Women More Likely To Shun Business Careers As 'Evil'

There's been much debate as to why women only make up just 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. Is it discrimination? The high-pressure atmosphere? Women's failure to "lean in"? A new study suggests another possible explanation: business can be dirty work, and women would rather stay clean.

Past research has found that women make more ethical corporate directors, restricting executive pay and curbing risk. (They're also more likely to whiste-blow.) But the perception of business as inherently muddied by ethical compromises may actual deter more women from getting into the game in the first place.

According to a new study published in the journal "Social Psychological and Personality Science" in March, women are more likely to be morally outraged at the ethical compromises that come with business, less likely to want to take a high-salary job in business if there are ethical compromises involved, and more likely to associate business with immorality in general.

How Evil Are You Willing To Be?

To see what effect ethics might have in discouraging women from pursuing a career in business, Laura Kray, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ph.D. candidate Jessica Kennedy conducted three different tests. The first presented 103 adults with different business scenarios that involved some shady behavior, like a CEO laying off 100 loyal low-level workers rather than trim his or her salary or using a cheaper ingredient in a cancer drug, even though it was known to cause random lethal allergic reactions.

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The participants rated their moral outrage (how disgusting, upsetting, shameful was this decision?) and also how much business sense each situation made. The women reported more moral objection than the men, and also ranked them as less acceptable as business practices.

In the second study, the researchers had 178 college students read job descriptions for high-paying positions in finance or consulting. All of them raised an ethical issue at the firm, but some said that employees were encouraged to be ethical and honest, while others said employees should do what was necessary to make money. The undergraduates then had to report how much interest they had in the jobs.

The sleaziness of the company had no affect on the men's interest in taking the job, but it certainly did for the women. In the final study, 106 students were given an implicit association test. It turned out that women were significantly more likely to associate business with evil.

Women Are Raised That Way

"Women are socialized to be communal, which fits their traditional role to be in the home, where they're more insulated from market pressures," says Kennedy, who was intrigued by this question of gender and ethics after three years working in finance, one at the prestigious investment bank Lazard, and two at Goldman Sachs. Men, on the other hand, are raised to be more results-oriented, she said, where they're expected to do what it takes to achieve.

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Kennedy believes this may explain why women make up nearly half of students at law and medical schools, but only 36 percent at top MBA programs. Women just have weaker stomachs for the kind of ethical compromises that comes with pure profit-minded work. This could also explain why women are vastly overrepresented in government and nonprofit sectors, where employees also tend to make less money. On the flip side, companies with more women up top actually make more money -- perhaps because women are less seduced by the short-term profit.

"They could be creating a more long-term perspective," says Kennedy, "which could actually improve the bottom line."


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nooyoo551

Some women are so full of sh**. They don't pursue higher business positions because they view it as evil YET they pimp themselves out and walk all over good men for those "evil" rich men in higher business positions. This article is a joke. It just proves how full of sh** this author and self righteous this author and many extreme feminists are.

September 21 2013 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

When I read stuff like this, what I always notice the most is ignorant statements by the author that show they lack discernment themselves and shouldn't be trusted to comment on things. The statement about "women not being able to stomach it" is what I'm talking about. Somebody tell me when was the last time it took guts to do evil? Wtf? It takes MORE guts to do right. I'm a man and I've quit jobs and chewed out plenty of people because of their business dealings with lies that screw over the public and hurt everyone. Most people in this world don't have the guts to stand up to wickedness. And what's really pitiful is that men who are SUPPOSED to have a backbone and be the heros crumble in the workplace as spineless cowards. I'm ashamed of my brothers in the male gender. Humanity is a lost cause. Another commentor pointed out there is MORE corruption in politics, which is also true, and nearly equal corruption in acadamia, which is true as well. I've met numerous lieing sack of crap male professors. In fact, most of the greatest inventors and engineers think academic folks are full of crap and the professors don't know how to do anything but quote crap from a book. The academic institution is continuing to fill people's heads with lies and dumbdown the education system so we have more mindless slaves ready to go into the corrupt business world and do the evil jobs, because they don't have a spine or a brain to stand up to it. HORRIBLE. If this article has any grain of truth to it, it should be a giant red flag of how ashamed men should be of themselves for acting lukewarm and passive while in the workplace and in school.

June 02 2013 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie

Responding to G. Hughes: I disagree entirely. First of all, the article is not \"full\" of spelling errors. There was only one misspelling. The word, \"whistle\" in whistle-blow was missing a single letter. The article does, however, bring out a true phenomenon based on factual experience. Not being a woman yourself, you could not, and would never experience the phenomenon first-hand. You seem blind to it entirely. Since you won\'t even consider these thoughts as meritous, just about every woman reading this who has ever been involved in business with men would probably disagree. You have read what should not be read into it, reacting defensively, creating offense. See how that worked? This was not a blaming article, yet you took it that way. Drop the gender attack, for it could really morph into a real war long term, if society is not careful.

April 11 2013 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott

OK, Y'all want to know a workplace that IS EVIL?

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES.
Premise: you can't make money paying for the healthcare of very sick people.
Just accept it as an axiom. Sick people cost a pot full of money. You can sell their house, sell all of their assets--and it won't come up to the cost of 2 months in the hospital--if they're in intensive care--it won't cover 2 weeks.

So, what do they do. First, they negotiate a down. NOT a bad idea, really. EXCEPT they basically negotiate the way a mugger negotiates. On average, they pay 40cents on the dollar or less--when they pay at all. They set the rate as to what is "usual, customary, and reasonable" then they offer 40% of that--and the patient with the deductible and co-pays.
NOW, SOME actually limit the co-pay. That's great for patients. Some have a cap on the co-pay, some have a network that will accept the co-pay.
And some don't. Actually, quite a few don't. SO, your 20% of the bill can STILL add up to 5x all you own. After a heart attack, stroke, or cancer--that's not hard. If you need a TRANSPLANT? 10x all you own IF you can GET the transplant--3x to 5x if you die before the transplant. Your transplant starts heading south? add another 5x.
Math too hard for you? Yeah. It's like that.

Another tactic is the per-service co-pay. Say you have a $25 co-pay per service. And say you have a test run. NOW, if everything happens at once? You pay your $25 copay and everybody's happy. OR, There's a bill for the doctor's office to DRAW the sample. Then there's a courier fee. Then the lab that runs the test. And a pathologist fee for reporting. Plus another office visit for the results And now you have 5 separate $25 co-pays .

When my child was born--my out of pocket was very close to $30000 in 1992! WHY? because of Per-charge co-pays. The Doctor's fee was flat--and one fee. But the hospital...OI! Bills from the hospital used to come in packages from the post office. Occasionally, they'd send so many at once, the mail carrier would have to deliver them to our door because they wouldn't fit in the mail box. There would be a stack of bills 3-4 inches thick. Each one of them had a separate co-pay. Our Co-pays added up to more than we made a year. AND!!! WE HAD INSURANCE!!! WORSE!!! MY WIFE WORKED FOR THE HOSPITAL!

Having multiple insurances sometimes helps--but mostly, you get bogged down in what is called. COORDINATION OF BENEFITS. If your health insurance offers a Supplemental insurance--then you're good. If you and your spouse think BOTH of you having family coverage will help---HA! You're in for a RUDE AWAKENING. The two insurance companies will play this very complicated game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with each other--and YOU always lose. The two insurances will probably pay LESS than a single one would have--and they'll split that, leaving YOU the difference.

How do I know this $@|+? I used to work for the b@st@rds.

April 11 2013 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
exploreinfinity

There's no such thing as 'evil'. The word 'evil' is not a synonym for bad, its a religious hierarchy word for something that doesn't exist, like a host of religious hierarchy words referencing things which don't exist. I get sick of religion's constant injection of its belief system terminology into culture to perpetuate themselves and their hierarchy beliefs.

April 11 2013 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to exploreinfinity's comment
Mingo

Try to get over your PC world will you .THERE is evil > no matter what we call it thats what it is The evil in this world today is all around us all and the politicians are smart enough or evil enough to get you to drink from the kool ade glass I fought in war and I will tell you ,I saw many no believer start to beg and pray when they met evil Since the muslims are now PC ,would you care to tell them there is NO evil I'm sure they would love to here ou think they are stupid

April 11 2013 at 2:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mcmillsr

This article is STUPID. It's a MAN'S WORLD and it's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. I think the vast majority of women understand this and are perfectly ok with it. There are excpetions of course but most women don't perform at the same level as men and probably don't even want to. Yes, they want equal pay and equal opportunity but they also want to be treated as a special protected class like minorities.

April 11 2013 at 11:01 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mcmillsr's comment
jimofil

The article is STUPID, not because "it's a man's world," but because the basic premise of the article is WRONG. The business world is no more dirty than any other human endeavor. The corruption and dirty dealing in politics is an order of magnitude worse than the corruption in business. The corruption and dirty dealing in academia is at least as bad as it is in business.

April 11 2013 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Karwoski

"Then we shall complain about the glass ceiling!!".....Women

April 11 2013 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kruelhunter

The two fold message here seems to be that business, a male invention, is essentially evil while women are essentially angelic creatures repulsed by the evile that men do to create the civilization that women demand.

BS, MS and Pile it Higher and Deeper...

April 11 2013 at 9:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Go Rockets

Doesn't seem to stop them in the porn industry................

April 11 2013 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GH

This article is not only full of spelling errors, but it is full of bull****!

April 11 2013 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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