Women and Public Policy Program Seminar Series
Are Two Heads Always Better Than One? Stereotyping of Minority Duos in Work Groups with Denise Lewin Loyd

Are Two Heads Always Better Than One? Stereotyping of Minority Duos in Work Groups with Denise Lewin Loyd

September 25, 2014

Is two better than one (or three)? In this seminar, Loyd explores the dynamics of groups with minority duos (such as two women in a group of men). Though many believe that it is worse to be the “only one” in a group, this work finds that men evaluate women more stereotypically when they are in a duo than when there are one or three in a group. In fact, women in duos are rated as contributing less leadership and having fewer skills. In three experimental studies, Loyd looks at how being part of a minority duo can present significant challenges for women.

The Work-Family Narrative as a Social Defense: Explaining the Persistence of Gender Inequality in Organizations with Robin Ely

The Work-Family Narrative as a Social Defense: Explaining the Persistence of Gender Inequality in Organizations with Robin Ely

September 15, 2014

Why has women’s professional advancement stalled? A widely accepted explanation is that women’s family obligations conflict with long hours of jobs, hampering their advancement into senior organizational positions. The commonly championed solution has been policies offering flexible work arrangements designed to mitigate such conflict. Yet research shows that men, too, experience work-family conflict. Moreover, work-family policies do little to help women or men’s workplace advancement, and in fact, often hurt them. In this presentation, Ely draws from her in depth case study of a global professional service firm to ask why the belief that work-family conflict lies at the heart of women’s stalled advancement persists. She explores how this popular narrative self-perpetuates despite evidence to the contrary, and how organizations use this narrative as an explanation for women's blocked mobility partly because it diverts attention from the broader problem of a long-hours work culture among professionals. Speaker: Robin Ely, Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean, Harvard Business School

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

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

Gender and Group Decision-Making: Eliciting and Acting Upon Expertise with Katie Coffman

Gender and Group Decision-Making: Eliciting and Acting Upon Expertise with Katie Coffman

August 21, 2014

From faculty meetings and student projects to corporate boards and consulting firms, many decisions are made by groups rather than by individuals. In these settings, individuals may bring differing levels of knowledge and expertise to the table; therefore, the performance of the group depends heavily upon eliciting and acting upon the best information from the most informed individuals. Understanding how individuals make the decision of when toe volunteer information to the group is an important first step toward evaluating the efficiency of different group decision-making procedures. Speaker: Katie Coffman, Assistant Professor of Economics, Ohio State University

Progress on Gender Diversity for Corporate Boards: Are We Running in Place? with Cathy Tinsley

Progress on Gender Diversity for Corporate Boards: Are We Running in Place? with Cathy Tinsley

August 21, 2014

Despite rhetoric supporting the advancement of women on corporate boards, the evidence of any progress in the last decade is meager (outside countries with mandated gender quotas). Archival board data (approximately 5000 U.S. publicly traded firms) from the past decade (2002-2011) shows that the biggest predictor of whether or not a female is appointed to a corporate board is if a woman just left that board. If a man leaves a board there is a corresponding negative effect (though magnitude of this effect is lower). This “gender matching heuristic” was replicated in follow up lab studies, which also showed that although respondents are selecting candidates based on gender matching, they deny using gender as an important factor. We suggest this gender matching is a subconscious heuristic process stemming from the more general status-quo bias. Speaker: Cathy Tinsley, Professor of Management, Georgetown University

Diversity on a Deadline: How we created everyone’s 2012 with Stephen Frost

Diversity on a Deadline: How we created everyone’s 2012 with Stephen Frost

August 21, 2014

The Olympic and Paralympic Games represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve paradigm change in policymaking.  As Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London Organizing Committee 2007-2012, Stephen worked with the CEO, HR Director and other directors and colleagues to achieve systemic change in recruitment, procurement and customer service delivery mechanisms.  Using a range of incentives, London managed to achieve unprecedented diversity in the workforce through demand and supply interventions in recruitment, as well as significant strides in supplier diversity through an assertive procurement program.  Stephen will talk through some of the methods they used to achieve this result, hailed by the International Paralympic Committee as the “Best Games ever”. Speaker: Stephen Frost, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, London Olympics Committee

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