Women Are Much More Likely Than Men to Prefer Teamwork

Researchers say encouraging teamwork at the office may lead to more qualified women participating.

By Lesley Kennedy • MORE.com Reporter

Motivational words about teamwork are plentiful. Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Vince Lombardi: “Individual commitment to a group effort? That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Margaret Carty: “The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.”

Just make sure your team includes plenty of women.

The Observer in London reports that a new study published in the Economic Journal shows women want to be team players much more often than men.

According to the newspaper, when asked whether they wanted to participate as individuals or as a team in answering a series of math problems (which the genders performed equally well on), just 28 percent of women wanted to go solo, while 81 percent of men opted to answer on their own.

Study authors Andrew Healy and Jennifer Pate tell the Observer the results show teamwork at the corporate level is actually a way to get more qualified women involved.

“It appears to be the case that women often opt out of entering these competitive environments,” Pate tells the newspaper. “Importantly, while qualified women opt out, unqualified men opt in. As a result, the gender competition gap may result in organizations failing to select the most qualified leaders.”

Feeling motivated to join that team at work yet? It’s time to show ’em what you got. Who knows where it could, you know, lead.

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First Published September 12, 2011

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