In 1967, the passage of Title VII of the Civil Right Act also established a federal administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to prohibit discrimination in employment; to hire or fire and compensate workers as well as to monitor employers, compliance with the law. This paper analyses the moral impact of gender inequality at the promotional level of jobs, despising job performance. The effects of this discrimination could either be direct or indirect. In this paper, I also highlights the role of decision making as well as the ethical dilemma involved organizational management.
Most importantly, this paper demonstrates the fact that the law is not a panacea to gender inquality, it only helps in shaping organizational behavior; a greater responsibility depends on the structure of the occupational hierarchy. Based on the above determinant, recommendations will be presented to foster gender equality. One of the significant impacts of globalization is that business organizations operate across cultures. Depending on how management responds to different values and beliefs, cultural diversity may substantially affect an organization’s performance (Blanchard, 1998; Stodder, 1998).
Gender equality is a long established priority for the European Union (EU) and is also integral to its sustainability strategy. While significant progress in advancing gender equality has been made, in particular through the implementation of the policy of gender mainstreaming (GM), there is still a long way to go to achieve equality (Grosser, 2009). One of the major challenges is to stimulate more progress on the part of social partners, and in particular companies (Grosser, 2009).
Many definitions have been submitted for gender equality, however, in this situation gender equality will be defined according to the European Union (EU) as; an equal visibility, empowerment and participation of both sexes in all spheres of public and private life. It is not synonymous with sameness, with establishing men, their life style and conditions as the norm, it means accepting and valuing equally the difference between women and men and the diverse roles they play in society (Council of Europe, 1998:7-8).
Although there are some universal values such as honesty, fairness and not harming others, the concept of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ varies across national boundaries and even countries consisting of different cultures (Schwartz, 2002). I had a female friend who expressed her plight and frustrations to me ever so often. She could not stop expressing disgruntlement when it came to her position (job). She had been working for a company a little over six years, with an excellent work record and recommendations.
Yet she was not promoted to the level of manger. Her anger and frustration compounded because all male employee who were hired after her were promoted after three years of service. To this effect I was interested to research on gender equality in the work place. This paper will present the moral implications of organizations which fail to invoke gender equality for legitimate promotion, examine aspects of promotion, managers’ responses and then finally recommendations to reduce and possibly eliminate this pandemic.
The jobs people do are a key determinants of their earnings, their opportunities for advancement, their work conditions, their access to benefits, the cultural valuation of their work, and a host of other workplace-mediated rewards (Cohen & Huffman, 2003; Glass, 1990; Jacobs & Steinberg, 1990; Kalleberg, Reskin & Hudson, 2000; Maume, 1999; Peterson & Morgan, 1995; Tomaskovic-Devey, 1993). Occupational segregation thus provides a composite measure of equality and opportunity in workplace (Hirsh, 2009).
Against this backdrop, the impact of gender inequality could be analyzed as either direct or indirect. According to Cooter and Ulen (1996); North (1990) neoclassical economic theory assumes that organizations are rational, self-interested actors and will respond to the law in ways that minimize economic costs and maximize benefits. Thus, economic pressures and sanctions is a direct implication if organizations fail to invoke gender equality. Hirsh,(2009) postulates that if behavior such as discrimination is penalized, employers will do less of it and modify the employment practices accordingly.
Hirsh (2009) further posits that legal mandate and enforcement activity create an incentive system for organizations that discourage noncompliance. As Thornton, Gunningham and Kagan (2005) submit; being reported, investigated and punished makes the risk and experience punitive sanctions tangible. This economic perspective suggests that if employers are subject to costly sanctions, they will do less of the sanctioned behavior. Hirsh, (2009) supports that with respect to EECO enforcement, establishments accused of employment discrimination (gender) can incur penalties as a result of charges, investigations and settlements.
If an organization is compliant with the law, there could be monetary payouts with an average of $19,000: and mandated changes (Hirsh, 2009). Another major implication for organizations which fail to invoke gender equality rests on the global economy. Grosser (2009) posits that companies are increasingly addressing the gender equality agenda and including it within their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmers, largely, but not only because there is a shortage of skilled labor and a growth in the participation of women in the workforce.
The right to live free from gender discrimination is enshrined international European law (Grosser, 2009). From the above moral implication, it could be possible that if gender equality is not treated accordingly, there will be an unbalanced labor in the nearest future. For example, the difference in the average gross hourly earnings between women and men has remained at 15%. Women still comprise approximately 30% of managers in European companies, and make up about 80% of the part-time workforce in Europe (Commission of European Communities, 2006).
The above figures clearly demonstrate the devastating effects of gender discrimination. Freeman, Martin and Parmar submit that capitalism and markets have also notoriously increased the divide between the rich and the poor, both within and across nations, and that in the pursuit of innovation, we have been blind to some of the harmful consequences of our actions on others, such as environmental degradation, dominance of less privileged groups, and the inequitable distribution of opportunities (2007).
Consequently, this moral implication of gender inequality under minds diversity and socially affects women; due to capitalism and markets, women don’t participate in decision-making-strategic planning of the organization; thus tangent abilities and creativity of all is not exploited. Furthermore, Porter (1989) supports that proper utilization of the entire labor-force pool is an essential ingredient for sustained competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Thus organizations which fail to invoke gender equality fall short of the potential resources, they would have been exposed to and also a reduced competitive edge in the marketplace.
The implication for an organization that fails to invoke gender equality could be indirect as well. The family of a female who experiences a situation of gender equality will be affected. A female low-level manager who has anticipated promotion for a long time only realizes that her male subordinate is promoted will be very disgruntled and return to her family very unhappy. The dysfunctional state of this female manager could possibly lead to conflict within her family. The possibilities could range from no pay increase, maintained employment benefit and low social status.
According to Kinicki and Kreitner (2009), ethical decisions are influenced by both internal organizational size and external influences. Internal factors include corporate ethical codes, organizational culture, organizational size, structure, perceived pressure of results and corporate strategy. On the other hand, external factors will include political and legal systems, industry culture, national culture and the environment (pg. 25). The premise for unethical behavior amongst managers is in the face of perceived pressure of results(Kinicki & Kreitner,2009,pg. 9) Both authors further stipulate that , this tendency is pronounced when individuals are reward for accomplishing their goals. Managers can unwittingly set the stage for unethical shortcuts when employees seek to please and be loyal to their company (pg. 26). On the other hand, external influences on ethical behavior could be negative. Kinicki and Kreitner posit that unethical behavior is more likely to occur in environments that are characterized by less generosity and when industry profitability is declining (2009, pg. 27).
This demonstrates the complexity in decision making and fact that every decision has its set back. This concept is supported by Simga-Mugan, Daly, Onkal and Kavut (2005) who posit that the tendency to perceive moral or ethical issues in business setting depends upon one’s standard of right or wrong, moral and immoral conduct. Those standards are greatly affected by one’s experience. At this time it is imperative that we examine and analyze the basis of promotion and reward performance. Our focus here is on the promotion of women.
The concepts of promotion and reward performance fall under performance management. According to Dessler (2009), performance management is a process through which companies ensure that employees are working toward organizational goals, and includes practices through which the manager defines the employee’s goals and work; appraises the person’s goal-directed behavior and then rewards him or her in a fashion that hopefully makes sense in terms of both the company’s needs and the person’s career aspirations (pg. 91). Fairness in promoting women into managerial positions would enhance their organizational commitment, increase their job and organizational satisfaction, reduce turnover and absenteeism and consequently improve their performance (Petty, McGreen & Cavender, 1998; Ostroff, 1992). According to these scholars; Appold, Seingthai and Kasarda (1998), equality in promotion is a matter related not only to the issue of “political correctness”, but also the organizational effectiveness.
Appold et al (1998) refer to three theoretical frameworks, showing that from both a market-incentive framework (organizational effectiveness or performance) and cultural theories, women should be represented fairly in all organizational echelons, where as social psychology may explain reasons for the situation not being so. At this junction we will evaluate the legal responses of managers to organizations which fail to invoke gender equality.
This refers to their effects or role to cub the moral issue. Fair treatment is an appropriate tool to optimize human resources capabilities, thus producing organizations that perform on higher levels. Women may suffer from various forms of unfair treatment, discrimination, promotion and wage (Bamberger Dvir-Admati and Harel, 1995). The managers’ response to this situation will be to ensure fair treatment to female workers and in other minorities at their ability.
This could be most effective in the areas of flexible schedules, paid vacation and child care facility for mothers. Also according to Simga-Mugan et al. , (2005) people are more sensitive to potential wrongs to themselves than they are to potential wrongs to others with whom they have weaker bonds. Finally, managers could respond to these situations by strictly complying with the company’s policies and the law. A manager could facilitate a situation if he or she has all the needed information and complies with the human resources.
The effects of gender inequality are devastating to employer and employee as well as the global economy. Due to these far reaching implications, the following recommendations could help alleviate this moral vice. One major way challenge gender inequality is through the educational system. Recent research indicates that studying for an MBA has a place as a medium to reduce discrimination and increase self-confidence of individuals (Leeming and Baruch, 1998).
The idea of education as medium to tackle gender discrimination is on the premise that, individuals could learn and be able to know their strength and weaknesses and be able to work on them to make a better people. Another recommendation to deal with gender discrimination by manages is by enhancing the association between remunerate and performance, providing opportunities for participating in decision making, focus on training and basing promotion on merit within the internal labor market (Harel et al).
Furthermore Grosser (2009) highlights a very strategic mechanism to overcome gender discrimination, gender mainstreaming. The Council of Europe (1998) defines gender mainstreaming as the (re)organization improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels at all stages by actors normally involves in policy making.
A very critical approach in dealing with gender discrimination is for organization to organize and train managers on ethical and leadership concepts. This will, in the long-term, possibly change the organizational structure. Hirsh posits that legal press may be necessary for sex and race desegregation, it is by no means sufficient; organizational conditions facilitate and constrain desegregation processes (2009). Finally, I would recommend that the EEOC increase their penalties and fines for organizations which are non-compliant.
From the above analysis, it is clear that the issue of gender discrimination has untold negative effects on both employers and employees. Against this back drop it is obvious that the la is effective (EEOC), to bring change to this moral issue. Never the less, the greatest bulk of the task in challenging this issue stays in the hands of the organizations. It of is also clear that ethical decision making depends on one’s standard of right and wrong, moral and immoral conduct(Simga-Mugan et ,al,2005)