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February 06, 2004



Ah, on reading my own comment I see that soft pedaling leaves too much room for interpretation. When I say “wide range of competence” I mean to say many male managers I have worked with have been incompetent. When I sat “range of routes to management” I mean many definitely did not get there based on their performance.


The correlation between diversity and performance isn’t surprising to me based on my own experiences. In my field (electrical engineering initially, then software engineering since) managers (and staff) are predominately male and with a wide range of competence. There has been a corresponding range of routes by which they became “managers”.

But, among the female managers I have worked with there has been much less variance. I mean they have all been highly competent and their route to management had always been based on performance. There simply was no other route!

On the other hand, when it comes to “management style” I would say that there hasn’t been that much difference between the two groups.

David Foster

Based on my own experience, I think business teams generally work better when they include both men and women. But I'm not sure the Catalyst study is very meaningful. It's possible that it merely reflects industry differences..the more "modern" industries tend to have higher return on equity, and probably also have higher female participation. It would be interesting to redo the study with industry held constant.

And I think the study on the differences in management style is probably incorrect. Self-reporting ("Is your style analytical or intuitive"?) is a notoriously poor way to understand real behavior; people are likely to say what they think they are expected to say. And, again, it would be useful to consider differences across industries.

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