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You Say Tomatoe, I Say Tomato: Comparing Men’s and Women’s Definition of Success

  • Broadcast in Business
Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen


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"Are the differences observed between men and women in business and corporate world a function of biological and psychological differences between the genders or are they mostly a function of cultural learning and cultural definition of gender roles? The author, using data collected on how men and women define success and the source of such definitions has found negligible differences between the two genders. The above is the abstract for a paper authored by Dr. Iraj Mahdavi, Ph.D. in 2001 titled "Comparing Men's and Women's Definition of Success" in which Mahdavi indicated that outside of a "few areas" there are generally negligible differences between the genders. However, the "findings about gender and perceived success are not consistent" according to a 2009 article which appeared in the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship by Barbara Orser, Lorraine Dyke titled "The influence of gender and occupational-role on entrepreneurs' and corporate managers' success criteria." Referencing what they referred to as "the qualitative work of Fenwick and Hutton (2000)," who examined work and family success criteria among entrepreneurs, when compared to male entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs were "less likely to value monetary success criteria." Specifically, women are more likely to value attributes of success centered on "quality of networks, the ability to choose daily activities, opportunity to contribute to communities, and quality of life." These seemingly contradictory findings would suggest that even though certain areas of society have achieved what could be called a level playing field in terms of genders, there are still core value differences. The purpose of today's Women on Success Special is to not only examine what these differences are but, what impact they have on key areas such as leadership, innovation and the future of business in the socially oriented world of Web 2.0 and beyond.