Matrix Management

Multiple bosses – do gender differences cause problems?

I came across this interesting article from the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, reported in the London Times and here online

The study found

  • Women who had only one female boss reported more psychological distress (such as trouble sleeping, difficulty focusing on work, depression and anxiety) and physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomach pain or heartburn, neck and back pain and tiredness) than women who worked for one male boss.
  • Women who reported to a mixed-gender pair of supervisors also reported more of these symptoms than their peers who worked for a single male boss.
  • Men who worked for a single supervisor, regardless of the supervisor’s gender, had similar levels of distress.
  • Men who worked for a mixed-gender pair had fewer mental and physical symptoms than those working for a lone male supervisor.

I am not a specialist in gender diversity so I report this without comment.

I do note however that the Times reported that this was because “male workers appear to be far thicker skinned – or simply less aware of what is going on around them in the office” – this appears to be rather sexist speculation. It would be hard to imagine the Times speculating the opposite with regard to female managers and considering that to be acceptable comment.

What do you think?

Multiple bosses – do gender differences cause problems?

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