Q: What is the future of women in business?
Professor Wright: The future of business continues to be shaped globally by women as seen in the number of women leading companies in industries historically dominated by men. The next decade will include significant transformations in how we market, sell, buy, educate, train and communicate. For companies to survive this change, they need to find better solutions to problems and innovative ways to look at problems. Women are well suited to meet this need because they are intuitively known to be “system-thinkers” and have a good understanding of relationships.
Q: Why are more women starting their own businesses, and what roadblocks do they face?
Professor Wright: The corporate culture often does not provide flexibility, autonomy, challenging yet meaningful work and personal development at levels desirable to women. So many women capture flexibility through entrepreneurship. The ability to be in charge of each day and integrate the two domains of work and life makes the extra work worth it.
Q: How are women changing business models?
Professor Wright: When women leave corporate positions, we have heard it called opting out, tapping out and such — I call it “opting in.” Women are creating their own workplace culture through entrepreneurship and thus creating a dilemma for corporations who struggle to retain highly talented females. When we talk about this from the male perspective, we hear them saying they would like to “lean out” in order to gain more flexibility. I think in the near future we will see both genders having conversations about values and how we can create more time for the life domain while still making valuable contributions to the organization.
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