Lets Do Lunch: Not Exactly Lies - but Damned Statistics

By Gramann, Jill | The Birmingham Post (England), January 31, 2000 | Go to article overview

Lets Do Lunch: Not Exactly Lies - but Damned Statistics


Gramann, Jill, The Birmingham Post (England)


I read recently in one of the broadsheets that, following a survey of 1,000 male and female middle and senior managers from across the UK, it has been found that "women make the best managers, and if men are to keep up they will have to start learning from their female counterparts".

The survey, the article claimed, was an indictment of the ability of men to function as leaders in the modern workplace because a majority of those questioned believed women had a more modern outlook on their profession and were more open-minded and considerate.

By way of contrast, the article continued, a similar number believed male managers were egocentric and more likely to steal credit for work done by others.

Of course, as a woman in business, this all sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

However, as a market researcher, I must say the article appeared to be headline-grabbing without any really solid foundation: the only fact lifted from the report stated: "In Britain more than 61 per cent of those surveyed said men did not make better bosses than women."

This statement implies that almost 39 per cent of those interviewed felt that male bosses are either as good or better than their female counterparts - and is a far cry away from the bold headline: "Study shows women make better managers".

If other statistics from the survey supported the journalist's claim then they should have been used in the article. Their absence, along with the above statistic, suggested the survey was inconclusive - but the title "Men and women are roughly the same at management" wouldn't make it to the editor's desk.

Although market research findings add weight to an argument and can prove to be a cost-effective way of gaining media coverage, care should be taken to avoid misuse of information and sensationalism. …

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