Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Women, Men and Group Dynamics: Women Smarter?

 "What is it about women that tends to raise a group’s IQ?  Not even researchers Wooley and Malone claim to have solved the mysteries of complex group dynamics.  But  it doesn’t take a Ph.D to recognize what multiple studies repeatedly show:  women consistently score higher than men on social sensitivity test.   Who knows whether it’s because we’re culturally conditioned differently than men or because of biology and hormones.  The bottom line is that women tend to be much better listeners.  We’re more likely to draw others into conversations.  And we’re much less likely than men to dominate groups with our opinions."

 Here's the link from Anne Doyle, who wrote in Forbes about a Harvard Business Review article.

I'm going back to check out the Harvard Business Review article and will report back. Although I'd like to jump on the bandwagon and extol women's virtues as better group leaders and members than men, I have plenty of exceptions on my experience plate. I do recall research that said a diverse group takes longer to do problem-solving, but it comes to more creative, useful solutions, although the actual group process may be a bit difficuly, off and on. And the corollary: homogenous groups come to solutions faster with little conflict, but generally little originality. So a mix of women and men, older and younger might be expected to do bettter group problem-solving than all men or all women. Maybe the exceptions I'm aware of are in primarily all-women groups, where tangents can reign.

What's your experience with men, women and group dynamics?

Here's the link to HBR article. It's worth a read if the topic is of interest. It's simple and readable.

Below is the final paragraph from the researchers which is mind-boggling in one way, but  obvious in others. Women (and some men) have been saying for years that if women "ruled the world" we'd have more collaboration, greater collective intelligence, sensitivity to others, and consequently fewer wars.

 "Families, companies, and cities all have collective intelligence. But as face-to-face groups get bigger, they’re less able to take advantage of their members. That suggests size could diminish group intelligence. But we suspect that technology may allow a group to get smarter as it goes from 10 people to 50 to 500 or even 5,000. Google’s harvesting of knowledge, Wikipedia’s high-quality product with almost no centralized control—these are just the beginning. What we’re starting to ask is, How can you increase the collective intelligence of companies, or countries, or the whole world?"
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