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Gend Med. 2004 Dec;1(2):106-24.

What men and women value at work: implications for workplace health.

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University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA.



Current research suggests that workplace culture can influence health outcomes.


This study was conducted to determine what men and women value at work, how each defines a healthy workplace, and what work factors best predict their health outcomes and stress.


A national study was conducted by LLuminari, Inc., a health education company, via a Harris Interactive Inc. online panel that screened for US participants who were employed full-time in organizations with >1000 employees. The online questionnaire used stimulus words/phrases to which respondents verbally free-associated. Each verbatim response was given a weighted score based on the order in which it was written, then thermatically clustered with similar responses to form categories for each stimulus item.


A total of 1123 individuals participated in the study (608 males, 515 females). Results indicated that men and women value the same aspects of work but ranked them differently. Men valued pay, money, and benefits, as well as power, authority, and status significantly more than women did (P < 0.001). Women valued the following significantly more than men did: friends and relationships (P < 0.05); recognition and respect (P < 0.001); communication (P < 0.001); fairness and equity (P < 0.001); teams and collaboration (P < 0.001); family and home (P < 0.001). The results also indicated that men underestimate and are generally unaware of women's work-related values (P < 0.05). In comparison, women overestimate how men value pay, money, and benefits, and power, authority, and status (P < 0.05). Although little difference was observed in health status between the sexes, women did report being slightly more distressed at work. Findings also suggested that the cultural and environmental aspects of work best predicted women's health outcomes; for men, health outcomes were related to supervision and management factors. The health of both sexes was significantly predicted by their perceived home life (P < 0.001). Men and women also defined a healthy workplace differently, with women more than men emphasizing understanding, support, communication (P < 0.05), relationships, and ethics (P < 0.001).


Knowing and managing gender differences may help to effectively motivate employees, increase productivity, foster loyalty, and improve physical and mental well-being.

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