In their new book The Female Vision-Women’s Real Power at Work (Berrett-Koehler, June 2010), writers Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson researched how each sex perceives their value of work—with some interesting results.
The authors initiated a “Satisfaction Profile Survey,” conducted by Harris Interactive, of over 800 mid-level and higher managers at companies with more than 50 employees. The survey asked respondents to rate 84 items related to their perception of their work experience.
One significant difference between the sexes was that men placed a much higher value on compensation and benefits as being “intrinsically satisfying,” than did women, often using the word “worth” to describe how they view their pay. And men also described financial awards as a means to measure their achievements against others.
The Satisfaction Survey results indicated that while compensation was important to female respondents, they did not view it as part of competitive achievement, but rather a means to the end of providing for themselves and their families. Women are also very interested in “intrinsic rewards,” and do not just “go by the numbers” in accessing their own achievements or worth, according to the book.
The book draws on the authors’ research comparing distinctive differences in men’s and women’s perceptions to show how employers can use the differences between the sexes, which is often overlooked in organizations, to make significant and positive changes in the workplace, especially in team-based processes and management teams.