A call for intervention: Lack of diversity in career pyramids

[We’re pleased to welcome author Claartje J. Vinkenburg of VU University, Amsterdam. Vinkenburg recently published an article in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences entitled, “Engaging Gatekeepers, Optimizing Decision Making, and Mitigating Bias: Design Specifications for Systemic Diversity Interventions.” Below, Vinkenburg discusses the motivation for pursuing this research, along with future applications. From Vinkenburg:]

3374725110_74426ba883_m.jpgWhat inspired you to be interested in this topic? I was triggered by the cover article of the July 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review which stated that diversity efforts fail. I have seen such failures, but also examples of quite successful diversity interventions in up-or-out systems such as academia and professional service firms that deserve a wider audience of researchers and practitioners. This journal and especially the special issue addressed questions around systemic change that provided a great fit with my story of design specifications for successful diversity interventions.

Were there findings that were surprising to you? I was surprised to discover in writing the article but also in presenting it in various forms to different audiences that so many people are unaware of the existence and effects of bias, and firmly believe that the way people are promoted in their organizations reflects meritocracy. Making them aware is one thing, but doing something about it is a wicked problem that requires working through paradox.

How do you see this study influencing future research? While the successful diversity interventions described may not challenge meritocracy directly, but they help to achieve ³true² meritocracy by reducing bias in the assessment of merit, focusing on the often capricious application of criteria in performance evaluation and/or reward allocation. Future action research or intervention studies could look at mediated sensemaking and other forms of working through paradox with gatekeepers, as well ways to de-bias our HR or people decision making such as selection and promotion.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest articles!

Diversity pyramid photo attributed to Ben Mason (CC).

Book Review: Martin Ruef: Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South

pup-cover.originalMartin Ruef: Between Slavery and Capitalism: The Legacy of Emancipation in the American South. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. 285 pp. $35.00/£24.95, cloth.

Heather A. Haveman of the University of California, Berkeley recently took the time to write a review of Martin Ruef’s book, available now in the OnlineFirst section of Administrative Science Quarterly.

From the review:

This compelling analysis of the swiftly changing economic and social institutions in the American south after the Civil War should be of ASQ_v60n1_Mar2015_cover.inddinterest to economic and organizational sociologists, stratification researchers, and labor and economic historians. Ruef’s central argument is that the emancipation of slaves generated great uncertainty for all economic actors in the south—the former slaves themselves, the planters who used to own them, the agents of the Freedmen’s Bureau who sought to smooth the transition, and white workers, merchants, and politicians who had supported slavery as a central precept of southern society. As in neoclassical economic theory, these actors were often subject to classical uncertainty (Knight, 1921), in that they could not predict the outcomes of their decisions to engage (or not) in economic transactions: although the set of possible outcomes was known, their probability distribution was unknown. But more than that, Ruef shows that these actors faced true or categorical uncertainty (Knight, 1921): the set of possible outcomes was also unknown, which made the probability distribution of outcomes not just unknown, but unknowable.

You can read the rest of the review from Administrative Science Quarterly for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research and reviews from Administrative Science Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

The Gender Pay Gap

only-few-cents-247849-mBack in the news is an issue of importance in the field of management: the gender pay gap. Fifty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women continue to be paid less than men, even when accounting for factors commonly understood to affect earnings. As the U.S. Census Bureau data has shown, “for the last decade, median earnings for women working full-time, year-round, have been just 77% of men’s earnings.” The American Association of University Women’s research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, further reveals that college-educated women working full-time were “paid an unexplained 7% less than their male counterparts were paid one year after graduation.”

What does recent research tell us about the gender pay gap? What’s behind it? What are the effects of unequal pay on the workplace, families, the economy? Does it matter? We’re pleased to present the following articles to enrich the discussion. Click on the titles below to read the articles, free through March.

Are Gay Men Treated Differently in “Masculinized” Industries?

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Joshua C. Collins of the University of Arkansas. Dr. Collins recently published an article in Human Resource Development Review entitled “Characteristics of ‘Masculinized’ Industries: Gay Men as a Provocative Exception to Male Privilege and Gendered Rules.”]

Within the human resources and organizational behavior literature, male privilege is often framed as something that is garnered and experienced by all men, regardless of other personal identities or workplace culture and norms. This paper problematizes that assumption by demonstrating how certain characteristics of ‘masculinized’ industries–such as law enforcement, the military, oil and gas, and others–maintain structures that continue to impede and dictate the experiences of gay men. The purpose of this paper was to explore how gay men, in these industries, can become exceptions to male privilege and gendered rules, often being diminished or disregarded based on stereotypes related to perceived masculinity as it aligns with hegemonic industry expectations. The hope is that this study will influence future research and practice by bringing to attention the characteristics that limit gay men in these industries, as well as demonstrating how the use of a more critical conceptual approach might allow for a more nuanced view of male privilege across a variety of contexts.

You can read “Characteristics of ‘Masculinized’ Industries: Gay Men as a Provocative Exception to Male Privilege and Gendered Rules” from Human Resource Development Review for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Human Resource Development Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

8958_14_New_Facutly. Joshua Collins, COEHP.Joshua C. Collins, EdD, is an assistant professor in the Adult and Lifelong Learning master’s and doctoral programs at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. He is currently the chair of the Critical and Social Justice Perspectives SIG (Special Interest Group) of the Academy of Human Resource Development. His research interests focus on issues related to critical adult learning and education, specificially with regard to racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities, as well as other disenfranchised groups

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Hollywood’s Gender-Wage Gap

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointKaley Cuoco recently learned the hard way to be careful what you say in an interview after her comments on feminism in the February issue of Redbook magazine provoked some harsh criticism from the media and fans alike. When asked if she considered herself a feminist, the 29-year old actress was quoted as saying “Is it bad if I say no? … I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality.”

If it is true that she hasn’t run up against gender bias in her acting career, Cuoco is a rare case. The New York Film Academy looked at how women are portrayed in the top 500 films between 2007 and 2012 and found that only 30.8% of speaking characters were women, a third of which were shown partially naked or in sexually revealing clothing. They even found that this latter trend increased 32.5% for teenage actresses in the years studied.

What’s more, while the immediate backlash from her comments may have caused Cuoco to go on what she jokingly calls her “apology tour,” the sad truth is if she hasn’t experienced inequality yet, it might just be a matter of time. A recent study published in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” found that a female actor’s age may play an additional role in Hollywood’s gender-wage gap:

The abstract:

Research on the gender-wage gap shows equivocal evidence regarding its magnitude, which likely stems from the different wage-related variables researchers include in their calculations. To examine whether pay differentials solely based on gender exist, we focused on the earnings of top performing professionals within a specific occupation to rule out productivity-related explanations for the gender-wage gap. Specifically, we investigated the interaction of gender and age on the earnings of Hollywood top movie stars. The results reveal that the average earnings per film of female movie stars increase until the age of 34 but decrease rapidly thereafter. Male movie stars’ average earnings per film reach the maximum at age 51 and remain stable after that.

You can read “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Journal of Management Inquiry!

Calling for Papers on Reducing Inequality in Organizations!

note-pad-1206626-mDo you have research on reducing inequality in organizations? ILR Review is now accepting papers for a conference and a subsequent special issue devoted to identifying and developing organizational practices and processes that affect workplace inequality, diversity, and inclusion. Emilio J.Castilla (MIT) and Pamela S.Tolbert (ILR, Cornell) will be the guest editors of the issue.

Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Organizational conditions affecting differential treatment in recruiting, screening, training, and hiring decisions
  • ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointThe impact of organizational recruitment and selection procedures on hiring (and post-hiring) outcomes
  • Aspects and features of organizations that affect occupational and job-level segregation based on gender and race
  • Conditions facilitating workplace relations in diverse groups and teams inside organizations
  • The effects of various organizational practices and policies on the promotion and retention of women and minorities
  • Organizational arrangements that affect race- and gender-related differences in training, promotion, and compensation outcomes
  • Organizational forms and work arrangements that influence workplace inequality, diversity, and inclusion
  • Differential impacts of social policies and organizational practices on labor market outcomes (e.g., by race and by gender)

Scholars interested in participating should submit a detailed abstract to the ILR Review by February 1, 2015. For more information, including where to submit your abstract, click here!

Want to keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

How Do Gendered Behavioral Norms Influence Sri Lankan Women’s Views of Workplace Sexual Harassment?

On July 21, 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike became Sri Lanka’s prime minister, a role never before held by a woman in any country. However, discrimination and sexual harassment against women in the workplace still afflict the country today. But do cultural gendered behavioral norms influence the perception of sexual harassment in Sri Lanka? Author Arosha S. Adikaram explored this concept in his article entitled “‘Good Women’ and ‘Bad Women’: How Socialization of Gendered Behavioral Norms Influences Sri Lankan Working Women’s Interpretation of Sexual Harassment at Workplaces” from South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management.

The abstract:

Cultural influence on perception and judgement of sexual harassment is widely discussed in sexual harassment research. Yet, very few studies F1.mediumhave delved deeper into the various norms and values of a culture, to understand how perception and interpretation of sexual harassment at the workplace is influenced by culture. This article attempts to fill this gap, by exploring how gendered behavioural norms instilled by Sri Lankan culture, shape perceptions about every day socio-sexual behaviours that occur in workplaces, influencing the interpretation and perception about workplace sexual harassment. Employing qualitative research methodology, in-depth interviews were used to gather information. The findings of the study unearthed how Sri Lankan women have developed notions of “good women” and “bad women”, rooted on various gendered behavioural norms internalized in them through rigorous primary and secondary socialization processes. Constant advices on proper behaviours, sanctions on dress codes and advices on the nature and type of relationships that women should maintain with the opposite gender, appear to influence women’s notions of this “good women” and “bad women” images, which in turn influence their perceptions about what is acceptable and unacceptable socio-sexual behaviours at workplace, and consequently, how they perceive, interpret and respond to instances of sexual harassment at workplace.

“‘Good Women’ and ‘Bad Women’: How Socialization of Gendered Behavioral Norms Influences Sri Lankan Working Women’s Interpretation of Sexual Harassment at Workplaces” from South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management can be read for free by clicking here. Want to read all the latest from South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!