Familiar or different gendered aspects of leadership in times of economic crisis
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Familiar or Different? Gendered Aspects of Leadership in Times of Economic Crisis. Becky Havens, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Ruth Toews Heinrichs, D.P.A. Director of Institutional Effectiveness Point Loma Nazarene University CBFA Conference, “Making the Familiar Different” June 30, 2011.

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Familiar or Different? Gendered Aspects of Leadership in Times of Economic Crisis

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Familiar or different gendered aspects of leadership in times of economic crisis

Familiar or Different?Gendered Aspects of Leadershipin Times of Economic Crisis

Becky Havens, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics

Ruth Toews Heinrichs, D.P.A.

Director of Institutional Effectiveness

Point Loma Nazarene University

CBFA Conference, “Making the Familiar Different”

June 30, 2011

Motivating questions

Motivating Questions

  • Are senior leadership styles gendered?

  • What are female leadership distinctives?

  • Do women have unique leadership qualities well-suited for times of crisis?

  • How does female leadership impact company performance?

  • How will familiar obstacles of the past give way to the different needs of the future?

  • What impact can Christian business faculty have on students, and ultimately on organizations, to make the familiar different?



  • Perfect storm in higher education

  • Recent economic crisis

  • Significant economic structural change

    • Women are over half of the American workforce, “arguably the biggest social change of our time” (lead story, first issue of The Economist in 2010)

A perfect storm in higher education

A “Perfect Storm” in Higher Education

  • Cutbacks, layoffs, wage freezes, reducing operating budgets, building cash reserves

  • Crisis of trust, fear and uncertainty

  • What do we need from our leaders?

    • Frequent communications

    • Honest explanations

    • Credibility and clarity

    • Rebuilding trust

Familiar or different gendered aspects of leadership in times of economic crisis

What is Needed in Crisis?

“We won’t be able to rebuild trust in institutions until leaders learn how to communicate honestly—and create organizations where that’s the norm.”

Guidelines for building a culture of candor are—tell the truth, tell truth to power, diversify sources of information, admit mistakes, encourage transparency, and share information.

James O’Toole and Warren Bennis. “What’s Needed Next: A Culture of Candor.” Harvard Business Review. 87.6 (June 2009): 54-61.

Female leadership distinctives

Female Leadership Distinctives

Female leadership

Female Leadership

Five Dimensions of Centered Leadership



Learned optimism

Moving on





Network design




Desire to lead

Tolerance for change





risks & fears



Core strengths



Sources & uses







Joanna Barsh, Susie Cranston and Geoffrey Lewis. How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life. New York: Crown, McKinsey & Company, 2009.

Women living whole

Women: Living Whole

  • Live holistically

  • Value emotional, spiritual and physical well-being

  • Treat work and home/family as non-compartmentalized

  • Connect deeply to work itself and colleagues

  • Own their own journeys

  • Respond as optimists in face of challenges

  • Survive even through painful setbacks

Women s leadership in crisis

Women’s Leadership in Crisis

  • Rosener says, “The women’s success shows that a nontraditional leadership style is well suited to the conditions of some work environments and can increase an organization’s chances of surviving in an uncertain world.”

  • In “How to Be a Good Boss in Bad Times,” Stern concludes that women managers do have an advantage in bad times

    • More collaborative and compassionate – better at delivering bad news

    • Better skilled at building emotional ties and fostering a feeling that “we’re all in this together”

    • Acknowledge the human component of layoffs – it’s not “just business”

    • Better at inciting trust in the employees who remain

      Judy B. Rosener. “Ways Women Lead: The command-and-control leadership style associated with men is not the only way to succeed.” Harvard Business Review. 68.6 (Nov-Dec 1990): 119-125.

Performance gender matters

Performance: Gender Matters

  • Gender diversity is a driver of corporate performance

  • Companies with three or more women in senior management on their leadership team score higher on organizational excellence criteria

  • Companies with a higher proportion of women on their senior management teams have a statistically significantly higher financial performance

    Women Matter, McKinsey, 2007.

Gendered leadership behaviors

Gendered Leadership Behaviors

Nine Leadership Behaviors (Avolio & Bass)

Displayed More Frequently by Gender

Women Matter 2. McKinsey, 2008

Matching leadership behaviors and corporate performance

Matching Leadership Behaviors and Corporate Performance

Corporate Performance Drivers

Reinforced by Leadership Behaviors, by Gender

Women Matter 2. McKinsey, 2008

Women bring it

Women Bring It

  • The study shows that women can help fill the leadership needs of the future.

    Women Matter 2. McKinsey, 2008.

Mobility or glass ceilings

Mobility…or glass ceilings?

  • Women hit a glass ceiling, while men have a glass escalator

  • Women’s double burden (family/work) is irreconcilable with male-centric corporate models

    • Anytime, anywhere – work 24/7

    • Linear career path – no breaks

    • Geographic mobility – unlimited moves

  • Women are less assertive and self-promoting

  • Women are more likely to be childless

  • Women don’t identify with success and opt-out

Opportunities or glass cliffs

Opportunities…or glass cliffs?

  • Many women get their “big break” in crisis times

  • Times of crisis create opportunities for new leaders to prove themselves

  • More women are appointed to senior leadership in failing organizations: glass cliff appointments

  • Women’s leadership qualities are perceived as more suitable for placement in organizational units in crisis

  • Concern: women are being promoted onto glass cliffs, with formidable hurdles and increased risk of failure, before they can advance up the ladder of leadership to the top positions

Womenomics economic realities

Womenomics & Economic Realities

  • Women: the new American workforce majority

  • Globalization: increasing income inequality

  • Family composition: female-headed households

    • Divorce & economic status, ownership of assets

  • Gender wage gap: 23 cents

    • 41% unexplained, accumulates over time

  • Motherhood: discrimination in the labor market

    • Interruptions in job mobility, $1 million “mommy tax”

    • Single biggest factor in poverty of elderly women

  • Society’s attitudes: caring labor isn’t really work

    • Women who care for children and elderly are “not working”

    • Women should be happily self-sacrificing by “choice”

Women s economic contributions

Women’s Economic Contributions

  • Two incomes are required for an American family to earn a modest living

  • Only families with working wives have experienced inflation-adjusted family income growth

  • Working wives contribute 42.2% of family earnings

  • 4/10 women are primary breadwinners

  • 1/4 women are co-breadwinners (25% earnings)

  • Female unemployment rates are below male rates

  • Women make up 66% of the workers in 10/15 job categories likely to grow fastest

  • Changing economic structure toward skill-based v. muscle-based jobs (where women can compete)

Building leadership diversity

Building Leadership Diversity

  • Leadership: must be from the top

    • Conduct regular meetings for top management to hear issues from women’s perspective

  • Organizational Structures: flex time, career breaks

  • Strategic Use of Data: gender diversity indicators

    • Proportion of women at each level of management

    • Pay levels among men and women in similar functions

    • Attrition rates among men and women in similar functions

    • Ratio of women promoted to women eligible

  • People Development: set up mentoring program

    Women Matter. McKinsey, 2007.

Making the familiar different

Making the Familiar Different

  • “The notion that things work better and human beings become their best selves when men and women work together is found on page one of the Bible.” (James)

  • Following the attack on the blessed partnership in Genesis, God sent Jesus to restore oneness.

  • “So whether we are talking about business, banking, politics, ministry, home, or any other human sphere, the Blessed Alliance is still the best way to get the job done.” (James)

Carolyn Custis James, “The Blessed Alliance.” OutcomesONLINE, Christian Leadership Alliance, March 7, 2011.

Implications for christian business faculty

Implications forChristian Business Faculty

  • How will we apply these concepts to higher education?

  • Leadership diversity is critically important for higher education to navigate through the economic crisis and prepare for challenges ahead.

  • What is one thing that could be done at your institution?

  • What can be done in your school of business?

Turning adversity into advantage

Turning Adversity into Advantage

“Use adversity to give your life

purpose and mission.

Turn your adversity into

advantage and opportunity.”

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Hope does not disappoint

Hope Does Not Disappoint

  • “…suffering produces endurance,

  • and endurance produces character,

  • and character produces hope,

  • and hope does not disappoint…”

  • Romans 5:1-5 (excerpt)

Thank you

Thank You

Becky Havens

[email protected]

Ruth Heinrichs

[email protected]

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