14 June 2009

Do we need more women in business?

The business environment is changing. We are moving away from the left-brained logic of the past towards an environment in which organisations need to connect with their customers, employees and shareholders at an emotional level.
Customers are increasing the emphasis they place on the aesthetic qualities of products, shareholders are enquiring about a company’s ethical policies before purchasing shares and employees want to be engaged, not simply employed. Business is therefore becoming more right-brained.
According to the Cambridge University psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, an expert in the differences between male and female brains, “The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems.” Since both of these qualities are important, is there not an argument for companies appointing more women to senior positions, not for reasons of fairness or equality, but because it makes good business sense? However, even today, men outnumber women in senior management and board positions by a ratio of roughly 10 to 1.
In her article Do Women Make Better Managers Joanna Krotz links the increasing need for right-brain thinking to the increasing success of women in business. Gregg Dyke, the former Director General of the BBC made a similar point when interviewed on Radio 4 in 2006; he said that right-brained thinking was becoming increasingly important and that of the people in the BBC he regarded as most suitable for promotion to senior management positions, 80% of them were women.
What do you think? Please add your comments to the blog.

1 comment:

  1. I have in the past had some men express an opinion to me that women don’t get promoted to senior positions because they are too bitchy and conniving.

    I don’t personally believe that this is true or that women are any worse than men in this regard, but with women in a minority at this level it is unfortunate when anything happens that reinforces this stereotype. It is for this reason that I cannot believe the recent antics of Hazel Blears MP.

    Not only did she deliberately set out to embarrass both the Prime Minister and her own party the day before the European elections, but then, when Gordon Brown survived the meeting that I guess she expected would depose him, she actually did a U-turn and publically apologised for her behaviour. However, my suspicion is that had Gordon Brown been forced to step down as PM, far from apologising, she would have been claiming the credit and sucking up to his successor!

    As a result I have no doubt that there will be MDs, CEOs and Chairmen all over the country looking on and thinking that keeping their Boards an all-male preserve is no bad thing.

    Not only has Hazel Blears let down her Prime Minister, her party and her constituents, but she has also done a massive disservice to numerous capable and hard-working women.


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