Team work is important in various professional fields (Hamilton, Nickerson & Owan 2003, Ivanova-Stenzel & Kübler 2011) and gender diversity in teams is often used as a solution for efficient working (cf. Deutscher Verein für öffentliche und private Fürsorge 2002: 14) because “The gender difference in risk attitudes, social preferences, and preferences over competitive environments has important implications for the understanding of differences in economic and social outcomes” (Apesteguia, Azmat & Iriberri 2012 : 78).
In my bachelor’s thesis, I have already discussed the topic “Gender Differences
in Risk-Taking and Competitiveness in Business Teams” , in which I asked how women and men act in their individual risk and competitive behavior and how this difference affects the collective team work and performance.
Significant gender differences were found.
Women are less inclined to risk and competitive behaviour than men, whether they work as individuals or as a team (cf. Dwyer, Gilkeson & List 2002; Gneezy, Niederle & Rustichini 2003; Gupta, Poulsen & Villeval 2005; Niederle & Vesterlund 2007; Weinberger & Stein 2008; Dargnies 2011; Gneezy, Healy & Pate 2011; Booth & Nolen 2012; Ertac & Gurdal 2012; Castillo, Leo & Petrie 2013; Nieboer 2013; Lee, Niederle & Kang 2014).
The more men are present in a team, the more risk is taken by the group (cf. Karakowsky & Elangovan 2001; Bogan, Just & Dev 2013; Castillo, Leo & Petrie 2013; Nieboer 2013 und Lamiraud & Vranceanu 2014). Women prefer competitive situations as part of a team rather than when working alone, whereas the opposite is observed among men (cf. Healy & Pate 2011, Dargnies 2011).
From a business perspective, gender diversity is useful because mixed teams produce greater economic performance than pure and gender-dominant teams due to their more balanced risk and competitive behavior. When I worked on my bachelor’s thesis in business economics, I was of the mind, based on my literary research and from an entrepreneur’s point of view, that companies should focus on gender diversity with the goal to win valuable female workers for the companies and their success.
This conclusion, as well as the arguments of the above-mentioned studies, is primarily concerned with economic interests rather than gender equality as a consequence of gender diversity. Were gender equality policies or gender differences as well as stereotypes economized and thereby essentialized and reproduced? Is this the way to achieve structural change?