A new study has found that women are most willing to compete and compete best when they do so on teams. It also found that individual competition discourages qualified women from trying to compete while it encourages underqualified men, which gives credence to my dad's theory that the people who end up at the top of companies are the assholes who stick around for the longest and don't pay attention to how much they suck or to how much others hate them and that truly qualified people self-conscious themselves out of the jobs they deserve.
The Guardian reports the study's (published in The Economic Journal) findings thus-
■ Even though men and women performed equally well on the task, 81% of men chose to compete as individuals compared with 28% of women.
■ When participants competed in teams, the gender competition gap shrank by 31 percentage points to 22%, with 67% of men choosing to enter the competition compared with 45% of women.
Of course, what the study didn't say was that ever-catty women were only joining teams so that they could sabotage each other, right?
All laugh-so-we-don't-cry absurd stereotypes aside, this finding may have implications for the future of doing business. Capitalism, at its most base, is blind to everything except which maximizes profits. Thus, if in a competitive marketplace, leaders better at generating profit for a company are to be found within the company, the company must utilize those leaders (regardless of color or gender) or it risks defection and eventual defeat. (Imagine a baseball team that refused to draft Venezuelans, for example. Sure, they could fill the roster with good non-Venezuelan players, but they'd be missing out on other players that could increase how good the team was. And before you know it, you've got a baseball team that loses even to the Chicago Cubs.) If some women who would make better leaders than some male leaders in the company were to defect to a system that allowed them to compete in teams, the company with the better system and leader would prevail. This isn't to say that all men are unqualified doofuses amazed by the yogurt selection in their dieting wife's refrigerator, just that some men who are in positions of authority are less effective leaders than some women who haven't bothered to compete for those positions.
Maybe this would have been better as a Power Point presentation. At any rate, this is important news.
"It appears to be the case that women often opt out of entering these competitive environments," [study co-author Jennifer] Pate said. "Importantly, while qualified women opt out, unqualified men opt in. As a result, the gender competition gap may result in organisations failing to select the most qualified leaders."
The women-prefer-competing-in-teams phenomenon could also explain why so few women run for office in America compared with places that select their government based on proportional representation (that is, when voters vote for a party with an established platform rather than an individual and the party fills the seats it wins in the election with its highest ranking members). This might also explain why Iran has a higher percentage of female members of Parliament than the US does Congresswomen.
Image via AP