The Value of Women in the Workplace

Today I found an article on the Harvard Business Review titled “Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women“. I was immediately intrigued as I am a woman so anytime I see that there is research that adding women will help, I want to read more.

The overall finding of the article was:

There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.

Most women probably could have told you that! But it is very interesting that research supports it. Beyond the finding on the value of women, it was interesting to see that individual intelligence of group members has little affect on group intelligence.

The usual rationale for positive effects from adding women to groups is that gender diversity is always better. However, this study found that while groups should not consist of all women but a majority can show more intelligence.

Another of the findings of the research may have implications for us as leaders:

Our ongoing research suggests that teams need a moderate level of cognitive diversity for effectiveness. Extremely homogeneous or extremely diverse groups aren’t as intelligent.

This information can be used when assembling teams among your employees. Keep in mind that diversity is good but too much can cause conflict. And if you can, make sure there are a few women in there.


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