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January 4, 2010

Do women make better CEOs?

Posted: 04:47 AM ET

via Chicago Sun Times

...There now are a record 15 Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO, seven of them megacorporations in the largest 100 as measured by annual revenue.

Women CEOs of giant firms remain too small a sample size to draw any conclusions, and it would be a stretch to attribute the 2009 outperformance to gender, says Susan Cabrera, whose study of gender, leadership and team performance was in the December issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly.

"Having said that, research shows that women on average tend to be more risk-averse," Cabrera says, which would give them an advantage in times when it's best to reduce debt, cut costs and conserve cash. There may be a backlash against male CEOs who "swung for the fences and got clobbered," she says.

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Filed under: Economy • Larry King Live


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MULTI-TASKER Dave W. Dawson   January 4th, 2010 11:58 am ET

Recognising the Power of Women was never anything to be scared of.
Ever used the expression "Oh! Grow up!"?
If you're growing up WITH the Human Race, you haven't got a problem with the Power of Women.
I always say "Let them get it RIGHT!".
If you're growing up OPPOSING the Human Race, then you're ANTI-MANAGERIAL anyway & don't want any DECENT Man or Woman at the helm.
I ask the GREAT Women of America, what do they think of the men of the World?
Getting on EFFECTIVELY in the Workplace means EVERYTHING.
Can men MULTI-TASK? NO?
Are you telling me that men can't MULTI-TASK?
Who else apart from Women & Transsexuals can MULTI-TASK?
The CLEAN Bill of Health includes the ABILITY to MULTI-TASK.
If this helps the Modern World recognise Survival Skills, then ask yourself what MULTI-TASKING Skills you need.
WOMEN have set the Standard in MULTI-TASKING & you CANNOT knock them for it.
NEVER DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MULTI-TASKING – BECAUSE THE BOSS KNOWS WHAT SHE'S KEEPIN' HOLD OF.
THE FUTURE = MULTI-TASKING & LOYALTY TO IT.
Making many Corporate decisions SUCCESSFUL is ESSENTIAL.
Never knock SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE DECISION-MAKING.
The Track Record for MULTI-TASKING is a long string of SUCCESSES.
Would you like a MULTI-TASKING President?
And the RIGHT WOMAN MULTI-TASKER stealing the Limelight from her hubby Barack?
Is Barack Obama LOYAL to FEMININE MULTI-TASKING?
There's no such thing as a STRONG MAN unless he's made STRONG by a STRONG WOMAN.
Be LOYAL to your MULTI-TASKERS America & 2010 is your RECOVERY YEAR.
SURRENDER TO GIRLPOWER & LIVE FOREVER.


James   January 4th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

All of my female bosses have been far superior than my male bosses. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind it, it's just been a plane fact. The women I have worked for have been far superior about making sure I have what I need to do my job, check in more regulaly and have been much more dicisive in their dicision making.


A. Smith, Oregon   January 4th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

Women in America and within Western Nations are slowly digging themselves out of the oppression and suffrage heaped upon them by various Christian laws which prohibited them from holding official offices, voting, teaching and medical practices.

In short there are too few women CEO's in America at this time for me to make a definite conclusion on whether women CEO's are better than men CEO's.

Women in the Muslim religion are under such grievous and oppressed conditions, they are told they are only worth 1/3 that of Muslim men. Their inheritance is 1/3 at most, they cannot witness alone against a Muslim man in Islamic courts and are often prohibited from receiving higher education.

In many ways, women in the Muslim religion are experiencing the oppressive conditions the Christian religion placed upon women 500 years ago. Women in American couldn't even vote until 1920 when they actively began to beat back Christian laws and fight against the sexism found in the Christian religion which taught that women were the reason that death exists, a classic evil put-down.


Dodie   January 4th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

Because there are so few females in the position of CEOs, no statistics on the ability or quality of a female can be provided; therefore, no judgment can be accurate at this point in time. However, I must confess, I often find it extremely difficult to work for a female supervisor.

Because females for so many years have been oppressed, when they do gain some power and control, they have a tendency to go overboard! They become emotional when overwhelmed and stressed. They often are passive-aggressive. While I have not seen too much of this in the military, I certainly have seen this in local government and the private sector.

I once had a supervisor who headed the entire purchasing department for Phillips, the American division, and every Monday morning she would hang a noose in front of her office and play the song… “Another one bites the dust” in which one person would be fired that week. When I was second to the last person left, I made a quick transfer to R&D.

Men are more pragmatic. Men are not as devious or passive-aggressive. They certainly can be as ruthless. I never had a problem with male supervisors. In my youth, they often approached me, but I always stood my ground and experienced no repercussions. My personal preference is to work for a male supervisor.


Don   January 4th, 2010 3:36 pm ET

Oregon's A. Smith, who told you Christianity blames women for death? If you're referring to the Fall, examine Genesis 2 more closely. Jehovah charges ADAM and the serpent, not Eve, with the Fall: "Because you have done this..." To Eve, God merely explains what is to happen; she did disobey God and the consequence of her actions does befall her, but, having been deceived (and, unlike Adam, having confessed that to God), she is not charged with the Fall as Adam and the serpent are. This is followed up in the NT where Adam (and not Eve, who again is identified as "deceived") is identified as the vehicle by which sin entered the world.


Dexter   January 4th, 2010 3:51 pm ET

That is what is wrong with America today. No one is at home taking care of the family. It is all about the individual instead of the family. Women have traditionally taking on the role of mother, housewife, etc., which is a very important job. The decline of the American family is due in part to women in the workforce. It is only common sense. I realize some will be offended at this idea but all I can say is take a look around. Lack of having a parent in the home and leaving kids to fend for themselves is demostrating it's damage everyday. What ever happened to "Leave it to Beaver". Do what is best for the family not the individual. Stay at home girls and take care of your families and be satisifed with what you have.


tommy & Sandy   January 4th, 2010 4:51 pm ET

in the 40's & 50's men got away w/sexual harrassment..no more...law suits all over...


Wale Falodun   January 4th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

Women make great CEO's when they are like Oprah, Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Arianna Huffington, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Walters, Barbara Bush. These women work hard for their money. They are women with power that can help people progress an unnatural trait in women.


MJ   January 4th, 2010 5:57 pm ET

Why don't you stay home Dexter, and play the "Leave it to Beaver" role? Welcome to 2010! Women have a right to work.

Both my parents worked throughout my childhood, however, we always made sure to have dinner as a family and do things together. If you can do that, then who cares who works and who doesn't?


Dodie   January 4th, 2010 6:09 pm ET

@ Dexter

I am not offended by what you say. However, if you are a single mother as your husband died and left no money, or left; how does a single woman feed her children other than being in the work force? Today, it now takes both parents to work in order to support a family; unless you are a ‘gold digger’ and marry a man for his money!

I certainly agree with you, someone needs to be at home raising the children. It is a major problem in this country and one of the causes for gang membership. It probably would be wise for many couples not to have children during these times.

You realize "leave it to Beaver" was a fictional story and family violence was kept more of a secret during those decades.


Gerald Jolly   January 4th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

In my opinion, there are definately some positions that are more suitable for women than men.

However, where a no-nonsence approach and a cold calculating point of view is necessary, I would opt for a man being the CEO of a company.

I just cannot believe that emotion would not be a factor when a woman is at the helm of a company.

Women are far more emotional than men are and sometimes hard decision just plain dont have a place for an emotional point of view.

But I do say, "THANK THE GOOD LORD FOR WOMEN THAT ARE NOT AFRAID TO SHOW THEIR EMOTIONS" unlike many men that see that as a point of weakness.


TonyH   January 4th, 2010 7:08 pm ET

As the story itself says, the sample is too small to draw ANY conclusions. In fact, if we are talking about the Fortune 500, the sample itself is too small to draw many conclusions about men, women, or any specific sub-group.

However, for every group there will be some who are famous – but still not competent. Carly Fiorina comes to mind for the shipwreck she captained at HP (Condé Nast Portfolio listed Fiorina as one of the "The 20 Worst American CEOs of all time"); her follow-on as Chairman there, Patty Dunn, was at the core of the internal spying scandal.

When it comes to CEOs, we need to look at individuals – not stereotypes.


Rose   January 4th, 2010 7:11 pm ET

Dexter: I understand you mean well but the following must be noted:

– A woman who stays at home with no income is left completely dependent on her husband for financial support.
– A woman without an education and forced to support herself and her children is usually stuck in long term low paying jobs.
– A woman without any substantial work experience may not even get a job. Same applies to a man.
– A woman so dependent on her husband may not have the resources or ability to leave an abusive situation. This is dangerous.
– A woman who has no employment may not be able to help with college tuition etc for her children in these expensive times. This critically and directly affects her children's future.
– A woman caught in a divorce may find herself in a very difficult situation. Support payments, if any, usually results in severe short falls.
– Many children of stay-at-home mothers also have problems. They are not immune to society's problems.

"Staying at home" also has a dark side with women paying the price for dependency on husbands. Her well being is linked directly to his well being. Accidents, disability, death, adultery, alcoholism, abuse, the economy, are just some of the reasons why women need to be prepared and have better control of their lives. We cannot be "satisfied" under these circumstances.


Brenda Stout   January 4th, 2010 7:47 pm ET

Labels that promote segration? Point should be who is more qualified for the job. Shouldn't be whether a man or woman we are beyond that.


mena   January 4th, 2010 8:48 pm ET

I think some people just don't understand....sometimes women don't have an option, they must work to survive. And, why not have the father stay home? He is a parent, right? Let him stay home and be the dad. It isn't "babysitting" when the child is yours, and if the mom makes more money and has a better future, why not?


Anne D   January 4th, 2010 10:01 pm ET

While there have not yet been a lot of female CEO's; there have been few if any poor female CEO's. Women have been stereotyped over the years as emotional, etc. First we all know the risks of stereotyping. But it would be highly unlikely that a woman who easily displays her stress or emotion would ever achieve CEO status in a major corporation. What is also interesting is that a male and female could react in the same manner to a situation but how that reaction would be received or perceived would be very different for the two, resulting in two very different sets of adjectives.
Women have done very well in corporate America in the last several years although a disproportionate number have become CEO's. I have reported to outstanding females and would be happy to work for one again. I have also reported to excellent males. As has been said, each should be evaluated on his/her merits and performance without attention to his/her sex.


Bill Bagwell   January 4th, 2010 10:15 pm ET

Women aren't as much subject to the corporate Good ol' boy network in most companies.


Diane   January 4th, 2010 10:19 pm ET

Who took care of the office any better than Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin? God knows we NEED female CEO's!!! I could have certainly used one when I had to flee from my abusive husband. I told his supervisor about my situation and he advised me to leave right away. He said "don't worry about money, you are his wife, I've seen wives receive paychecks before the husbands". After fleeing from Philadelphia from Greenville, South Carolina a supervisor for Verizon traced my family's lines and gave the information to my husband. I was forced back and was beatened unmercifully for leaving. I fled again. My husband committed suicide and because of my mental state, they were able to and did beat me and my children out of his pension. I wanted to talk to Mr. Raymond W. Smith, then CEO but was told he was "too rich" to talk to me. I met him at the annual celebration of Dr. King's birthday and he pretended to care about my situation. He arranged for me to meet with a fake vice president, a window dresser who promised me his pension but it never happened. Another vice president told me that Verizon's equipment is used to look up information on their enemies. Mr. Smith's bank account is filled with blood-soaked and stolen money and money belonging to widows and children. I certainly could have used the compassion and understanding of a female CEO. Mr. Smith is a rich thief, a rich pig (greedy, can't and won't do anything unless the conditions are filthy), a rich coward and a rich liar.


Jen   January 4th, 2010 10:21 pm ET

Here is what I see in my workplace:
Men are very competitive, build their empires at work, and want to win so much that they routinely take on too much risk.

Women are much more collaborative, typically genuinely care about the business and the people (customers & employees), and aren't in to winning just for the sake of winning or building an empire.

Also, because women now make up nearly 60% of all students on college campuses, this female CEO trend will continue over the next 50 years.

Lastly, men need to look in the mirror. How many insider trading scandals (besides the $47,000 gain that Martha Stewart made) have women been charged with in the last few years, as compared to men? How many terror suspects are women, as compared to men? How many mass executions in the last couple years have been women, as compared to men? How many women are in prison, as compared to men?
We all know the answer, MEN lead in all these categories. Quite frankly, it is embarassing to lead in these categories.


Judith   January 4th, 2010 10:25 pm ET

Ask Joe Lieberman.
Yes Larry I copied and pasted it.

His wife Hadassah has worked for the lobbying company, APCO Associates, that had many pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations among its clients, as well as four major drug companies such as Pfizer. In March 2005, Hadassah was hired by Hill & Knowlton as "senior counselor" in the firm's "health care and pharmaceuticals practice." Hadassah's work with the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries has led to controversy pertaining to her involvement with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.


Anne D   January 4th, 2010 10:39 pm ET

Ask Mrs. Bernie Ebbers.
Ask Mrs. Kenneth Lay.


Frances   January 4th, 2010 11:28 pm ET

Diversity of ideas. Diversity of opinions. Diversity of politics, experience, viewpoint, and perspective. How can you have any of these without both women and men. It's just not an either/or equation, is it?


Ajay   January 5th, 2010 2:41 am ET

Women could be better CEO's then men because there are much better than men when it comes to successfully lying and manipulating as women are better at reading emotions and knowing which strings to pull to achieve their ends. Thus, they can keep their employees and customers more artificially happy, while maximizing their employees output while cost-cutting and "improving" customer satisfaction while not providing more value than male CEO's.

From my experience, women supervisors make their subordinates work harder than male supervisors while keeping their subordinates subjectively happy. Female supervisors are better at maximizing employee effort and consequently output.


DallasMarine   January 5th, 2010 7:40 am ET

Really Larry? I swear he's becoming more like TMZ every week. These questions are so dumb, like the one that asked if President Obama was failing blacks. Women and men are just as equal in strengths and weaknesses. I've met some really dumb, egomaniac male bosses just as I've met some really dumb, egomaniac female bosses. Everyone just needs to stop kissing arse. Really.


paulz   January 5th, 2010 10:27 am ET

You know Dexter is a Republican because he's blaming others for what's wrong with society today, when in fact it's his buddies that forced women into the workforce because they quit paying the hard-working men decent wages, and outsourced their jobs so they could make a profit. Most women would probably love to stay home with the kids, but there is no way to do that anymore. I'm no women's rights advocate, but I'm for fairness.


Expat American   January 5th, 2010 10:47 am ET

Really it depends on the person. Albeit society, unfortunately, has made it so that there are less women in positions of leadership, this is not to say that one's gender is a basis upon which one's intelligence and leadership qualities should be judged.

Greed, corruption and poor managerial skills are unisex!

I've had both male and female managers in the past. Some were great, some were not so great. Often times I have found that too many people bring their home problems into the work place. This causes problems sometimes no matter who the perpetrator is, man or woman.


JG   January 5th, 2010 12:00 pm ET

To make a statement that gender is the main determinant of leadership is simplistic at best and more likely dumb. Leadership is a complex skill having to do with intelligence, values, integrity, drive, business acumen, communication skills, vision, etc. These characteristic are not gender related. They are found in both genders and all races. When we can view a person's talent strickly by his/her talent, we will finally be moving away from stereotypes.


ygbsm   January 5th, 2010 12:24 pm ET

Isn't it amazing, when you point out areas where women might be superior to men your hailed as an enlightened visionary, but it you attempt to address an area where men may be superior you are vilified as a sexist pig? (see Larry Summers/Harvard flap)

What's the difference?

Equality means equality, no better or no worse. Equality isn't a weapon you draw only when it suits your purpose.

I'll listen more to the argument that there's not enough women CEO's when I hear the argument that there's not enough women garbage collectors.

However, to fit in with current mainstream PC thought, I'll say that I believe there is absolutely no difference between a woman and a man CEO!


SdL   January 5th, 2010 12:27 pm ET

As an employee of one of the US's largest non-profits, I find we have a much higher percentage of female employees and managers/directors etc. I don't know if it's because of that fact that we work very well in teams or because we are all so committed to our humanitarian mission. It's certainly not because of the pay. I do believe however that women and men alike bring pros and cons to any position and the individual, not the gender, will provide the leadership for any organization.

To those of you who tell us women to stay at home: Put a sock in it. Or go back to school get a higher education and then maybe you can compete with these women you're envious of.


Rusty   January 5th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

Another perfect example of the POS reporting we can expect from the liberal media.


Tamica Robinson   January 5th, 2010 6:03 pm ET

Why is it that our President can not get the recognition that he deserves let alone needs every other President got it and had it but why not ours I am just asking. He is addressed so informal on talk shows, political shows newspapers and tabloids it should always be President Obama not just Obama? Why is it that Michelle is not called First Lady Michelle


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