Women Friendly Global Friendly


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Women's innate abilities make her a 'good business choice' when reaching out to global markets. White paper discussing the advantages women bring to the international marketing table.

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Women Friendly Global Friendly

  1. 1. Women Friendly = Global FriendlyFor the first time in economic history, American women are being recognized for theirposition as the key buyer or influencer in the majority of all purchases in markets asdiverse as electronics and financial services. Trillions of dollars are at stake ascapitalism changes the global landscape. How do companies take advantage of thismarket shift? What unique female attributes drive it? And how do companies leveragethese attributes to compete globally in an “Internetted” world that gives increasing powerto the individual? Today, many companies are jumping on the “marketing to women” bandwagon. They are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to identify what women want in their product and services. They will spend even more in R&D as they attempt to find that one unique element which will push their product above their competitors. Perhaps they are missing an obvious differentiator which they already have, but have not tapped into – their female employees. Could the same traits that clients learn about their female market be tapped in their female employee base, and could these traits work to increase bottom line profits. In this day of service and value, could their female employees, become as important as or be the important differentiator for their product or service? And what impact could this have on their success as they move into the global economy? This paper attempts to answer these questions by exploring the reasons why a company should shift its focus from women as “buyer” to woman as “internal catalyst” – a catalyst which will secure product and service differentiation in the global economy.Copyright December 2004 1Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  2. 2. It Takes One To Know One “It takes one to know one”, is a statement perfectly suited to the women’s market. Stating the obvious, women come with a pre-understanding on how their gender thinks, processes, reacts, accepts, and applies information. Without trying, their decisions are more in line with their personal likes and dislikes and therefore more in line with what the women’s market values. When given free reign to apply their innate knowledge, woman will position products and companies to be more appealing to this powerful global market force. At the same time, their inherent management traits will also foster goodwill and trust that the interconnected world demands regardless of gender.Multi-tasking Masters A strong, organized female executive or project manager is often THE key success element in projects delivered on time and on budget. Wearing the “most organized hat”, female managers take on the myriad of thankless tasks and build collaborative teams to assure that “the job gets done and out the door”. This observation is well known by management, the difficulty has been how to utilize these skills while not viewing them as limitations, as her only strengths and in stereotyping the work required as gender suited; therefore gender limiting.Positive Differences Research over the last decade is allowing us to move toward a more politically correct methodology for gender differentiation so that corporations can better address women’s strengths through the lens of positive difference rather than a gender biased, male versus female perspective. In 1973, Henry Mintzberg, conducted a series of studies which identified the 10 roles that cover the wide variety of activities that a successful manager is required to do.1 These 10 roles can be grouped into 3 categories: • Informational • Interpersonal • Decisional 2 The ability to which a manager is able to integrate each of these categories will determine his/her level of success in performing the key functions of a manager – that of Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. 3Copyright December 2004 2Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  3. 3. Globalization and Its Impact on Managers Globalization can be described as a “proliferation of worldwide economic, social and cultural networks and people’s dependencies on these global networks for prosperity and security” 4. With the democratization of technology, finance and information, the previously closed Cold War view of business has transformed corporations into a global community. Today, business managers find themselves facing “non business issues” as diverse as environmental, ethical and cultural sensitivity, international employment law and employee safety and security while simultaneously developing collaborative networks of employees, partners and overseas business locations.High Touch Human Skills- A Necessity in the New Economy In addition to the operational management skills required by the new global workplace, international alliances and workforce development place an even higher demand on human relations skills. “Rather than a single-minded focus on profits, today’s managers must recognize the critical importance of staying connected to employees and customers” 5. In addition, the need to transmit corporate culture across new countries, time zones and non-US based employees will become critical to the successful implementation and maintenance of the organizations mission 6. The innate ability to stay connected is a key female trait. Companies wishing to build global customer communities should strongly consider how to leverage their female employee population to develop and maintain critical global connections.Education Trends- Female Versus Male Since 1979, women have outnumbered men on college campuses and now make up 56% of all undergraduates 7. In 1996, there were 8.4 million women and 6.7 million men in American colleges. According to the US Department of Education, the enrollment of women in graduate programs rose 178% between 1969 and 1999 and women received 44.2% of all doctorate degrees granted in 2000 8. By 2007, it is estimated that this disparity will grow to 9.2 million women versus 6.9 million men. Additionally, the US Census 2000Copyright December 2004 3Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  4. 4. shows that the female-to-male- ratio of bachelors degree recipients will be 1:42:1, for master’s degrees, the ration will be 1:51:1 9. Lastly, 2001 was a watershed year for women in law schools – for the first time, female law entrant’s outnumbered men 10. These data trends clearly demonstrate that women will not only outnumber men in both sheer numbers and advanced schooling, but lead to a larger, more important question – will corporate America take advantage of this asset?Women – Communications Strength While US businesses acknowledge that a new, fluid global workplace is emerging, they often remain male inspired with male dominated hierarchies and management styles. The women’s movement has forced recognition of women’s “rights”, but not women’s “strengths”. In Judy Rosener’s book, American’s Competitive Secret- Women Managers 11 the following female management traits are outlined: • Linking rather than ranking workers • Favor interactive-collaborative leadership styles • Sustain fruitful collaborations • Comfortably sharing information • See redistribution of power as victory, not surrender • Readily accept ambiguity • Honor intuition as well as pure “rationality” • Inherently flexible • Appreciate cultural diversity However, just having innate traits does not assure the effective use of them. There is mounting evidence that women, rather than men, make better corporate managers. In a study of 425 high-level executives, female managers were rated higher than their male counterparts in 42 of 52 skills measured 12. Lastly, in business, women are believed to be better with customers, more efficient, more trustworthy and more generous and understanding with colleagues, than their male counterparts. These feminine skills (working in teams, better at persuasion, communication skills and adaptability)Copyright December 2004 4Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  5. 5. meet the demands of the rapidly changing global workplace and could go a long way in improving the dismal customer service ratings that consumers give corporations.Nature Versus Nurture Today modern medical technology is allowing us to move from intuition gender based assumptions to scientific evidence of distinct differences in men and women. The greatest leaps in research have taken place in the last ten years due to the development and use of the functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI. The MRI is able to depict areas of brain activity and provide clear images of various areas of the brain which control our perceptual, cognitive and emotional make-up 13. The following summarizes the work of researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, headed by Dr. Joseph T. Lurito. The purpose of Dr. Lurito’s work was to determine the way men and women process information. MRI studies show that women have four times as many connections between the left and right brain. This connection area, called the corpus callosum is not only more well connected in the female brain, it is 15% thicker in females than males making it much easier to transfer data from one side to the other at a high rate of speed, as well as take in a variety of information and add it to basic, objective logic. Women have a naturally ambidextrous brain, capable of enhanced perceptual speed, fine motor skills and a higher degree of verbal fluency. This accounts for the high level of multi-tasking skills that women possess. Women are more efficient at processing information in general, by adding external clues, and are incredibly flexible at adjusting to different ways of relating to the world. Researchers believe that this combination of size and connectivity makes women more perceptive, articulate and verbally fluent 14. We use our physical senses—sight, sound, smell, taste and touch to gather and store information. One of our senses; the eye, has been shown to be influenced by gender. The cones and rods in our retina are connected. The cones help us focus more intensely and intensify clarity and color. The rods help us detect the slightest movement in the visual field. Women have more rods which provides them greater peripheral vision and the ability to see the whole picture all at once – not just seeing the picture but “feeling” it, anCopyright December 2004 5Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  6. 6. important part of intuition. This allows women to identify emotion and discriminate subtle facial expressions faster than men. Men, on the other hand, focus best on one thing at a time, having greater depth perception 15. This attention to detail is what makes women such discriminating shoppers and voracious information gathers. It is also a skill which can be leveraged throughout the entire product development cycle and market strategy phase if a company understands the benefit of the perceptual differences that women bring to the planning table.Win-Win, A Natural Outcome The skills required for successful negotiation—the sharing of information and the view that the redistribution of power – can be seen as victory and not surrender and are innately female qualities 16. Coupling the intuitive sense with these skills makes for a formidable asset at the negotiation table—resulting in a win-win solution for both parties. Viewing these same negotiation skills as customer problem solving skills provides another way of assessing the value of woman’s skill as part of the total customer experience. The chart on the next page outlines the old and new workplace management traits.Copyright December 2004 6Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  7. 7. Management Traits – Women’s Unique Strengths for the New Economy The Rosener’s, Woman Manager Skill Sets18, have been aligned with the new workplace management traits as defined by Daft & Marcic 17. . Characteristics Old Economy New Economy Rosener-Female Traits Comfortably sharing Resources Atoms-physical assets Bits-information information Work Structured, localized Flexible, virtual Inherently flexible Linking rather than ranking Workers Dependable employees Empowered employees workers free agents Appreciate cultural diversity Forces on Organizations Technology Mechanical Digital, e-business Markets Local, domestic Global, including Internet Workforce Homogenous Diverse Values Stability, efficiency Change, speed Turbulent, more frequent Events Calm, predictable crisis Readily accept ambiguity Management Competencies See redistribution of power Leadership Autocratic Dispersed, empowering as victory, not surrender Favor interactive- Connections to customers, collaborative leadership Focus Profits employees styles Linking rather than ranking Doing Work By individuals By teams workers Sustain fruitful Relationships Conflict, competition Collaboration collaborations Experimentation, learning, Design Efficient performance organization Honor intuition as well as Style pure “rationality”Exhibit 1.4, The Transition to a New Workplace, Chapter 1, Managing a New WorkplaceCopyright December 2004 7Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  8. 8. The Power of Her Mouse Rosener does not address another critical skill required of the new economy– technology skills, and the understanding and leveraging of its power for business efficiency and communication. Technical skill capability, traditionally perceived as male dominated, can be refuted through several recent findings. In December of 2002, the number of women on the Internet reached 62.7 million, becoming the majority of online users at 52% 19. Sixty-one percent (61%) of women and 55% of men use the Internet for business and 52% of women versus 51% of men sell their products or services on line 20. Lastly, in the Consumer Electronics Association (CES) 2004 study it was found that women were responsible for $55 of the $96 billion spent last year on consumer electronics. So great is the impact and growing trend of women on the electronics industry that at their recent two day , 2004 International CES conference, a Super Session was dedicated to the woman’s market 21. While the number of women focused in pure technology as a degree or career focus is still considerably less than males, this data strongly indicates that women may not “write the code”, but surely know how to leverage its power for business use. And in terms of sheer buying power “WOMEN ARE DRIVING the growth of online shopping. Last year, women accounted for 52% of online buyers — 18.9 million of the total 36.5 million U.S. shoppers online, according to Forrester Research”. 22.Woman In Management – The Key Differentiator If one agrees with the necessary global management skill traits outlined in this paper and their relevance as a competitive advantage in the new economy, women’s strengths in critical management areas cannot be denied. In an increasingly competitive global environment success will be defined not only by product, but by the ability to cost effectively manage production and orchestrate operationally, the complexity caused by time, distance and diverse employee groups. The key element in this challenge is people—and their strong organizational and collaboration skills. Women’s innate management and communications styles are more suited to these requirements. It is not a question of men/versus women, or one being better than, or worse thanCopyright December 2004 8Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  9. 9. the other, its about companies’ leveraging the best worker for the best job and the companies succeeding with and through their women managers. In the final analysis, if corporations give women the space to complete their thoughts, sales will increase, customer satisfaction will increase and brands will become tied to the largest buyer group in the US – Women!Copyright December 2004 9Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM
  10. 10. References1. Henry Metzger, 1973. The Nature of Managerial Work (Harper & Roe New York); and Mintzberg, “Rounding Out the Managers Job,” (Sloan Management Review (Fall 1994), pp. 11-26).2,3,5,6, 17 - Daft & Marcic, 2004, p. 12 & 13, p16) p. 20, p.71).Understanding Management (South-Western, Mason)4. Mansbach R. 2000, p.4. The Global Puzzle, Issues and actors in world politics (Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, MA)7,8,9 – WOW Facts, 2002. Education and Women, chap. 9, Washingtonian 2002, US Department of Education,10. US Department of Labor 200211. Cited in Peters, re-imagine, p27112. Employers of America, 200113. Belgium Study 2004, Retrieved from http;//michelemiller.blogs.com, 3/4/2004 blog posting Woman Does Not Live by Hormones Alone, WonderBranding: Marketing to Women: Brain Studies14. The Female Brain Part 2, 2/18/2004. Retrieved from http://www.michelemiller.blogs.com ,blog posting, WonderBranding: Marketing to Women: Brain Studies15. Intuition Part II and Part III, 2004, Intuition Part II (4/13/2004) retrieved from http://www.michelemiller.blogs.com, blog posting, WonderBranding. Intuition Part III, (4/13/2004) Eye of the Beholder retrieved from http://www.michelemiller.blogs.com, blog posting, WonderBranding16. Rosener, as cited in Peters, 2003, Re-imagine, p271, Dorly Kindersley Limited: London, England18. J. Rosener’s, Woman Manager Skill Set Rosener J. (1997) American’s Competitive Secret-Women Managers , (Oxford University Press, Incorporated: New York, NY, 1997)19. ComScore Media Metrix, 12/02.20. Technology and Women, Chapter 42 Center for Women’s Business Research, WOW 2002) WOW Facts, (2002), Technology and Women, Center for Women’s Business Research, Chapter 42: pp 359-368.21. Press Release, Day two of CES focuses on technology policy and marketing to women, CEA, Las Vegas, 1/10/2004). CEA Press Release, (1/10/2004) Day two of CES focuses on technology policy and marketing to women, Las Vegas, Jeff Joseph jjoseph@ce.org22. WSL Strategic Retail, a New York City consultancy Jul 1, 2004, Soft Goods Propel Hard Drives By Betsy SpethmannCopyright December 2004 10Woman Friendly = Global FriendlyTerri A. WhiteselInterpret-HerTM