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ADED 4F35 - Session 6 Seminar

Critiquing Human Resource Development's Dominant Masculine Rationality and Evaluating its Impact.

John Snider

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of ADED 4F35 - Session 6 Seminar

THE END Introduction In this seminar will be following a dialogue between two unique corporate personnel. One the white male CEO and other the female Human Resources consultant.

Throughout this dialogue we will be integrate the key points from Chapter 17 to illustrate the arguments. Disclaimer And our participants: Ms. Good Mr. Bad Mr. Bad Ms. Good And now let us join the meeting already in progress: All participants in this dialogue are fictitious unless otherwise noted!

Page References are from Chapter 17 unless otherwise noted The Company This company is a typical medium to large sized corporation. This company could be in any industry but we have choose an engineering firm for this seminar.

This company has been under some media scrutiny for it's hiring practices and as such the CEO and a HR consultant are meeting to discuss the situation. Ms. Good, the reason I have asked to meet with you is to discuss our HR hiring and retainment policies. Of course, Mr. Bad, what would you like to discuss The company is doing some things better; however, the fact remains that the workplace is still dominated by masculine rationale. "...yet men make more money and hold the top jobs" (p. 260) "HR is one of the few professions to have more female managers than male..."
(p. 260) Well I'm disappointed in the media attention we been receiving! I think we've made great strides in improving the work environment here. Can you explain further? Look at the HR department, the number of female workers outnumbers the males! Reference But Mr. Bad, that may be true but the male employees in the department receive higher pay and benefits and the Manager and Deputy Manager are both males. Reference But it takes time for someone to move through the department! We've always promoted from within and over the past five years we've increased the training opportunities and budget so that our workers can be more productive. That's an admirable policy but the inherent biases within the workforce makes it difficult to females to match their male counterparts in promotions. Two things you should be aware of: "Women's development disadvantage is compounded by a hidden workplace curriculum that teaches them how to assimilate to a patriarchal culture and suppress their female identity" (p. 264) Reference "Still (1985) found that men tend to be sent to training that is promotion-oriented whereas women receive training for functional skills for their current job. Male-dominated managerial hierarchies decrease women's opportunities for career encouragement training. Just as in management, women tend to become sidelined and marginalized in management education and experiences that would groom them for ascending the career ladder." (p. 264) Reference I've never looked at it that way but it's certainly not something we're doing on purpose! One of the problems we have is the fact that the male workers are more willing to put in the extra hours to make sure this company is profitable. They don't use excuses like having to pick up the children for getting out of work. In my opinion, this makes it very difficult for women to be successful! "...workaholic value goes relatively unquestioned in the United States where we now clock more hours on the job that any other country on earth." (p. 266) Reference Participants in a Rogier and Padgett study (2004) "perceived the female employee on the flexible schedule as less dedicated to her career and motivated to advance..." (p.266) Do you even know how your women employee define "success"? Perhaps it's not based on your preconceived masculine ideas? "Women's development and advancement are typically defined in male terms based on performance measures such as promotion, pay and prestige. What is rarely asked; however, is how a women defines 'success.' " (p. 266) Reference Of course, productivity important! Everyone in this company needs to be focused on productivity. We owe it to our shareholders. Here's a quick video produced by the HR department last year showing staff how to provide training to increase productivity and to measure the success. Training Video The link below will take you to a short 6 minute video. The most important parts are the first and last minutes. You may "skip" the rest as it focuses on ADDIE-like program development steps.

Facilitators Note:
Unfortunately, this video is only available through iTunesU. We felt most people probably have this on their personal computers so we included it. If you are unable to view it, we apologize in advance.

From the link below please view Video #4 - Training and Development.

Also the video may take a few minutes to load. http://bit.ly/PlVsBU Mr. Bad, you continue to make my own point for me. The video focuses on the productivity at the cost of employee needs and desires. The fact that it was produced by the HR department furthers my point that their is undue masculine-based power within the company. Reference "Although the field is feminized, it is dominated by masculine rationality, showing the power of patriarchal systems in society. (p. 260) (a) It doesn't only happen here, but most workplaces put female employees at a disadvantage as the nature of the workplace environment forces and teaches females to be more like their male counterparts in actions and emotions. (b) Furthermore, I reviewed the learning opportunities and participation over the past five years and I've found that the balance of opportunities for men are focused on skills for promotion and advancement whereas female opportunities are productive around their current jobs. It's time female employees are regarded on an equal footing with male counterparts in all aspects of the business. It takes a deep commitment by the company to revitalize the role and place of females in the workplace and ensure they receive truly equal opportunities as their male counterparts. Reference Quindelen (1997) noted woman workers "spend their days doing a job most of their co-workers think they can't handle and then they will go home and do another job most of their co-workers don't want" (p. 263) OK, you've given me a lot to think about. I didn't realize the shape this company was in. We've been very successful profit-wise and I thought we'd been doing the right things.

We follow the ideology of HRD (Human Resource Development) Theory as a guiding principle. What else can you recommend moving forward? In my opinion, it all starts with the HR department. HRD (or Human Resource Development) is an evolving field. It's important to return to the roots of HR and ensure the strategies being used are appropriate for all employees and not biased by masculine perceptions. We often hear the term "thinking outside the box"; however, most of the thoughts processes continue to initiate from within and continue to advocate the status-quo. Reference Change agents strive to meet the cliché of 'thinking outside the box,' challenging the status quo and innovating in ways that help us see problems and opportunities in new lights. Yet HRD is increasing thinking 'inside the box' of capitalism and masculine rationality making it ever more difficulty for the profession to behave ethically, sustainable or creatively" (p. 247) Well just the other day I was reviewing some article published by Bierema and Cseh (2003) from Human Resources Development Quarterly that advocated for "uni-sex" research. Essentially unbiased research be conducted on HR strategies. If the masculine dominance is so profound, how do you explain this? That article raises some interesting thoughts. But you have to realize that the default position or starting point for all research is based on the masculine dominant position. So before the research is even completed, it's biased! Reference "...a prime example of masculinist rationality and exhibit of a powerful elite White male telling us what should,and should not, count as knowledge." (p. 250)

"Yet because his is the 'default' dominant masculine rational one, it is nearly invisible and above critique." (p. 250) Hmmm, what are you thoughts on HRD theory? HRD research is still dominated by the powerful elite white male biases. Productivity and other male-centric focuses have created expectations that do not fit with the overall focus of female employees. It's not all about productivity and shareholders. It's important to balance the needs of all your employees and ensure equality for female employees. Reference “I content that HRD is strongly influenced by masculine rationality, meaning it identifies with masculine attributes such as being strong, mechanical, assertive, objective and controlled. Masculinist rationality is an assumption that masculine traits or objectivity, aggressiveness and performance are the standard that adhering to them is a neutral behavior that should not be questions. It is convenient for those in power, typically White males, to establish expectations that leave little room for others to question the prevailing standards that elite White males have themselves created." (p. 248-249) Listen, we value all of our employees here. I don't think that we outwardly prejudice against any employee regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality. We try to treat all of our employees the same and in the end provided they contribute positively to our company they will have a secure job here. Reference "…although workers today are valued for their whole person and treated humanely in the workplace, management has created means of worker surveillance such as monitoring communications, self-surveillance, 360-degree feedback, and managerial controls....These measures are subtle means of maintaining White male power, a vestige of management" (p. 248) Well, that certainly is a great company line to profess and I'm sure it looks good on the company portfolio. However, there is the old saying "talk the talk but make sure you walk the walk." So is there a problem with all HRD research? Something good has to come out of it! There is lots of good research being done. But all research needs to be reviewed critically. Cseh (2003) analyzed more than 600 Academy of Human Resources Development conference articles between 1996 and 2000 and found overwhelming exclusion of issues on equality and access in the workplace. Reference "...Very few studies promoted diversity or issues of social justice. Women's voice and experience was ignored. Gender rarely used as a category of analysis. Little mention of marginalized populations. Weak advocate for change." (p. 250) Thank you for your insights Ms. Good. It looks like our company has some work ahead of us. I will take everything you have said into consideration. Your welcome Mr. Bad. Remember, your company is not unique in it's position. Most companies are failing to recognize the roles and balance the contributions of all employees, especially women. Be aware of predominant masculine culture and be critical of as you move forward. Real Life Application Thank you... ...for participating in our presentation. Our discussion questions will be posted in the forum and you are invited to add your comments there.

Expect new questions on Day 1 (today), Day 3 (Saturday) and Day 5 (Monday)

On Day 7 (Wednesday) we will be summarizing the contributions in a final posting in the forum. Conclusion Chapter 17 provides some intriguing topics for discussion. Application of Human Resource Development (HRD) theory is common in the workplace; however, many questions remain.

Critical review of HRD needs to ensure true equality for all workers NOT just equality based on the existing male-dominant status-quo.

Workplaces, upper management and Human Resource departments feel they are doing a good job of addressing equality; however, they need to ensure that is in fact true. Mr. Bad is the CEO, he is a 55 year old white male. Mr. Bad is married with 2 children who are currently attending university. Mr. Bad has a dominant personality, and a fairly large ego. He drives a BMW and dresses nicely. Ms. Good is 39 years old, newly divorced with 2 children. She is currently balancing being a single mother with her new HR consulting company. Ms. Good is very hardworking and motivated to succeed in her field. In Canada we have seen an increase in the level of corruption within profitable organizations. In the last 10 years, high profile companies have been in the media spotlight as a result of their lack of financial and corporate responsibilities. Law makers in Canada have taken illegal activites, "corporate-crime" very seriously as a means to uphold corporate standards, integrity and to protect shareholders. In a minute you will have the chance to read an article regarding how one in a position of power, in this case, CEO, Pierre Duhaim has abused the trust ad tarnished the integrity of a multi-billion dollar company, SNC Lavalin. Human Resources hired the CEO a few years back, and after extensive interviews, a criminal background check, multiple reference checks, questions are being asked as to how this CEO was chosen in the first place, and who was the ultimate decision maker in Human Resources? The Problem Introduction http://bit.ly/RuqBiI The Article Please read the following article from CTV.ca regarding SNC-Lavalin and their now fire CEO. REAL LIFE SITUATION
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