Researchers of a new study revealed that in work environments composed of women, creativity is harmed when the latter are positioned to compete against each other. Men have been shown to function the other way round: they are the most creative and cooperative when they are put under competitive conditions. Women, on the other hand, work best when they work as teams without the connotation of competition.
A new study might have revealed a new aspect of a characteristic of females that has always been talked about: their response to competition. Generally, they are said to be catty when put under the pressure of competition. The study in question though has highlighted the feature from a different angle. The researchers have found that when females are compelled to vie against each other for a certain work, creativity is greatly harmed. However, if they are working as a team, creativity and cooperation are boosted. If they are made to compete, the work is not done as efficiently and smoothly.
As the level of competition is intensified, women put in less and less effort at being creative. This was specially the case when the teams included females only. However, teams of women where competition is not an issue among the members might even outdo men since their creativity is enhanced to a large extent.
The lead researcher, Markus Baer, has made the following statement: “Intergroup competition is a double-edged sword that ultimately provides an advantage to groups and units composed predominantly or exclusively of men, while hurting the creativity of groups composed of women.” The study highlights the different nature of men and women. While men demonstrate more interdependence on each other in a team where competition reigns, women respond in the opposite manner and they collaborate less. The researchers showed that females react less favourably to competition than men: women work better in environments not dominated by competition, as opposed to men’s tendencies.
The researchers have therefore concluded that if competition is used to boost creativity in the workfield, the aim will not be reached – at least, not fully so.
Now, why is this the case? Are women bad at competing with each other? Does it have anything to do with the way the female brain is wired? To answer to these questions, Baer has produced an explanation on a more sociological level than a biological one. He argues that the reason behind has much to do with the norms established in society concerning women and competition. He purports that our perception affects behaviour. Is this yet another gender bias situation that is detrimental to the emancipation of women?