Battle of the Sexes?

Posted by Stephen M. Nipper at May 17, 2005 01:31 PM

Following up on Matt's earlier post on "change" in Fast Company magazine ...

One of the articles that caught my eye was "I am Woman (I Think)." In that article, blogger Jory Des Jardins (blog) discusses her experience in working in a male dominated business. She observes that men (what a rethinker would call "old school") think that business must be done by "taking control of conversations" with clients (instead of listening) and that business deals are won based on "chutzpah, because we were aggressive, because we had balls."

She didn't agree. She wanted to rethink how business was done. She wanted to listen to clients. She wanted to build relationships instead of bossing clients around. She just didn't fit in...rethinking herself out of a job (she quit).

So...a question. Is this issue "old school" vs. "new school" (rethinking) OR is it men vs. women?

Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0) trackback

Related Articles:
Carnival of the Vanities #196
Carnival of the Capitalists on Rethink(ip) - Thank you sir may we have another?
Carnival of the Capitalists - Rethink(IP) Edition


You can ping this entry by using .


Melody Wirz Says:

May 17, 2005 06:18 PM

I've seen studies that women tend to be more colaborative and better listeners, while men tend to be better problem solvers. Old school business included only white men. Now, the workplace is beginning to celebrate diversity because it provides a balance of desirable attributes. So, new thinking necessarily makes a push toward the center, which is much more woman-like.

However, I think the status quo may remain, due to the left brain nature of IP workers. While the ideal person would have a good mix, people in IP tend to be left brainers (not very creative, but good at technical tasks).

Jory Des Jardins Says:

May 18, 2005 11:42 AM

My answer to the question: both. I think the "new school" integrates more feminine ways.

Art Neill Says:

May 23, 2005 10:14 AM

I've been meaning to comment on this post, and particularly Melody Wirz's post for couple of days, but have been sidetracked by the requirements of law school (law article writing).

I have to say that for me the proper characterization is old school v. new school, and indeed not men v. women. Assign what gender roles to certain traits you might, I have to say that while Melody assigned listening to women and problem solving to men, I have found, that a truly exceptional problem solver must listen.

I would say this applies in the business world in many contexts. Two recent incidents come to mind. 1) My girlfriend works for a large organization, that actually happens to be run and staffed 90% by women. Her daily stories and the few times I have met coworkers since she started work for the organization tell a story that does not surprise me... there are those who merely occupy space, those who set their own agenda without thinking what is good for the customer/client/organization, and there are those who get things done right and thoroughly by listening. I think there have always been these kind of people throughout time in various fields, and slapping a gender/race on them or particular traits is inappropriate.

In the second category is the IT director of her organization. This person happens to be woman. The job(my GF's) involves many workers being out on the road, needing to use their computers in various locations. When employees make requests that would greatly improve their work/efficiency, the IT director, not knowing the answer or not willing to offer a solution, recasts every request to a request of her choosing, in attempt to confuse the employee. This is an example, regardless of gender, where a person decides to force their will/resist a problem, rather than understanding(and possibly helping define), and thoroughly working through the pieces to make sure the problem is truly solved.

Thus, when my GF shows up with half a brain about using IT, instead of being excited at the opportunity, this IT director is threatened by anyone even having a remote clue about how IT could help their organization.

Ok that was long enough, I won't get into the second example. Suffice it to say there are those who pass the buck, and those who adapt to a problem and exhaustively work for a solution.

Thankfully, these 'desirable attributes' are not really gender/race based. These types of people are few and far between, so perhaps the access of more genders/races to the business world has supplied us with more of these precious few. Or at least I'll tell myself that.

Book Adams Says:

May 23, 2005 10:23 PM

All men are guilty of (yawning) asking a woman
"So, what's your point???"

All women are guilty of then getting angry.

Leave a comment

Your Name
Your E-mail
Your Website URL
Remember personal info?