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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>