Call for Papers, GGEC15 Academic Symposium Sydney

Photo credit Freedigitalphotos.net

Photo credit Freedigitalphotos.net

About the Symposium

The next Australian International Gender Economics Global Conference, the GGEC15 will be held at the University of NSW, city campus on 10 June of 2015.  This will be an academic session with the major conference taking place every second year. The theme for the 2015 Conference is “Gender Economics, Innovation, Performance”.  Find out more here http://centreforgendereconomics.org/ggec15-sydney/

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The CEO Challenge: Managing a complex and diverse resource group in a global environment.

At the moment I am participating in a discussion on The CEO Network – the source for Chief Executives.  It is a LinkedIn Group and the discussion is about a question asked on the forum “Diversityhas been accused of being divisive and creating reverse discrimination.  Do you agree?”

Many of the respondents felt that diversity was divisive and many spent sometime refuting any of it’s positives, particularly that diversity does provide greater company performance.  Many said that people should be judged on talent alone, “The main criteria should always be tilted towards talent and ability” which is very true, however this does not allow for those that find barriers to the entry of roles that will allow them to display their talent.  Simply getting a job is difficult for some as a result of their gender, their colour, their race or ethnicity.  Some said that diversity was not their priority, they had managed fine without it,“living by, or caring about “diversity” in any form is just something that has never been an issue that I’ve ever had to have a hand in…” and that good living, caring about others and basically being sensible was all that was required to succeed.  For many white anglo-saxon men, diversity has never been an issue, because to be a white anglo-saxon man was to be at the top of the executive pile, it was (and still is in many cases) where the action is, where the rules are made and where the big deals are done.  I also believe that diversity can be divisive both not for the some reasons as I have quoted above.  I think it is divisive because it is change and, diversity and the recognition of difference can stir up feelings in people that they don’t want to confront.  It can bring to the forefront racist and sexist views and it can make some people feel threatened, insecure and left with a feeling that they are being treated unfairly.  However, I think that this is just a stage in the change cycle and with communication, education and some patience the divisiveness gives way to acceptance and recognition of the value of difference.
One vocal respondent in the discussion says that after commissioning many studies, there is still no clear link between gender diversity and increased company performance and he goes so far as to say that “We’ve (his organisation) challenged dozens of organisations and hundreds of individuals to provide evidence of a causal link between ‘improved’ gender diversity on boards and enhanced corporate performance, and not a single robust study has ever been forthcoming. We generally find correlation misrepresented as causation.”
That is currently the case from my research at least, but as my response below alludes, that doesn’t mean that “the world is indeed flat” and there is nothing else.
Throughout the discussion there were many arguing the case for diversity and this comment from a business man in Australia is one of the stand outs;
“I am very interested that (from this discussion) the UK and US have not had the excellent results we have found in Australia from hiring the best. I note here that a measurement of the best of leadership (Boards and corporate) clearly shows that having diversity, on average, supports out performance of those companies which do not.Perhaps this is the root cause of our current fiscal position in comparison to the other continents.”
We in Australia are too small in population not to embrace diversity, it is vital for our economic survival, we must ultilise every person resource to keep pace in a global economy.  Yet, we still lag behind in gender equality and don’t recognize our indigenous population as well as we could so there are still many barriers to overcome when it comes to promoting on ‘talent’ alone.  If there are barriers to you gaining an education, or losing valuable career building time because your gender requires that you keep the population going by having and rearing children then you will not be part of the available talent no matter how good you are.
 I made a number of comments via LinkedIn but have only put my final LinkedIn response below as the others would have required me to copy the other discussion items which I have not done for the privacy of the group.

“Susanne Moore • Mike and others, I am currently researching the Impact on Profit of Gender Diversity Programs. Just because no one has been able to prove a causal link doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. It also doesn’t mean that one does exist. You can see more about the research here. https://gendereconomics.com/2012/10/16/diversity-economics-research-the-profit-impact-of-organisational-gender-diversity-programs/.

What I do know is that the world has changed and CEO’s (and I was also one of those) do need to manage a complex and diverse resource group in a global environment. You only need to look at outsourcing to India and the Philippines to know that things have changed and managers need to understand how to manage that diversity. Does this make good economic sense and increase bottom line profit? It must otherwise we are foolish to continue with the outsourcing scenario. My area is Gender Diversity (meaning both genders) but diversity that we are talking about here is much broader so it shouldn’t be confused with misogyny, racism and bigotry. Of course, no company can spend money on fruitless social experiments, we need to make money and keep progressing. Image a world where only the educated were in power, where we limited education to children of certain gender and ethnicity (and this is currently happening), we don’t know what potentially brilliant new ideas we are missing out on. Much of the diversity debate at a social level is about providing access to those potentially talented resources that would not be found unless there was a more level playing field. I believe that there is an improved hit to the bottom line in terms of innovation and creativity, and a diverse way of thinking that a bunch of ‘like’ people can’t provide. If my research proves otherwise then so be it.”

I have included these comments here because I think it is important as Diversity and Gender Economists to hear the discourse around this subject.  There is clearly uncertainly and some fear that things are changing.  Understandable.  Things are changing.  We are in a diverse global economy, like it or not.  We will need to draw on all the diverse resources at hand, men, women, older workers, migrant and re-skilled workers.  We also need to learn how to manage the complex workforces that blend baby boomers and older workers with Gen X and Gen Y.  The economics are slightly different for every country, but no less complex and, in my opinion no less diverse.

Diversity Program Review Framework

Susanne Moore

As part of my study into the “Profit Impact of Organisational Gender Diversity Programs”, I am developing a Diversity Program Review Framework during my Identification Phase which is Phase 2 of the 5 project phases.

Here is some information on the current Phase;

2. Identification

Example tasks include;

  • Identify all available metrics, benchmarks, targets, quotas and program deliverables
  • Identification of existing and planned frameworks within Diversity and Inclusion programs including, employee self service, human resource policy, financial measurements
  • Identify program reviews for effectiveness and suitability for linking to business benefits
  • MAJOR OUTPUTA Diversity Program Review Framework, measuring both the program’s standalone effectiveness from a program management perspective, and assesses the viability of program’s data for further research

The Framework and the resulting reviews are vitally important to the research and I am looking for organisation’s that would be interested in allowing me to trial the review…

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BMW recognized that diversity was important to them.

BMW recognized that diversity was important to them, with 140 markets worldwide they realized that women accounted for up to 50% of their market.

BMW understood that with such a diverse cultural market, their internal workforce needed to more closely represent their client base. How else will they know their market? Diversity also mattered to BMW because they faced an increasing shortage of specialist skills, they needed to develop new markets and they needed to optimize management skills. Their diversity program promoted gender balance in executive positions as well as increasing development programs for younger workers. BMW noted that getting the right gender mix of technical specialists was difficult due to the smaller number of girls entering technical programs. They responded by creating “Technology Camps for Girls” and the German national “Girls Day”. (Boston Consulting Group 2011, pg. 12).

“BMW made diversity management a top priority for its HR function and business units with a particular focus on attracting and developing female talent” (Boston Consulting Group 2011, pg.12).

You might wonder why this was so important to them, but BMW knew that for certain models in their (car) range, women account for up to 50% of their customers.  Understanding the mix of their clients made gender diversity internally an easy economic decision for BMW.

REFERENCES

Caye J_M, Teichman C, Strack R, Haen P, Bird S, Frick G (2011) “Hard Wiring Diversity into your Business”, European Association for People Management.  Boston Consulting Group.

 

Should We Care About Diversity? (Yes, It’s a Serious Question)

This is an interesting article, by Sallie Krawcheck, (18October 2012 LinkedIn) who is the Past President of Merrill Lynch, US Trust and Smith Barney, but the comments below it are even more telling.  It is true that her assertion that “If women were fully engaged in the US economy, GDP would be 9% larger than it is today” is largely unsubstantiated by any hard facts although previous work by the UN does point to benefits for engaging a higher percentage of women in leadership roles, or at least providing them the ability for self determination.  What is interesting are the comments from a couple of the men who seem almost hostile, a little rejected and incredulous by the suggestion of increased gender diversity.  This attitude is nothing new and is one of the major obstacles yet to be overcome not only for Gender Diversity but general diversity issues.

Krawcheck acknowledges that there many important issues to discuss but says that

I have come to the conclusion that it does indeed matter. Let’s put aside personal opinions (almost impossible to do on a topic such as this) and look at just the facts:

Diversity matters for the broader issue of economic fairness, as companies led by women have lower gender-based pay disparities throughout their organizations. (Heck, companies run by men with daughters have lower gender-based pay disparities.)

Diversity matters for economic growth. If women were fully engaged in the US economy, GDP would be 9% larger than it is today. This is growth our economy could sorely use. (And, no, it’s not a zero sum game of new entrants taking others’ jobs; history shows that the economy can grow as a result of new entrants, in a virtuous circle.)

Diversity matters for US company performance and competitiveness. Study after study after study has shown that companies with diverse management teams outperform those with less diverse teams. And that diverse teams outperform even more “capable” teams. And they don’t outperform non-diverse teams by a little, but with ROE differentials of 30%+, with lower earnings volatility.

And diversity can even be a matter for the safety of our economy and financial markets. Which industry could use the lower volatility, more customer focus and the longer-term perspective that women have been shown to bring? The banks.”

Without hard facts that prove the impact of Gender on the Economy this debate still flounders,  diversity is a ‘nice to have’, any many business owners and CEO’s revert to the tried and tested methods of old fashion business, much of which has been engineered using traditional business models that often provide a barrier to women’s effective participation.  Commonsense would tell you that engaging the other 50% of the population more fully would not doubt open up a broader range of thinking.  For a start it would provide valuable business feedback from female consumers not currently present in many boardrooms.  Krawchecks comments have drawn some criticism from white males who may have taken offense at her assertion;

“And, yet, the progress of women into senior roles has stalled in broader corporate America. And, on Wall Street, an industry that was substantially white, middle-aged and male has become whiter, middle-aged-er and maler coming out of the downturn, essentially doubling down on that bet.”

I have noticed a distinct upsurge of men complaining that they have been ‘hard done by’, that they are ‘being discriminated against’ and many are turning to anti-feminist organisations and men’s own groups for support.  Whilst their complaints and comments might seem trivial in comparison to the plight of many women, they should not be dismissed.  These men are finding change difficult, they feel rejected and insulted as can be seen by the comments in the article.  They feel that they are being blamed for this inequality and can’t quite understand why, so instead they feel persecuted and brow beaten.  Part of the Gender Economy debate and the debate for Gender Diversity must provide positives for both genders.  It is a journey, and currently we are in that part of the journey that has women (and many men) highlighting the issues, so it sounds like one negative being raised after another.  We need to move to the next phase of the journey quickly by assessing potential solutions otherwise the debate will remain a discussion with different sides.  The next phase of the journey will discuss the benefits and help people to see the advantages for all.

See the full article here

References:

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121018185756-174077701-should-we-care-about-diversity-yes-it-s-a-serious-question?goback=.ptf_143695135_true_*1&trk=who_to_follow-b&_mSplash=1

Diversity Economics Research – “The profit impact of organisational gender Diversity programs”

I am doing research on “The profit impact of organisational gender Diversity program’s” and currently have completed a research proposal and am looking to work with a number of organisations to participate in the study that would be interested in working with me on completing this work. My research has indicated that there are no proven causal links between Gender Diversity Programs and organisational profitability. As part of the study I will be developing a measurement framework that can then be used to measure both the effectiveness of these programs and any causal link to profitability – I refer to this as Diversity Economics.

Executive Summary:

This study will compare Gender Diversity Program frameworks for effectiveness, and identify and evaluate linkages to organizational profitability. It will focus on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of Gender Diversity Programs (GDPs) within organisations in an effort to explore their relationship with the recruitment and retention of women in senior leadership roles. The aims and objectives of this research are;

1. To establish a link between Gender Diversity Programs and profit;

2. To develop a repeatable framework for the measurement of this effectiveness;

3. To develop benchmarks that support the framework;

4. To prove a link to organisational profitability as a starting point to further study into the impact of gender on economies, i.e.: Gender Economics1.

This research proposal is the first part of a wider study to test the theory and viability of further research into Gender Economics and Diversity Economics by first establishing a link between Gender Diversity programs and organisational profitability. Gender Economics is an emerging field of study that builds on the theories of diversity and promotes the value of gender balance, particularly in the area of innovation and creativity. It recognises the ‘direct input’ of women to the economy and extends the theory that the discipline of economics ”could be improved by freeing itself from masculine biases” (Ferber, Nelson 1993: 24). Diversity Economics focuses on the organisational economics of diversity programs and follows the concepts of Economic Diversity, ”as a way to achieve economic stability” (Wagner 1993).

The second part of the study, will take the established link between Diversity Economics and profitability further to develop quantified economic models proving the case for Gender Economics using a cost benefit analysis. This proposal only deals with the first part of the study.

[1] Gender Economics is an emerging field of study, see www.gendereconomics.com with the first annual conference being held in Madrid Spain in 2008
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Gender Diversity Research – “The effectiveness (or otherwise) of organisational gender diversity program’s on profit”

NEXT FOCUS GROUP SYDNEY MONDAY 20 AUGUST 6-8PM

As part of my Sociology degree I have commenced a year-long research project. The subject will be on “The effectiveness (or otherwise) of organisational gender diversity program’s on profit”  to see if we can come up with some metrics and measurements for quantifying the value of a gender diverse workforce on bottom line profitability.  Diversity programs are undertaken in many organizations in a bid to attract and keep senior women in leadership and although we know there are clear advantages, much of the information is empirical or intangible and difficult to measure under current business structures.

This is the first part of the study to test the theory and viability of further research into Gender Economics and Diversity Economics.

To book, please CONTACT ME

MORE INFORMATION ON MY RESEARCH