Women Empowerment

We mentioned in this chapter that women tend to have less power in organizations than men. To demonstrate gender differences in power, just look at the gender composition of executive boards for top-performing companies. As of 2015, only 18.8 percent of Fortune 1000 company board seats were occupied by women, and only 20.6 percent of board seats were occupied by women at Fortune 500 companies. This disparity not only highlights the discrimination and the glass ceiling that many women face, it may also be bad for business.

We learned that diverse groups may be more creative and innovative, and decision making is more accurate when a group has a variety of perspectives. This principle appears to be true when it comes to diverse executive boards. A recent review of 140 studies found that having women on an executive board boosted returns, especially in countries with stronger shareholder protections. The same review found that having female board members helped companies’ marketplace performance in countries with higher gender equality. In addition, boards with greater gender diversity are better at monitoring company performance and engage in more strategic involvement. Other research suggests that diverse executive boards are not always beneficial. In most circumstances, having women with greater power on a board led to more strategic change in the organization. However, this is only true when the company is not threatened by low performance.

Many countries are trying to improve their economies by creating quotas that promote more gender-diverse boards. As of 2008, Norway requires women to hold 36 percent of board seats. France passed legislation in 2011 to promote gender-diverse boards. As a result of the law, 48 percent of new directorships were held by women in 2013.

Questions https://jigsaw.vitalsource.com/books/9780134729749/epub/OPS/images/star.png

  1. 13-14. Why do you think having women with greater power on a board changes firm performance?
  2. 13-15. Do you think using a quota system to promote gender diversity is a good idea? Why or why not?
  3. 13-16. Why do you think some countries have more gender-diverse boards than others?

Case Incident 2: Where Flattery Will Get You

One of the various impression management techniques that people use in the workplace is flattering or complimenting a person. Many people believe that flattery has a positive impact on career prospects. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, suggests using flattery to ask for a raise. Oliver advises employees to use other impression management techniques, such as self-promotion (e.g., highlighting your accomplishments) and enhancement (e.g., showing how your work is superior to your peers), but she also suggests complimenting or strategically “flattering” the boss before sitting down to talk about a salary raise.

Does flattery always work? The answer is yes and no. Flattery may influence someone in power but only if they see the flattery as sincere. Seeming sincere may be especially difficult, however, because people who have the most power are often the hardest to fool. After all, they have more experience with people flattering them. Recent research suggests that there may be a way to make flattery more effective: Try to convince yourself that you actually like the person you are flattering. In the study, employees who spent more time considering what they had in common with their boss were more likely to obtain their goal through flattery.

Even if an employee is successful using flattery, it has one major drawback. Another recent study found that executives who flatter their CEOs are more likely to resent their CEO later on. Though CEOs do not require their employees to compliment them, many employees feel demeaned when they go to great lengths to strategically flatter the boss. Employees who complimented their CEOs were also more likely to complain to third parties about their boss. Some even complained to journalists.

  1. 13-17. What are some other consequences of using flattery at work? Why do these consequences occur?
  2. 13-18. The study described in this case also found that executives resented directing flattery toward female and minority CEOs more than white males. Why do you think this finding is true?
  3. 13-19. Are there impression management techniques that are more effective than flattery?

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