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Most employers under-estimate women's leadership potential - and men benefit from that

The study says men benefit from the perception that women will grow into the role.

IANS|
May 15, 2019, 06.32 PM IST
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LONDON: Employers tend to overlook women's leadership potential, while men benefit from the perception that they will grow into the role, says a study.

Researchers carried out two experimental studies that suggest that women have to demonstrate high performance in order to be hired to senior roles.

By contrast, having potential was valued more highly than performance output in men.

"There is much evidence that women are under-represented in leadership roles and this has social, cultural and organisational impact.

"Our research revealed an overlooked potential effect that exclusively benefits men and hinders women who pursue leadership positions," said Georgina Randsley de Moura, Professor at University of Kent in Britain.
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Nearly 300 participants took part in the two studies. In an organisation hiring simulation, participants were asked to view and rank the CVs of female and male candidates for a leadership role in a hypothetical organisation.

The candidates were either described as having high potential or high past performance.

The findings, published in a journal Frontiers in Psychology, demonstrated that when faced with a choice, people consistently ranked male candidates with leadership potential as their first choice.

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Who's The Boss?

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The world over, there has been a clamour for diversity in the workplace. In India too, the story is no different. And a lot of corporations have raised red flags over the abysmal representation of women in the boardroom. From treating women equally to women-specific policies, there are various points of view. So what can bring about diversity?
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When it came to woman though, participants preferred past performance over potential, said the study.

The research suggests that while women's past performance has to be at least as good as men's, women might be held to higher standards in selection processes because their leadership potential might be less likely to be recognised.

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Being an industry leader is not child's play. Apart from taking one's business ahead and dealing with the complications that come along with it, inculcating a healthy work culture is also extremely important. Recently, Alibaba Group boss Jack Ma received flak on social media for promoting a 12-hour-a-day and six-days-a-week work routine for success. However, he isn't the only one who, in an effort to be on the top, ended up promoting a hostile work culture. Here's a look at some top bosses who haven't been appreciated for their leadership qualities. (In pic from left: Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Travis Kalanick)
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