The Predetermined Thought Process for Men and Women
Women are underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) occupations. - The Guardian
Women make up 14.4% of the workforce in STEM in the UK, which is half the country's goal of 30%. Despite mounting efforts to interest women in STEM occupations, women in the corporate world are less likely than men to be inspired by data, according to a statistical research by Career Connections. Differences between men and women continue to be studied and debated. One of the hottest topics is around the thought process difference depending on gender. The ‘Men are from Mars and Women from Venus’ statement is now a popular cliché.
Cultural Influence on Thought Process
Whereas working adults would be faced with different problems, their solution would most likely be influenced by, other things, their past experiences. These experiences are typically founded upon one’s socialization in line with the culture that they are accustomed to. One is likely to be more comfortable with the elements that their culture presented to them when they were born; food, art, religion, gender roles, etc. It is a culture that provides human beings a template for their values: what they like, dislike, prefer, avoid- in short, what is likely to be considered normal to them.
It is no surprise then that a Christian family will normally have children who later become Christians and will unconsciously be reserved to other religions. This underlying factor therefore, will bias the decisions one makes about other people, projects, plans and strategy. One may associate certain groups of people with certain attributes but will probably not remember when that became part of how they think. This is because it’s all part of the flow of our unconscious mind.
Hogan Assessment Systems have built on cultural value systems and how they determine our behaviour in the workplace. The Hogan Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI) consists of 10 primary scales that describe an individual’s values fit to the organisational culture and their motives. Values are an essential part of identity- they describe who you are, what you stand for, and the environments in which you will flourish.
Differences between Men and Women in the Workplace
In order to determine the differences between men and women in terms of their motivations, Career Connections analysed the MVPI data gathered over a period of 14 years amongst working adults. The sample size constituted the data from 1,970 participants, in which we picked a random sample with an equal number of men and women. The results revealed that on average, women were motivated more by Altruism, Tradition and Aesthetics than men. On the other hand, men were motivated by Recognition, Power, Commerce and Science more than women.
Performance Implications of Values
Whilst the differences exist on the different scales, our attention was drawn to Science motives. On average, men scored 20% higher than women. We looked to establish whether the difference would be significantly impacted by using the original sample size. however, this was not the case as the difference was one point. According to Hogan Assessment Systems, Science measures an individual’s preference for a rational, objective approach to decision making. Low scorers prefer quick, intuitive decisions; high scorers prefer deliberate, databased decisions.
The motivations can be expressed in different ways but mainly through an individual’s lifestyle, belief, occupational preference and/or preferred associates. In addition, we looked at how the differences stood out over the 14 years - men were consistently higher in the Science scale.
What the data reveals is that men in leadership will create a culture that emphasizes rationality and accountability. People’s opinions and positions must be justified with logic and data. Policies and procedures will typically be based on evidence. Women in leadership are more likely to balance between analysis and action and are more comfortable making decisions based on intuition and intangibles.
The performance on the Science scale is very useful in recruitment and promotion in the workplace. How a person’s values match his/her job requires the organisation context. This is so because although a person’s values may be consistent with a particular job or career, they may be inconsistent with the organisational culture.
The MVPI scales are divided into three clusters: Status, Social and Decision-Making Style. Men are predominantly driven by Recognition and Power, which fall under the Status cluster. Women, on the other hand, are driven by Altruism and Tradition, which are categorised under the Social cluster. Decision-Making Styles cluster includes the Aesthetic and Science scales; men score higher in Science and women higher in Aesthetics.
While there is renewed focus on breaking down gender barriers, women remain to be moderately motivated by science.*The preference does not in any way suggestibility. This distinction is key in this article, as the MVPI is not a cognitive assessment.