bias

Decision-making under adversity - AusIMM Bulletin

Featured in October 2016 in the Australian International Mine Management Bulletin.

Decision-making Under Adversity - By Amanda Blesing and Russell Boon

Learning how the brain interprets and processes stressful situations can help the decision-making process in high-pressure environments

We initially became interested in decision-making as a topic because of insights and evidence from the gender diversity debate. Organisations with both women and men on the leadership team in relatively equal numbers perform better on a range of measures including profitability, productivity, risk, customer satisfaction and staff engagement. And the reasons why? Researchers put it down to better decision-making:

  • ‘companies with strong female leadership deliver a 36 per cent higher return on equity, according to the index provider MSCI’ (World Economic Forum, 2015)
  • ‘companies ranked in the bottom quarter in terms of gender diversity on their boards were hit by 24 per cent more governance-related controversies than average’ (World Economic Forum, 2015).

However, women are frequently criticised for their decision-making. They’re allegedly slower at making decisions, wanting more evidence and are more risk averse. This is seen as a negative by organisations that are used to more masculine models of leadership.

Complexity vs Uncertainty

Complexity vs Uncertainty

On the flipside, we know that testosterone drives a bias toward action, competitiveness and risk taking, so men tend to make decisions faster. However, a too-fast decision isn’t always a better decision, and certainly a too-slow decision doesn’t get anyone anywhere fast. Additionally, when stress, anxiety or fear is added into the mix, no one is great at making decisions. In fact, we’re wired to bypass the logical parts of our brain when under pressure, which makes great decision-making really challenging.

 

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Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In 2.0 and Corporate Gender Bias - Entrepreneur

Every now and then I find a great article that takes a sightly different perspective or slant on solving an old problem. Gender equality is an old problem. I like the more masculine appraoch that this author takes to tackling biases.

Jonathan Segal, Contributor, Entrepreneur and Partner in Employment Practice Group of Duane Morris

OCTOBER 25, 2016 on Entrepreneur Magazine.

Research finds we are still 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite. That's unacceptable.

It is now more than three years since Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, wrote her ground-breaking book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. “Lean In,” I believe, is shorthand for “Go for it, if you want it.”

In her book, Sandberg acknowledges that there are many systemic obstacles to the advancement of women in corporate America. However, her focus is what women can do to maximize their chance of success in spite of these obstacles.

Well, more and more women are leaning in. That includes applying for leadership positions and/or negotiating for more equitable compensation.

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How Women End Up on the Glass Cliff

HBR - by

FROM THE JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2011 ISSUE

By now everyone is familiar with the glass ceiling—the informal barrier that keeps women out of upper management. In the past few years, researchers have found that women have a better chance of breaking through that ceiling when an organization is facing a crisis—thus finding themselves on what Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam, of the University of Exeter, have termed the “glass cliff.” But the question remains why.

To explore possible answers, we conducted two experiments. In the first we asked 119 college students to read two newspaper articles about an organic food company. The first article discussed the upcoming retirement of the CEO. We created two versions of the piece; in one the company was currently and historically headed by men, and in the other it was headed by women. We also created two versions of the second article, which dealt with the company’s financial status, so that some students read about a company that was growing, others about one that was closing stores and laying people off. We then asked the students to choose between two equally qualified candidates for CEO, one male and one female.

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