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Women and the vision thing.
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Women and the vision thing.

Author: H Ibarra Affiliation: Insead, Fontainebleau, France. herminia.ibarra@insead.edu; O Obodaru
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Harvard business review, 2009 Jan; 87(1): 62-70, 117
Other Databases: WorldCatWorldCatWorldCat
Summary:
Are women rated lower than men in evaluations of their leadership capabilities because of lingering gender bias? No, according to an analysis of thousands of 360-degree assessments collected by Insead's executive education program. That analysis showed that women tend to outshine men in all areas but one: vision. Unfortunately, that exception is a big one. At the top tiers of management, the ability to see  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: H Ibarra Affiliation: Insead, Fontainebleau, France. herminia.ibarra@insead.edu; O Obodaru
ISSN:0017-8012
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 316989021
Awards:

Abstract:

Are women rated lower than men in evaluations of their leadership capabilities because of lingering gender bias? No, according to an analysis of thousands of 360-degree assessments collected by Insead's executive education program. That analysis showed that women tend to outshine men in all areas but one: vision. Unfortunately, that exception is a big one. At the top tiers of management, the ability to see opportunities, craft strategy based on a broad view of the business, and inspire others is a must-have. To explore the nature of the deficit, and whether it is a perception or reality, Insead professor Ibarra and doctoral candidate Obodaru interviewed female executives and studied the evaluation data. They developed three possible explanations. First, women may do just as much as men to shape the future but go about it in a different way; a leader who is less directive, includes more people, and shares credit might not fit people's mental model of a visionary. Second, women may believe they have less license to go out on a limb. Those who have built careers on detail-focused, shoulder-to-the-wheel execution may hesitate to stray from facts into unprovable assertions about the future. Third, women may choose not to cultivate reputations as big visionaries. Having seen bluster passed off as vision, they may dismiss the importance of selling visions. The top two candidates for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 2008 offer an instructive parallel. The runner-up, Hillary Clinton, was viewed as a get-it-done type with an impressive, if uninspiring, grasp of policy detail. The winner, Barack Obama, was seen as a charismatic visionary offering a hopeful, if undetailed, future. The good news is that every dimension of leadership is learned, not inborn. As more women become skilled at, and known for, envisioning the future, nothing will hold them back.

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