Women CEOs are more credible than men occupying the same role [Study]

May 2021 – Survey SOM and Credibility Institute | Press Release

Montréal, Canada. June 24, 2021 – A survey conducted at the end of May by polling house, SOM, across the province of Québec and commissioned by the Credibility Institute found that women CEOs are perceived to be more credible than men. The results of this study also shed light on the factors that help build stable credibility for managers, with a return on investment for their organization.

The top positions speak for themselves. The Top 5 most credible CEOs in Québec have four women and the Top 10 have six. The names of Christiane Germain, Danièle Henkel, Véronique Cloutier, Cora Tsouflidou, and Sophie Brochu are omnipresent in the results and these CEOs are perceived as being the most credible by the Québec population. Newly appointed CEO of BDC, Isabelle Hudon is also in the Top 10.

“It is very interesting to see that women CEOs are seen as more credible than men in a similar role. This is in fact a big and above all a happy change for the business community since for decades men have often been seen more credible in senior management positions. We will closely monitor this trend as well as the credibility factors to advise CEOs on strategic management of intangible assets such as corporate image, trust, credibility and reputation.”

Stéphane Prud’homme, CEO of the Credibility Institute

Survey Highlights: Credibility and Its Factors

The first edition of this study surveyed the Québec population on the perception of the credibility of CEOs and chairpersons in office. To the question: “How credible are each of these people in your eyes?” respondents perceived women as more credible than men in similar positions.

It is now recognized by the academic community that factors participate in consolidating the credibility of leaders and some were surveyed in this study. The factors that have contributed the most to determining the most credible CEOs are competence and legitimacy. Conversely, one of the factors that undermines the credibility of CEOs is the lack of proximity to the values of the general public, perhaps a form of perceived elitism. 

Another fact to note, notoriety is not a guarantee of credibility, with the exception of Véronique Cloutier, the most famous CEOs are not found in the top 5 of the most credible CEOs.

“Credibility is intangible to most people and it’s not easy to measure. This study on the perceived credibility of CEOs is a first in Québec and it will be interesting to measure its evolution in the mid and long term.”

Julie Fortin, Co-President of SOM

Survey methodology

This online survey was conducted from May 21 to 31, 2021 among 1,030 Québec adults, in French and English. The sample was drawn from the SOM Gold panel, which consists mainly of Internet users recruited randomly by landline and cell phone. The data have been weighted to best reflect the characteristics of the population by age, sex, mother tongue, education, household size, dwelling (owner / tenant) and region. The maximum margin of error for all respondents is 4.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About the Credibility Institute

The Credibility Institute is the first and only organization dedicated to corporate credibility in the world. The Institute’s team has developed a definition and understanding of trust, credibility, and reputation that is unique and entirely inspired by scientific literature. Driven by disruptive innovation, the Institute offers advice and an innovative strategy to businesses to build and manage their intangible assets, which are branding, corporate image, trust, credibility, corporate responsibility, and reputation; in a normal situation to contribute to the return on investment and in crisis management for a return to normal.


About SOM

SOM is one of the largest polling houses in Québec, a 100% Québec firm. It specializes in marketing research, satisfaction studies, socioeconomic research as well as program evaluation. With nearly 300 employees in Montréal, Québec City and the regions, SOM provides the right information for managers to make the right decisions. 


Published by QuantumCredibility™

www.credibilityinstitute.com www.institutdelacredibilite.com www.credibility.is

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