Neither men nor women: they are more creative TOGETHER

Abstract An experiment is reported in which the effect of sex composition on the creativity of brainstorming groups is investigated. It was hypothesized that mixed sex groups would be more creative than either homogeneous male or homogeneous female groups. Fifteen groups, consisting of four members each two males and two females; four females; four males, took part in the experiment. The experimenter noted the number of ideas generated per person, as well as the different associations with these ideas, and the number of different angles from which the task was approached. After finishing the exercise, subjects completed a post-experimental questionnaire. Results show that heterogeneous groups produced more creative outcomes than homogeneous groups. Also, they rated their process more positively. These findings are discussed in relation to the type of task used, and in relation to the general notion that heterogeneous groups are likely to produce more creative outcomes yet suffer from more process problems as compared to homogeneous groups.

 

Research
Equally creative separately, when they are gathered, representatives of both sexes come to complementary solutions – and more innovative. At least that’s what showed a study by psychologists S. Schruijer and I. Mostert, researchers at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands. In an article published in the journal European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, they demonstrate scientifically that the balanced presence of people of both genders in groups promotes ethics and creativity.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked men and women to participate in a creative exercise for half an hour in small groups of four. There were a total of 15 teams consisting of four men or four women, or by two persons of each sex. The researchers recorded the number of ideas generated individually, the various associations between them and the various angles from which the participants dealt with the tasks.   After the exercise, the subjects filled out questionnaires to assess their own degree of satisfaction with their production.

In general, all members of mixed groups judged their work more positively, which in fact was found by Dutch psychologists. When they work separately, men and women are equally creative. Together, however, they produce a greater quantity of ideas, that is, they increase creativity, which leads researchers to consider the idea of complementarity, synergy and that favors the discovery of innovative solutions.

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