Research goes viral

25 April 2017

Are women better leaders than men? And does the waiter's appearance affect what food you order?

Several international media outlets have been interested in research articles from BI in recent weeks. High readership and sharing in social media have resulted in the research going viral.

The article "Personality to Lead", written by Professor and Head of Department Øyvind Lund Martinsen and Professor Lars Glasø, both from the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, has have spread to at least 19 international media publications in a matter of days. The article is based on a survey made by nearly 3000 leaders, where the professors identify five characteristics of effective leaders.

The survey shows that female leaders achieve higher scores than men on four of the five personality traits that were measured.

– The results suggest that women have somewhat better personality-related skills than their male colleagues in terms of clarity, innovation, support and targeted thoroughness, Martinsen and Glasø maintained.

Could it be legitimate to ask if women are more successful in leadership roles than their male colleagues? This question has been met with great interest also internationally. The BI professors’ research has been reproduced in The Independent, the largest online newspaper in the UK with almost 97 million readers daily. Other media sources that have mentioned the research are:

"The results suggest that women have somewhat better personality-related skills than their male colleagues."

Øyvind L. Martinsen


The waiter that makes you choose unhealthy options

The scenario below triggered the curiosity of Anders Gustafsson, Professor at the Department of Marketing. Together with research colleagues, Gustafsson conducted an experiment to investigate how the waiter's appearance affected the choice of healthy or unhealthy food.

"Imagine that you are going to order food in a nice little restaurant.

A waiter brings you the menu. She has tattoos on her right arm, has a pale skin colour, dark rings under her eyes and her hair looks as if she just came from a party. The waiter radiates a wild, unhealthy lifestyle.

You study the menu, which contains both salads and other healthy dishes, but also hamburgers, pizza and more unhealthy options. What do you choose: healthy or unhealthy? Does the waiter’s appearance matter? "

Can you guess the answer? The experiment showed that healthy waiters led the guests to order healthier dishes, and vice versa.

The results were mentioned in The Times UK, which has approximately 4 million readers daily. The research article is also reproduced in:

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