Perception of gender differences in competition in organizations  

Fülöp M., Sebestyén N.
First author's affiliation: Institute for Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Competition is an everyday context of the business life in a market economy. Most of the psychological results (developmental, social, personality) showed that males are more competitive than females. However, recent studies call the attention to an equally intensive competitive drive among women. Our study aimed at revealing if there are gender differences in terms of adapting and coping with a highly competitive environment, namely the business context. In order to examine this altogether 202 in-depth interviews were carried out with 50 business leaders from the capital of Hungary, Budapest and 152 from other cities of the country, 33% of them were females and 67% of them males. The age range was 23 to 60. The first part of the in depth-interviews aimed at revealing the personal attitude towards competition, winning and losing. The second half asked the respondents about the role they attribute to competition in the economic life in general, and in the Hungarian market specifically, and finally we asked the respondents to describe their views on gender differences (if any) in relations to competition in the business life, in the organizational realm. The approximately 70 minutes long interviews were transcribed and content analyzed and qualitatively different categories set up. The qualitative analysis was followed by a quantitative statistical analysis. This revealed – among others - an intensively negative view of female competition in organizations, and this negative view was shared both by our male and female respondents. Female-female competition was described in an especially negative way.