Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Androgynous leaders mean increased innovation

10.11.2008
Androgynous leaders, that is, leaders with both masculine and feminine traits, are the ones who best succeed at creating a good climate for innovation, concludes Anne Grethe Solberg, researcher at BI Norwegian Scool of Management in a new study.

With the law in their hands, women have marched into the boardrooms of Norwegian companies, particularly in the public limited companies (ASA), where women now hold four out of ten directorships (40 per cent).

So what does this do to the boards? Will more women and thereby greater diversity lead to more bright ideas and the necessary innovation?

Not necessarily, And not all by itself.

More women = more innovation?

Innovation means a deliberate introduction of new products, processes or methods in a role, group or organisation that clearly improves the results.

“Modern working life makes great demands on innovation to secure companies’ competitive advantage,” maintains sociologist and researcher Anne Grethe Solberg at the BI Norwegian School of Management

Solberg has completed a comprehensive study of 915 senior and middle leaders in the industries media, oil and information & communications technology (ICT) in order to find out what role gender plays in the companies’ innovation climate.

Four arguments for more women

Anne Grethe Solberg’s work identifies four main arguments for a better balance between men and women on boards and in management groups:

1. The argument of rights
Some people think that women and men both have a right to be present when decisions are taken. Both sexes have a right and a duty to help make strategic decisions; this is only fair and just.
2. The moral argument
Others say that moral and ethical responsibility means that women and men are equally represented where decisions are being taken. For them, it is important to avoid discrimination and systematic exclusion of one sex. That both women and men are involved in decision-making is socially useful and socially responsible (confer Corporate Social Responsibility).
3. The attractiveness argument
A gender balance where decisions are being made makes the company or board more attractive. The company should emerge as a good place to work for highly-qualified men and women who are not yet appointed. Equality of opportunity is seen as a good profiling tool.
4. The efficiency argument.
This argument is directly linked to innovation and diversity. It is claimed that an even distribution of men and women means greater efficiency because they are different and because, together, they are more innovative. The interaction between men and women will lead to better decisions: for example new perspectives, new products, new customers or other ways or working.

The characteristics of a good innovation climate

If they are to succeed with innovation, the Board members must be allowed to express their individual differences and values. But at the same time they must succeed in discussing their way to consensus.

“To achieve this, it is crucial that the chairperson of the board creates a good climate for innovation,” maintains Ms. Solberg.

The BI researcher’s study shows that the optimal innovation climate is characterised by an emotional tone that is open, trusting, accepting, free of tensions and with respect for differences and disagreements.

“In a good innovation climate, everyone feels secure enough to take part in discussion, they know what the aims of the group are, they stick to the subject and support one another’s ideas,” says Ms. Solberg.

“It is not until all the members of the board, in the light of their own expertise, are ready to change the direction of the discussion that synergy effects can be achieved.”

The role of the chair

A board must function as a working party. The chair has a special responsibility to tie together and concretise the results of the discussion.

“A facilitating leadership style is best at achieving creative and innovative processes in working parties,” concludes Ms. Solberg.

According to Ms. Solberg, the facilitating chairperson has the courage to remain entirely neutral and objective and is careful not to express his or her own opinions until the rest of the group have had their say. He or she has the ability to polarise the exchange of opinions in the group.

This means that disagreement is seen as a springboard for taking better and innovative decisions. A facilitating leader entrusts the group as a whole with the full responsibility for taking decisions.

Androgynous leaders win

Ms. Solberg’s study found that leaders with both masculine and feminine traits, the androgynous leaders, were the best at facilitating and creating a good innovation climate. They were better than their masculine and feminine colleagues.

Ms. Solberg also demonstrates that the incidence of androgynous leaders is more or less equal among men and women. And this can be a comfort, and an opportunity, for both women and men.

Audun Farbrot | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bi.no

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>