Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Women are held back by competitive work environments, study reveals

devil-wears-prada.jpg

We’ve all known for quite some time that most workplaces are run by an old boys network which is not conducive to female success.

Well, now science has proven it. According to new research from the UCL School of Management, workplaces that encourage competitivity amongst their employees might be holding women back in their careers.

The research, which looked at the findings of four studies with 797 participants and published in the Journal of Personality and Social psychology, shows that while men might encourage a bit of healthy competition, women do not.

Assistant Professor Sun Young Lee found that women react more negatively to same-sex co-workers than men do.

The reason for this, Lee believes, is because women are typically encouraged to treat one another in a positive manner – one that aligns with the idea of sisterhood.

The study suggests that most women would struggle to accept their female colleagues behaving in a cut-throat manner – and that this inability to cope might lead to a restriction in their career progression.

promotion

Men, on the other hand, are seen to generally react better to competitive workplaces, and stringent hierarchy.

“As a woman who has worked across the world, I’ve long observed that women take competition with other women much more personally than men take competition with other men,” says Dr Lee.

“My research provides support to such an observation.”

Dr Lee suggests that companies should take this into consideration when settling on their approach to team hierarchies, saying:

“Bosses need to be aware that competitive career structures that are effective to men may be detrimental to women.”

In addition, women might benefit from taking a new approach to these scenarios:

“At the same time, women should be aware that taking competition too seriously could be holding them back from leadership positions.”

Clearly, pitting women against each other at work isn’t a way to encourage a positive work environment because women just might be nicer than men…

Related

gender-pay-gap.jpg

Why negotiating your salary could leave you at a loss

dwlm.jpg

Why IS Louise Minchin still in the 'inferior' seat?

pay-rise.jpg

How to ask for a pay rise as women 'work for free' until end of year

writing a CV and job application.jpg

These are the 10 worst phrases to use on your CV

ThinkstockPhotos-487390388.jpg

87% of British women experience sexism at work, says Stylist study

typing.jpg

How to nail difficult work emails

150519_TVC_MadMen_PeggyOffice.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge.jpg

How to nail a promotion at work without asking for it

woman on phone at desk.jpg

Five ways to rebrand and rejuvenate your career in your current role

purse .jpg

The dos and don’ts of asking for a pay rise

Comments

More

Inside Nepal’s forced marriage revolt

When love and tradition collide

by Corinne Redfern
23 Feb 2017

Demi Lovato on her mental health documentary: “I’m bipolar and proud”

The singer opened up about her new mental illness documentary to Ellen DeGeneres.

by Moya Crockett
23 Feb 2017

Are you ready for the UK’s national gin festival?

With over 100 gins to try, we imagine it will be quite the tonic…

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Feb 2017

The rising stars of food and drink making waves in 2017

Load up your palettes with purple food and Mexican spirit

by Amy Swales
23 Feb 2017

Stop what you're doing and try these Crème scotch eggs

They’re a chocoholic’s dream come true…

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Feb 2017

Why you’ll be seeing red X’s everywhere on Facebook today

It’s all to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

by Moya Crockett
23 Feb 2017

Five ways to get on top of your decision anxiety

A hypnotherapist explains.

23 Feb 2017

Secret Life of Five Year Olds: The incredible life lessons we learned

From feminism to single-shaming

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

Are you ready for the ultimate gin and gingerbread masterclass?

Lessons take place in a luxury spa, if that helps to seal the deal…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

This is officially the best place to live in the UK

And, surprise surprise, it isn’t London…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017