Gender discrimination refers to differential treatment to a person due to their sex. In workplaces, both men and women can experience gender discrimination. However, in most cases, women have a higher probability of experiencing discrimination due to their gender. In workplaces, the most common discrimination occurs mostly on hiring and promotions, pay, job classification and benefits. Despite some excellent credentials and experience, some people may not promote or even hired due to their gender. In some organization, people of a certain gender receive less pay and benefits compared to their counterparts who are doing the same job. The structure of a business organization plays a vital role in encouraging or discouraging gender discrimination. This essay analyzes a business organizational structure contributes to gender discrimination in the workplace.
Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) attribute gender discrimination in the workplace to the policies of the human resource departments. The human resource (HR) department is the part of an organization whose purpose is managing the employees and ensuring that they meet the organizational goals. Its roles include recruitment, evaluating performance, succession, and training. These policies and their enactment result from the biased decisions made by the organizational policymakers. In this case, the policymakers are the business leaders. Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) aim to establish links between organization structure and gender discrimination utilizing the decisions of the organizational leaders.
According to Stamarski and Son Hing (2015), the people suffering from gender discrimination in American business organizations are women. Sexism in business is propagated by leaders who have the ability to influence the human resource policies. Discriminatory policies include policies that are biased towards people regardless of their job-experience, skills, and performances. Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) refer to these policies as institutional discrimination. This discrimination can occur to women at any stage of the HR-process including recruitment, selection, role allocation, pay, promotions and even termination. In these cases, institutional discrimination gives preferential treatment to men in all these activities. Discrimination during training and promotions will hinder the probability of women to develop up the career ladder.
Business leadership is to blame for the discrimination at the workplace. Some decision makers usually determine the potential, deservedness, and qualifications of an individual before recruiting, promoting or even determining pay. Unlike men, women experience personal discrimination while undergoing these HR processes due to the bias of the business leaders (Stamarski & Son Hing, 2015). In jobs stereotyped as mens, this discrimination is higher and women are evaluated negatively compared to men. In these jobs, men are considered more competent and are likely to be hired when compared to women. This discrimination is not based on any qualifications or skills. It is influenced by the decisions made by the business policy. Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) also blames the business leaders for personal discrimination they refer to as harassment. The leaders are blamed for being the perpetrators of harassment or creating a business environment that tolerates harassment.
Gender discrimination can also be attributed to other social factors such as business climate or culture (Stamarski & Son Hing, 2015). They believe that culture may shape the business leaders but the leaders have the ability to change the business culture through business policies to eradicate gender discrimination.
Gelfand et al. (2007) systematically analyze the gender discrimination in organizations. They believe that gender discrimination is a very serious problem affecting business organizations and need to be tacked quickly to prevent organizations from lawsuits by angry employees. Various aspects of the business may increase or attenuate gender discrimination in businesses. These include culture, leadership, HR, and the organizational climate. Gelfand et al (2007) believe that organizational culture and the business climate are the most important factors contributing to sexual discrimination in the workplace.
The traditional approach of hiring involves selection of recruiting and promotion of employees who have been associated with the job for a long time. To eradicate the discrimination, organizations hire employees who have not traditionally associated with the industry such as women. According to Gelfand et al. (2007), organization culture can be referred to as the personality of an organization which is defined by the shared beliefs, common understandings and is manifested by actual behavior patterns and expectations which, in most cases, are taken for granted.
Organization culture determines what type of employees fit an organization and those who are valued. Business leaders tend to award employees who best fit in the organization and those who are consistent with the stereotypes of a business (Gelfand et al., 2007). In most cases, this business culture is usually discriminatory towards women. Practices such as scheduling very long working hours, scheduling meetings in the evening, using derogatory language against women, and negative attitude towards diversity programs can be attributed to the organization culture.
The extent to which the members of an institution agree to the culture of the institution affects the level of discrimination in an organization (Gelfand et al., 2007). This extent is referred to as the culture strength. In strong cultures, members are expected to behave strictly according to strongly-agreed behaviors and sanctions are imposed for any deviation from the set standards. In strong cultures, (Gelfand et al., 2007) believe that non-traditional employees are discriminated as their diverse approach are usually devalued. However, weak cultural values enable employees to demonstrate a diverse range of behaviors which may not conform to the organizational cultures.
Gelfand et al. (2007) also blame the organization climate for gender discrimination in the workplace. They describe the climate as the manifestation of the culture which reflects the shared perceptions on the shared policies, procedures, and practices as well as the kind of behaviors rewarded by a business organization. Gelfand et al. (2007) believe that in a business where the climate is not diverse, discrimination of minorities such as women and racial minorities. In a business climate which is not diverse, employees with similar job perceptions are likely to report different levels of job satisfaction.
In both articles, the authors agree that gender discrimination is rife in the workplace and that women are the biggest victims of the discrimination. Their biggest disagreement is the key cause of the discrimination. Stamarski and Son Hing (2015) agree that the key cause of the gender discrimination is the business leadership. They blame the leaders in an organization for making or tolerating policies that demean the role played by women in the organization. Gelfand et al. (2007) believe that business climate and culture influence the policies of a business and they affect the roles played by the diversity of the employees leading to intolerance to untraditional employees. One careful analysis, it is important to note that both the leadership and business culture contributes immensely to gender discrimination. To combat the discrimination, changes in business leadership and culture will be needed.
Gelfand, M. J., Nishii, L. H., Raver, J. L. & Schneider, B. (2007). Discrimination in organizations: An organizational-level systems perspective (CAHRS Working Paper #07-08). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cahrswp/470Stamarski, C. and Son Hing, L. (2015). Gender inequalities in the workplace: the effects of organizational structures, processes, practices, and decision makers sexism. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.
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