When I was younger I worked at an ice skating rink and I believe there was a diversity issue there. The diversity issue at this organization was noticeable and it pertained to the women not getting as many promotion opportunities as the men that worked there. Many times throughout working for this organization I, and others, had noticed that whenever the managers needed someone to fill in and do a job out of their job scope, men were always picked, even if they didn’t have as much experience as some of the men.
The rink I worked at was very, so there were a lot of workers. There were 5 team managers that would each manage 3-5 workers, we’ll call them runners to make more of a distinction. While the runners were fairly even with the amount of males and females, the managers were all males. Whenever a manager was out, a runner would be called up to fill in that manager position for the day. I don’t remember one time where one of the female runners was ever called up and there are many reasons that this diversity issue occurred.
The first reason the females were not asked to step up into a higher position could be because of the organizational barriers. Particularly, preference for gender similarity in promotion decisions. This occurs when people prefer to work with others similar to them (PSU WC, L13, 2019). At my organization, it seemed as though the male managers would only call up male runners because they would prefer to work alongside another male rather than a female. This represents in-group favoritism because the male group of managers gave preferential treatment to the runner male group (PSU WC, L13, 2019). Another organizational barrier that may have had an effect on the diversity issues at my organization could be ignorance by male leaders which lead to a lack of developmental opportunities for the females. This problem occurs when leaders give less challenging tasks to the females to help them advance in the organization. This inadvertently leads to women achieving less (PSU WC, L13, 2019). At the rink, the managers often gave us male runners more difficult tasks and the gave the females easier ones. I think they did this so it could look like the females were performing well because they would be successfully completing every task, instead of being challenged with harder tasks. This definitely back fired for the females because when those manager positions opened up when a manager was out, the males always seemed more capable of more difficult tasks.
Another reason for the diversity issue at my organization was interpersonal barriers. Gender prejudice is one interpersonal barrier that caused the issue. Gender prejudice is when many people believe that a good manager is masculine (PSU WC, L13, 2019). This obviously was someone that caused the diversity because the managers seemed to not think the women wouldn’t be good fill-in managers because they weren’t masculine enough. This is clearly a gender stereotype, which can lead to biased decisions (Northouse, 2016). Another interpersonal barrier that led to the females being passed over was a lack of male mentors. Research shows that having a male mentor usually leads to more success (PSU WC, L13, 2019). At my organization, the females did not have male mentors because during work or downtime, the males always hung out together and excluded the females. This led to the women being in the out-group and not having as much job talk and a relationship with the managers.
A third reason there was diversity issues at this organization was because of the hiring process. When pulling up a runner for a day, the decisions were always made on a whim. The managers could just pick whoever they wanted because the highest up manager/owner did not care how the managers ran the rink, as long as it ran efficiently. This process was unstructured which made it easier for the manager to make biased decisions, especially since there was no repercussion when those biases occurred (Northouse, 2016).
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2019). Lesson 13: leadership and diversity. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008237/modules/items/27074769