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Examining Workplace Styles of the Sexes


Businesses Urged to Harness the Power of Difference for More Effective Team Management.

LONDON. – A new survey looking at the working styles of men and women reveals that 45 per cent of working women agreed with the statement that ’women have to be better than men to succeed in the workplace’. In contrast, only 26 per cent of the men questioned believe this to be true. The survey also found that more than half of the men (53 per cent) view ability as more important than personality in the workplace, while only 39 per cent of women rate ability in the workplace higher than personality.
The ’Style of the Sexes’ survey, jointly commissioned by Cisco and Gender IQ, addresses issues such as how conflict is dealt with in the workplace, which factors men and women consider important in a job, whether job concerns are shared with co-workers, and whether employees prefer to work in teams of mostly men or mostly women. While the findings indicate that real differences exist in how men and women deal with aspects of their work, organizations that seek to better understand and respect differences in the workplace get the best out of their employees and teams.
Highlights / Key Facts:

On the Makeup of Teams

* The majority of both men and women (88 per cent) prefer to work in roughly equally mixed teams.
* However, both men and women preferred working in mostly male teams (21.6 per cent) rather than mainly female teams (8.1 per cent).

On What’s Important

* Generally speaking, women are more demanding than men about what is important in a job, with 79 per cent saying getting training is important, compared with 73 per cent of men, and 75 per cent seeking flexible hours, compared with 69 per cent of the men. The only areas that more men than women find important are chances of promotion and benefits beyond pay.
* Pay ranked first in importance for women, with equipment second. An interesting job role shared third place with flexibility in work location or the ability to work from home. Men rated pay and equipment as most important, followed by an interesting role and flexible work location or the ability to work from home.
* Having a role model was least important for both men and women.

On Dealing with Conflict

* Women are far more likely to have experienced conflict in the workplace: 55 per cent stated they’ve faced conflict compared with 46 per cent of men.
* Women take longer to recover from conflict as well: 41 per cent of those who had experienced conflict said it took more than a month to recover; 25 per cent of the men needed more than a month to recover.
* In a conflict situation, men and women also respond differently: 73 per cent of the men said they would confront the situation face to face, compared with 63 per cent of the women. Women are also more likely to ask for intervention, with 59 per cent likely to talk to their manager and 39 per cent likely to report the situation to HR, compared with 52 per cent and 35 per cent of the men, respectively.

On Sharing Concerns

* More women share work concerns with colleagues: 75 per cent shared concerns versus 67 per cent of the men.


* Tracy Carr, CEO, Gender IQ

"The Style of the Sexes survey illustrates what we all instinctively know: that there are differences in how men and women think about and approach issues within the workplace. Unfortunately, however, it is still the male brain that tends to dominate the world of work and the way we do business. The importance of understanding differences is not to say one way is more right than another; it is about widening the acceptable range of leadership styles to create an environment where all men and all women enjoy working together and get better results.

“While the perception still may be that women have to work harder to succeed, the good news is that the study also showed that both men and women prefer to work in mixed teams of equal proportions, so we also instinctively understand the power that both parties bring for team success. This is further illustrated by a report from McKinsey on gender diversity as a corporate performance driver, which showed that those companies that had senior teams of which at least a third were women outperformed those companies with no women on senior teams. This is no longer about gender but about improved company performance.”

* Nikki Walker, director of Inclusion & Diversity for European Markets, Cisco

"Celebrating a culture of inclusion and diversity where difference is respected and recognized as a key contributor to success not only enables an organization to attract and retain the best talent, but also enables an organization to get the best out of their employees. Understanding the difference between the genders will enable organizations to manage mixed teams more effectively and to connect more effectively with customers.

"Cisco has long understood the benefits of a diverse, integrated workforce and has worked hard to create a positive working environment that respects diversity. Cisco is executing on our commitment to diversity through best-practice initiatives that include the Global Inclusion and Diversity Council, which integrates inclusion and diversity into business processes and operations at all levels of the organization. We also hold roundtables to build more understanding around specific issues including gender differences, and run a number of employee networks that are designed to help people communicate within their own peer groups as well as with team members and managers to develop better working practices.

“We’ve moved this away from being an issue of sexual stereotypes to being a mainstream business imperative where everyone needs to be involved for greater business success.”


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