|By Christos Papoutsy
Founder and Publisher,
Hellenic Communication Service
"Integrated perspective" is a term referring to a particular school of thought in the business world, one that suggests that women conceive of their businesses as interconnected systems of relationships rather than as separate economic units in a social world -- the latter perspective, according to this school, belonging to men. These systems of relationships place the businesswoman at the center of a network that includes family and community as well as work. Thus is her business "integrated," and thus is success understood as a balance
The fundamental difference between the more purely economic perspective of businessmen and the more integrated approach of businesswomen -- which is consistent with psychological and sociological work theorizing that women and men experience reality differently -- has many personal dimensions and practical ramifications. We can see the difference at work in goal-formulation, as indicated, as well as in decision-making, management style, and strategy. Men, for example, are more likely to follow traditional processes for decision-making in entrepreneurship, processes often originating at the top of a hierarchy -- with a president in charge and several levels of personnel below him who have decreasingly less power -- and based on rational decision models.
Women who own businesses, on the other hand, describe an "intuitive" and/or team-based approach to decision-making, within a looser, more informal business structure. Female business owners have noted, "women are more willing to allow people to be involved in decision-making." It follows that women tend to prefer a personalized and people-oriented management style; traditional male management style can be described as transactional, where the management conducts a series of transactions with subordinates -- an approach that at its extreme is sometimes referred to as "command and control."