The influence of women in a man’s life, from mother to wife to daughter, is likely to make him more generous, according to surveys of the male population and controlled laboratory studies. In a survey of employee pay as distributed by executives, researchers found that pay decreased when the executive had a son, but not when a daughter was born. In an experiment on generosity at the Free University in Amsterdam, those who acted most charitably were 40 percent more likely to have sisters than the people who made more self-serving, competitive choices.
What’s the Big Idea?
There is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that the wives of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were instrumental in their decisions to dedicate large portions of their fortune to charity. The implications of this are potentially far reaching for businesses: “We recognize the direct advantages that women as leaders bring to the table…[b]ut we’ve largely overlooked the beneficial effects that women have on the men around them. Is it possible that when women join top management teams, they encourage male colleagues to treat employees more generously and to share knowledge more freely?”