For too many women, the hardest part of being successful might be taking credit for the work that they do, especially when they work in groups.
In a study recently published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers Michelle C. Haynes and Madeline E. Heilman conducted a series of studies that revealed women were unlikely to take credit for their role in group work in a mixed-gender setting unless their roles were explicitly clear to outsiders. When women worked only with other women, they found, this problem of not taking credit disappears.
"Women gave more credit to their male teammates and took less credit themselves unless their role in bringing about the performance outcome was irrefutably clear or they were given explicit information about their likely task competence," the study finds. "However, women did not credit themselves less when their teammate was female."
Haynes says she was inspired to conduct this research when she encountered the phenomenon in her own life. "It actually came about where I had gotten an email, some feedback about a symposium that we had submitted for, and that was glowing, fantastic feedback," she says. "I was sitting, reading the email, and as I was reading it, it was like, 'Wow, those other papers must have been so wonderful for us to get this glowing praise.' And then I sort of had this light-bulb moment of, 'Oh my goodness, I do this too.'"