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Thread: Sex differences in corporate management

  1. #21
    Senior Member Array ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    But again, that's just a clarification. I have no problem with labeling those obstacles "fear of the new" or inertia. I just wanted to clarify that addressing fears and inertia in the corporate environment can still cost a lot of effort and money.
    Ah, point taken. I was viewing from a natural change (an emergent one to external pressures, like women's lib)... but yes, encouraging change would surely cost money that is not required (whereas I view it as required already, and thus making the best of the situation - streamlining change for competitive advantage)

  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I'm not sure I really want to be the one to post. I'd likely be run off into a swamp and forced to live out my life with the trolls!

    Really though, there are three reasons I can think of, and without details they aren't too controversial...

    1) Women have a higher barrier of entry, therefore those that do rise are invariably better than their male competitors

    2) Women have advantages due to their sex (indivdually more capable/etc)

    3) Women have added value as a result of different approaches (collective dynamics are net-better).

    I see evidence for all three, which leads me to believe there is an interactive effect between them.
    I'm most inclined to believe that your reason #1 is the primary factor behind the data currently. #2 and #3 may have an effect as well, but it's hard to tell because of #1. Why do I think #1 is the main factor?

    Well you have to assume that the people who are executives are there because they excel at certain types of "abilities" that one needs to be a successful executive. It isn't even necessary to know what these "abilities" are, we only know they exist. (They might be things like education, ambition, IQ, a variety of hard and soft skills, etc... and it might include elements not easily recognized or measured.) In general the individuals that excel the most at these "abilities" are the ones most eligible for executive positions.

    I think this is a reasonable assumption, because in general we tend to believe that the best and the brightest rise to the top. It may be that there are other factors that help one get to the top such as social connections, gender, race, etc..., but on top of all this having exeptional "abilities" plays a factor as well.

    What would we expect to see if there are other factors such as gender playing a role in ones ability to reach the executive level? Say executives from group A are all from the 90th percentile of possible candidates, while executives from group B are required to be in the 99th percentile. We'd expect to see many more candidates from group A to become executives, while the executives from group B would be better performers overall. In general barriers to entry are a way to choose a certain balance between quality and quantity. So when you have a highly desirable position like corporate executive and you find a small group that performs better than the large group, the most likely explanation is a barrier to entry.

    In this case I believe females have a higher barrier to executive entry than males. This is why companies with some female executives perform better than companies of all male executives. The females are the "best of the best" because of a higher barrier to entry. What the specific barrier(s) is/are I have no idea. It is likely that some of the other points in this thread are describing what the actual barriers to entry actually are. All of these points are not incompatable. Some are describing the "what" and others the "why".
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  3. #23
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    Nov 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I'd vote for "other psychology topics" cause I'd love to see this thread (d)evolve into sex differences.

    (I use to use #women in management positions as a stock screener, and yes, it has an impact.)
    Came on this late, but ptgatsby, wondering what that alpha was, statistically significant? Positive / negative, and was this sustainable over any length of period?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Array ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Came on this late, but ptgatsby, wondering what that alpha was, statistically significant? Positive / negative, and was this sustainable over any length of period?
    I'm afraid back then I wasn't so statistically aware and it was a lot rarer (this would be over a decade ago), so I wouldn't call my analysis robust... my friend did most of the analysis to start with anyway, which has been lost for a long time in a mail failure.

    Hmm, but now that you ask that, I am curious about the underlying studies. I wonder if it is predictive...

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