The international newspaper Newsweek published on 25 of October 2019 an article with the title “Female CEOs face ‘greater penalties’ than male CEOs for ethical transgressions”. The claim turns out to be uncheckable.
In the article reporter Rosie McCall tries to prove the statement using the survey “How Leader Gender Influences External Audience Response to Organizational Failures“. Researchers from University of Virginia – Nicole Votolato Montgomery and Amanda P. Cowen who specialize in marketing, in a summary of their study published in the “Journal of Personality and social psychology” stated: “People respond more negatively to ethical failures when an organization has a female versus a male leader.” The main reason for that outcome are gender stereotypes.
Daily life situations
As Polish professor who analyzes women’s participation in media, from the Department of Press Systems and Press Law at Adam Mickiewicz University Alina Balczyńska-Kosman explains:
“Stereotypes are very solid cognitive structures shaped on a ground of knowledge, beliefs and expectations. Stereotypes shape specific roles, and those roles through media are becoming more present.”
Professor Balczyńska-Kosman furthers their clarification:
“With regards to stereotypical way of seeing women’s role in the public sphere, it is worth noticing that numerous information programs analyses indicate that media reporters use different framing depending on gender when it comes to figures on leader positions.” This is one of the examples which sheds some light onto an issue of women’s image with regards to a more media-focused point of view.
However, it has to be noted that although the problem appears in daily life situations the Newsweek reporter previously mentioned study “How Leader Gender Influences External Audience Response to Organizational Failures” in the context of Rosie McCall statement cannot be taken without any objections.
Professor Iwetta Andruszkiewicz from the Department of Social and Economic Policy at UAM – who works as an expert for business organizations, associations and foundations which pursue projects concerning the female role – noted that the thesis was made on the basis of a hypothetical situation. Thus this particular experiment cannot be used to support the statement:
Female CEOs face ‘greater penalties’ than male CEOs for ethical transgressions. The specialist also points out that “our attitude towards other people, usually is an effect of stereotypically judgemental approach and personal features. The differences in management styles are the result of gender stereotypes. One should always remember about professional competences and personality traits.”
Additionally, another problem can be encountered when evaluating the phrase used in the statement – “greater penalties” – due to its qualitative character the statement cannot be fully checked.
Nevertheless, the question which remains open is: What is the current outlook on female participation in business? Professor Iwetta Andruszkiewicz shared her statement concerning that issue: “My experience and research (and global statistics) show that we live in a world where most of the positions with significant importance in business are reserved for men, women must work very hard for their success – society expects more from them”.
In conclusion this statement is uncheckable as the Newsweek reporter’s statements were based on observations not quantitative data. This study contained very specific hypothetical situations which cannot be used to back up such a general claim that female CEOs face ‘greater penalties’ than male CEOs for ethical transgressions.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
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