Archive for February, 2009

Men and Women Use Different Value Systems When Making Decisions

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Guest Blogger

 I recently analyzed the value systems of 280 men and women, divided equally, acting as general managers in the restaurant sector. The thinking facets measured included intuition/empathy, results-orientation, adherence to structure, self-worth, self-awareness, self expectations, as well as their reasoning types. The most significant data point that emerged involved the reasoning types of the participants. Over 35% of the women demonstrated intuitive reasoning types, as opposed to analytical or unconventional, as compared to 28% of the men. Intuitive reasoning blends logic with instincts or “gut-feel”; it’s a natural way of thinking “outside-the-box”.

Our assessment included a scale with three levels of intuitive reasoning, and remarkably almost 25% of the women possessed the highest level of intuitive reasoning on the scale versus only 5.22% of the men; a five-fold differentiation. This greater degree of intuitive reasoning is associated with novel thinkers who need to incorporate their individuality in their work. In addition, they can be emotional about what they perceive to be right and/or wrong.It reflects a thought pattern that is not as concerned with the “rightness” of their process of thinking as they are with finding the best solution or application.

The desire for the women to factor in their individuality when making decisions was further evidenced by the fact that 3 times as many women resisted conformity in the adherence to structure dimension. Typically, people scoring in this manner are mildly rebellious toward rules and absolutes being imposed on them by others. They feel a need for independence.

This trend regarding women’s higher valuation of individuality was also highlighted when considering priority placed on practical thinking relative to thinking in black-and-white terms. The women were almost 1.5 times more likely to value practicality over convention than the men.

Attention to individuality was illustrated again in the area of self-awareness. In this thinking facet, which measures desire to earn personal recognition, women were 1.26 times more likely than their male counterparts to place a very high emphasis here when thinking.

In summary, this study clearly revealed that men and women exercise varied value systems during decision-making. Most notably, women relied on instincts to a greater degree than men, who more often followed a consistent, linear type of reasoning. The women strived to express their uniqueness more than the men, and were more likely to break from convention and expand boundaries with their thoughts. Finally, the women had higher probabilities for strong self-awareness, which signals their abilities to know their strengths, weaknesses, and interests more effectively than the men; as well as a penchant for winning, and being attentive to their appearance, and being recognized for what they do.

Don Everett is President of Workforce Interactive, an Irving, Texas-based firm that offers a Nobel Prize-winning science in the area of human values assessment. His company’s licensed science has been administered to hundreds of thousands of people. He is certified on the subject, has conducted numerous educational seminars, and performed research across dozens of job descriptions.