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Study: Women expected to be both confident and caring at work

Women in the workplace must be confident and caring to succeed while men need only confidence, according to a new study.

Women must display ‘pro-social’ behavior, showing that they care about others and take others’ interests at heart, while also exuding confidence, to obtain leadership positions in business. This according to a new study led by Laura Guillén, assistant professor at ESMT Berlin business school.

High-performing men and women were equally viewed as confident by upper management, but women were not rewarded equally for their self-confidence, the study said.

Working with colleagues from IE Business School and INSEAD, Guillén studied 236 engineers from a multinational software development company, of which 22 percent were women.

“There are a number of studies that have shown that when women display behaviors consistent with being ambitious, it affects them negatively,” Guillén said. “In other words, they are not liked.”

In order to create friendly and diverse environments, companies should “think carefully about whether being pro-social is a job requirement and then treat women and men equally accordingly,” said Guillén. ”Making sure this happens should not be solely women’s responsibility – organizations need to take concrete steps to promote it actively.”

By: David Beasley, Staff Writer

Source: ESMT Berlin

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