BCC is an example of an organization that is discriminative in its policies. Many organizations in the globe are embracing the non-discrimination agenda, at least at face value. They no longer pay women less than they do to men for the same jobs, or blatantly deny women promotions, awarding them instead to less qualified males.
Nowadays, gender discrimination at the workplace has taken a completely new approach. BCC’s policy of not promoting administration staff to leadership positions and not screening candidates who majored in liberal arts is just an example of how some modern organizations practice discrimination within their ranks.
In BCC’s case, the problem is obvious; women are not viewed as ‘leadership material’, or even ‘technically capable’. These come in as stereotypes that have been attached to women since time immemorial and ones, which continue to linger in our societies. For this reason, they influence the way workplace norms are formulated, which is often in a masculine culture. The root of the problem in BCC’s instance is bigger than meets the eye.
BCC harbors very traditional views on the role of women, as most of the seasoned employees and leaders agree, and this current change is just in reaction to a lawsuit, not an inherent need to correct a history of wrong practices. Consequently, the law officers will be appeased by the superficial measures put up by the organization to avoid sanctions, but the women leaders and technical employees will never be fully accepted while the leaders have such a chauvinistic mindset.
The cause of the problem
It is not the leaders’ or the seasoned employees’ fault that they do not believe women should assume leadership roles. In fact, the organization’s ‘founding fathers’ are to blame. They created the foundation of the organization on a masculine stereotype of male superiority, and this has been passed down through generations. Moreover, the society fortifies these stereotypes by expressing the qualities a leader should posses to be of an ‘agentic’ nature.
That is assertive, strict, aggressive, and decisive. Women on the other hand are presumed to have ‘communal’ natures: empathetic, emotional, nice, and compassionate. According to society, such traits can never yield results for a company, especially now that competition is at its peak. Therefore, because of the regulatory pressures exerted on them, BCC is the case in point; firms fit women into the masculine fabric of the organization in a bid to appear as if they have a status quo.
The company’s practices are still masculine specific, the expectations of performance, the way of doing things, and all the fundamentals favor men because they were put in place with men in mind. Consequently, incorporating women without changing these fundamental natures of an organization’s culture is not going to yield permanent results. Instead, the next problem BCC will be warding off will be that of unsatisfied female executives.
How the problem should be solved
First, it is important to note that BCC is indeed in the wrong. Its policies are disparately discriminative and so we will be found liable for discrimination.
At this point, our best options lie with correcting the oppressive policies and massaging the egos of the women group that is suing the corporation. This will involve doing whatever it takes, including promoting long-serving women to managerial positions, as soon as possible, so that a perusal of the organization’s promotion strategy by the court will indicate corrective measures seeking to end discrimination.
In the end, new policies that are promotion-friendly for women will have to be adopted; these include creation and support of mentoring relationships, installation of an Integrated Career Management and Assessment System, and following of the consequent court orders, which may include the implementation of a Quota-system during hiring.
With this goal of righting past wrongs in mind, my first course of action would be to integrate the hiring of Liberal Arts graduates into the recruitment criteria, while so doing preference will be given to female applicants when qualifications are parallel across the board.
While at it, I will encourage longer screening sessions for these female interviewees because research has proved that male interviewers take longer to bond with female interviewees than with their male counterparts. Therefore, for a fair assessment of their profitability, I will either accord them more time if the interviewee is male or appoint female interviewers to handle this project.
This will be followed by consequent integration of the trainees into the management-training course. I will also consider seasoned female employees who qualify for this training course and present them with the opportunity to participate in it for advancement in their respective career paths.
While on this errand, I will be sure to address the causes of previous discriminatory actions against women instead of just treating the symptoms. That means, I will include the three most common approaches most firms use to flatten the playing field for both men, and women, but in addition to this, I will also engage the research team on studies into how to do so effectively.
The three approaches include assimilation-where women are taught how to adopt male attributes that do not come naturally to them. Male colleagues teach them tricks of the game. However, the shortcoming of this approach is in the exclusion of informal avenues, which are the real sources of information, resources and tips of how to succeed, yet few women can access these.
Secondly, I will use accommodation, where women are taken in with all their qualities, unique needs and situations. This will involve allocation of special policies and benefits such as addition of tenure time, and new career tracks specially defined to accommodate maternity leave. Finally, I will encourage the organization to maximize on the qualities women bring with them. They can be used to market our products to the female public. They are also good at manipulation and so can be used at negotiations.
With these ideas in mind, I will counter the problem of policy limitations, which hinder clerical staff from attaining managerial status. Whereas it may not be practical to promote senior secretaries to technical managerial positions, it would be much easier to create managerial positions with the equivalent pay as a similar job in other departments.
That would cater for the seasoned clerical staff that may not be in a position to learn further and advance in the normal way into the technical department. However, I will also simultaneously break the boundaries that prevent advancement of clerical staff into operational, maintenance and technical areas. This type of change necessitates a more advanced training department that can equip “on the job” employees with the relevant skills necessary for complex roles within the organization.
Although at first this may appear burdensome, in the end it will prove profitable to the organization because the talent will be in-built and loyal. In the same vein, the requirements for in-house employees’ advancement within the organization will be cut down. For instance, instead of a BA Degree, I will suggest that a diploma gained after several training quarters should suffice, the ten years of experience can also be done away with, and instead a probation period while on the job introduced, with a maximum of 6 months.
It is important to note that these changes would only apply to BCC employees seeking advancement from within the corporation, and even them I would limit by requiring that they be employed for at least one and a half years before seeking such promotion. Within the training department itself, I will introduce mentorship relationships. These are collaborated liaisons between upcoming employees and those in senior management (Baker 400).
Leadership in solving the problem
I will require the backing of the CEO on this. I will also require the help of managers, and departmental heads in the adoption of our new policies. However, the most cooperation will be expected of the Human Resource Department, the Public Relations Department, and their heads.
The conservative nature of BCC may prove difficult at first in the adoption of such a policy because it most current managers are male, while the upcoming employees are female. However, research has proved that even so, these relationships can work if certain measures are taken including: communication of the relationships and their effectiveness to all the staff, and regular monitoring, and assessment of these relationships.
In addition to mentoring relationships, I will prepare training that will teach the senior management the importance of applying personnel policies equally to all employees, providing candid appraisals of performance to all employees, assuming that all employees desire to be promoted, effecting equal training and counseling opportunities to all employees (Baker 404). This should help tackle the issue of preventing unmarried employees from travelling together.
Finally, there is need for an open-door-policy, which will serve to open up communication policies between employees and the management. Consequently, similar legal crises shall not arise in future because of the existence of a cordial relationship whereby employees address their issues to the management first. There is always the possibility that my colleagues in senior management who have a problem with women holding managerial position could oppose this idea of promoting female employees.
In that case, I see no alternative but to make quotas effective during hiring, which the law will do anyway if BCC does not correct its mistakes. Quotas mean that before hiring new staff, the organization will examine its current staffing, then draw an assessment of the number of female employees that would currently be part of that staff had it observed the demands of affirmative action from the word go. It will then hire to attain this figure of balance.
Knowledge that the problem has been fixed
I do not expect a ‘quick fix’. Change of such magnitude must take some time before it stops being mechanical and starts being genuinely part of an organization’s culture. However, some of the short-term signs that the problem is solved include better productivity of both male and female employees, healthy competition, reduced lawsuits and negative publicity.
Low turnover rates, more applications by women for positions in the organization, public recognition of neutrality of the organization, loyalty among staff to the organization, and a happy working environment for all among others come in as other signs.
My perspective on this matter is that, it is the high time for the BCC to tow the line over discriminative policies. The affirmative action has been in pace for over five decades now yet the seasoned personnel are still holding on to their conservative and chauvinistic values. Although it was not the ideal trigger, this lawsuit is a wake-up-call for BCC and any other organization that still discriminates against women or other minorities, whether disparately or facially.
Baker, McKenzie. Worldwide Guide to Termination, Employment Discrimination, and
Workplace Harrassment Laws. Oxford: Oxford Up, 2009.