Detecting and Reducing Discrimination with Ben Waber

June 14, 2017

Discover powerful hidden social "levers" and networks within your company. Then, use that knowledge to make slight "tweaks" that dramatically improve both business performance and employee fulfillment! Drawing on insights from his book, People Analytics, MIT Media Lab innovator Ben Waber shows how sensors and analytics can give you an unprecedented understanding of how your people work and collaborate, and actionable insights for building a more effective, productive, and positive organization.

Ben Waber, President and CEO, Humanyze; Visiting Scientist, MIT Media Lab


Quotas Matter: The Impact of Gender Quota Laws on Work-Family Policies with Ana Catalano Weeks

April 6, 2017

Do gender quotas matter to policy outcomes, or are they just `window dressing'? In this seminar, Ana Catalano Weeks discusses her findings from one of the first studies of the relationship between quota laws and policy outcomes across countries. She argues that after a quota law, we should expect to see change on issues characterized by gender gaps in preferences, especially if they lie off the main left-right (class-based) dimension in politics -- like maternal employment. She finds that implementing a quota law increases public spending on child care (which encourages maternal employment) and decreases spending on family allowances (which tends to discourage it). Evidence from fieldwork in Portugal and Italy suggests that quotas work by increasing women's leverage within parties and raising the overall salience of gender equality issues with the public and male party elites.

Ana Catalano Weeks, WAPPP Fellow; College Fellow, Department of Government, Harvard University  



Inclusive Talent Management: How Business Can Thrive in an Age of Diversity with Stephen Frost

March 30, 2017

Organizations traditionally have had a clear distinction between their policies on diversity and inclusion and their talent management. The main driving force behind diversity and inclusion has been being seen to be a good employer, to be able to make claims in the annual report and to feel as though a positive contribution is being made to society. On the other hand, talent management activities have been driven by a real business need to ensure that the organization has the right people with the right skills in the right place to drive operational success. Steve Frost’s latest book, Inclusive Talent Management,  aligns talent management and diversity and inclusion, offering a fresh perspective on why the current distinction between them needs to disappear.

In this seminar, Steve uses case studies from internationally recognised brands such as Goldman Sachs, Unilever, KPMG, Hitachi, Oxfam and the NHS, to show that to achieve business objectives and gain the competitive advantage, it is imperative that organizations take an inclusive approach to talent management. He puts forward a compelling and innovative case, raising questions not only for the HR community but also to those in senior management positions, providing the practical steps, global examples and models for incorporating diversity and inclusion activities into talent management strategy. 

Stephen Frost, WAPPP AY14 Fellow; Founder and Principal, Frost Included


Climbing the Ladder: Gender and Careers in Public Service with Amy E. Smith

February 16, 2017

While gender equity is a core value in public service, women continue to be underrepresented in the top-level of leadership of public sector organizations. Existing explanations for why more women do not advance to top leadership positions consider factors, such as human and social capital, gender stereotypes and beliefs about effective leadership, familial expectations, and work-life conflict. Such studies, largely based on private-sector organizations, focus on why women do not reach top leadership positions rather than trying to understand how, or why, some women do. In this seminar, Amy Smith discusses findings from a multi-method study examining career histories of women and men who have reached the top-level of leadership in U.S. federal regulatory organizations. Her analysis identifies a typology of career paths for women and men in public service.  Amy finds that while both women and men assert personal and professional qualifications to legitimize their claims to top leadership positions, they do so in different, possibly gendered, ways.

Amy E. Smith, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston


What Works: How to Design Diversity with Iris Bohnet

March 2, 2016

Gender diversity is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and debiasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Behavioral design offers a new solution. Building on her talk in the fall and her new book, WHAT WORKS: Gender Equality By Design, Professor Bohnet will discuss what organizations can do create more inclusive environments, level the playing field and help diverse teams succeed. Speaker: Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy; Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School


Designing Symbolic Awards to Motivate Knowledge Workers in Gender-Typed Fields: Evidence from a Field Experiment at Wikipedia with Jana Gallus

October 29, 2015

Can symbolic awards motivate individuals to contribute their ideas and knowledge to a common project? Jana Gallus presents results from a large-scale natural field experiment at Wikipedia, exploring whether a purely symbolic award scheme can be used to motivate new editors and thus mitigate Wikipedia's editor retention problem. In a new project, she seeks to understand how awards have to be designed in order to enhance their recipients' self-confidence in gender-incongruent fields and encourage high-ability individuals to contribute their ideas. Speaker: Jana Gallus, Postdoctoral Fellow, Behavioral Insights Group, Harvard Kennedy School


What Works: Gender Equality, By Design

September 10, 2015

With gender equality increasingly a business imperative, in addition to being a human right, many leaders across the sectors wonder how we can get there. In the first WAPPP Seminar of 2015-16, Professor Bohnet discusses her forthcoming book "What Works: Gender Equality, By Design" (Harvard University Press 2016). Reviewing the impact of what we have been doing to date, including diversity and leadership trainings, networking, and mentorship/sponsorship programs, Bohnet proposes a new approach to leveling the playing field. Building on insights from Behavioral Economics, she argues that to overcome gender bias in organizations and society, we should focus on de-biasing systems—how we evaluate performance, hire, promote, structure tests, form groups—rather than on trying to de-bias people. Speaker: Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy; Director, Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School


Gender Attitudes and Intra-household Bargaining: Effects on Career-life Outcomes Across the Globe with Kathleen McGinn

August 21, 2014

Gender inequality in workplaces and in homes around the globe reflects individual attitudes and abilities, intra-household bargaining and legal and socio-cultural influences. Research that considers factors across the individual, household and cultural levels simultaneously is essentially nonexistent. This paper explores how gender attitudes are shaped by the national context, how these shape intra-household bargaining, and how women’s and men’s lives at work and at home are altered in the process. Speaker: Kathleen McGinn, Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School


Gender and Moral Decision-Making wtih Jooa Julia Lee

August 21, 2014

Virtually all normative and descriptive models of moral judgment view an agent’s gender as irrelevant to judgments of moral permissibility — whether an action such as sacrificing one life to save five others is carried out by a man or a woman does not qualify its appropriateness. However, we demonstrate that people expect men to be more utilitarian, than women when resolving moral dilemmas. Accordingly, they find utilitarian behavior more appropriate when carried out by male agents. This research suggests that moral judgment is not only evaluative in scope, but also inferential. Individuals view behavior as a signal about character, and because of their prior beliefs about male and female characteristics, they arrive at different judgments when the same behavior is carried out by male and female agents. This paper discusses the organizational implications of the gender bias in moral decision-making.the new economy. Speaker: Jooa Julia Lee, WAPPP Fellow; Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School


Imposed Versus Desired Professional Identities: Embracing, Passing, Revealing and their Consequences with Erin Reid

August 21, 2014

This field study of a strategy consulting firm explores how men and women cope with organizational pressures to construct a professional identity that involves full devotion to work. Reid finds that while some people easily embrace this imposed identity, most experience a conflict between it and the less-devoted professional identities that they desire to construct. She traces how men and women navigate this conflict by aiming to stay true to their desired selves while either (1) passing as adherents to, or (2) overtly revealing their deviance from, the imposed identity. Unpacking the different ways in which people manipulate features of their work, we construct and manage these deviant professional selves. Drawing on performance and interview data, she demonstrates how both those who embrace the imposed identity and those pass as adherents to it are held in high esteem and rewarded by the firm, while those who reveal their deviance are recognized as such and penalized. Speaker: Erin Reid, Assistant Professor, Boston University