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SUMMARY

This paper explores differences in the nature of decisions taken by males and females. Women are playing an increasingly important role in business management and managers are ultimately tested and evaluated in terms of their success in making decisions. Consequently any difference in the character and quality of decisions taken by male and female managers will have important implications for organizations. This paper reviews the literature, and reports two pieces of empirical work which investigate the connections between gender and decision making. The decision-making characteristics of males and females in a ‘non-managerial’ population in which the majority of individuals have not undergone formal management education are contrasted with a ‘managerial’ population of potential and actual managers who have undertaken such education. It is argued that women are often excluded from managerial positions of authority and leadership due to stereotypes, which have been constructed by observing ‘non-managerial’ populations at large. The paper concludes, however, that these stereotypes may not apply to managers as in the ‘managerial’ sub-population males and females display similar risk propensity and make decisions of equal quality.