According to a new study to be published by the Association for Psychological Science, women may not be less competitive than men – they may just be using a different strategy. The study involved volunteers playing a game against two other competitors which accumulated points for money. The participants were given three options of how to play; by themselves, with one other partner forming an alliance against the third, or by all competing together and splitting the profits. With these instructions there was no difference between men and women in the number of times they chose to form an alliance. However, when some of the volunteers were confronted with the possibility of social exclusion by being told that if they selected the compete alone option they would “run the risk of being excluded by the two others” female volunteers chose the alliance option more often than men. The option of preemptive social exclusion was more favourable to women, despite the worry of alienating others, than being excluded themselves, whereas men were more concerned with being beaten. Read more stories on risk taking and office politics here.