A dominant idea in gender-based discussion is that there are masculine and feminine corporate cultures....All this stereotyping rubs me the wrong way. Much as I want women to advance, I hate to think this kind of talk about human beings is the key. Researchers seem to believe it's just fine to stereotype as long as they put negative spin on everything associated with men -- "[h]ierarchies, orders, supplication, obedience, puppy dogs tails" -- and sugar-coat the presentation of the supposedly feminine characteristics -- "communication and collaboration" -- which are perfectly susceptible to restatement as negatives and which have traditionally been used to obstruct the advancement of women.
Two women from the University of East London asserted last summer in a paper, Implementation of Large Scale Software Applications, that a blinkered, hierarchical approach to the implementation of IT systems has also been linked to the failure of IT projects. Hierarchies, orders, supplication, obedience, puppy dogs tails - these are the things little boys are made of, as the authors pointed out.
A good way to sum up IT failures would be a lack of communication and collaboration, and that, if you have any truck with stereotypes, is what little girls are supposed to be made of.
Janice Kinory, who ushers women into SET ... industries, spent 25 years working in the automotive industry and lived through its transition from Fordism to the Kaizen system of manufacturing.
It changed, she says, from a culture in which decisions were determined by "will of the loudest, most macho male in the room" and "overlooked better ideas put forward by less forceful individuals", to a culture in which the careers of women like Ms Kinory improved along with the fortunes of the manufacturers who embraced more collaborative working practices.
A study of organisational politics published last year by Linda Holbeche, a consultant with Roffey Park, found that men were more likely to engage in divisive politics, while women were more constructive.
Yet, Holbeche says men are more able to use politics to their own advantage because they can be more goal driven and competitive - they have no glass ceilings, social stereotyping and fewer difficulties in hierarchical work environments to hamper their ambition....
Improving your bottom line is clearly not as simple as employing more women. Bismuth says he's still trying to remove glass ceilings, but there's a masculine, corporate establishment that is "resistant" to having its workplaces feminised.
ADDED: And just look at the headline:
If you become like them
Notice anything? Oh really? Women improve my performance? If I become like them?
IN THE COMMENTS: An IT guy strikes back:
I've been in IT for a bit over 20 years and I'm scratching my head over this one. Hierarchies and orders are unfortunately common in IT, but supplication and obedience? From what alternate universe IT department did they drag those? Anyone marginally worth their salt in an IT department has more than a bit of a primadonna complex. We don't supplicate to or obey because we don't have to.
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