For the KaizenBiz community, I wanted to give you an update about our site. It will be back. We’re moving to a new hosting company to resolve the current issue. It has been very educational, to say the least. The good news is the site will be up and running sooner than later.

Does Gender Really Have Anything To Do With Risk-Taking

I was reading a post on the Harvard Business Blog Network when I discovered Do Women Take as Many Risks as Men? The author, Doug Sondheim, noticing a disparity between the men and women he interviewed for his book. There were far more men than women featured in stories about risk-taking. So, he started to wonder why.gender, risk taking

His original question

When he began his research, he asked, “Who, from your personal networks, would you consider smart, successful risk takers?” The referrals numbered more men than women.

What could be involved?

There has been quite a lot of research exploring risk-taking behavior over the years. So here is a quick list of some of the possible variables involved:

  • Testosterone: Research has identified that higher levels of testosterone leads to more risk-taking. According to John Coates, a neuroeconomist, the cycle feeds itself through increasing levels of confidence which leads to higher levels of testosterone.
  • Presentation of the risk: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky discovered different levels of risk aversion due to circumstances and language used to describe the risk.
  • Physically attractive, tall and strong: I could not have made this up if I tried. Researchers found that these qualities led people to be more likely to tolerate higher levels of risk. They also determined that women were more risk-averse.
  • Stress: The findings find men and women take very different paths when feeling stressed. Men are more likely to take risks while women are less likely.

 So, what?

There seem to be some problems with the research. Most of the studies seem to focus mainly on men and  how they handle risk-taking. There also may be some mountains that were made out of molehills. According to Julie Nelson who reviewed literatures in statistics and cognitive sciences and reports that the differences may not be so stark as previously understood.

Please join us on Friday, March 1, 2o13 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT for the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz and add your thoughts about gender and risk-taking. Do we really admire the kinds of risks men take more than ones women take?


How do you define smart risk-taking?

What kinds of personality traits have you noticed in men and women who are smart risk-takers?

What role does culture have in supporting risk taking for men or women?

How do women demonstrate their risk-taking behavior?

How could redefining risk change how we evaluate and engaging in decision-making?