Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Gaps, Gender, and Mitigation

C.O.O. of Facebook, Inc.,  Sheryl Sandberg, spoke in Switzerland, on 1/27/2012 and Laura Berger, of Women in the Boardroom (thank you linkedin.com groups) sent out an invitation to have a conversation around the "ambition gap" on 1/31/2012. I may reply to the Berger invitation later, but while I was engaged listening to Sandberg outline the gap it was her comments on success and likeability as a gender issue that sent me looking for more information. I did not complete a scholarly search, but did find 579,000 results in 4.5 seconds all pointing to conversations and data on how women in leadership roles are not as well liked as male counterparts. One Wellesley University study by Linda L. Carla provides a good reference list at the end of her Chapter 5, if you are of a mind to go exploring.

Now in addition to the gap discussed in Switzerland by Sandberg, Carli has added to my knowledge on types of power my gender may not possess:

1. Legitimate power: Seems one gets by being in social roles with great authority and/or in high status positions.

2. Expert power: Appears one gets this simply by being male and being perceived as having high levels of expertise and competence.

Was also interesting to read about mitigating communication and gender, I may be wrong here and I guess others maybe would like to weigh in on the conversation, but it appears my gender is seen as lacking two kinds of important power and is seen as hedging way too much.

While families are working on raising daughters differently, as Sandberg suggest is one solution, is it possible for organizations to use research to improve things in the workforce for both genders?

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