Gender Differences in Response to Competitive Organization? Differences Across Fields from a Product Development Platform Field ExperimentNilam Kaushik, Kevin Boudreau
Journal: Organization Science
Are females more averse to working within competitive organizations than males? Prior research, primarily based on lab experiments, suggests that females might be more averse to competition than males and could be more inclined towards collaboration, instead. Were these findings to generalize to working-age men and women across the workforce, there could be profound implications for organizational design and personnel management.
The researchers investigated this question through a field experiment designed to study the willingness of individuals (from a wide range of fields and ages) to participate in a platform-based product development activity depending on whether they were randomly assigned to competition or collaboration treatments. These treatments were based on framing the event in ways that emphasized either competitive or collaborative interactions with other participants.
The researchers found that among those outside of science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM), there were substantial differences in the willingness of men and women to participate under competition. Among those in STEM fields, however, they detected no statistical gender differences. These results and broader patterns documented in this study are consistent with significant heterogeneity in competitiveness across both men and women, and also consistent with sorting into fields and careers associated with differences (in gender differences) across fields.
Their findings suggest that any practical organizational interventions will need to consider contingencies and possible nuances, as they found evidence contrary to claims of general gender differences.Read more