How Gender Affects Team-Based Brainstorming Sessions

They state two heads are much better than one, but a recently available study led by associate professor of organizational behavior Markus Baer at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School suggests the success of a brainstorming session may depend on whether you’re a guy or a female.

While it’s typically assumed women are more collaborative than men when employed in teams, it seems women’s advantage is effective in non-competitive environments. Forcing teams to go head-to-head results in greater creative output from men, but causes women to turn off and contribute less. The more intense and cut-throat your competition, the less women contribute.

Baer says gender stereotypes may are likely involved in women losing their edge in competitive environments. “The same stereotypes that claim that women have become collaborative claim that they are less inclined to prosper under competition,” he says. “If women think about themselves to be less competitive and assume that the world thinks they shouldn’t perform aswell [in competition], they’re less engaged in the experience as the belief is ‘this isn’t what we’re proficient at, this is not how many other people expect us to be good at’ so they lose a little bit of their mojo.”

‘Co mpetition Is the foremost Thing THAT MAY Happen in Business’

Men, however, have already been taught to thrive under competition, causing them to react more positively whenever a competitive element is introduced to a creative brainstorming session. Women simply don’t see competition as motivating, so they don’t take it as seriously as men.

This doesn’t mean competition must completely be eliminated from workplaces. Actually, Baer says just a little friendly competition could be a great way to market teamwork and bring people together. Competitions could even be fun. However, he suggests companies that are looking to incorporate the part of competition in a gender-friendly way might need to alter just how competitions are implemented.

“Just how we initially considered designing competitions was inspired incidentally we take into account the business community, and it’s mostly influenced by male stereotypes,” he says. Preventing the negative characteristics of competition that cause women to participate less while maintaining competition’s positive attributes means altering this is of competition from a cut-throat climate to the more relaxed, team-friendly type.

Stop Playing So Nice TOGETHER WITH YOUR Competition

To get this done, Baer offers three suggestions:

1. Multiple-dimension competitions. While competitions that pit teams against each other and result in only 1 winner put women at a disadvantage, Baer says competitions offering multiple prizes on multiple dimensions could be more female-friendly. He suggests providing prizes for the state-of-the-art solution and the most collaborative team, for instance.

2. Inter-team collaboration. While in cut-throat competition, teams typically withhold information in one another, are discouraged from sharing ideas and could even undermine one another in order to win, providing opportunities for cross-team collaboration can help encourage women to participate. The best way to incentivize cross-collaboration, Baer says, is to supply recognition to teams who assist others. If one team can advance within their solution because of input from another team, providing recognition to the supportive team really helps to eliminate that raw competitiveness that works against women.

3. Progressive tournaments. Wearing down your competition into steps and providing rewards on the way can help make the competitive environment more desirable to women. Instead of having one large prize, provide several smaller prizes for different intervals.

Mark Cuban: THERE IS NO Playing Nice TOGETHER WITH YOUR Compet

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