Don’t Put Your Raise in Jeopardy

Old Game ShowYou can’t read too much into human behavior on game shows. Or can you?

Economists at the Swedish Institute for Social Research found that women who played against male opponents on the Swedish version of Jeopardy! tended to be less aggressive in placing their bets than when they competed against other women, or a mixed group.

Nonetheless, the women who played against men still performed “significantly better” overall, compared to women facing female-only or mixed opponents.

Translated into the workplace, the results may explain the lack of women at the top, says Gabriella Sjogren Lindquist, one of the economists behind the study. “When competing over promotions, women [may] take a step back in male-dominated areas.”

Maybe. Yet women actually performed better when playing against men.

So, women hold back when facing male competitors—but being around guys may push us to do our personal best—yet women are slightly more willing to take risks when in an all-female environment.

One possible conclusion: Women have different issues depending on the sex of their competitor. Something to work on, if we’re going to command more than 7.6% of top-earning positions in Fortune 500 firms.

Play hard. Do you behave differently when you’re around male versus female co-workers?

photo source: brizzle born and bred’s photostream on flickr

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