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The impact of gender composition on team performance and decision-making: Evidence from the field

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Abstract

We investigate whether the gender composition of teams affect their economic performance. We study a large business game, played in groups of three, where each group takes the role of a general manager. There are two parallel competitions, one involving undergraduates and the other involving MBAs. Our analysis shows that teams formed by three women are significantly outperformed by any other gender combination, both at the undergraduate and MBA levels. Looking across the performance distribution, we find that for undergraduates, three women teams are outperformed throughout, but by as much as 10pp at the bottom and by only 1pp at the top. For MBAs, at the top, the best performing group is two men and one woman. The differences in performance are explained by differences in decision-making. We observe that three women teams are less aggressive in their pricing strategies, invest less in R&D, and invest more in social sustainability initiatives, than any other gender combination teams. Finally, we find support for the hypothesis that it is poor work dynamics among the three women teams that drives the results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1225.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1225

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Gender; Teams; Performance; Decision-Making. leex;

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  1. Charness, Gary B & Gneezy, Uri, 2007. "Strong Evidence for Gender Differences in Investment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt428481s8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
  3. Natalia Zinovyeva & Manuel F. Bagues, 2010. "Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Working Papers 2010-15, FEDEA.
  4. Josse Delfgaauw & Robert Dur & Joeri Sol & Willem Verbeke, 2009. "Tournament Incentives in the Field: Gender Differences in the Workplace," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-069/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 20 Apr 2012.
  5. Manuel F. Bagüés & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2007. "Can gender parity break the glass ceiling? Evidence from a repeated randomized experiment," Working Papers 2007-15, FEDEA.
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Cited by:
  1. Dato, Simon & Nieken, Petra, 2014. "Gender differences in competition and sabotage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 64-80.
  2. Jasmin Joecks & Kerstin Pull & Karin Vetter, 2013. "Gender Diversity in the Boardroom and Firm Performance: What Exactly Constitutes a “Critical Mass?”," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 61-72, November.
  3. Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2011. "Do Women Prefer a Co-operative Work Environment?," Post-Print halshs-00633646, HAL.
  4. Rosendahl Huber, Laura & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam, 2014. "Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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