A Company With Women Executives Is More Open to Change, Study Finds

  • Research by Harvard Business Review indicates the beneficial effects of women in C-suite roles.
  • The researchers found that organizations with more women were advocating transformation while trying to reduce risk.
  • You can find more articles on Insider’s business page.

A company with several female executives is more open to change, according to the results published in the Harvard Business Review on Tuesday.

The study examined several factors to determine the impact of recruiting women for C-suite roles on business results, including the rate of appointments by gender. Research and development, marketing and design costs; and corporate earnings reports.

The research was carried out by Corinne Post, professor in the College of Business at Lehigh University, Boris Lokshin, associate professor at Maastricht University, and Chrisophe Boone, professor at Antwerp University.

The study examined 163 multinational companies. In terms of results, companies saw a shift towards risk aversion but an openness to change: “In other words, these organizations have become increasingly committed to transformation while trying to reduce the risks involved,” said Harvard Business Review.

The researchers viewed this initial finding as a change in the way companies thought of themselves. To quantify this shift, they pointed to growth in research and development as opposed to mergers and acquisitions.

Indeed, some acquisitions that the researchers said could be described as “a traditionally masculine, proactive approach” gave way to a focus on working on research and new products and strategies within the company. The researchers noted that this change “could be described as a traditionally feminine, collaborative approach”.

However, to benefit from this, the study found that women needed to be well integrated into management teams. In particular, the study found that thinking in the C-suite was only affected when female leaders were added to top management teams who already had one or more women.

The researchers pointed to the overall value of diversity in making companies more open to change. Last year, Insider reported that despite an overall decline in hiring, companies are hiring more leaders for diversity, equity and inclusion. Insiders also noted that having a diversity, equity, and inclusion team increases the likelihood of companies being perceived as industry leaders.

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