A company that conducted performance reviews of executives turned up an interesting finding: women executives are generally ranked higher in key areas of job performance than their male counterparts. The study, conducted by the Hagberg Consulting Group, did not set out to study gender differences, which leads researchers to give the results additional weight (since there was no gender bias introduced in the original study). Instead, researchers found the gender gap when they compiled statistics based on their performance evaluations. Additional studies have reached similar conclusions, although different studies have reached less stark differences between the two genders.
There is little surprise to learn that gender differences exist along traditionally stereotypical role lines: women are expected to be better listeners and to have better interpersonal skills, and the studies bear this out. However, the studies also show that women are as competent (or more so) than men at analyzing issues and producing high quality work, and that women also excel at motivating others.
These findings are considered to have particular import at this time because of the new types of companies that are being formed today. Instead of having companies which rely on heavy production and assembly, there are increasing numbers of service companies being formed where communication skills and teambuilding skills are critical to the company's--and the employee's--success. Women, it is suggested by the author, will succeed and excel in these environments.
There have been some critics of the studies, who argue that there is not a gender difference so much as there is a perception difference. Women traditionally have moved into fields such as human resources and public relations where interpersonal skills are key. Thus executives in these fields are likely to be rated higher in terms of interpersonal communication and teambuilding, and the fact...