Likeability At the Workplace is More Crucial for Women Than Men

It’s normal to worry about what your colleagues or your managers or your boss thinks of you, however, this sort of worry might be something professional women have to deal with more than men at work. A study by economists in Germany which was published in The Economic Journal stated that there were clear and consistent findings in this newly identifies gender discrepancy and the authors of the research report revealed that likeability is either an asset or a hurdle at work and this can affect how men and women navigate the workplace and find success in their offices; experiments were conducted among pairs of men and women, and same-sex pairs too.

For men, likeability matters only with the opposite sex. As soon as one of them (or both) is a woman, the situation changes

Interestingly, in all-male pairs, likeability was neither an asset or a hurdle because the male participants were willing to cooperate and coordinate with each other whether they like each other or not or even had mixed feelings. Only in mixed groups did they feel that likeability was important. The lead author Leonie Gerhards, Ph.D., said “For men, on the other hand, likeability matters only if they interact with the opposite sex. As soon as one of them (or both) is a woman, however, the situation changes.” Mixed groups made likeability relevant which can turn low levels of likeability into something that is disruptive, “in a sense an exogenous ‘hurdle’ – that impedes successful co-operation and reduces performance outcomes. Women always face this potential hurdle, men don’t,” they added. 

Men gave 50 percent fewer points while women gave only 30 percent less in mixed groups

The researches decided to split the participants into pairs and groups and gave them various activities in which rewards were given when they coordinated well and cooperated with each other. In mixed groups, men gave 50 percent fewer points while women gave only 30 percent less. Leonie Gerhards from the University of Hamburg, Germany, said in an interview, “We expected that there would be a meaningful gender difference in behavior. However, we had not expected that this difference would be so stark.” 

Work culture should emphasize on performance and professional behavior more than likeability alone

So, what does this say about men and women at work? Gender does, in fact, sway people and the way they interact with each other on a daily basis and could eventually lead to bias. Therefore, the researchers suggested that employers should be attempting to make their offices a likeability-neutral place and a place where work culture is not influenced by likeability, but rather placing influence on performance and professional behavior. They also suggested that people should change the form of interaction like use emails and phone calls wherever possible which could also lead to promising results. However, the important thing to remember is women should worry too much about what others at work think of them but even though this study proves that women in fact do, women need to remember that they must move past it and that companies need to follow the same. 

Image credit: Business News Daily

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