WASHINGTON: Gender fault lines are bad news for any organisation as when they appear, the employees are less willing to take on new tasks that help their company or more generally to put in extra effort at work, says a new study.
Gender fault lines appear when gender differences solidify into factions. And this tends to occur when members of one gender share other demographic traits and professional interests, such as age, job responsibilities and time served with each other.
For example, the men in one organization might be young techies, while the women might tend to be middle-aged marketers or vice versa.
Several qualities align in addition to gender, creating a stronger sense of in-group identity among men and women.
"A gender fault line has a negative effect on people's loyalty to a firm," said study co-author professor Hui Liao from the University of Maryland.
But it's not inevitable that gender fault lines create problems.
"If the general environment is supportive of diversity, we don't see a significant negative effect," she said.
The researchers studied 1,652 managerial employees in 76 work units at an unnamed Fortune 500 global manufacturer of consumer durable goods.