Companies hoping to make better decisions should hire more women, a new study finds.
Research from McMaster University in Ontario revealed that women's abilities to make fair decisions when competing interests are at stake make them better corporate leaders. Specifically, the study found that women are more likely to consider the rights of others and to take a cooperative approach to decision-making, which ultimately translates into better performance for their companies.
"Our findings show that having women on the board is no longer just the right thing, but also the smart thing to do," said by Chris Bart, a study co-author and professor of strategic management at McMaster University. "Companies with few female directors may actually be shortchanging their investors."
The study, which surveyed more than 600 board directors, revealed that male directors, who made up 75 percent of the survey sample, prefer to make decisions using rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing business and getting along. In comparison, female directors felt less constrained by these parameters and more prepared to rock the boat.
The research also discovered that female corporate directors are significantly more inclined to take the interests of multiple stakeholders into account in order to arrive at a fair and moral decision. In addition, women tend to use cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building more often, and more effectively, in order to make sound decisions.
"Women seem to be predisposed to be more inquisitive and to see more possible solutions," said Gregory McQueen, one of the study's co-authors and a McMaster graduate. "At the board level, where directors are compelled to act in the best interest of the corporation while taking the viewpoints of multiple stakeholders into account, this quality makes them more effective corporate directors."
The researchers said their findings, that women's higher-quality decision-making abilities make them more effective, gives corporate boards a method to deal with the multifaceted social issues and concerns currently confronting corporations.