In the IT company under consideration, a big ethical issue occurred – HR managers, as well as project managers, started to apply gender-biased approach in hiring new employees on the positions of code developers. This is observed continuously during a couple of months after one of the new female employees made a serious error in the code of a developed and published web page, which led to extreme dissatisfaction of the client and the threat of legal action on his part. Intra-corporate detailed investigation of the problem also revealed a glass ceiling for women in the company and the fact that it existed long before the above-mentioned employee’s error.
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The hi-tech industry is associated in the public consciousness not only with technical but also social progress, with that part of human activity that is alien to racial, gender, and social prejudices. Against this background, the statistics and research results are surprising which demonstrate considerable problems of the IT industry in everything related to gender equality (Pot’Vin-Gorman, 2019). The company under consideration represents an evident example of such phenomena. Among programmers and developers, women also face an uncomfortable work environment or latent subcultural discrimination, the so-called “bro-grammer culture” (Pot’Vin-Gorman, 2019). This new term means entry barrier for women in IT, evidence and manifestation of poorly concealed sexism.
This issue cannot be ignored as it not only threatens with regulators’ sanctions and lawsuits from potential female candidates but also negatively affects corporate culture, organizational climate, and, consequently, organizational behavior and performance in the long-term prospect. It is especially important taking into account that the company works based on the Agile approach and processes. Any biases and discriminatory practices in Agile companies are able to destroy all the benefits obtained from Agile culture.
Meanwhile, the equality of all employees, regardless of gender and nationality, spurs the development of a culture of innovation in the company. The experience of using the Agile approach confirms that companies that manage to use internal motivation of employees improve their business performance. Working in self-organized cross-functional teams creates an environment conducive to increased employee engagement and development (Swingler, 2017). Shared goals, challenges, cross-functional interactions, commitment and initiative are fertile ground for professional growth. The workflow is also becoming a learning process. All of the above is impossible in the presence of discriminatory practices, including latent ones, since this has the most negative impact on motivation in Agile teams.
Of course, it is impossible to change the deep beliefs and perceptions of employees in the company at once. However, a smooth approach can change the attitude of employees towards equal rights for women in career development. In successful startups that were supported by venture capital, the average proportion of women in leadership was higher (7%) than in unsuccessful ones (3%) (Guerra, 2018). The closer the structure of the team by gender and race to the population as a whole, the higher the results (Guerra, 2018). A diverse team has different perspectives, unique skills, and various ways of solving problems. It seems necessary to introduce quotas regarding the share of women developers, while simultaneously conducting a series of trainings on teamwork with a special emphasis on the benefits of organizational diversity for the company as a whole and for every employee performance. Moreover, talent management system should be revised with more emphasis on programs for women.
Guerra, A. (2018). Organizational transformation and managing innovation in the fourth industrial revolution. IGI Global.
Pot’Vin-Gorman, K. (2019). Crushing the IT gender bias: Thriving as a woman in technology. Apress.
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Swingler, K. (2017). Agile human resources: Creating a sustainable future for the HR profession. Business Expert Press.