Gender and Work

34 Results

 

Difficulties for Women Bridging Racial, Generational, and Global Divides

A symposium at Harvard Business School delved into "intersectionality"—the seemingly obvious yet complex idea that gender interacts with other axes of inequality such as race, age, class, and ethnicity. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Stressing Safety in South Africa’s Platinum Mines

Gautam Mukunda discusses why and how he teaches a case study about Cynthia Carroll, the first woman and non-South African to serve as chief executive of mining giant Anglo American. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Should Men’s Products Fear a Woman’s Touch?

Recent research shows that loyal customers often get upset when a brand associated with men expands to include products perceived as feminine. Senior Lecturer Jill J. Avery discusses the problem of "gender contamination." Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

A Company’s Evolving View of Gender Equity

Looking at the evolution of gender in US society over nearly 20 years, a new study by Lakshmi Ramarajan, Kathleen L. McGinn, and Deborah Kolb traces how one prominent professional-service firm internalized the shifting concerns. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Conference Challenges Gender Conventions

A recent conference at Harvard Business School addressed the on-the-ground reality of women leaders 50 years after the first women were admitted to the two-year MBA Program at Harvard. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Women’s Summit Celebrates ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit’

Some 800 alumnae returned to Harvard Business School for the W50 Summit, two days of reflection, celebration, and brainstorming on women's experiences at HBS and beyond. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Will Women Leaders Influence the Way We Work?

Summing Up: Readers are split on Jim Heskett's question about whether men and women manage differently. Closed for comment; 28 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Women MBAs at Harvard Business School

Professor Boris Groysberg discusses his new case, "Women MBAs at Harvard Business School: 1962-2012," which delves into the experiences of the School's alumnae over the past 50 years. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

HBS Research Focuses on Gender Issues and Fixes

As Harvard Business School commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first women admitted to the school's two-year MBA program, a wealth of new research is emerging from HBS on gender issues in the workplace. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Few Women on Boards: Is There a Fix?

Women hold only 14 percent of the board seats at S&P 1500 companies. Why is that, and what—if anything—should business leaders and policymakers do about the gender disparity? Research by Professor Boris Groysberg and colleagues shows that male and female board members have very different takes on the issue. Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

An Outside-Inside Evolution in Gender and Professional Work

How do organizations adapt to social transformation? In the US, one of the most visible changes in employment since the 1980s—the growing representation of highly educated women—has challenged widely held understandings about gender and professional work. Although much is known about social institutions and social issues at the institutional and organizational levels, researchers still know very little about how individual organizations experience and internalize gradual shifts in deeply held social understandings. To bridge the gap, this study analyzes nearly 20 years of data to explore the adaptation of one professional service firm to an increase in women in the professional workforce and the shifting discourse around gender and work. Findings show that the firm internalized shifts in the social institution of gender through iterated cycles of analysis and action, integrating external pressures from the changing social institution of gender into its beliefs, structure, policies, programs, and practices. Overall, the study reveals how the interplay between activities and beliefs directs the pace and course of organizational change over time. Read More

Looking Up and Looking Out: Career Mobility Effects of Demographic Similarity among Professionals

While women and racial minorities have increasingly crossed the threshold into professional service organizations, the path to the top remains elusive. Why do inequalities persist? McGinn and Milkman study processes of cohesion, competition, and comparison by looking at career mobility in a single up-or-out professional service organization. Findings show that higher proportions of same-sex and same-race superiors enhanced the career mobility of junior professionals. On the flip side, however, higher proportions of same-sex or same-race peers increased the likelihood of women's and men's exit and generally decreased their chances of promotion. This research highlights how important it is to look at both cooperative and competitive effects of demographic similarity when trying to address the problem of persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities at the highest levels in organizations. Read More

Better by the Bunch: Evaluating Job Candidates in Groups

The key to avoiding gender stereotyping in the hiring process lies in evaluating job candidates as a group, rather than one at a time. So says new research by Iris Bohnet, Alexandra van Geen, and Max H. Bazerman. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation

Gender-based discrimination in hiring, promotion, and job assignments is difficult to overcome. This paper suggests a new intervention aimed at avoiding biased assessments: an "evaluation nudge," in which employees are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. While joint evaluation is common for most hiring decisions, especially at the lower levels, it is rarely used when job assignments and promotions are being considered. The research shows that a joint-evaluation mode succeeds in helping employers choose based on past performance, irrespective of an employee's gender and the implicit stereotypes the employer may hold. While it is not always feasible to bundle promotion decisions and explicitly compare candidates, the research suggests that, whenever possible, joint evaluation would increase both efficiency and equality. Findings have implications for organizations that want to decrease the likelihood that hiring, promotion, and job-assignment decisions will be based on irrelevant criteria triggered by stereotypes. Read More

Leadership Program for Women Targets Subtle Promotion Biases

Despite more women in the corporate work force, they still are underrepresented in executive officer positions. Professor Robin Ely and colleagues propose a new way to think about developing women for leadership. Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Gender and Competition: What Companies Need to Know

Do women shy away from competition and thus hurt their careers? New research by Harvard's Kathleen L. McGinn, Iris Bohnet, and Pinar Fletcher suggests the answer is not black and white, and that employers need to understand the "genderness" of their work. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How ‘Political Voice’ Empowers the Powerless

Women in India often are targets of verbal abuse, discrimination, and violent crimes—crimes that are underreported. Fortunately, an increase in female political representation seems to be giving female crime victims a voice in the criminal justice system, according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Lakshmi Iyer and colleagues. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Taking the Fear out of Diversity Policies

Workplace policies regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation often are borne of studies that focus on the problem of discrimination—rather than on the benefits of a diverse workforce. HBS professors Lakshmi Ramarajan and David Thomas argue that focusing on the benefits of a diverse organization will lead to workplace policies that embrace diversity, instead of grudgingly accepting it or dancing around it. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

It Pays to Hire Women in Countries That Won’t

South Korean companies don't hire many women, no matter how qualified. So multinationals are moving in to take advantage of this rich hiring opportunity, according to new research by professor Jordan Siegel. Read More

From Bench to Board: Gender Differences in University Scientists’ Participation in Commercial Science

Does gender affect whether a university scientist will be invited to work with for-profit companies? Indeed it does. A new paper finds that male professors receive more opportunities than their female counterparts to join scientific advisory boards and start new companies. Research, focusing on the biotechnology field, was conducted by Haas School of Business professor Waverly W. Ding, MIT Sloan professor Fiona Murray, and HBS professor Toby E. Stuart. Read More

Multinational Firms, Labor Market Discrimination, and the Capture of Competitive Advantage by Exploiting the Social Divide

Women and ethnic minorities are frequently discriminated against in the labor markets of both developed and emerging economies, particularly in opportunities for management positions. Multinationals entering such markets must decide whether to aggressively hire and promote the excluded group, thus reaping the benefits of their underutilized talent, or conform to local practice and avoid provoking some bigoted policymakers, executives, purchasers, and/or supply agents. In this paper, HBS professor Jordan Siegel, Lynn Pyun, and B.Y. Cheon find that multinationals gain significant competitive opportunities by scanning the host-market social landscape, identifying social schisms in the labor market, and exploiting such schisms by actively hiring and promoting members of the excluded group to positions of management responsibility. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Successful Negotiation

Can you out-negotiate Wal-Mart? Can women overcome gender stereotypes to win equitable pay? Recent research from Harvard Business School looks at important factors to consider before sitting down at the bargaining table. Read More

Will I Stay or Will I Go? Cooperative and Competitive Effects of Workgroup Sex and Race Composition on Turnover

Inequalities in the senior ranks by sex and race remain rampant in up-or-out knowledge organizations such as consulting firms, law firms, and universities. HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and Wharton School professor Katherine L. Milkman focus on patterns of voluntary and involuntary turnover over six years in one such organization to untangle the multiple ways in which social identity influences career mobility. Predicting that higher proportions of demographically similar supervisors will reduce the likelihood of subordinate turnover, while higher proportions of demographically similar peers will increase the likelihood of turnover, the researchers find evidence of the hypothesized effects. They suggest that integrating research about social cohesion and social comparison enhances understanding of racial and gender inequality within organizations and facilitates organizations' ability to reduce that inequality. Read More

Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines

Does access to personal savings increase female decision-making power in the household? The answer could be important for policymakers looking to increase female empowerment. HBS professor Nava Ashraf and colleagues developed a commitment savings product called a SEED (Save, Earn, Enjoy Deposits) account with a small, rural bank in the Philippines. The SEED account requires that clients commit not to withdraw funds that are in the account until they reach a goal date or amount, but it does not explicitly commit the client to continue depositing funds after opening the account. This working paper examines the impact of the commitment savings product on both self-reported decision-making processes within the household and the subsequent household allocation of resources. Read More

Beyond Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiations

How does gender affect negotiations within organizations or rather how do organizations affect gender relations? Deborah Kolb, a professor at Simmons College School of Management, and HBS professor Kathleen McGinn explore how definitions of work, specified roles in organizations, status hierarchies, and the politics and practices of organizational realities affect how gender plays out in organizations. Considering gender in organizations from a "negotiated order perspective"—that is, from the perspective that cultural patterns and work practices are the result of past interaction and negotiation—not only expands the range of issues that are potentially negotiable, it also turns attention to rethinking certain dimensions of the negotiation process itself. Read More

Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game

The traditional division of labor between the sexes—women managing the private realm and men the public—continues to have an indirect influence on job negotiation outcomes through links between private realm and public realm negotiations. Women's negotiations at work are often constrained by agreements in negotiations at home. There still remains a significant "unexplained" difference in male and female compensation that, according to research in the past several years, cannot be accounted for by gender differences in work commitment, education, and experience, or other considerations such as unionization. The literature on gender in negotiation may offer insights with regard to how negotiation contributes to or could help diminish gender differences in compensation. Bowles and McGinn review two bodies of literature on gender in negotiation—one from psychology and organizational behavior on candidate-employer negotiations, and another from economics and sociology on household bargaining over chores and child care. Read More

HBS Cases: Beauty Entrepreneur Madam Walker

She may have been the first self-made African American millionaire. Born of emancipated slaves, Madam C.J. Walker traveled from the cotton fields to business fame as a purveyor of hair-care products that offered beauty and dignity. Harvard Business School's Nancy F. Koehn and Katherine Miller explain what motivated her triumph. Read More

Women Find New Path to Work

Professor Myra Hart's New Path program helps Harvard Business School alumnae re-enter the work world. Here is a look at what participants learned about life, work, and the quickly changing world of business. Read More

When Gender Changes the Negotiation

Gender is not a good predictor of negotiation performance, but ambiguous situations can trigger different behaviors by men and women. Here is how to neutralize the differences and reduce inequities. From Negotiation. Read More

Cash and the Woman-Owned Business

Female entrepreneurs often lack start-up cash. This excerpt from the book Clearing the Hurdles, co-authored by HBS professor Myra M. Hart, explains what women can do about it. Read More

Women Leaders and Organizational Change

Merely expanding the number of women in leadership roles does not automatically induce organizational change. Harvard professor Robin Ely and Debra Meyerson call for fundamental changes to transform organizations. Read More

Negotiating Challenges for Women Leaders

When negotiating compensation, women often sell themselves short. Some practical advice on claiming the power to lead in this interview with HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and Harvard's Hannah Riley Bowles. Read More

Enterprising Women—a History

In conjunction with the major exhibit "Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business," the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study recently presented a two-day program entitled Women, Money and Power. Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn participated in the conference's opening panel—an informal discussion and reflection on the exhibit and its major themes. Read More