Beyond stereotypes

1728IE Focus | By Celica de Anca, Director Centre for Diversity, IE Business School
The women’s leadership debate and the reasons that there are still so few women on boards of directors will come to nothing if we keep referring to the same old male and female stereotypes.
McKinsey recently published its Women Matter 2 study, in which it drew the conclusion that the women leaders analysed used certain styles of leadership that had a direct effect on the company’s performance more often than men’s styles. Women’s leadership styles involved people development, intuition and participatory decision-taking.Other studies along the same lines have insisted on the need for including more women in corporate bodies of management owing to their different leadership styles. However, despite the scientific rigour of the analyses, the same number of scientific studies can also be found to demonstrate that the presence of more women in senior management does not necessarily improve a company’s performance.

Accepting these studies as valid, I believe that in order to move forward in the issue of women in business leadership, certain untruths that add confusion to the debate must first of all be clarified.

The first is the search for reasons that justify something which, in my opinion, does not need justifying. Women represent half of the world population and 46% of its workforce. Some of them are competent and others less so, some are more qualified and some less so. Indeed, some of them are not qualified for senior management posts, most probably in the same percentage as men who are not qualified for positions of responsibility. In the globalised and competitive society of the 21st century and in the interests of corporate effectiveness there is no room for maintaining barriers that prevent talented or valuable women from taking up posts in senior management. The barriers we imagine exist, albeit indirectly and subtly, limit, for example, the number of women who sit on boards of directors to only 6% of the top 800 European businesses. Scandinavian countries have the greatest number of women on their boards of directors and the countries in the South of Europe have the lowest number. I hope there are other factors that explain what could otherwise be put down to Swedish women being more talented than their Spanish counterparts.

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IE Business School and Brown University: New approaches to Academic Entrepreneurship

A joint initiative for research and training for commerce, entrepreneurship and organizational Management IE Business School and Brown University are delighted to announce the formalization of a multifaceted relationship, bringing together one of Europe’s leading business schools and a leading North American research university. Brown and IE share a commitment to academic excellence and to…

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Marketing in times of adversity and stress

Marketing in times of adversity and stressIE Focus | By Roberto Alvarez del Blanco,  Professor at IE Business School
Taking the scissors to the marketing budget is an all too familiar reaction in times of crisis, but it is a mistake that can weaken the brand and hamper attempts to differentiate a product.
The current severe market conditions mean that marketing decisions have to be based on certainty, decision and courage. Avoiding mistakes that imply significant conditioning factors in the mid and long term is as important as managing the crisis. Skilfully solving this new paradox requires fast solutions and consideration of long-term implications. Peripheral vision is also essential to see and interpret the signs, and identify useful solutions for planning a more stable future.From a marketing viewpoint we are facing vast complexities, but it is also a time of extraordinary opportunity. It’s true that challenges are on the increase, that some models are more vulnerable, or that negative signs can be seen on the horizon, but we have to find a way through the jungle and healthy economic options for the brand must be created, all without dying in the attempt. The pressure of the scant room for error can be relieved a little by remembering an old Spanish saying: be eager when others are being cautious and be cautious when others are being eager.

In times like the present the great temptation is to cut back budgets, and marketing is often the first to suffer. It is vulnerable because of the search for fast results or survival and because it is assumed that reducing marketing efforts does not have any short-term effect. The current climate requires the consideration of a number of priorities to avoid missing out on opportunities or committing irreversible errors and accepting that Lady Luck smiles on the decisive in times of crisis.

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Madrid: more than one million foreigners

Madrid: more than one million foreignersIE Focus | By Rafael Puyol, President IE University

The crisis has affected every level of society, but particularly immigrants. Madrid’s immigrants are faring better than most, however, evidencing that the capital is still an attractive destination for the immigrant population.
The report on the foreign population registered on the Comunidad de Madrid census on 1 January 2009 is very recent and is one of the first documents to show the impact of the crisis on immigration.

Every intuitive guess and forecast for the situation of the foreign population is confirmed in the report, but it applies in Madrid less severely than in other parts of Spain.

The base figures for the analysis are very clear. The first is the slowing-down of growth and, to a certain extent, the absolute reduction of immigrants if the count includes only the last few months. But it is a quasi-symbolic reversal as there are only 159 immigrants less than last October. It is true that the number has fallen and that some have gone, which means that the year-on-year growth is down on other periods. However, consideration must be given to the fact that many foreigners are no longer considered as such because they have been awarded Spanish nationality. Madrid is also unique in this respect, since it accounts for one third of Spain’s nationalisation processes.

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