Business World Insights From Driehaus Faculty

A Supportive Work Culture Helps Women “Lean In”

Research co-authored by Assistant Professor of Management Alyssa Westring offers new insights into the debate sparked by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s best-selling book about the need for women to “lean in” to their careers to succeed.

Westring says, based on her research, “If we truly want more women to ‘lean in,’ we need to focus on the larger context— to think hard about how to create workplace cultures where women have the opportunity to thrive.”

Westring and her colleagues “made a remarkable discovery” when they surveyed 133 women physicians and biomedical researchers about work-family conflict for a study published in Academic Medicine, Westring writes in a Harvard Business Review blog. “Women working 60 hours a week in the most supportive departments fared significantly better than those working 45 hours a week in work units viewed as less supportive.”

The research found that supportive departments had four main characteristics: they recognized and appreciated nonwork aspects of life; provided equal access to resources and opportunities, such as administrative support, research space and funding and committee participation; addressed subtle and overt gender biases organizationwide; and were led by supervisors who actively supported women’s careers.

Low Interest Rate Mortgage Financing Challenges Housing Market Rebound

Millions of households that purchased homes or refinanced mortgages during the last four years, when interest rates were at historic lows, could challenge a housing market recovery if long-term interest rates were to rise quickly in the coming years, according to research from the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University. Increases in mortgage rates are expected due to continued pull back in the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy, the study’s authors note.

“This research shows that locked-in households will be reluctant to sell their homes and finance other purchases at higher interest rates,” says Patric H. Hendershott, a senior research fellow at the institute, who coauthored the study with Jin Man Lee, the institute’s research director, and
James D. Shilling, professor and the Michael J. Horne Chair in Real Estate Studies.

Hispanic-Owned Businesses Bloom in Illinois

Hispanic-owned businesses are a small but growing force in the Illinois economy, according to a white paper sponsored by the Richard H. Driehaus Center for International Business in collaboration with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and its Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship.

Hispanic-owned ventures account for just 5 percent of the state’s businesses, but their number grew by 43 percent, compared with 16 percent for all other companies, from 2002 to 2007. During that period, payroll for Hispanic businesses rose by 28 percent, eight times that of other businesses, according to the research, which was based on U.S. Census data.

– Business Exchange Staff

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