New research reveals female decision making processes

Women’s approach to decision making plays a vital role in how her career develops. This is according to research by The Myers-Briggs Company, the most trusted business psychology provider; that show women who make decisions using a value-driven approach and consider peoples’ personal circumstances represent just 30% of women in top positions.

The research conducted by The Myers-Briggs Company looks at data from 1.3 million people that have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment to investigate the role decision making plays in the workplace. The data reveals that women are generally associated with the ‘Feeling’ preference, a value-driven approach to decision making, while men mostly use ‘Thinking’, a preference that use objectivity, logic and impersonal criteria to make decisions.

However, when looking at career progression between both genders, fewer women reach senior positions, and for those who do, the ‘Thinking’ preference dominates (70%). While women are over-represented amongst lower-level employees level and at this level, only just over half (55%) have a Thinking preference. This indicates that even when women reach higher levels, a values-driven perspective is lacking in leadership. For men, there was little difference in the proportion of “Thinking” compared with “Feeling” between occupation levels.

Speaking about the research findings, John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company said:

“Over the past decade, we have witnessed diversity in the workforce produce positive business results and inspire more women to take on leadership roles. Despite this movement, our research shows that it may be difficult for women with ‘Feeling’ preferences to be promoted to senior positions, while men are far more likely to reach a higher occupational level regardless of their personality preference. It seems that it is not the ‘Feeling’ preference that is inherently undervalued – it is women with a ‘Feeling’ preference who are being excluded from senior positions. This stems from stereotypes regarding the most effective leadership style and goes along with the general under-representation of women. However, there is plenty of evidence to show that a ‘Feeling’ preference contributes to an effective leadership style. A value-driven approach to decision making does play a pivotal role in shaping the culture of organisations.

“Much like any under-represented minority groups in the workplace, without representation in leadership positions to look to as role models, women of all personality types and all employee levels will continue to suffer – and so will the profitability of businesses.

“A deep understanding of organisational culture and how it relates to individual employees is crucial to making progress with diversity. Leaders are especially important in this because they have the most influence in shaping and transmitting the ‘real’ culture which is not often aligned with ‘ideal’ culture,” concludes Hackston.