Has the 'Shine Theory' crossed the Atlantic?

The ‘Shine Theory’ suggests that women can appear to ‘shine’ more when in the proximity of other successful women. Rather than seeing these females as rivals, it’s beneficial to team up with them.

So Ladies don’t claw your way to the top …. work together.

The term is frequently used by US podcast hosts Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow.  Ms Friedman¹ makes the point that it is much more advantageous to support your female colleagues than to compete enviously for recognition, praise and career advancement.

Even if this theory is not scientifically proven, it is interesting to observe……..

In the US Senate, the current President has surrounded himself with an increased number of women aides in his second term – when he took office his cabinet was overwhelmingly male. Female officials report the use of ‘amplification’ – repeating each other’s suggestions to ensure that they are being heard and crediting one another to prevent others claiming the ideas as their own - to influence decision-making. The amplification strategy is linked to the ‘Shine Theory’².

Theresa May’s Government, has a cabinet where women constitute a third of ministers. For the first time in our political history, women now hold half of the so-called Great Offices of State. So the dynamics in their meetings must be fascinating ……

The ‘Shine Theory’ emerges on management training courses

Impellus, one of the UK’s leading Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) approved training providers, reports that the ‘Shine Theory’ is often apparent during group exercises on its courses. On the occasions when a delegate table (typically seating 6 people) is fully occupied by female managers, their participation and contribution is very collaborative and supportive. However, where there are mixed tables, the females become much more competitive overall – not just with their male counterparts but with the other women on the table as well.

What do you see in the workplace?

In roles and industries dominated by men, women can be hesitant to voice ideas and thoughts and may feel daunted. Having the support of other females helps to grow friendships and confidence. The ‘Shine Theory’ suggests that people are often judged by the company they keep and that success breeds success.


¹  Ms Friedman’s article in 2013

²  BBC News, 14 September 2016