Despite the development of modern society in relation to human rights, there are still several serious problems. Thus, women still face obstacles on the way to successful management activities. Such aspects as gender prejudice have a very strong and detrimental effect on women’s career growth in the business industry. The development of an action plan to solve this problem is presented as an important aspect of management. The application of gender diversity policy in the workplace is of particular value. Action within the framework of this policy can improve the operational and financial indicators of the organization.
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Statement and Causes of the Problem
The problem that the manager faces is the issue of integrating female employees into the organization. One of the dominant prejudices about women is their weak ability to compete in comparison with men and lack of initiative. However, Palmer and Bosch (2017) state that “women leaders are associated with positive outcomes for women executives particularly when they are in decision-making positions” (p. 316). Moreover, several factors can be identified as the reasons for this attitude. They can be used as grounds for explaining the minimal presence of women in the management.
The socio-cultural factor is presented as one of the main aspects that prevent women from developing in the field of management and business. By its very nature, society is characterized by a traditional approach to all phenomena. Thus, the values and views of women and men formed under the influence of culture act as barriers. This is because people form them on the basis of their immediate environment and the national mentality. Thus, when coming to work, individuals broadcast the acquired patriarchal relations, which imply a man as the breadwinner of the family. Because of such an association, there is an unwillingness of people to accept female leaders.
In addition, the promotion of women in management is complicated due to structural and behavioural barriers. Moreover, research highlights that women get much lesser recognition for their success than men (Fels, 2004). These may include the refusal of managers to raise, gender discrimination and measures of state support. Another factor is the psychological factor, which also gives an understanding of the lack of a large number of female representatives in management. It implies the absence of certain character traits inherent in the leader.
It is known that diversity in the workplace plays an important role. This applies not only to religious and cultural differences but also to gender differences. Because of this, the manager is faced with a solution that will contribute to the diversity of employees in the organization. Short-term problems of gender discrimination in the workplace can contribute to stressful situations, infringement of self-esteem and a decrease in morale in the workplace. Long-term problems can be the emergence of social tension in the team, turning into labour conflicts.
Diversity theory can be sufficiently helpful in resolving the problem under study. Nkomo et al. (2019) define this notion as “a broad binary construct consisting of visible and invisible or surface-level and deep-level categories of difference” (p. 501). Attracting this aspect to the workplace can be the result of making more effective and productive business decisions. Thus, the higher the level of gender diversity in a company, the higher the probability of achieving impressive financial indicators compared to companies where the male gender prevails.
Decision Criteria and Recommended Alternative Solutions
It is not easy to estimate the time that the process of introducing women among employees in the field of management may take since this is a rather lengthy process. Tangible costs also represent a small item of expenditure since attracting new staff is not a highly expensive operation. The funds can be spent on conducting various educational events and coaching on rallying working personnel to facilitate the introduction of a strict policy.
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The main criteria for applying a strategy should be its effectiveness, relative simplicity, suitability, and compliance with its goals. As a recommended solution to the problem, managers can apply the following actions:
- appointment of a manager responsible for monitoring, training, and disseminating the diversity program.
- defining and approving standards of employee behaviour and attracting specific individuals who will report on the results.
- Training people at all levels on the topic of diversity.
- Implementation of the diversity policy in the recruitment process, performance management, leadership assessment.
- Creating transparency of indicators to measure the progress of the implemented policy, which will include personnel indicators, key performance indicators and remuneration levels.
All these measures satisfy and correspond to the listed criteria. They consume relatively low amount of time to implement, since the execution of these measures can be done right away. The only cost that organisations will have to pay is for specialists who will conduct meetings with employees. Nevertheless, there is one main disadvantage that can arise when introducing such solution. Many workers, especially men, can meet such initiative with resistance. This is due to the formed prejudice towards woman being unable to operate at the same jobs as them.
If there is no possibility of increasing the number of female staff, an alternative plan may be to improve the situation with actual female employees in the field of management. There is no justification that there are no striking differences between genders in terms of management effectiveness. Despite this, in many modern companies, women meet many barriers when achieving the desired managerial position. This is due to social and psychological factors that cause stereotyping and stigmatization concerning the female sex. Developing an effective strategy for introducing diversity into the organization is seen as a helpful move for the organization.
Fels, A. (2004). Do women lack ambition. Harvard Business Review, 82(4).
Nkomo, S. M., Bell, M. P., Roberts, L. M., Joshi, A., & Thatcher, S. M. (2019). Diversity at a critical juncture: New theories for a complex phenomenon. Academy of Management Review, 44(3), 498-517.
Palmer, A. & Bosch, A. (2017). What makes representation of executive women in business happen?. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, 36(4), 306-320.