Why Women Collaborate, Men Work Alone, And Everybody’s Angry
“It’s a study of rare quality that can aggravate chauvinists and feminists equally.
But the work of Peter J. Kuhn and Marie-Claire Villeval … may be able to do just that. In their new paper, “Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation Than Men?,” the economists found that … men tend to overestimate their abilities and downplay those of their coworkers, while women shortchange their skills and defer to their peers.
It’s fascinating that this correlates with compensation as well. According to the study, women are more aware of “inequity aversion,” a discomfort with the feeling that not everyone is getting a fair deal, like if some of your colleagues are making way more money than others–while men are less sensitive to the asymmetry.
But this compensatory bias can be altered with a little savvy structuring. Writing at the Atlantic, Derek Thompson shows us how the researchers created the conditions for compensation balance to be restored (or instituted):
Kuhn and Villeval cleverly ran an experiment allowing men and women to select teamwork versus solo work, and then reran the experiment, increasing the returns from excellent teamwork by about 10%. Once they did this, the cooperation gap between men and women disappeared.
So if compensation is clearly oriented toward the team, then men will jump at the chance to work more closely with their colleagues.”