Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others: Have more women on the team

February 19, 2015 at 8:07 am 2 comments

An argument for diversity is that it leads to better team decisions and designs.  But it turns out that having women on the team at all leads to better group performance.  It’s an important finding to argue why we need more women in CS, which is still a question I hear regularly, “So what if almost all our undergraduates are women?”  Or as one blogger recently put it (see here if you really want to read more of this), “No one in the tech sector right now gives a shit about diversity. There is no reason whatsoever why a lack of diversity in the field would be a problem unless it comes from government quotas and legal threats.”

Instead, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

via Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others – NYTimes.com.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

Do we treat algorithms as a religion? Computing education to de-mystify the algorithmic world The Individual Teacher versus the Educational System: What if Finland’s great teachers taught in U.S. schools?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Doug Blank  |  February 19, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Interesting. One could see a small number of students in the classroom as a team. We found that male and female students both had higher “comfort levels” when in a more balanced classroom [1]. Comfort could be related to the “reading the mind in the eyes” and increased discussion levels reported in the study.

    [1] – http://dangermouse.brynmawr.edu/pub/survey.pdf

    Reply
  • 2. alfredtwo  |  February 19, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I believe that many in the tech industry do care about diversity and care about it a lot. Not just because of government mandates and/or pressure. Maybe not so much in the start up area but certainly in more mature companies there is a realization that a lack of diversity is limiting in many ways.

    And the person who made that statement about no one caring was also highly critical of the role of a developer evangelist, a job title I had for a number of years, and that seriously kills his credibility in my eyes.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Recent Posts

February 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728  

Feeds

Blog Stats

  • 1,268,449 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,567 other followers

CS Teaching Tips


%d bloggers like this: