The study started with a single hypothesis: men and women view professional advancement differently, and this affects whether they decide to strive for promotions.
The researchers found that men were more likely to associate professional advancement with positive outcomes such as satisfaction, happiness, opportunity, money, status ad influence.
But women were more likely to tie it with negative outcomes such as stress or anxiety, difficult trade-offs or sacrifice, time constraints, burden of responsibility and conflict with other life goals.
"Women have a higher number of life goals, place less importance on power-related goals, associate more negative outcomes with high-power positions, perceive power as less desirable though equally attainable, and are less likely to take advantage of opportunities for professional advancement," it said.
So while men and women both see clinching a promotion as equally attainable, women see more downsides.