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America's Competitive Secret: Utilizing Women as a Management Strategy

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Judy B. Rosener

Much of the recent attention devoted to diversity in the workplace has focused on such management issues as overcoming cultural barriers, avoiding stereotypes, and eliminating discrimination. But works such as John Fernandez'sThe Diversity Advantage(1993) … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Judy B. Rosener
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
1 review about America's Competitive Secret: Utilizing...

It's About the Bottom Line, Stupid!

  • Dec 31, 1999
Rating:
+5
First published in 1995 by Oxford University Press, America's Competitive Secret suggests how to utilize women as a management strategy. It was an excellent idea then and an even better idea now as globalization initiatives of American companies increase and intensify. In the Preface, author Judy B. Rosener explains that her book is intended for executives and managers "who want to improve their organization's bottom line, and for women who wonder why their career paths so often seem to be shaped by the fact that they are female." Note the reference to "bottom line." For Rosener, it is prudent to leverage the talents of professional women" inorder to create "more innovative, productive, and profitable organizations." Also, for male executives, the principle of enlightened self-interest is relevant to their own success. It makes absolutely no sense to under-utilize the talents of women professionals, especially as the global economy continues to expand so rapidly and extensively. Rosabeth Kanter agrees: "Whatever the duration and objectives of business alliances,...in the global economy, a well-developed ability to create and sustain fruitful collaborations gives companies a significant competitive leg up." Hence the importance of women.

As Connie Glaser and Barbara Steinberg Smalley suggest in Swim with the Dolphins, the female temperament is better suited than is the male's to concluding "win-win" negotiations, resolving conflicts, reaching consensus, preferring to cooperate and collaborate rather than compete, keeping an open mind, asking direct and relevant but not insulting questions, etc. Rosener describes the female temperament in terms of "consensus building, power sharing, and comfort with ambiguity."

She examines five "stages" through which organizations must proceed if they are to undergo the transformation required by new realities as well as opportunities: Stage One: Staying Out of Trouble Stage Two: We Need to React Stage Three: It's a Case of Survival Stage Four: It's the Right Thing to Do Stage Five: It's Part of Our Culture

Females as well as males within an organization will proceed from one stage to the next at varying speeds and within varying timeframes. Fair enough. However, all must reach Stage Five. Rosener recommends that, from both a strategic and financial point of view, structural reorganization "should be undertaken in concert with efforts to rectify female underutilization. Flexibility and diversity are two keys to competitive advantage, and both are closely related to the underutilization issue."

So much in the business world has changed since 1995 when this book was first published. However, many American companies and most companies in other countries have yet to take full advantage of -- and reward appropriately -- the talents of women. The companies which do so have a significant competitive advantage, a "secret weapon" if you will. Professional women know at which companies they will be appreciated and rewarded, where there are the greatest opportunities for their personal as well as professional growth. It is no coincidence that these are the same companies which, year after year, are the most profitable in their respective industries. At least until now, many of our nation's companies seem unaware of or indifferent to this "competitive secret."

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