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 New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>