If you’re a #girlboss who’s fighting for more women in top positions on the daily, you’ve likely come across those who roll their eyes when you suggest they cool it on the sexist jokes. Or maybe your boss has suggested some guidelines to make sure everyone has a seat at the table, and that sparks protests from people who argue that those kinds of rules block natural creativity. Well, now there’s some hard evidence you can use to counter those arguments. A new study co-written by four US professors found that while “people tend to associate political correctness with conformity,” it can actually maximize creativity at work.
Researchers found that PC guidelines add a layer of safety to the workplace so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and bringing their creativity to the table. In other words, when your gender, race or sexual orientation isn’t being casually put down, you’re more likely to know your worth and express it. Shocker!
In this study, the researchers focused on gender, studying how groups that were either mixed-gender or single-gender worked together after imposing a “PC norm” (AKA a guideline for how men and women should interact to avoid sexism). Groups were given 10 minutes to come up with their most creative new business idea. Researchers found that the mixed-gender groups came up with a significantly higher volume of ideas and more creative ideas when a PC norm was imposed. The effect was less significant in single-gender groups, which shows that there really could be an issue with how men and women interact in the workplace.
“What the research findings mean for the state of gender relations… is troubling. The fact that men and women still experience a high level of uncertainty while working together, and that a norm as restrictive as PC provided a safer environment for free expression, means we still have a lot of work to do,” the researchers wrote in a blog post.
At the same time, the study is encouraging, since it shows that companies that are working to set clear guidelines for political correctness could be on the right track. So keep calling out those sexist co-workers, #girlbosses of the world. It’ll pay off soon!
Do you think political correctness stifles or encourages your creativity? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)