The Benefits of a Group Mentality

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 20, 2013    •    1286 Views

By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger and senior at Kent Place School.

If you were ever a child, you probably noticed that the boys usually played in larger groups while the girls typically found one or two other girls and stuck with them. Although these tendencies seem insignificant, they may have a huge roll in why men are so competitive in the workplace while women tend to shrink back.

Although it is definitely a stretch, if you go way back, men did hunt in large groups, so they had to know how to get along. Women, on the other hand, have usually had to keep to themselves throughout history, staying at home and taking care of their kids. Joyce Benenson, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, performed an experiment on infants and found that baby boys chose a picture of a group when given the choice between a photo of a group or an individual. Baby girls showed no preference between the two.

With two people, your voice is always heard, and your opinion has a big impact. In a group however, it is not hard for you to get passed over if you are not loud or assertive enough. This could explain why women are not quite as comfortable in large groups such as an office. They are not as competitive because they didn’t need to compete as much, and they therefore have trouble getting as far ahead.

Sources and resources: Click here for an interesting analysis of the Emanuel brothers and how their upbringing has affected their success. To read about the study performed by Benenson, click here.

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