Solidarity in STEM: How Gender Composition Affects Women’s Experience in Work Teams

Ashley A. Niler*, Raquel Asencio, Leslie A. DeChurch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationships among the percentage of women in a team and women’s sense of team identification and collective efficacy as well as team performance was examined. We explored these relationships in a sample of student teams conducting a semester-long social science research project within the context of science and technology-focused university. Findings with 95 U.S. college students (43 women) show that women experience higher team identification and collective efficacy as the percent of women teammates increases. Additionally, women’s team identification and collective efficacy mediate the relationship between the percentage of women on the team and overall team performance. Interestingly, the number of men on the team did not influence men’s sense of team identification, collective efficacy, or team performance. This research has implications for team composition. Specifically, when navigating diversity in teams, managers and leaders should aim to build teams that are composed of multiple women versus an approach that divides women up among various teams. In doing so, managers can better secure conditions for the development of positive teamwork experiences and, ultimately, performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Volume82
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • Collective efficacy theory
  • Gender equality
  • Identification
  • STEM
  • Team composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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