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How Men and Women Differ

UPDATE: April 23, 2013

Women Handle Sleep Loss Better Than Men

Women handle workweek sleep loss better than do men, though job performance of either men or women is impacted by a pattern of less that seven to eight hours per night of sleep.
For both men and women, performance deteriorates when sleep is restricted to six hours per night for a week. Worse yet, performance does not improve after two nights of recovery sleep - you'll feel better, but your job performance will still suffer.

A study published in 2011 was led by Dr. Alexandros N. Vgontzas, professor of psychiatry and endowed chair in sleep disorders medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine and director of the Sleep Research and Treatment Center at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA.

"After one workweek of mild sleep deprivation, two recovery nights were adequate in improving sleepiness but not performance," said Dr. Vgontzas. "The usual practice of extending sleep during the weekend after a busy workweek associated with mild sleep loss is not adequate in reversing the cumulative effects on cognitive function resulting from this mild sleep deprivation."

Compared with men, women were found to have less subjective sleepiness and less performance deterioration during sleep restriction, as well as greater improvements after recovery.
"In women, but not in men, deep sleep appeared to have a protective effect," said Vgontzas. "Women with a higher amount of deep sleep can handle better the effects of one workweek of mild sleep deprivation, and their recovery is more complete after two nights of extended sleep."
So how much recovery sleep does it take to return to a normal level of performance?

A 2008 study authored by Tracy L. Rupp, PhD, of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, reports that it takes one week of eight hours of sleep per night to return to normal. Dr. Rupp recommends that, "adults get between seven and eight hours of nightly sleep," to maintain their best performance.

  1. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2011, June 16). Weekend sleep fails to improve performance, but women handle workweek sleep loss better. ScienceDaily.
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, June 9). Sleep Extension Improves Alertness And Performance During And Following Subsequent Sleep Restriction. ScienceDaily.
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Governance & Management:

Science Daily Mar. 25, 2013 — Women's abilities to make fair decisions when competing interests are at stake make them better corporate leaders, researchers have found.

A survey of more than 600 board directors showed that women are more likely to consider the rights of others and to take a cooperative approach to decision-making. This approach translates into better performance for their companies.

The study, which was published this week in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, was conducted by Chris Bart, professor of strategic management at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, and Gregory McQueen, a McMaster graduate and senior executive associate dean at A.T. Still University's School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona.

"We've known for some time that companies that have more women on their boards have better results," explains Bart. "Our findings show that having women on the board is no longer just the right thing but also the smart thing to do. Companies with few female directors may actually be shortchanging their investors."

Bart and McQueen found that male directors, who made up 75% of the survey sample, prefer to make decisions using rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing business or getting along.

Female directors, in contrast, are less constrained by these parameters and are more prepared to rock the boat than their male counterparts.

In addition, women corporate directors are significantly more inclined to make decisions by taking the interests of multiple stakeholders into account in order to arrive at a fair and moral decision. They will also 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. 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, explains McQueen.

Globally, women make up approximately 9% of corporate board memberships. Arguments for gender equality, quotas and legislation have done little to increase female representation in the boardroom, despite evidence showing that their presence has been linked to better organizational performance, higher rates of return, more effective risk management and even lower rates of bankruptcy. Bart's and McQueen's finding that women's higher quality decision-making ability makes them more effective than their male counterparts gives boards a method to deal with the multifaceted social issues and concerns currently confronting corporations.

The International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics is available online.

How do people make decisions?
  • Personal interest reasoning: The decision maker is motivated by ego, selfishness and the desire to avoid trouble. This method is most often exhibited by young children who largely tend to be motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
  • Normative reasoning: The decision maker tries to avoid "rocking the boat" by adhering to rules, laws or norms. Stereotypical examples of groups that use this form of reasoning include organizations with strong established cultures like Mary Kay or the US Marines.
  • Complex moral reasoning: The decision maker acknowledges and considers the rights of others in the pursuit of fairness by using a social cooperation and consensus building approach that is consistently applied in a non-arbitrary fashion.
Why should boards have more female directors?
  • Boards with high female representation experience a 53% higher return on equity, a 66% higher return on invested capital and a 42% higher return on sales (Joy et al., 2007).
  • Having just one female director on the board cuts the risk of bankruptcy by 20% (Wilson, 2009).
  • When women directors are appointed, boards adopt new governance practices earlier, such as director training, board evaluations, director succession planning structures (Singh and Vinnicombe, 2002)
  • Women make other board members more civilized and sensitive to other perspectives (Fondas and Sassalos, 2000) and reduce 'game playing' (Singh, 2008)
  • Female directors are more likely to ask questions rather than nodding through decisions (Konrad et al., 2008).
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Suggested reading

Story Source: Chris Bart, Gregory McQueen. Why women make better directors. International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2013; retrieved from Science Daily

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UPDATE: Team Women Versus Distant Men
The war of the sexes is alive and kicking

As a small business owner, it's important you understand similarites and differences between men and women, who, after all, make up all of your customers and your employees.

Today at the at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Harrogate, England, Dr. Anna Machin and Professor Robin Dunbar from Oxford University are presenting a paper documents something we all probably instintinctively know:
  • Women immerse themselves in their romantic relationships.
  • Men place their best friendships and romantic partners on an equal but distant footing.


  • See the maintenance of their romantic partnerships as a team sport, involving equal input from both partners with shared goals and beliefs being the key to success.
  • Feel their happiness and contentment are intimately bound up in both their best friendships and romantic partnerships.
  • Prefer cooperation not competition with their best friends.
  • Score their partner consistently higher than themselves, seemingly placing their partner on a pedestal.
  • Exist at a greater distance from both of their closest relationships.
  • Act as though they were members of the dating market despite being in committed relationships.
Both Men and Women
  • Report emotional extremes within their romantic partnerships, the effects of which appear to be buffered by their relationship with their best friend.
  • Find their best friend is a vital source of comfort, stability and understanding, a refuge from the sometimes choppy waters of the romantic relationship.
In their report, the authors conclude that: "Our research shows that successful relationships are much more essential to women's well-being than men's. Men seem to keep their relationships at arm's length with one eye on the dating market. It seems that regardless of our culture of monogamy and commitment the biological imperative still operates, to a greater or lesser degree, for men. The war of the sexes is still alive and kicking within our relationships."

A reading selection related to this post:

Story Source: British Psychological Society (BPS) (2013, April 10). Relationships: Team women versus distant men. Science Daily, April 11, 2013.

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How Men and Women Entrepreneurs Differ
Posted March 7, 2013

Yes, there are differences between men and women, but according to research, the differences are primarily physical, not psychological nor intellectual.

This runs head on to the pop-science stereotyping of Men as being from Mars, Women from Venus, a theory based on anything but scientific evidence.
Okay, there are anthropomorphic differences between men and women. That is a given. Men tend to be taller with broader shoulders, more muscular arms and legs, and so on.

But when it comes to how men and women react emotionally or intellectually, research shows that the differences between individuals whether male or female are greater than between the sexes. In a recent article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by researchers Bobbi Carothers and Harry Reis point out that. . .
gay and lesbian couples have the same problems relating to each other that heterosexual couples do. Clearly, it’s not so much sex, but (individual) human characteristics that cause difficulties.”
In other words, research shows men and women feel and think the same. Conflicts arise from individual differences that may be learned or may be genetic.
Gender stereotypes hinder people from looking at their partner as an individual.” ~ Researcher Harry Reis
As most people come to learn as they mature, to use a sexual stereotype to define your partner is a recipe for disaster. Want a fight with a spouse or partner? Say, “Women! You’re all alike,” or “Men! You’re all the same,” and watch the eruption. People aren’t stereotypes, they are individuals, all with the same emotions and abilities without regard to sex.

This being said, there are differences obvious to most adults. Researchers Michael Szell’s and Stefan Turner’s recent article on how men and women organize online social networks points out several. Because of thousands of years of learned behavior. . .
  • tend to have more communication partners,
  • are more likely to engage in economic activity, i.e., start a business,
  • attract positive behavior,
  • organize in “clusters”, which I take to mean form groups,
  • take fewer risks than men,
  • and prefer stability in “local networks”, i.e. the groups in which they are members.
  • try to talk with those who talk with many,
  • tend not to form friendships with other men,
  • and are quite quick to respond to friendship initiatives with females.

It's important to remember that these are learned behaviors that humans have picked up over many thousands of years, and are not genetic as would be the case if the men are from Mars, women from Venus theory were true.

Men Take Sexual Risks, Women Are More Likely to Form Economic Activity
Arecent article in the Journal of Risk Research by Tobias Greitemeyer, Andreas Kastenmüller and Peter Fischer observes that men are more willing to take big risks to get attention from the opposite sex, while women have the opposite tendency. While risks in the past involved finding shelter, food, and sexual partners in a harsh environment, typical risks today involve “Sexual risk taking (unprotected sex), gambling and reckless driving."

This risk taking behavior is sex specific and is considered to be learned, again over the millenia. A point made by Greitemeyer et al is that men's risk taking behavior is specific, and not a general willingness to take risks in all things. As the Turner Szell study indicates, women are more likely to engage in economic activity, i.e., to start a business.

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Women and the Grameen Bank Bangladesh
1976, during visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University where economist Muhammed Yunus taught, he discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. Jobra women who made bamboo furniture had to take out usurious loans for buying bamboo, to pay their profits to the moneylenders. His first loan, consisting of US$27.00 from his own pocket, was made to 42 women in the village, who made a net profit of BDT 0.50 (US$0.02) each on the loan. Accumulated through many loans, this vastly improving Bangladesh's ability to export and import as it did in the past, resulting in a greater form of globalisation and economic status.

The system of this bank is based on the idea that the poor have skills that are under-utilized. A group-based credit approach is applied which utilizes the peer-pressure within the group to ensure the borrowers follow through and use caution in conducting their financial affairs with strict discipline, ensuring repayment eventually and allowing the borrowers to develop good credit standing. The distinctive feature of the bank's credit program is that the overwhelming majority (98%) of its borrowers are women.
Source: Wikipedia

In Doctor Yunuus' book on his experiences establishing his bank, he noted that originally he made micro-loans to men, but stopped this practice because the recipients would spend the money on prostitutes, gambling, and drinking.

Something to think about.

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How Women’s Motivation for Starting a Business Differs From Than of Men
We found that women are 1.17 times more likely than men to create social ventures than economic ventures, and 1.23 times more likely to pursue environmental ventures than economic focused ventures.”

This, according to authors Diana Hechevarria, Amy Ingram, Rachida Justo and Siri Terjesen who examined data on different types of business start-ups by more than 10,000 men and women from 52 countries.
So while men and women do think and feel in much the same ways, there are some differences – physical one due to genetics, and learned, cultural traditions, with the result that as women become more involved in entrepreneurship, their motivations for doing so are more altruistic.

A side note mentioned in the research is that while men tend to be greater risk takers, women tend to be more likely to “initiate economic activity”, i.e., to start a business.
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A Selection Related to this Post:

"Global Women's Entrepreneurship Research;
Diverse Setting, Questions and Approaches.
by Karen D. Hughes And Jennifer E. Jennings.
  1. University of Cincinnati (2012, April 3). Men start businesses for the money: Women for the social value. ScienceDaily.
  2. Bobbi J. Carothers, Harry T. Reis. Men and women are from Earth: Examining the latent structure of gender.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013;
  3. Michael Szell, Stefan Thurner. How women organize social networks different from men. Scientific Reports, 2013
  4. Tobias Greitemeyer, Andreas Kastenmüller, Peter Fischer. Romantic motives and risk-taking: an evolutionary approach. Journal of Risk Research, 2013


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