In 2017, I read about the toxic workplace culture of Uber. Stories of sexual harassment and aggressive leadership style of the company were all over the major media outlets. Personally, I really enjoy using Uber ever since I discovered it. Because every driver is rated by his or her customers, the service quality is much better compared to regular yellow and green cab services in the city. The pricing is much cheaper too. With all the benefits of Uber, after reading about this scandal, I started trying out other apps, such as Juno or Lift. After using them, I went back to using Uber because the app is just so much less glitchy than other apps. But every time I use it, I feel guilty for supporting a company which is essentially built by a jerk and run by a group of jerks.
After reading this article, I could not help but wonder, if the bro-ish toxic culture of Uber and a lot of other corporations with bad workplace culture is caused by too much testosterone in the management? So I did some research and unsurprisingly, most corporations nowadays are run by men. According to Center for American Progress, while women earn 60 percent of college degrees and master’s degrees, only 6% of the CEOs are women. When there is a lack of female voices in the leadership, no surprise that companies like Uber are being run like a frat house.
According to market research firm Gallup, women are better managers because they are better at engaging employees and encouraging employees to explore their potentials. Also, a Harvard Business Review survey shows that women demonstrate more effective leadership. So is hiring more women to the leadership position the answer to better workplace culture and leadership? I believe the answer is yes. I believe balanced power dynamics can’t be achieved without gender balance in the workplace.
I really enjoyed listening to the podcast of Professor Sutton talking about the No Asshole Rule in the workplace. In a New York Magazine article published in 2017, Professor Sutton stated that 2017 is a year of assholes, with news about certified assholes such as Uber, Martin Shkreli, Fox News, Steve Bannon rising to the public’s attention. He also said that unfortunately nasty behaviors spread more quickly than nice behaviors in the workplace. With all the wife beaters and pussy grabbers in the current administration, we should be cautious about the trickle down effect of asshole culture into the workplaces all over the United States.
- Isaac, M. (2017, February 22). Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/technology/uber-workplace-culture.html
- Corley, J. W. (n.d.). The Women’s Leadership Gap. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2017/05/21/432758/womens-leadership-gap/
- Smith, J. (2015, April 03). Study finds women are better bosses than men – here’s why. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-women-are-better-managers-than-men-2015-4
- Folkman, J. Z. (2014, July 23). Are Women Better Leaders than Men? Retrieved February 25, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2012/03/a-study-in-leadership-women-do
- Images, D. A. (2017, September 20). This Stanford Professor Has a Theory on Why 2017 Is Filled With Jerks. Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/robert-sutton-asshole-survival-guide.html