Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Library Research vs. Virtual Research

After researching the conventional library way and the new virtual way, I have come realize how much more efficient and effective online research really is. With online programs like Diigo and Zotero, researching is now a breeze. Before I was ever introduced to such online applications, I found that my hunt for data was incredibly unorganized. I would attempt to keep track of my information with post- its, index cards, and highlightings. The problem with this research method was that I would forget where my highlightings were, my post-its would unstick, and my index cards would get lost. Not only was this type of research chaotic, it was also quite limiting. For example, depending on the library I went to, I was limited to the information that was found in their books. Often times, I didn't find enough information, or the data that I did come across happened to be outdated and not very useful. This type of research is a thing of the past. Virtual research has revolutionized the way people gather data and has helped me become a better researcher. Programs like Diigo allow me to bookmark, highlight, and even add sticky notes to my online findings. Through Diigo, individuals are able to examine other people's social bookmarks and this feature greatly facilitates the research process. The online program Zotero is probably the most useful application that I have been introduced to so far. In the past, preparing bibliographies was always a drag and a hassle. I was never sure if I was formatting the information properly and always felt like I was leaving something out. With Zotero, a person can obtain a source's bibliographical information in a matter of seconds. Zotero is a convenient, time saving tool that every student should take advantage of.

The only downfall to virtual research is that stored data may sometimes become unavailable due to power outages or online technical difficulties. These situations can be frustrating for a researcher who is depending solely on their online notes and sources to complete an assignment or task. It's times like these when old fashion library research turns out to be more dependable and less exasperating.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Examining Others Social Bookmarks

In hopes of discovering more useful sources relevant to my blog’s focus, I examined other people’s social bookmarks using Diigo. I searched long and hard for individuals with bookmarks regarding women in business. Although I was unable to locate any one particular Diigo user with that genre of articles, I did come across one individual, Bartthebear, who had an array of business related bookmarks. While Bartthebear’s bookmarks didn’t emphasize women’s role in business, I still found them quite informative and possibly useful for future posts. After perusing through this user’s articles, it was apparent that he/she was very interested in starting a home based online business. Many of the saved articles and web pages offered strategies, suggestions, and information on how to effectively run a business from home. Several bookmarks provided “tips” on how to properly market a service to a particular target audience. Other bookmarks were sites offering online education courses that specialized in marketing, leadership and salesmanship. Then there were countless other articles that focused on how to make it in the business world, how to network in the business world, how to identify business opportunities, and how to properly research business ideas.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A "Chatty" Management Style

Commenting on "As Women Move up the Corporate Latter, Will Decision Making Change"

A management style that depends on feedback and consensus sounds like an effective way to get the job done. A male professor of mine, who once worked for a manufacturing company, practiced this style of management. He said he spent very little time in his office, and instead worked on communicating with his workers. He believed that by developing these relationships he was able to obtain quicker and more useful information, which in the end allowed him to do his job much better. Although he claimed he was an effective and efficient manager, employees believed he wasn’t getting any work done. Because he was always talking and walking around, he too was perceived as “too chatty” and nosey. Being that he was a male, I found this quite interesting. Most of the time qualities such as these are attached to women. Apparently, in order to be perceived as working, women (and even men!) must stay cooped up in their offices all day long.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thoughts on Climbing the Corporate Ladder in Heels (Annotation 1)

High Heels To The Top - Forbes.com Annotated

In a 2006 Forbes article, writer Kathleen Archambeau asks her readers the following questions:

“In a time of corporate scandals and bankruptcies, wars and terrorism, isn't it time for a change to the male model of success? Isn't it time women stopped trying to be more like men and started trying to be more like themselves?

I believe the male model of success has been eroding immensely through out history. Although men’s past decisions have proven to be fatal and unwise, our society continues to place them on an untouchable pedestal. Women have felt pressured to walk, talk, and dress like men, and have been led to believe that emulating certain male qualities would inevitably lead to their success. Women should definitely stop being more like men, and attempt to be less like them. I believe women shine the brightest when they are true to their beliefs, their ideas, and their motivations; not when they are attempting to conform to the ideas of male figures.

Archambeau also asks,

Isn't it time women brought their talents to the party?
Some of business women’s greatest talents and qualities are often times overlooked or viewed as weaknesses. Women’s listening and communication skills are said to far exceed those of men. Women have also been noted to be excellent team players and partners. According to one Business Week article,
Women think through decisions better than men, are more collaborative, and seek less personal glory, says the head of IBM's Global Service Div., Douglas Elix, who hired two mangers within this year-- both women. Instead of being motivated by self interest, women are driven by "what they can do for the company"

Archambeau later asks,

Isn't it time to redefine what it means to be successful?

Success has been associated with money, power and prestige. Many believe that in order for a woman obtain these things, they must put off marriage, children and having a life all together. Success can be attained without sacrificing these important things. According to Archambeau,

Women (and often men) need to know how to use the skills gained in their traditional roles to carve out a successful career and a happy life.

A New Double Standard (Annotation 2)

ABC News: Can Sexy Women Climb the Corporate Ladder? Annotated

Through out the course of my research, I’ve become familiar with several of the double standards women face in the work place. Just recently, I learned of a new double standard I had never thought about. This double standard revolves around the manner in which women and men dress. In an ABC News article titled, Can Sexy Women Climb The Corporate Ladder, author Eric Noe argues that provocative clothing may prevent a women from climbing to the top. Noe states,

“If you're a professional woman with designs on occupying the corner office, your fashion sense better be more Hillary Clinton than Pamela Anderson.”

I definitely agree with this statement. I believe women should dress as professionally as possible when going to work. Although tight mini skirts and sexy tops might be an expression of a women’s individuality, it is still not appropriate for the workplace. Aspiring business women are often times viewed as incompetent, simply because they are women. Unfortunately, women are perceived even more negatively when a sexy outfit is added to the equation. Noe writes,

"If you look too sexy, the stereotype is that you're not that bright….And, of course, there is the age-old "bimbo" or "dumb-blond" stereotype that often plagues attractive women…”

Although a woman can dress sexy and still be an amazing business leader, studies have shown that the level of respect she receives gets smaller as her skirts get smaller. When it comes down to receiving respect or making a fashion statement, I think most women would take the respect on any given day.

Finally, allow me to introduce the new stereotype that Noe introduced to me. According to Noe,

“…women must accept a certain double standard when it comes to office attire and stereotypes. Men who dress poorly may be considered sloppy, but that probably won't affect the perception of their competence. For women, people will immediately assume: 'Oh, if she can't put a skirt and a blouse together, then how is she going to handle my finances?'" …"For men, they're more likely to say: 'Well, he's a bad dresser, but he's a whiz with numbers.'"

I never realized how absolutely true this is. Women who have no fashion sense are unquestionably perceived differently than men who have no fashion sense. A man, for example, can wear polk-a-dots and stripes and will still be respected and deemed brilliant. On the other hand, if a woman was to wear horrifically mismatched outfits daily, she would be viewed as frumpy, and incapable of delivering quality work. Her image would be belittled by the other employees in the workplace and her intelligence and abilities would become invisible.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Women Managers Rule!

Myth or Fact? Women are not suited for top management because they aren't aggressive enough and lack the self-confidence required for the top jobs. Many would say this is a myth, and many others would say this is a fact.

Through the years, certain unfavorable qualities and personality traits have been used to describe the female population. For example, women are said to be moody, bitchy, soft, and emotionally unstable. Although women are often times believed to be lacking basic leadership qualities, comprehensive management studies have found women to be more effective leaders than men. In a Business Week article titled As Leaders Women Rule, author Rochell Sharp writes:
By and large, the studies show that women executives, when rated by their peers, underlings, and bosses, score higher than their male counterparts on a wide variety of measures--from producing high-quality work to goal-setting to mentoring employees.
Although these studies were new to me, their findings weren’t at all surprising. Of course women are capable of doing something better than men. Believe it or not, in addition to cooking and cleaning, women can also be effective thinkers, decision makers, organizers, and planners. Why is this so shocking to some? Sharp states that researchers “were startled by the results” and were “stunned by women’s consistently high ratings”.

Sharp also found several employers who proudly proclaimed they would higher a female over a male on any given day. Anu Shukla, the female CEO of a major Internet Marketing company, claims that women employees give her the quality and dedication she is looking for. Brent Clark, the CEO of a foot care company, agrees with Shakula’s hiring biases. He states, “Women are more stable . . . less turf-conscious, and better at all sorts of intangibles that can help an organization.''

Finally! People are beginning to realize that women are not only capable of excelling in our male dominated business world, but are also slowly starting to dominate it.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Are 9 Pointless Pictures Still Worth 9 Thousand Words?

When one thinks of a business magazine, the words respectable and professional may come to mind. When I examine a magazine such as Forbes or Fortune, I expect to find reputable articles accompanied by well thought of images. I’ve come to realize that I wont always find what I expect.

In a Forbes article titled, Don’t Marry a Career Woman, author Micheal Noer goes over several reasons why men should stay away from those no good, unfaithful career women. What are some of these reasons? According to Noer's sources, marrying a career woman would lead to illness, divorce and a childless home. Although the content in this article is, in my opinion, degrading and patronizing, my task was to examine the articles visual appearance, not its substance. In terms of formatting, font color, and layout, this particular article was quite boring and unimpressive. But, it is not the written portion of this article I want to elaborate on. Instead I want to discuss the selection of photographs that accompany this piece. These images may make readers wonder, “Who chose these pictures? Are they really necessary? And do they belong in this type of magazine?”

Apparently, Forbes wanted to ensure that readers TRULY understood Noer’s message. Therefore, 9 photographs were provided in order to clarify the main idea of the article, that being: Marriage + Career Driven Women = Unhappy Husbands

Each image has a theme. For example, image #1 depicts a freshly married couple, enjoying a blissful and passionate embrace. Their future looks promising. They appear to have it all, love, happiness, and great careers.

Image #2 shows a wedding ring and wedding documents which symbolize a couples commitment and never ending lover for one another. They are destined to live happily ever after …or are they?

Image #3 shows what happens when a successful career women grows tired of her husband. According to this picture, “she covers herself in costume jewelry and cheats on him with every greasy- haired hipster in town.”

Image #4 depicts the beautiful baby that will never be. According to Noer’s sources, working women are less likely to have kids. Because career women are so incredibly selfish, husbands everywhere are forced to live their entire lives miserable and childless.

In the 5th image, we see an Asian women crying. This great photograph is intended to depict that misery, sadness, and dissatisfaction a career women would feel if she DID have children.

Image #6, my favorite image of them all, shows a messy, neglected home. Apparently, somebody went a bit overboard with the goldfish snacks, and because the little woman was off at work, the mess was never picked up. Bad, bad career woman.

The 7th image shows a miserable looking man. Why is he so sad? Isn’t it obvious? It’s clearly because his unfaithful wife has been working all week and has failed to pick up the goldfish snacks he spilled all over the living the room floor.

Image #8 shows a very serious looking wife, who is no longer Asian, but Caucasian. You might be wondering where her sad, goldfish-eating husband could be? Obviously, he’s been replaced by a younger, more interesting looking lover.

And finally, image #9 shows the ex husband, who for some reason aged quite rapidly .The question is: Has he contracted the flu, or is he just really sad? It’s hard to tell with this picture.

These photographs are clearly ineffective and by no means enhance the ideas that Noer is trying to explain. Not only are these images random, and silly, but would be impossible to make sense of if no supporting text was provided. Many times, images are helpful in conveying certain messages, in this case, the article alone would have sufficed.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

My Sources (#1)

My sources are what have breathed life into all of my posts. Without them, the content on my blog would be limited to the few things I know about women in business. And since I'm not very knowledgeable in that subject, one can only imagine how unimpressive my blog would look like right now. Thankfully, that isn't the case.

In order to fully understand women's strifes and strides in the male dominated business world, I explored blogs, business articles, and other types of informative websites. Although few of the blogs I found struck me as useful, I did come across two particular blogs that sparked my interest. Mamas, Don’t Let Your Sons Marry Professional Women and We’ve Come a Long Way Baby, focus their attention on a recent Forbes article titled Don’t Marry a Career Women. According to Michael Noer, the author of this article, “Professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children . . .” The main goal of these blogs is to stick up for career women who, time and time again, have endured harsh criticism simply because they are dedicated to their careers. The writer of Mamas, Don’t Let Your Sons Marry Professional Women breaks down each one of Noer’s arguments in a blunt and quite humorous way. For example, Noer states that marrying a successful woman is "asking for trouble", not only will both spouses end up dissatisfied, but their home will end up looking like a pig sty. In response to this, the feisty female blogger writes:
Look, numb nut, if both spouses are working full time, of course the house is going to be dirtier than if the wife stays at home and dedicates herself to domestic chores. Jesus fuck, am I being too Captain Obvious here? What the author also neglects to mention is how in households in which both spouses work, women often still end up doing the lion's share of the housework.
Not surprisingly, the two blogs mentioned above, turned out to be very female biased, and are mainly geared towards independent, career driven women.

During my search for information, I came across the blog site Free Democracy. This site contains several posts dealing with political and business news, one of which is titled How Carly Lost Her Gender Groove. This piece of work is not a blog, but is actually a repost of an article written for the New York Times. In this article, readers learn about some of the bumps, potholes, and dead ends that prominent CEO, Carleton Fiorina, encountered during her journey to the top.

When it came time to search for non-blog sources, I decided that I would search for three types of information. First, I would look for articles relating to women’s recent successes in business schools and in the business world. Second, I would seek sources that addressed the many struggles, obstacles, myths, and misconceptions that have been associated with women. Finally, I would search for miscellaneous business articles that may or may not be useful to me in the future.

Two articles dealing with women's successes are America’s Top Business Women and As Leaders, Women Rule. America’s Top Business Women came out Forbes magazine and serves to introduce readers to the names, industries, and career histories of some the most prominent female business leaders in the United States. These women include: Judy Lewnt- CFO and Vice President of Merk, Jamie Gorlick- Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae, and Dina Dublon- CFO and Vice President of JP Morgan Chase. The second article, As Leaders, Women Rule, came from Business Week magazine and addresses studies that have found women to be better executive leaders than men. In addition to those two websites, I also found a site the provided me with essential quantitative information. The AACSB site displayed many facts and figures regarding the number of Masters Degrees and college degrees that have been awarded in the United States over the past 50 years.

My second group of sources deals with the downfalls of being a woman in business. The site titled Feminist Research addresses many of the issues that I would like to elaborate on through out the course of the semester. This site touches on topics such as the glass ceiling, and it causes. Most interestingly, this site discusses many of the myths and facts that are associated with business women. The article titled Women and Minority Owned Businesses explains a few of the inequities women face when opening up a new business. The biggest obstacle, according to this article, is obtaining capital. The content of another source, Turning Advantages into Disadvantages, overlaps with a few of the topics found in the articles mentioned above. This particular article does a great job at explaining the barriers that women encounter, and also touches on topics such networking and capital finance.

Finally, my last group of sources consists of miscellaneous articles. Although I originally thought that these articles would be of little use to me, I have found them to be quite useful. For example, the Fortune piece titled Power Portraits contains very little writing and mainly consists of portraits depicting prominent business leaders. These portraits alone inspired me to write my last blog post titled “Where Are All The Women?” The Forbes article titled Don’t Marry a Career Women, was another article that I wasn’t sure what I would do with. Shortly after I discovered it, I used it to write one of my first comments on another blogger's page.