What is it about women working with men?

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Teamwalking1New research shows that women undervalue themselves when part of a male team but are happy to take credit when their colleagues are female.

The researcher, Dr Michelle Haynes at the University of Massachusetts, who wanted to see how women viewed themselves in teams, feels that this damages their earning potential and stops them getting to the top.

She set up experiments where participants worked remotely with people from typical male roles such as a managing supervisor at an investment company.

There was no other person involved however but the participants didn’t know that and they were then asked to both give and receive feedback about their team’s performance.

When they did this the women gave more credit to the supposed male team-mate and took less credit themselves. When their supposed team mates were female however they were happy to take credit for the team’s performance showing that they didn’t undervalue themselves in that setting.

Dr Haynes said “This finding is critical because it debunks the notion that what we found is simply a function of women being modest in groups” and “if women view their own contribution less favourably than they regard the contribution of their male co-workers, it is likely to impact how women view their efficacy at work and the degree to which they are likely to to vie for competitive projects and promotions“.

This study was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Other research about women working in teams has found that:

Women perform worse after receiving feedback in a mixed team

Adding women to a team can increase the group IQ level

And do women actually like working in teams?

The issue of men and women working together is a rich area for research.

Throw children into the mix and you can get some surprising results

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