas with lower pay, such as education, health and psychology, human resources, etc while male students dominated higher-paying fields such as engineering, mathematics and physical sciences." In another study it was noted that STILL women are inclined to avoid jobs of the highest risk (physical, mental, financial) than are their male counterparts. And it's just a fact that higher risk jobs pay better. Now, are the skills that women excel at and which they're most likely to seek work doing under valued? Quite possibly. I wouldn't know for sure. Just as a personal opinion, I think this is sometimes true, but not always.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

Gender shouldn't play role, just like age should play a role, or race shouldn't play a role. I guess that is a vain and naive hope at best. These are humans we are dealing with and all of them have some kind of prejudice.

gss99
gss99

Until it all crashes down and then women will all blame the men for it. Men are so much better at business than women could dream. Girl power !! lol

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Unemployment only counts people looking for work. There are more women not looking for work than men so the percentage of men unemployed is higher. Bill

wbranch
wbranch

Of course, on average, women work about 80% of the hours that men do, because they still are the primary care givers in a family, so it seems fair to me that if someone works 80% the hours I do, they get 80% the pay. And I'm sure you'll disagree with this statement, but look at the number among single men versus single women, and you'll find the pay pretty much levels out, meaning companies pay you for the time you put in, not your gender. If you want/need flex time because you have to take care of children, that's going to cost you in pay scale, like it or not. Last I checked, most companies have set salaries for each position, so it seems absurd that they do that, then see a woman walk in and say "Let's give her 78%".

wbranch
wbranch

That's an interesting take. I fail to see how it's a better idea for the government to tell businesses how many women to hire for senior managment positions. This can only end in disaster. What constitutes 'senior management'? What constitutes 'exceeding reasonable percentages'? What happens if you don't have enough women in your company qualified to be senior management? Do you just promote people to meet the requirements? Sounds like a great idea... Probably, either companies will cut the number of senior management positions to meet the letter of the law, or they'll simply make lower management women 'senior managers' even though their responsibilities won't change. Here's an idea, why not let businesses do what they feel is in their best interests, so long as they are not openly discriminating against gender, and according to these studies, women will continue to gain traction, since apparently those companies that seek out women for management do much better over time. I'm not sure why government intervention is ever viewed as a good idea (see The Law of Unintended Consequences).

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

One was the founder of the company. The other was promoted to president as her company was about to go down in flames. I can't say that their turn-around was solely due to her influence, but it certainly correlated with her rise to power.

gss99
gss99

advanced mathematics, air conditioning, cars, furnaces, solar panels, computers, etc etc if women were in charge of everything. Still want to live in a female-dominated world?

richard.b.fowler
richard.b.fowler

I've heard that statement before, and I don't get it. Do you mean to say that a woman president would have kept the 9/11 terrorists from their horrendous acts? Of that a wonam president would have taken no action to retaliate against an act of war? Or just that our soldiers would have been kept out of Iraq, and the deaths and wounds in Afghanistan are OK? A leader will do what is necessary, whether a man or a woman, regardless of whether s/he is a leader of a company or a nation. I think the biggest difference is the woman will listen to more opinions and facts before making the big decision, whereas a man will typically form his own opinion early on and focus on what facts and opinions support that view. One way may take too long to reach a decision, the other may be a knee-jerk reaction that is inappropriate. Which is better or worse?

DavidDock
DavidDock

...'ll likely find Algoma University College Business Administration graduates. It's like an alumni reunion, says ...... Francis Xavier, was hired to help revamp and revive the Business Administration program. They upgraded it to a case-based ... administration job

rishiatwal
rishiatwal

Thanks for information www.sagarinfotech.com

Jalapeno Bob
Jalapeno Bob

It has long been held that a woman has to be X-times more competent in order to rise within a corporation. The upside of this competence is better decision making which results in higher profits. They also tend to listen to their subordinates more, which means the risk management people are actually heard, not disregarded as worry-warts.

amlitchko
amlitchko

Ohhh... stereotyping... Come on... There are very good and very bad on both sides of this gender issue. A mixed approach is the only way... it's about personality and approach. Neither gender has the corner on a "typical" approach. Disparity in compensation... yup... still a prevailing theme... should put more energy into solving this than talking gender bias.

wbranch
wbranch

Setting aside the largely overblown wage gap between men and women, how would paying females less than males make them a more successful company? Wouldn't the best companies be the ones with the most competitive wages, not the biggest gaps? I think it probably has more to do with the fact that a company that hires more women, probably holds truer to hiring on merit and not simply doing business in the same old fashion. And as for the pay gap, it exists largely for married women, and that's because, like it or not, married women spend less time in the office than their male counter parts. If you compare the pay scale of single women vs. single men who both put in the same hours across all industries, you find the pay scale almost levels out completely. However, this doesn't fit the narrative that some people want to convey, so it gets ignored.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]For example, the long term success of a company shouldn't have any bearing on if the executives are male or female, or what they are paid.[/i] That it shouldn't have any bearing is obvious; that it does have a bearing is shown. The difference can be [very] simply expressed in two postulates: 1. A mixed-gender management team has a better long-term view than a pure male management team. 2. Female managers have a better long-term view than do male managers.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...that a wise woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a male who hasn't lived that life Oh, wait, I guess that's already been used! ;) I'd agree that who sits at the top shouldn't matter. The point that seems to get glossed over in research I've read on the topic is that the companies that are most prone to promote women are also those that are most prone to foster innovative work environments on the whole. Substitute XY for XX, but keep that same environment, and you'd still have successful firms. Overall, I'd also agree that the pay disparity between men and women is problematic (serious). Of course, we can always hope that the example of Carly Fiorina is the candle of hope that lights the way out of the pay scale darkness (not so much). :)

TkayW
TkayW

if women weren't doing all the physical labor of keeping the house up, raising the kids, and tending to crops while these men were inventing things! Show us they were doing their equal share in life and I will praise these men to the top of the heavens. It takes two most of the time when life gives us great inventions.

ablackwell
ablackwell

...but I think the pay disparity argument boils down to less money leaving the company in the form of salary, bonuses, etc. Fewer dollars out the door on salaries means greater profit.

wojnar
wojnar

I don't see anything in the article that supports the conclusions made (or the responses given). Where is the actual data ? The supposition appears to be that the single largest contributer to profits of a given company is management rather than margin, supply or any other factors of production. What about product type, what about logistics and transportation ? What about the history of the company ? Yeah, the male to female ratio is what makes a company more profitable. Actually, I think it could be true, but nobody has shown an actual comparitive analysis on which to draw the conclusion. Until then, I will keep believing that successful companies have a higher percentage of admins who's last names start with W .

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

If you're talk about women and men in senior management... For those women who've made it into senior management ... what is the pay disparity? Don't misunderstand me. I do not disagree with the idea that women have MUCH of value to contribute to senior management and leadership roles. My disagreement is with comparing apples to oranges. As so many of the quoted statistics in these discussions tend to do.

wojnar
wojnar

As you correctly identified, I am not suggesting that men or women are better in managerial roles. I believe that for non-commodities, all aspects of the products need to appeal to the largest audience. Men don't typically see things or look at things in the same way a woman would. Having both sides represented in admin/management simply makes sense if you want to appeal to the broadest market base. What I see the identified companies doing is simply a good business decision to capture as large an audience as possible. Not because women are better at management or that men are better at management but each brings a different perspective that could be missed otherwise. So the question is not ratio of men to women in administrative positions but how many different mainstream viewpoints are represented in the administrative mix. We need to look beyond the surface to see what is really happening. Counting men and women in a company is the easy way, identifying the actual impact is a whole different story. (I still say the article itself did nothing to support its thesis and in fact simply tries to justify a preconceived idea without any real substance. Conclusions should come AFTER observations.)

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

I guess to make a blanket response, I'd have to say that: It is management that decides what products are offered and what markets are entered. It is management that is responsible for maneuvering a firm to respond to changing economic conditions (i.e. locking in fuel at $2.75 a gallon when the price went up to $4). It is generally management that helped create the corporate history/image (through direct action or by carefully crafting hiring practices & molding culture---IKEA is a good example). If you take the airline industry, for example, there is only a small handful of airlines that have remained profitable. While American, United, and others were like lemmings over the cliff to charge for everything possible (if you want air for the entire flight, it will be $100...otherwise, you can buy 15 minute increments of air for $20 each...enjoy your flight), Southwest didn't. The management at Southwest did a good job in anticipating the extent of the negative backlash, and capitalized on it. In terms of data in the article, I agree, there wasn't a lot of specifics given; however, I think the point was to solicit a response, and not necessarily to educate. However, there are numerous studies that have looked into this (Harvard Business School did one that I remember reading for a class). If you have access to an academic search engine, you can probably find them fairly easily. In terms of my specific response, here are some articles I still have on the topic (leadership and innovation, to be exact). I did my final paper/presentation for my Master's program on the subject, and held onto some of the meatier articles... Bank of America: The Crest and Trough of Technological Leadership (from MIS Quarterly, Sep. '97) Leading a Company to Embrace and Capitalize on Innovation (from ExecBlueprints, 2007) The Effects of Leadership on Technological Innovation Performance: A Comparison of R&D and P&D (PICMET 2008 Proceedings in Cape Town, South Africa) AMC Model of Team Innovation Behavior (2008 International Conference on Information Management) Building the Organization's Long-Term Success through Strategic Values (IEM Conference 2004) There are many others that speak to a correlation between organizational success and innovative environments. Again, if you have access to academic search engines, you'll be able to pull up the information with ease. Finally, I agree with a point I think you're trying to make: that if you work hard enough, you can try and make a correlation between two things when only a coincidence exists. Like I said, I think having more women in leadership positions is a result of a firm heading in a successful direction, and not necessarily the cause of that movement.

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