Female thinking shapes the workplace

Oct 26 2007 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Female thinking in the form of lateral and collaborative approaches to problem solving is replacing traditional "male" work practices at all levels of corporate life as the feminisation of the workplace accelerates.

The growing numbers of women in influential roles in the modern work place means that old structures and business approaches are being challenged, making way for new ways of doing business and a new approach to delivery and products.

And according to a study by the UK-based Future Laboratory, skills associated with female right brain thinking such as intuition, creativity and the ability to collaborate are becoming as important in the business world as the traditional left brain, rational approaches usually adopted by their male colleagues.

The Living Britain Report commissioned by insurance company Zurich, says that women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors.

Yet it is in the workplace that the growing influence of "womenomics" Ė a term initially coined by the Economist magazine Ė is particularly marked, spurred on by the increasing numbers of women at high levels of management.

Female influence is also increasingly thanks to the growing numbers of women who come back to work after taking time out to have children, encouraged by the greater willingness of employers to help them accommodate their work lives around their families.

More than half of mothers with children under five in the UK now in work, the report points out, a trend which is greatly helped by the number of corporations now taking a matrix approach to company structure, rather than a hierarchal one.

At the same time, women demanding Ė and getting - a working schedule to fit in with their multi tasking lives, including compressed hours and remote working agreements.

As the result, the report argues, women are increasingly calling the shots, so much so that the way businesses attract and retain women is now seen as a sign of progressiveness and innovation.

Meanwhile, the report argues, both brands and businesses are having to respond to women's demands and needs, whether it's because of the increase in female internet usage, the fact that they dominate household spending decisions, or their equal significance in categories that have been traditionally viewed as male, such as technology, cars and financial services.

Right brain thinking, which is more creative, collaborative and empathic, is proving to be the key to helping businesses communicate with a more enlightened consumer who wants transparency, authenticity and understanding, with "experience" becoming the new commodity.