Women are Too Moral to Succeed in Business, Says New Study


Women. You turn around for one second and they’re off jeopardizing their careers in some way — catfighting , asking for (literally) lighter loads because they’re pregnant, and doing all sorts of other crazy things to explain why they’re underrepresented and underpaid in the workplace.

Now, a new paper forthcoming in Social Psychology and Personality Science argues that women are more moral than men and thus lose out on jobs because they’re not willing to do whatever it takes to make the big bucks. Psychologists Jessica Kennedy and Laura Kray conducted three separate studies to see how women and men reacted differently when confronted with ethical dilemmas on the job. From The Huffington Post:

In the first study, 103 participants read 14 vignettes describing ethical compromises in the workplace, including, for example, the story of a manager taking credit for a project his subordinate stayed late at the office to finish. They then rated how objectionable these behaviors were, and how much business sense they made. Women were more likely than men to find the acts offensive, and to think that they made less business sense.
In the second study, 178 undergraduate students read three consulting and finance job descriptions. One third of the participants were given job descriptions that included a description of ethical issues he or she could expect to face, and were told that the company had a “whatever it takes” mentality. Another third of the participants read descriptions that included ethical dilemmas, but the description also explicitly stated that the company would expect employees to do the morally right thing. The final third of participants read job descriptions that made no mention of ethics at all. Results showed that male participants were equally interested in the jobs regardless of what the description said about ethics, and women were just as interested when ethics weren’t mentioned or when they were told to “do the right thing.” However, women exhibited less interest in jobs at the “whatever it takes” companies, suggesting that they were less comfortable with breaching ethics.
In the third study, Kennedy and Kray asked a group of 106 students to take animplicit association test (IAT). They found that female participants were much more likely to associate business with immorality than men.

Thankfully, the psychologists’ conclusion focuses on how businesses can change, not women. “If business organizations take a long-term view of success, they can allow people to value both ethics and achievement,” Kennedy told Slate. “This would allow the people within organizations-both men and women-to be more fully human.”

“We need to see more women at the top,” Kray says. “I think that will change the culture of corporate America.”

[Huffington Post]

Image via Dariush M/Shutterstock.

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