Yet another overview of corporate culture has come to the conclusion that putting women in leadership positions won't dismantle a company. In fact, shock of all shocks, having more female leaders makes companies even better equipped to rake in huge piles of money and solve internal dilemmas.
A survey of Canadian maple syrup and hockey stick companies (jokes! Canada makes other stuff, too!) published recently in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics found that women who sit on corporate boards are more likely to challenge the status quo, speaking out against the wildebeest herd mentality and introducing new ideas. These counterculture traits usually translate into better boardroom decisions and greater financial success for companies with a strong contingent of female leadership.
The survey polled 624 board directors in Canada, discovering that women were more likely to use "co-operation, collaboration and consensus building" when handling complex situations than their male counterparts, who, according to study co-author Chris Bart, are often too busy stampeding into a river to notice that it's infested with crocodiles.
Bart explained that the way women operate as directors — challenging conventional wisdom and keeping an eye trained on innovation — is often directly related to a company's success. So, if that's true, why are women still a boardroom minority? The most recent survey is part of a broader study conducted between 2004 and 2012 that presented morally conflicting scenarios to board members and asked them to come up with solutions that didn't, say, make all the seagulls in a seaside town grow thumbs on their foreheads. Of those board members who participated in the study, 75 percent were male and a mere 25 percent were female. Moreover, according to the Canadian Press,
A recent study by TD Bank (TSX:TD) found that women only make up 11 per cent of board members at companies on the S&P/TSX Composite Index, which represents more than 240 of Canada's largest companies by market capitalization.
Nearly half (43 per cent) of the companies on the index reported no female board member and 28 per cent only had one.
Even though it's becoming glaringly apparent to observers that having more women in leadership positions makes companies more profitable, boardrooms are still boys' clubs, often populated by inert, ineffectual old dudes with lots of time to golf and little real authority. According to Bart, the disparity between men and women in the corporate boardroom comes down to a fundamental difference in their nature: