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Global Crisis/Innovation Management

When Management Becomes Feminine:  Lessons from Medicine

By Shlomo Maital


Meg Whitman who as CEO built eBay, 1998-2008

This blog space has often made the case, supported by evidence, that women are more suited to become business leaders and entrepreneurs than men, because evolution has given them superior skills in communication and collaboration. I’ve even proposed launching an investment fund that invests in businesses led principally by women. 

   Today a modest, page 5 Global New York Times article * gives me added fuel.  Apparently, more and more doctors are women, in the U.S., especially among young doctors; “half of all younger doctors are women and that share is likely to grow”, notes the author, Gardiner Harris.    Why?  Having a private practice in medicine in the U.S. has become a huge hassle, with enormous medical liability insurance bills, endless paperwork and other obstacles.  Little time is left to practice real medicine. Moreover, running a practice is like running a demanding business, and saps energy and time that should be spent with the family.  Women skip this from the outset, so they can be mothers and wives as well as doctors.  The result has been to greatly strengthen hospitals and health care providers (HMO’s), where more and more women doctors choose to work.  For the first time, the powerful AMA American Medical Association supported the Obama health care reforms, when in the past the AMA has fiercely opposed any such reform.   Women seem to be the reason.

    Let us hope that the same phenomenon revitalizes entrepreneurship and management. Let’s hope more women are promoted to become senior managers.  As this happens, working hours will become normal, as women choose to balance work and family.  This will benefit male managers, too.  And we will also see more women entrepreneurs, as female role models show how it is entirely possible to start a business and start a family, at the same time.  This, in turn, will have an echo effect, permitting more men to balance work and life. 

     Generation Y is reluctant to follow in the ruts created by the baby-boomers, who sought wealth at all cost and were left, in many cases, without friends or family.  Generation Y wants to have a life, not just a job.  That creates opportunities for women.  Now, all that is needed is the recognition among the dominant men that women are a key resource. 

      Women are different from men.  Vive la différence.  It’s time we stopped wasting the valuable resources that difference embodies.

* Gardiner Harris, “As doctors’ jobs change, their priorities do as well”.  Global NYT May 31, p. 5.


Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital
May 2011
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