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Wanted: Womanhood and apple pie
The research is conclusive, says ROGER STEARE: “Banking isn’t driven by empathy and service, but by testosterone-fuelled ego, deception and greed.”
Although I’m a man (the beard gives it away), my wife tells me that I really do understand her – most of the time anyway! I guess it’s because I’m very intuitive and value feelings as well as reason.
In my work as a Corporate Philosopher with banks, I also study the differences in the moral character of men and women and the results are both scientifically robust and absolutely clear. Women score significantly higher than men on ethics tests and very much higher than men when it comes to making decisions that are inclusive and good for all.
For anyone who doubts this, let me assure you this isn’t based on a small and insignificant sample. It’s based on tests taken by over 30,000 people from 162 countries – half men and half women. Compare this with a typical consumer or election poll of about 1,500 people and you get the picture.
The workplace analysis shows the highest scoring occupations are those where women dominate: the home, the caring professions, teaching and charities. The lowest scoring occupations are male- dominated engineering businesses such as oil, utilities and manufacturing.
The good news for banking is that its score is high enough to put them in the middle ranks. The bad news is that banking is a male dominated business, driven not by the female virtues of empathy and service, but by testosterone-fuelled ego, deception and greed. And the further up the food-chain you go, the fewer women you encounter on boards and in executive teams.
The public outrage at “greedy bankers” is unfair for the vast majority of bankers, but it’s a charge that begins to stick with those (predominately) males who govern and manage our banks. Our objective research is quite clear. Senior bankers are more greedy, arrogant, dishonest and male than the customers they’re supposed to serve.
The repeated assertion by Chairmen and CEOs that you have to pay “loadsamoney” to get “the best” bankers is false. But our research is quite conclusive that if you pay “loadsamoney” you get the greediest male bankers. And ask yourself, how many women bankers have you seen being grilled by our own Treasury Select Committee, or by the US Congress and Senate? Exactly!
So my remedy is this. We need to hire and promote the best bankers, not the greediest. This means probably more women than men, at least for a while. Many European countries have passed or are passing legislation to force all corporations to have at least 25-40% women on their boards within 3-5 years.
We also need men to realise that the workplace is not the appropriate venue for their ego. If you feel pumped up, go for a run. And if you want to help rebuild trust in banking, remember you’re a human being first and last. Grown men don’t cry over their pay cheque.
ROGER STEARE is a Corporate Philosopher and Professor of Organisational Ethics at Cass Business School, London.
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can try his integrity test at www.ethicability.org
Watch Roger Steare's new video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=unufsY1HZh8
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