According to a study of 2,000 people, which delved into the nature of decision making and the thought processes behind them, men are twice as likely to make a decision right away compared to women. The research commissioned by swimming pool builders Origin Leisure examined men’s and women’s way of evaluating their decisions in life and found women are more likely to consider the opinions of friends and take time on their choices whereas men are more immediate in their decision making.
Interestingly, women also took longer to make up their minds on work matters, like whether or not to hand notice in and move job.
Women are More Likely to Follow Their Heart
When a choice requires a bit of soul-searching, women were more likely to do something "from the heart" than men, results found.
A quarter of women admitted that they spend a long time thinking about the details of a decision before making it but less than a fifth of men took the same approach. The study also revealed that even though women took longer to reach their decision overall, they were more likely to regret the choice they made further down the line.
Women were also twice as likely to consult their partner and get their opinion before making a decision as were men, findings showed.
Psychologist Cliff Arnall said: "There are stark differences between how men and women make decisions. Women’s significant reliance on others plus a reluctance to make a wrong decision points to a measurable lack of confidence compared to men”. Arnall also added that “weighing up different outcomes and scenarios may seem like a good strategy but it appears to be accompanied by increasing levels of stress and uncertainty. Going round in circles soon becomes counter-productive and leads to decision paralysis and feelings of frustration”.
Big Vs. Small Decisions
The study also found a quarter of British found it easier to make really big decisions than they do smaller ones, trusting their gut for ‘life-changing’ choices, like whether or not to buy a house or propose to a partner, but then struggle over things of minor importance like buying jeans or new shoes.
Respondents were asked to name the biggest decisions they made in their lives so far. Women were more likely to cite starting a family as the biggest they had made, while men chose the financial commitment of choosing to buy a property.
Women were more likely than men to feel they got the smaller decisions wrong in life, while men were the gender most likely to feel they got big decisions wrong overall.
Career Choice and Gender
As far as career choice is concerned, many studies have shown that gender remains a strong influence in career choice for both men and women. A study on career choice considerations among male and female students by Anggita Dian Cahyani revealed that there is a difference between male and female career consideration. Men are more likely to consider external factors when choosing their career, while women tend to think more of internal consideration factors. For example, men consider more job fitness, work condition and career opportunity, while their female counterparts focus more on income, location, position, reputation and family.
Overall, Origin Leisure’s study confirmed that women are more likely than men to change their minds, showing more indecision especially when it comes to making decisions on less important matters. They also take longer and usually rely on others to reach a decision – especially decisions that deal with life-changing choices (e.g. career change, changing the look of the house etc). Men on the other adopt a more immediate approach when it comes to decision making. Unlike women they don’t mull over the details of a decision; they just think more spontaneously.
A key question to be raised is: Does a woman’s significant reliance on others to make decisions suggest lack of confidence and increased stressed levels? If this is the case, what is to blame? Is women’s indecisiveness a biologically or socially - defined trait of women? Your thoughts please!