Would you prefer to only work alongside members of the same gender?
According to a new survey published by MIT the answer is yes. Apparently employees are happier when they work with people of the same sex.
Sara Ellison, co-author of the study and senior economics lecturer at MIT, explained to The Boston Globe: “We all think that we want to be in this pluralistic society in a diverse setting, but when push comes to shove, when our co-workers don’t think like we do, that can cause some friction.”
Researchers looked at employee surveys from 1995 through 2002 in order to measure cooperation, trust and work enjoyment. They also examined data regarding diversity and revenue during the same time period.
Here’s the kicker — while people may prefer to work with their own gender, that doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity.
Ellison explained, “Having a more diverse set of employees means you have a more diverse set of skills.” In turn, this could result in “an office that functions better.”
Homogeneous offices with less diversity showcase higher levels of social capital. She pointed out in the piece, “But the interesting twist is that … higher levels of social capital are not important enough to cause those offices to perform better. The employees might be happier, they might be more comfortable, and these might be cooperative places, but they seem to perform less well.”