A new study suggests that men and women don’t necessarily enjoy working with members of the opposite gender, but that teams with an even split of the two tend to be more productive.
Economists from George Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied eight years of employee survey data from a professional services firm with more than sixty offices in the United States and abroad.
What they found was that employees at offices with greater gender diversity were more likely to report lower job satisfaction and less likely to say that their coworkers cooperated well with one another. However, these offices with a more equitable mix of men and women brought in higher revenues than those that were dominated by either men or women.
“Our results suggest that, consistent with the previous economics literature, employees are more cooperative in more homogeneous settings,” authors Sara Fisher Ellison and Wallace P. Mullin write in the study. “These more homogeneous units, however, seem to be less productive overall.”
Another interesting finding from the study was that while employees didn’t like working in offices with gender diversity, they did very much like the idea of it.
Offices where employees reported an environment that was accepting of diversity were linked to the employees reporting higher morale and better cooperation.
Here’s how the authors of the study explained this contradiction: “We could interpret these two sets of results, seemingly at odds, in the following way: employees like the idea of a diverse workplace — and may therefore provide social goods more readily in a setting that they think is supportive of diversity — but are actually more comfortable in a homogeneous setting.”
(Via The Wall Street Journal)
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