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Businesswomen Say Online Communication Gives Them More Power; New
Survey Says Women's Online Contributions are Heard, Valued, More Than
--A majority of businesswomen in a
recent survey think their ideas are more likely to be heard, appreciated
and responded to when they use online communication at work, compared to
the traditional face-to-face method.
The finding emerged in a survey of 675 mid-level
and senior businesswoman from across the nation, developed by the
Simmons Graduate School of Management (GSM) Center for Gender in
Organizations. It was administered by the Compaq Computer Corporation
during the GSM's national Leadership Conference for Women in May,
attended by 2,600 businesswomen.
The survey was developed to assess the impact on
women's careers of the use of internet-based information technology,
specifically e-mail and online collaboration tools such as Lotus Notes.
Approximately two-thirds of the women thought
that using online communication compared to face-to-face communication
meant their ideas are more likely to be heard (65%), that their
colleagues are more responsive (66%), and that it is easier to express
their thoughts (67%).
Sixty percent said online communication made it
easier to get a meaningful place in workplace discussions and
decision-making, and 52% said their work was more likely to be
appreciated. Fifty-seven percent felt their gender matters less when
they use e-mail or online collaboration tools, compared to communicating
Earlier studies have shown that gender bias
exists in the workplace; women are more likely to be interrupted than
men, and often are given less credit for their contributions. GSM
researchers surmised that the "faceless" nature of
contributing to an online "team" might be helping women gain
more equal footing in workplace discussions and decisions.
"This news is significant for managers who
want to maximize the contribution and talents of every employee,"
said Patricia O'Brien, dean of the Simmons Graduate School of
Management. "If this new way of communicating online in the
workplace allows women's contributions to be heard and valued more,
that's good for women and good for business."
The majority of respondents were between the
ages of 30 and 59; 62% earn more than $75,000 a year. They represent a
wide range of industries, including finance, communications, technology,
insurance and health care. Almost half work in organizations of 20,000
or more employees.
Other findings include:
||84% of the women agreed strongly or somewhat strongly that
they are more productive using e-mail and online collaboration
tools; 75% said they do more work in less time.
||63% say online communication improves their workplace
creativity, while 40% say it gives them less time for
||68% say online workplace communication enables them to better
manage the boundaries between work and personal life, while 58%
say online tools require them to spend more time at their desk.
||61% feel strongly or somewhat strongly that information
technology makes life less stressful, while in a separate
question, 47% feel strongly or somewhat strongly it makes life
The survey was administered throughout the day
on Compaq laptop computers connected to a standalone local area network.
The questions explored a variety of issues, including how women feel
about the value of online communication, whether it makes their lives
more or less stressful, and its impact on their productivity and