Encouraging women to seek out opportunities for advancement or implementing policies designed to help working parents balance their personal and professional lives might be positive steps, but they won't be enough to close the gender gap in the business world, writes Ben Waber, president and CEO of Sociometric Solutions. Waber's company tracked employee interaction at three U.S. companies and found that a cognitive bias that favors men is the real challenge. "Characteristics admired in alpha male executives -- boldness, decisiveness, and intensity -- aren't always valued in female ones," he writes.

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