Blog & News Read the latest news and insights on diversity and equal opportunities in Swiss organizations. Survey for managers throughout Switzerland on issues of equal opportunities We will keep you regularly updated by posting the latest news about the project as well as exciting insights on the topic of diversity and equal opportunities in Swiss organizations. When, if not now: Leadership can be redesigned! 5. June 2020 by Gabriele Schambach and Julia Nentwich Imagine the Corona crisis is over. Everything is the same as before. Is this what we really want? Or don't we rather want to transfer the positive experiences into a permanent new leadership practice that has clear gender-equitable potentials? The current crisis is questioning the previous way of working and leading and leads to intense confusion. Over the last weeks, everyone who has been able to work from home did so. What many managers previously thought was impossible, unthinkable, and unfeasible has suddenly become a very concrete reality. Thanks to the (mostly) stable internet connections and the excellent work from the colleagues of the IT departments, it is possible to work (to a large extent) effectively from outside of the office. Moreover, most of us showed a steep learning curve when using digital tools for virtual collaboration and exchange. At the same time, however, the forms of cooperation and, above all, leadership have changed dramatically. What now appears so sudden and new, however, already has a long tradition of conceptualisation and realisation known as "New Work": The current situation might be unprecedented, yet, further proof that we live in a VUCA world that is characterised by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Even without the virus, informatisation and digitalisation, rapid technological change, and rising globalisation significantly increase the unpredictability for economic actors. What emerged in China has had significant consequences in Europe (and around the world) and led to new and unexpected challenges for organizations. Traditional forms of work are reaching their limits, and more flexible ways of cooperation have become necessary. These are concepts that have already been discussed and tested for some time embraced by the terms "New Work" or "Work 4.0". As a result of this, also, our understanding of leadership and expectations towards leaders and managers are changing. If we take a closer look at leadership, we consider two already widely discussed aspects as crucial: Trust instead of control and care instead of work-life separation. In our opinion, both approaches are promising from a gender equality perspective. Trust instead of control Reading the daily press, it is noticeable that control is considered an essential management tool – ensured by the presence on-site. The vast majority of employees are now working from home, which comes with a frightening loss of control for the management. However, it has always been illusive to think that managers could (better) control their employees on-site because, after all, it is also possible to sit in the office and think about or do something else. Because (hopefully) nobody has ever checked the effectiveness of every mouse click, received a copy of every e-mail, or had daily results reported every evening. The solution is not the "perfection of control", but rather the contrary: More trust. Being confident that the employees will fulfil their assignments at home precisely with the same quality as they did in the office. To achieve this, it is necessary to agree on clear and measurable goals and to decide about reachability, reaction times, priorities, and agreements within the team. Those measures reduce the "control mania" and the "illusion of control" and enable the assessment of performance, rather than presence. This approach is critical if the home office should become a success for everyone. Trust is also essential in concepts of the "New Work". It is assumed that in a VUCA world, decisions are increasingly made decentralised and with less formalisation. This argumentation is based on the assumption that individual top managers are no longer able to grasp the entire spectrum of decisions and make the ideal decision in every respect. In combination with more flexible work forms, such as the home office, the classic management style of 'command and control' has thus become obsolete (Bruch et al. 2016: 7, INQA 2014: 7). Care instead of work-life separation Cooperation also appears as an essential topic in the press: Not all employees are comfortable working in their own four walls for longer periods. Most start missing their colleagues after a few days. There is a lack of social exchange, jointly developed routines and habits. For some, physical distancing carries the risk of social isolation. Others face the challenge of reconciling family and children at home. Some tend to take fewer breaks to be always reachable or to finish earlier, and in that sense, demand too much of themselves in the process. This behaviour is where managers are required to look after the physical and mental well-being of their employees – an aspect which, in contrast to "normal" everyday management practice, now receives extraordinary attention. The organisation of work now requires first and foremost more communication rather than less. Although work in the home office may seem more relaxed and casual, it requires more precise arrangements and guidelines from managers. It is now no longer possible to informally exchange two or three sentences after a meeting. Regular contact is needed with the premise: Fewer e-mails, more telephone calls, and even more video calls. Weekly video calls about the status of assignments quickly reveal when something is not right and needs to be adjusted – which also relieves the perceived loss of control. Regular video calls with the entire team also maintain the team spirit and make project progress visible. The lack of physical presence of the manager is now compensated by increased communication. In addition to the organisation of work, new forms of informal exchange are needed. Especially, virtual "tea rooms" or digital "coffee breaks" appear to be in vogue: To meet in the morning or afternoon in a corresponding group chat or virtual meeting room to exchange light and more private information, and just to chat a little about things outside the daily business. Moreover, weekly virtual after-work drinks, online birthday parties, individual pizza deliveries for the entire team on Friday lunch should also be on the agenda. Thirdly, the interpersonal level becomes increasingly important: When managers proactively ask in a personal video call how the person is doing, the facial expression and posture alone provide information about the employee's emotional state. Active listening thus becomes an essential key competence for managers. Asking about the mood and satisfaction of the employees is mainly – but not only – vital in the home office, because only balanced and satisfied people are productive and efficient. If, on the other hand, there is cause for concern, the manager must act. Showing that even managers are not immune to bad patches helps to let everyone know that displaying weakness is not a disgrace. Since the video conversations and virtual team meetings now take place in the home environment, everyone also gains more insights into the private life of their peers. Those new findings create a greater connection between work and life. And what previously seemed marginal in management practice is now gaining importance: Caring for the employees. Frederic Laloux (2015) conceptualizes these aspects in his holistic approach: He believes that the greater visibility of private concerns and feelings in traditional work relationships will lead to the recognition of more significant parts of the individual personality – in other words, a greater integration of "life" into "work" (see BMAS 2015). A prerequisite for this is that organisations create the necessary framework for revealing the full personality and understand participation in the community as the crucial value. What is needed, therefore, is an understanding of leadership that puts employees at the centre and aspects referred to as "soft factors" as key for people collaborating in everyday business life (Laloux 2015). Making the management of the future more gender-equitable Trust, communication, and care are traditionally not substantial attributes and competencies of leaders. Until now, rationality, toughness, assertiveness, competitive orientation, and the ability to separate personal and emotional sensitivities have instead been asked for. These elements of a "heroic leadership style", as already criticised by Peter Dachler (2010) since the 1990s, are all considered male and associated with men. On the other hand, women (in management positions) are attributed to the "new" described competencies – but rightly criticised at the same time as a stereotypical image (Billing & Alvesson 2014: 209). Nevertheless, the new understanding of leadership can lead to the fact that more women will have a chance to get into a leadership position. This development is possible because the previously existing incompatibility or general mismatch between "women's competencies" and "management competencies" appears to be becoming more permeable (ibid.: 214). Although the current changes in the understanding of leadership often do not explicitly address equality and women, it is nevertheless evident that those competencies that are rather associated with women are now undoubtedly in demand. The currently observed "de-masculinisation" (ibid.: 202) of leadership also gives men and male managers the chance to try out new forms of masculinity. Indeed, there are indications that the behaviour of managers and leaders appears to be a response to the expectations of employees, organisational norms and management guidelines (and less to different socialisation experiences of women and men). The gender of managers is, therefore, less significant and not an essential disposition for new leadership (ibid. 209). Thus, men can also use the opportunity of shaping leadership in new and gender-equitable ways. Home office enables more equality Until now, people working in the home office have always been suspected of lying on the sofa or doing the household instead of doing their job. This mistrust could be a reason why the home office is still not widely accepted within companies, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and, therefore, it has not been a mass phenomenon until recently. According to the Swiss Labour Force Survey (Schweizerische Arbeitskräfteerhebung - SAKE) of 2019, only 25% of employees worked at least occasionally from home. Even though many more employees wanted to work from home, but they were simply not allowed to do so (Weichbrodt, Berset, Schläppi 2016). For the period after the crisis, it is assumed in the press articles that employees will increasingly ask for the opportunity to work from home, so that a mixed form of home and office presence will be established. This demanded change also bears advantages for companies: The employees work more focused and thus more efficient and productive, and besides that even more satisfied, precisely, among other things, because of the newly created degrees of freedom to just go for a run in-between. Moreover, employer attractiveness also increases. Companies that do not offer home office will find it more challenging to find employees in the future. In addition to greater autonomy and working time flexibility, the home office also enables to reconcile work and family life (BMAS 2017) – and is hence, from an equality perspective alone already desirable. The time that is not used for commuting to work is transferred into family time. The higher degree of self-organisation of work makes it possible to do housework in-between, which helps to calm down the very busy housework and family time right after work and on weekends. Besides, an equal separation and division of family tasks and professional duties between mothers and fathers can be observed. The home office also makes it possible to return to work earlier or more extensively after the birth of a child, as well as offering a career-friendly alternative to part-time jobs and the possibility of increasing the allotted working hours (ibid: 88). Home office promotes work-life integration It is generally agreed that home office and childcare, especially for young children, are not easily reconcilable. However, parents have few alternatives when schools and daycare centres are closed. Alternating the supervision tasks between parents, arranging a clear daily routine with older children, and a separate room with a "please do not disturb" sign are certainly useful tips. But many parents will have found that this is not always feasible – as the BBC's Skype interview with Prof. Robert Kelly, whose children burst into the live broadcast, or, more recently, the interview by Ana Maria Montero of CNN Money Switzerland with Roche CEO Severin Schwan, have shown. Although the current extreme form of "work-life integration" is extremely stressful, it makes the connection between the "whole life" and the "whole person" more visible. Even managers and employees without children experience their colleagues more holistically by eliminating the spatial (and sometimes temporal) separation of childcare and office work. This development offers the chance for a greater acceptance of family tasks in the understanding of leadership: Absences, sudden interruptions, or part-time work due to sick children will then no longer be seen as a "disturbance of the normal business", but will be perceived as part of the normality of cooperation and "new" leadership. Due to the current corona-conditioned home office, leadership had to be rethought, and it became immediately necessary to try out new approaches. With the increased acceptance of the home office, new leadership practices have also spread and widely gained recognition. For us, this is also connected with the hope that the exceptional situation will result in an increased steadiness that will further change the world of work and ultimately has a positive effect on gender equality. Let us stay tuned! This article was published in a shorter version in the 02/2020 issue of the digital university magazine HSG Focus. Press review (accessed 10.06.2020) Bosshard, Karin (2020): Wir sind alle stark, bis wir es nicht mehr sind, in: Handelszeitung, 27.03.2020, https://www.handelszeitung.ch/insurance/wir-sind-alle-stark-bis-wir-es-nicht-mehr-sind Fischer, Andrea (2020): Diese Regeln gelten fürs temporäre Homeoffice, in: Tagesanzeiger, 06.04.2020, https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/diese-regeln-gelten-fuers-temporaere-homeoffice-759265507790 Gillies, Constantin/ Mair, Stefan (2020): Wegen Corona im Home Office? So klappt es! in: Handelszeitung, 03.03.2020, https://www.handelszeitung.ch/beruf/wegen-corona-im-home-office-so-klappt-es Griesser Kym, Thomas (2020): Produktiv arbeiten im Homeoffice: So kann das gelingen, in: Tagblatt, 26.03.2020, https://www.tagblatt.ch/wirtschaft/produktiv-arbeiten-im-home-office-so-kann-das-gelingen-ld.1207867 Hoffmann, Maren (2020): Führen aus dem Homeoffice "Die Angst, Kontrolle zu verlieren, ist ganz normal", in: Spiegel online, 11.03.2020, https://www.spiegel.de/karriere/fuehren-aus-dem-homeoffice-die-angst-kontrolle-zu-verlieren-ist-ganz-normal-a-3ca69c76-a039-40e2-91fa-0c27fca5ad9f Knecht, Andreas (2020: Ziehst Du morgens Jogginghosen an, stimmt was nicht, in: Tagesanzeiger, 18.03.2020, https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtschaft/karriere/ziehst-du-morgens-jogginghosen-an-stimmt-die-einstellung-nicht/story/23179418 Kofler, Karin (2020): Hoffentlich gehen die Vorurteile gegen Homeoffice zurück, in: Tagesanzeiger, 15.03.2020, https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/sonntagszeitung/hoffentlich-gehen-die-vorurteile-gegen-homeoffice-jetzt-zurueck/story/29132406 Mair, Stefan (2020): Home Office und Angst vor der Rezession: Ein fataler Cocktail, in: Handelszeitung, 31.03.2020, https://www.handelszeitung.ch/beruf/home-office-und-angst-vor-der-rezession-ein-fataler-cocktail Mair, Stefan (2020): «Viele organisieren auch regelmässig virtuelle Kaffeepausen», in: Handelszeitung, 13.04.2020, https://www.handelszeitung.ch/beruf/viele-organisieren-auch-regelmassig-virtuelle-kaffeepausen Literature Billing, Yvonne Due/ Alvesson, Mats (2014): Leadership: A Matter of Gender?, in: The Oxford Handbook of Gender in Organizations, March 2014, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199658213.013.009 BMAS – Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziale (2017): Digitalisierung – Chancen und Herausforderungen für die partnerschaftliche Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf, Berlin, https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/75934/433b3a05df543f87bd2cce88ae6c7cf6/digitalisierung-chancen-und-herausforderungen-data.pdf (Zugriff: 09.06.2020). Bruch, Heike/Block, Christina/ Färber, Jessica (2016): Top-Job Trendstudie 2016. Arbeitswelt im Umbruch. Von den erfolgreichen Pionieren lernen, Konstanz, http://www.interchange-michalik.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Trendstudie_Neue_Arbeitswelt.pdf (Zugriff 09.06.2020) Dachler, H. Peter (2010): "Chapter 3 From Individualism to Post-heroic Practices in Organizational Research", in: Steyaert, Chris/ Van Looy, Bart (Hrsg.): Relational Practices, Participative Organizing (Advanced Series in Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 41-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1877-6361(2010)0000007007. INQA - Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (2014): Monitor: Führungskultur im Wandel. Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit, https://www.inqa.de/SharedDocs/downloads/fuehrungskultur-im-wandel.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2 (Zugriff 09.06.2020) Laloux, Frederic (2015): Reinventing Organizations. Ein Leitfaden zur Gestaltung sinnstiftender Formen der Zusammenarbeit, München: Verlag Franz Vahlen GmbH. Weichbrodt, Johann/ Berset, Martial/ Schläp, Michael (2016): FlexWork Survey 2016: Befragung von Erwerbstätigen und Unternehmen in der Schweiz zur Verbreitung mobiler Arbeit, Olten, August 2016, https://irf.fhnw.ch/bitstream/handle/11654/24099/Weichbrodt, Berset, SchlÃ¤ppi - 2016 - FlexWork Survey 2016 Befragung von ErwerbstÃ¤tigen und Unternehmen in der Schweiz zur Verbreitung m.pdf?sequence=1 (Accessed: 09.06.2020) Men and Gender Equality - an Ambivalent Relationship 9 May 2020, by Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich Men are increasingly committed to promoting gender equality. They support women as colleagues, strive for equality in partnerships and aim for a fair division of labour in the family. At the same time, men are unclear about to which extent they want to be publicly exposed - in society or in the company - in their solidarity towards gender equality. They are preoccupied with how they are perceived by other men and whether their commitment puts their masculinity in question. There is also another uncertainty. This one has to do with the extent to which they are welcome by women participate in work around gender equality. Although men themselves recognise the importance of gender equality issues, their relationship towards gender equality appears to be ambivalent. How does this develop? Working for equality can be risky, for both men and women. In order to achieve changes, gender equality questions what has been taken for granted - questioning these norms causes uncertainty among work colleagues and is initially not appreciated. One makes themselves unpopular and becomes vulnerable. This affects women and men, and in different ways. For example, when a female colleague openly addresses firsthand discrimination, whether personally experienced or observed, she risks being portrayed as "frustrated" or "hysterical" (Morley, 1994). The reactions of others are often very emotional and hurtful (Wahl et al., 2014) and questions the female perception, if not the whole person. Standing up against discrimination is by no means always and everywhere positively connoted. When males openly advocate equality issues, they also make themselves vulnerable. They put themselves at risk of not being taken seriously, being palliated, being judged as "too soft”, and labelled as "emotional". Men, however, are affected by these reactions in different ways. Males usually have a much smaller pool of experience with situations in which they do not belong or are not part of the majority. At the same time, in such moments they lose the support of the group of male colleagues with whom they previously (presumably) felt a natural sense of belonging because of their gender. This is an unpleasant feeling of isolation and one is moving in unknown territory and feels insecure. Moreover, men who advocate for gender equality not only challenge the people specifically involved in the situation, they also put themselves at war with the prevailing assumptions of hegemonic masculinity. They are indirectly or directly challenged with questions like, “why does he suddenly question what is taken for granted?” Or “why does he turn against his male colleagues’ viewpoints?” As such “leaving” the “herd” is often interpreted as a betrayal, not only of that specific group of men, but also by the companies norm of masculinity. Therefore, a commitment to equality does not mean fame and honour and can lead to exclusion and even jeopardise the next career development. The observations of the Finnish management professor Janne Tienari clearly illustrate this (Tienari & Taylor, 2019). If his colleagues discover that he - as a man - is dealing with gender and equality issues in his research, it caused irritation. Irritation because the research is then considered less interesting and less scientific. And it is also irritating on a second level. Because he, as a man, is perceived as not investing his interests in career-promoting topics, his vocational ambitions are doubted as well. These irritations and doubts somehow take men’s manliness away. Hegemonic masculinity is - and must be - challenged here. However, because it is questioned, the challenging individual pays an individualised price for it. Many men want to work for gender equality. Many men recognise that they can also benefit individually from gender equality. The "business case" is more than clear, and as managers they naturally also feel committed to the company's goals - e.g. to increase the proportion of women at all levels. At the same time, however, it can be difficult for men, because of their gender, to actively commit themselves to these goals. The women's movements and feminist theory developments have paved the way for women to develop a ground which, while not easy and fraught with risks, it offers at least a collective identity that makes it easier to take on clear positions. Men lack precisely this broad and publicly disseminated movement that links individual male identity with the political goals of a collective. A similar development for men would be important and could provide men with more support. A solution to this male situative ambivalence, could be the path outlined by Tienari and Taylor (2019). Management researchers, Tienari and Taylor are also concerned with gender equality issues and discuss their personal approach to these challenges in a reflection published in the academic journal "Organization". Scott Taylor refers to the distinction introduced by the US-American feminist Bell Hooks (2000): Feminism is not about being anti-male, but anti-patriarchy. And men can be (and do) that, too. Here, Hooks disconnects the political concern of feminist approaches to overcome inequalities from the assumptions that discrimination only affects women and therefore must be promoted exclusively by women. Moreover, Hooks brings into perspective that women are not a cohort of equality and certainly their understandings and experiences with discrimination do not agree with each other on every aspect. If one understands equality in this sense as a political concern, then all people - and also men - can and may stand up for equality and against inequality. For Scott Taylor this distinction is critical (Tienari & Taylor, 2019). It is not correct for him to label himself a "feminist", as this is connected with a gender identity which he does not share as a man. Nevertheless, he can say loud and clear that he shares and supports feminist concerns and the political demands associated with them. He also uses the findings and theoretical positions of feminist theories to identify and expose injustice and discrimination. Supporting feminist concerns for him means addressing and absorbing previously unconsidered or blind spots in his own working context of management research. Supporting equality becomes something that people who can identify with the goals of anti-discrimination and justice can do. He explains, "I feel ontologically secure as a man, but I want to disrupt the behaviours I associate with the uglier aspects of masculinities, such as anti-feminist, sexist or misogynist acts, for personal and politicial reasons" (Tienari & Taylor, 2019, p. 951). In the way pointed out by Scott Taylor, men can also gain access and thus the necessary "backing" from feminist movements: "Feminism is for everyone"! (Hooks, 2000). This does not make the commitment to equality any less risky, and it means that you are no longer completely alone! Hooks, B. (2000) Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Morley, L. (1994) Glass Ceiling or Iron Cage: Women in UK Academia. Gender, Work and Organization 1(4), 194–204. Tienari, J., & Taylor, S. (2019). Feminism and men: Ambivalent space for acting up. Organization, 26(6), 948–960. Wahl, A. et al. (2014). Male Managers Challenging and Reinforcing the Male Norm in Management. NORA 22(2), 131-146. Equality and hegemonic masculinity or how discrimination becomes a "collateral damage" 27 April 2020, by Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich We know far more about the practices of male colleagues in the company that actually hinder compared to the practices that promote equality. In my last blog post I elaborated on the beneficial practices of - mostly male - managers - today, once again, I am writing about discrimination. However, my particular focus is on explaining why discrimination happens. It is interesting to note, first of all, that discriminatory practices are often very subtle today. It is not so much the clearly discriminatory, sexist comments or even assaults by male colleagues that are at the centre of it (even if they still play a role and are by no means history), but rather practices that mostly go unnoticed as they are perceived as normal. The main aim here is to show the effects of everyday practices that are often not reflected upon and less to sweepingly accuse men of discriminatory practices. In her review article the British organisational scholar Elisabeth Kelan (2018) identified four key behaviours that cause women to experience discrimination in the workplace: 1. men creating connection with other men. 2. men distancing themselves from women. 3. men impressing others 4. men showing heroic behaviour, for example by being available longer than everyone else in the office. These are all practices that take place among men, are initially intended for an audience of men and are known in gender studies as "hegemonic masculinity". But first things first! In everyday working life, men exclude women in particular by allying themselves with other men and distancing themselves from women - often without realising it. To use a very stereotypical example: They meet with colleagues for a beer after work - and since it was previously a purely male gathering, they "forget" to invite their new female colleague to join them. Other examples are "typically male" topics of conversation such as football, Formula 1, cars or technology, or the enthusiastic listening to contributions from male colleagues - and ignoring contributions from women. Pixar's film "Purl", released last year, vividly illustrates some of these classic examples. The practices described correspond to the mechanisms of "hegemonic" masculinity, i.e. a masculinity that acts as a norm, as identified by Raewyn Connell (1995) already in the 1990s: a certain heroic form of masculinity is to be aspired by all men as an ideal form. This is defined, on the one hand, by the demarcation of femininity, but also of masculinities that do not correspond to this ideal. Male identity is therefore primarily produced among men: Through continual comparisons between men, as well as with the ideal image. It is not decisive whether the individual man conforms to the ideal image or wants to be seen as a "hegemonic man" or not. What is essential is that the currently prevailing normative structure provides this possibility for him and that other men in particular could measure him against this ideal image. "Hegemonic masculinity" is thus to be understood as a powerful regulation of male identity. Central to this understanding of masculine identity is, as already mentioned, that it is primarily produced among men. Women simply do not take part in this game. It also seems to make little sense to talk to women about masculinity. Because men primarily interact with men to establish their male identity and as women are excluded here, discrimination from this perspective finally turns out being a "collateral damage". The resulting discrimination is an effect that is neither intended, nor planned or targeted behaviour. However, it is these practices that of course need to be questioned if gender relations in companies and society are to be changed. Moreover, the images of masculinity perpetuated here belong to the lumber room and rather not to a company of the present day. But that is not what I am getting at here. What is important to me at this point is that the lens of hegemonic masculinity allows us to see that women are often excluded and discriminated against in companies – and most often without their male colleagues even noticing. They are too busy doing what they have always done – together with their male colleagues, superiors, employees. That women do not play along when it comes to creating masculinity is too obvious to be noticed. Questioning constructions of masculinity and individual routines of creating a male identity in everyday practices is therefore also a powerful instrument for prevention. However, it is absolutely necessary to also change the corporate culture: How do we interact if the interaction is not about producing heroes, winners, strength? What kind of identities can we offer for our way of collaborating? From this perspective, finding alternatives to hegemonic masculinity is an important key to being able to promote more women into leading positions in the future. In our project "Leaders for Equality" we are investigating how these alternatives might look like and which other forms of masculinities can already be observed in companies. Surely, we will report on these results in this blog soon! Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. University of California Press. Kelan, E. K. (2018). Men Doing and Undoing Gender at Work: A Review and Research Agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(2), 544–558. What can male managers do to foster equal opportunities? 23 March 2020, Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich The organizational scholar Elisabeth Kelan has investigated for the UK what male managers can do to foster gender equality in their company. In a systematic literature review, Kelan (2018) distinguishes two basic practices: Firstly, "gender-exclusive" practices, i.e. those practices that actually produce inequality. This are the practices we already know a lot about because they are very well researched. Second, the less frequently studied "gender-inclusive" practices that actually promote equality. For our project “leaders for equality” gender-exclusive practices are relevant as they must either be omitted or transformed into inclusive practices in order to foster equal opportunities for women and men. However, as we have already heard a lot about the problems of exclusion so far, I am dedicating today’s blog exclusively to the gender-inclusive practices. In her study, Kelan (2015) identifies middle management as the central "linchpin" between top management and the lower levels of the hierarchy. It is this middle management in particular, and thus their everyday practices that are crucial for driving the organizational change needed. In her study, Kelan accompanied three managers for one week and observed their everyday routines, rituals and interactions. This “job shadowing” allowed her to depict especially those practices that are usually hardly noticed by the people involved and also rarely reflected upon. The observations were supplemented by 23 interviews with various colleagues of each of the three managers respectively. Kelan identifies a total of four different areas in which the managers she observed got engaged and had developed supportive practices, thus showing very fundamentally that the everyday practices of managers are crucial for the advancement of women. 1. Celebrating and Encouraging Women By encouraging women individually, e.g. to take on a new role or extra responsibility, women become more visible in the company and their skills and successes are more widely recognised within the company. According to Kelan's observation, managers need to be aware that women often behave more cautiously or are less likely to come forward and take on a task. For the managers she accompanied, for example, it is a matter of course not only to make female employees aware of exciting tasks or the next career step, but also to be tenacious and strongly encourage them to do so. They also personally search for suitable women when experts are needed for events. In order to make the contributions of women in the company more visible and to increase their colleauges’ awareness, managers also praise their female colleagues in a serious, meaningful way and emphasize their competences and abilities. 2. Calling out Bias The primary aim of this field of practice is to identify prejudiced statements about women in everyday working life and, in a second step, to counteract them. As Kelan shows in detail, this should not mean being confrontational. Rather, it should be brought to the attention of others when a situation is perceived as inappropriate or when a decision seems to be based on stereotypical perceptions. According to Kelan, prejudice and stereotypes have a discriminatory effect especially when they are tacitly accepted or tolerated. Questioning prejudice therefore has the potential to change working relationships and organizational culture towards equality 3. Championing and Defending Gender Initiatives According to Kelan's observations, an important field in which the commitment of male managers in particular has a major impact is that of internal gender parity initiatives. If men show initiative here by attending and engaging in events, or by supporting the initiative of other men and, in case of doubt, defending it against critics, the importance of gender initiatives in the company increases significantly. In everyday corporate life, men are ascribed greater objectivity and are less likely to see the personal relevance when it comes to the topic of equality - even if this does not necessarily have to be the case for each individual. The commitment and acknowledging statements of male colleagues are perceived as significant, especially by men in the company. 4. Challenging Working Practices With her research, Kelan in our eyes successfully and convincingly demonstrates that equality begins in manager’s everyday work practices and this is where we have to focus on if we want to achieve impact. As is so often the case, it is the supposedly "small things" that make a difference here. Our everyday work practices consist of a great many ingrained routines. And it is these routines that must first be brought to our attention before they can be changed. Kelan's detailed descriptions of the four topics are crucial in helping us identify the most important areas for equality, enabling to reflect upon our personal behaviour and to develop new practices that are championing, supporting and promoting women. If you want to have a closer look, we recommend reading the full report. It is written in a very comprehensible manner and especially the comic stories are communicating Kelan’s findings very concisely: https://elisabethkelan.com/2015/09/linchpin/ If you are curious to learn about the ways the practices described by Kelan are also relevant in Switzerland, we recommend coming back in only a few months. The online questionnaire we developed to study the relevant leadership practices in Switzerland will soon be sent out. From late summer onwards we will report on the results in this blog, among other things! Kelan, E. (2015). Linchpin—Men, Middle Managers and Gender Inclusive Leadership (S. 33). Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders. https://elisabethkelan.com/2015/09/linchpin/ Kelan, E. K. (2018). Men Doing and Undoing Gender at Work: A Review and Research Agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(2), 544–558. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12146 Why male managers are important for equal opportunities: A research perspective 27 February 2020, by Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich In our research and intervention project we are tackling male managers’ role in equal opportunities. What do they think about women in management positions and respective measures for equal opportunities in the company and what are they willing to do or in what ways are they already involved? In this blog post I am explaining in greater detail why the commitment of male managers is particularly important and why it can have a different effect compared to women’s commitment in the topic. The earliest argument I am aware of stems from Australian gender sociologist Raewyn Connell (2003): Since gender is a relational phenomenon, i.e. masculinity and femininity are in a relationship to each other, they must be changed together. In terms of gender theory, it becomes clear here that understandings of femininity can only be changed in interaction with masculinity, and that therefore change cannot be initiated by women alone. In addition, not only women but also men suffer from the negative effects of current gender relations. In particular, the still valid notions of masculinity have a negative impact, e.g. on the health and life expectancy of men (Scambor et al. 2014). But how can this general insight be applied to measures to promote equal opportunities in companies? From a change management perspective, managers are crucial to the success of any change initiative. As men still represent the clear majority in leadership positions and especially in upper management, they are important players, on the one hand because of the quantitative ratio, but also because of their powerful positions. In addition, their leadership skills are less questioned, and they are better integrated into central networks than women in comparable positions (Eagly, Gartizia & Carli, 2014). It is this mix of gender and position that makes the support from male managers for gender equality issues so important. Interestingly, there is not much research being done on this so far. One exception is a study conducted by organizational researcher Jennifer deVries (2015), also stemming from Australia. She selected three interviews with male managers and one interview with a woman in a managerial position from a broader study in order to analyse in greater detail how promoting equal opportunities was perceived differently by these individuals. The analysis of the interviews shows that the male executives are often seen as "one of the boys" - i.e. as someone who belongs to the group of male executives as a matter of fact and whose competence in this position is not questioned. This is in contrast to the female manager, who, especially in a male domain, is often perceived as the "token women", and thus gains increased visibility, whereby their behaviour is evaluated more critically compared to their male colleagues. In the interviews it was also discussed that women are often assumed to have a self-interest in the topic, whereas men are assumed to have an interest in the matter. As a result, women's involvement is perceived as less legitimate and impactful, while the involvement of their male colleagues is more likely to be explained by rational considerations - such as the fact that gender equality serves the interests of the company. The results of the interviews confirm the well-established state of research: While women in management positions are more questioned and are not regarded as competent in the same way, men are automatically attributed precisely these competencies by gender (Eagly, Gartizia, Carli & 2014). This gives men's leadership behaviour greater impact than the same behaviour shown by a woman. This is even more true when it is a management position in a male-dominated company (Eagly, Karau & Makhijani 1995). As deVries (2015) also shows, the men she interviewed are very successful in using their powerful position for a "good cause": They are committed to equal opportunities and can thus promote and support internal company programs and measures. Equal opportunities are thus perceived more strongly as an important corporate objective. At the same time, however, the commitment also appears to have an effect on the perception of the activities of female colleagues: They are supported in their concerns and their commitment to equal opportunities no longer needs to be as prominent as it used to be. In our view, this is an important step towards the success of these measures! Connell, R. W. (2003). The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality. United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW). de Vries, J. A. (2015). Champions of gender equality: Female and male executives as leaders of gender change. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 34(1), 21–36. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-05-2013-0031 Eagly, A. H., Gartzia, L., & Carli, L. L. (2014). Female Advantage: Revisited. In The Oxford Handbook of Gender in Organizations. Oxford University Press. Eagly, A. H., Karau, S. J., & Makhijani, M. G. (1995). Gender and the effectiveness of leaders: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 117(1), 125–145. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.117.1.125 Scambor, E., Bergmann, N., Wojnicka, K., Belghiti-Mahut, S., Hearn, J., Holter, Ø. G., Gärtner, M., Hrženjak, M., Scambor, C., & White, A. (2014). Men and Gender Equality: European Insights. Men and Masculinities, 17(5), 552–577. https://doi.org/10.1177/1097184X14558239 Bias-Trainings: What can they really do? 20 December 2019, by our guest author Nina Locher, student in the HSG Master Program "Management, Organization and Culture". "Think manager, think male" is still very common The Swiss top management is made up of 80% men and women are promoted much less frequently (Advance & HSG, 2018). Pay gaps are also still common. The higher the occupational position, the lower the proportion of women and the greater the pay gap between men and women (Federal Statistical Office, 2018). No wonder that stereotypical notions of "good managers" are still widespread. While women are regarded as kind-hearted, caring and sensitive, men are characterized by performance orientation, willingness to take responsibility and rationality (Heilman, 2012). Stereotypical, yes, but quite effective, as we associate this with manager’s characteristics that are more likely to be assigned to men: "think manager think male". Our idea of the good manager is dominated by stereotypical masculine characteristics. Women in management positions find themselves in a dilemma: If they show stereotypical feminine qualities , they are quickly perceived as less competent for a management position. However, if they show the qualities required for a manager, such as assertiveness or ambition, they are perceived as less feminine, which in turn results in a more negative assessment(Eagly & Karau, 2002). No matter what they do, they cannot win, and the prevailing stereotypes prevent them from advancing their careers. Bias trainings and what they (can) change More and more companies around the world have recognized this problem and taken action. “Bias training" is currently a widespread form of intervention. Its aim is to free employees from their conscious and unconscious prejudices and thus ensure equal opportunities in career advancement. But how do these trainings work and what can we expect from them? In my master thesis I investigated the question of the effectiveness of bias trainings. After initial research into the current state of research, it became clear that effectiveness can only be assessed if two fundamentally different training objectives are distinguished: On the one hand, the change of attitudes, which includes stereotypical ideas of women in management positions as well as their evaluation, on the other hand the change of behaviour, which can then be expressed in decisions made differently. Here it becomes immediately clear that changing individual attitudes alone will not make a decisive difference in decisions for or against the advancement of women as leaders (Noon, 2017). The people who decide on the staffing of top positions must also change their behaviour if something is to change. In my master thesis I therefore differentiated between the following two questions: 1. "Are bias trainings resulting in attitude change?" and 2. "Can bias trainings effect changes in behaviour?". What does the current state of research tell us? Fundamentally, the state of research shows that bias trainings are very able to create awareness of diversity and discrimination (Carnes et al., 2015; Majumdar et al., 2004; Moss-Racusin et al., 2016), they contribute to an increase of knowledge (Bezrukova et al., 2016) and, at least in the short term, to change implicit attitudes (Jackson, Hillard & Schneider, 2014; Girod et al., 2016). The implicit attitudes are those that are not explicitly addressed in the situation in question. In contrast to the explicit attitudes, they represent a particularly large research interest. The work of Jackson, Hillard and Schneider (2014), for example, is interesting in this respect. The researchers examined the influence of bias training on attitudes towards women working in typical male disciplines at various universities. In their methodologically exemplary study, they came to the conclusion that bias training is perfectly capable of changing implicit attitudes at short notice. Similarly, Girod, Fassiotto, Grewal, Ku, Sriram, Nosek and Valantine (2016) examined prejudices against women in leadership positions. Their study also shows that bias training can influence implicit attitudes in the short term. The extent to which bias training can be expected to have long-term effects, however, is still unclear. While the effect of bias training on short-term change in implicit attitudes seems to be clearly demonstrated (Lai et al., 2016), this is less clear for the effects with regards to behaviour. However, this is due in particular to the very poor state of research. Hardly any study exclusively investigates this relationship. Often, certain behavioural adaptations are measured only incidentally in a study that actually focuses on the analysis of attitude changes. For example, the study by Forscher, Mitamura, Dix, Cox and Devine (2017). This study shows that people who have undergone bias training are more willing to speak out publicly against a discriminatory contribution than they would have done without the training. The findings of my master thesis clearly show that further research would be necessary for providing evidence about long-term effects and behavioural adjustments resulting from bias training. Furthermore, as far as I know, no study so far has particularly investigated the effect of bias training in the very context of recruitment and promotion decisions. If bias trainings, then do it right! Despite these important research gaps it can be said that bias training has positive effects. For the practical implementation of these trainings it is of course particularly interesting, which concrete training elements contribute to a training success in a company. Many studies list such beneficial elements for bias interventions. Central to this are all elements that go beyond the change of individual attitudes and address action competences - i.e. behaviour - or are integrated into larger strategic or structural measures such as the management development of a company (Dobbin & Kalev, 2016). In the following I present the most important findings based on my analysis: - A longer duration of the training can have a positive effect on its effectiveness (e.g. Bezrukova et al., 2016). - Training should also include the learning of specific action competences and the thematizing of concrete strategies and should not be limited to raising awareness of discrimination and changing attitudes (e.g. Bezrukova et al. 2016; Roberson et al., 2009). - It is recommended to combine different mediation methods (presentations, discussions etc.) and to make the workshops lively and emotional (e.g. Lai et al., 2016). - The effectiveness of diversity and bias trainings can be supported by additional structural measures, e.g. the integration of the equality goals into the company goals, or the integration of the workshops into everyday work outside the training context (e.g. Bezrukova et al. 2016; Williamson & Foley, 2018). - In order to facilitate the transfer of training into everyday working life, competence-based, action-oriented learning should be dealt with in depth in the interventions (e.g. Carnes et al. 2015; Girod et al., 2016; Devine et al., 2012). - Support from superiors and colleagues is important when conducting training. These have an important influence on the application of transfer strategies (Roberson et al., 2009). With regard to bias training, the studies reviewed provide encouraging results that give us some hope for a future in which equal opportunities for women and men in career advancement becomes a reality. However, in order to clarify the question whether bias trainings are actually able to contribute to the permeability of the well-known glass ceiling, additional long-term studies and studies on behavioural adaptations with validated measurement methods would be needed. These will be able to answer the question of whether people's attitudes can only be influenced in a short term range or if these changes can be sustained over a longer period of time and whether this will actually change behaviour in the decision-making situation. Breaking down complexity with the model of organizational levels promotes equal opportunities 31 October 2019, by Dr. Gabriele Schambach Realizing equal opportunities in corporate practice is a highly complex issue. It is easy to lose track of where is the best place to start. Or you become entangled in individual measures without keeping an eye on the overall strategy. The model of organizational levels may help you to see the wood for the trees. Starting point There is no company that is "neutral" at a meta-level. This statement does not refer to the question of whether there are "female" organizations. Rather, it is a question of perceiving and highlighting aspects of gender inequalities in companies – and of changing them. In organizations and companies, a number of individual women and men get involved and put their competences and qualities to work. Together with managers, colleagues and employees, they shape the self-image in areas of responsibility, within their departments, activities, etc. And all that is not gender-neutral! Organizations and companies are generally not objective entities, as they are formed by people. Gender is a central category that manifests and (re)produces itself in people and cultures as well as in structures and content. The general concept I developed the model of organizational levels on the basis of my many years of experience in advising companies and organizations. The concept is based on the idea that organizations and companies are characterized by different levels: • The level of the person = the individual • The level of culture= working together • The level of structure = general conditions and measurements • The level of content = offers and products These are not to be understood as a rigid framework, they are rather intertwined and boundaries can become blurred. While each level has its own inner logic, the levels are at the same time mutually dependent. In order to create equal opportunities, changes at all levels are required – in other words, an overall strategy. It is helpful to first look at the individual levels separately and develop suitable measures. They are then considered in their interaction and reassembled in their dependencies. This enables a sorted, clear and structured procedure – which is why I chose the presentation as a puzzle (see image below). Interdependencies The interdependency between the levels is illustrated by the following example; the goal of increasing the proportion of women in management positions: on the individual level of the person, presumably every person has an opinion, expectations or fears. At the level of culture, the "togetherness" of the individuals becomes clear: Is the goal rather rejected? Are devaluations of "alibi women" or "quota women" common among the group? Is the goal supported? For example, is there an open discussion about leadership styles? The level of structure essentially reflects how the other two levels were implemented in the environment: here the conditions become apparent that promote an increase in the proportion of women in management positions. The model also works the other way around: If the environmental conditions in the firm are arranged to be compatible for all involved, for example, meetings are generally finished by 4 p.m., then on the cultural level this represents firm-wide acceptance that people with family responsibilities may end their work day – without judgmental jokes, remarks or the likes being made, such as "You're probably working only half a day today!” On the individual level, these conditions and cultures then attract people who want to pursue a career without "giving up" their family. These interdependencies also exist in a less diverse environment: having exclusively full-time working conditions, no flexitime, and requiring physical presence creates a culture, in which only those who "fully sacrifice" themselves to be at the service of the company are regarded as high performers and high potentials, regardless of their (personal) losses. People, who are interested or who wish to pursue a career in these firms, share these common values and arrange their (family) lives accordingly. These interdependencies also illustrate why some companies offer "the right" framework conditions to, for example, encourage the advancement of women, but at the same time the proportion of women in management positions does not increase: the company's culture lags well behind the (adapted) firm environment. On the level of the person, there are (occasionally) managers, who formally agree with the goals, but do not (or refuse) to understand the meaning behind them. Their mindset makes achieving equal opportunities more difficult, since they may only "wait and see", may not act proactively or even hope that the issue will disappear again. Each level therefore has its own objective in promoting equal opportunities: • The level of the person → awareness, knowledge and training • The level of culture → dismantling of dominant cultures • The level of structure → changing the environment • The level of content → consideration of gender aspects within offers and products The level of the person This level focuses on individuals as actors and (re-)producers of (un)equal opportunities. Every person in a company has his or her own biography, reality, background, educational and professional profession, idea of a happy life, of good work, of a successful career and of equal opportunities. What each individual person thinks and does in private is none of a company's business. But if the organization has set itself the goal of equal opportunities, then it needs managers and employees who promote this goal in their work environment. Under the rubric "sensitization and qualification", it is about • informing about the effects of social conditions on individual life realities • raising awareness on (structural) discrimination and disadvantages as well as privileges • addressing personal (dis)interest • the (self-)reflection of stereotypes, prejudices, unconscious bias, role perceptions • addressing doubts, fears and anxieties • acquiring gender diversity competences as part of one's professional and social competences • knowing and learning about appropriate activities and tools to promote equal opportunities. Experience has shown that each person has his or her own private opinion on the subject of gender diversity and it is good to let them have this opinion. The idea is not to missionize or "re-educate" people – this leads to resistance and defense. A promising approach is to address people in their capacity as managers or employees. Managers in particular have a duty to ensure equal opportunities, amongst other things. By focusing on the professional environment and the task at hand, personal aspects tend to fade into the background. In my opinion, this makes it easier to get involved with gender issues and actively promote measurements, particularly for men. The level of culture As I mentioned before, this level refers to how we are collaborating – and how this manifests itself. Organizational culture emerges as a dynamic (learning) process in dealing with challenges in the company’s environment as well as the internal organizing. Throughout this process, preferred orientation patterns and solutions emerge. Assessments of what is regarded as "good" or "bad" are coming up and determine what is becoming a routine. Culture is about the unspoken and unwritten laws; it is described as a "working atmosphere" or social climate and is perceived rather intuitively and emotionally. Culture is thus also difficult to comprehend, because it is already challenging to put the concept into words. Culture includes, among other things: • norms and values • understanding of leadership • management style • performance and promotion criteria • dealing with ideas, innovations, mistakes and conflicts • communication • language Corporate culture is regarded as the central element that determines success or failure of change processes in organizational development – unfortunately, it is also the most difficult level to change! A single management workshop on the subject of leadership, a reflection seminar on norms and values or an exchange on the mission statement (that is to be developed) are not enough. Changing corporate culture requires continuity and repetition. Through various diverse and creative formats, the level of culture can be investigated from different points of view. It is helpful if one can connect it to tools on the structural level or if suitable formats are developed by workshop participants themselves. To illustrate this, let us look at the example of introducing the “home office”: On a structural level, we have to aknowledge the concrete working agreements in place. On a personal level, control or trust play a central role, as does our individual attitude towards that measurement. On a cultural level, the issue is a culture of facetime and the self-conception of a manager and his/her leadership style. I cannot force a manager to "finally realize" that home office has many advantages for everyone involved. Nor can I nail the company agreement to his/her forehead so that he/she can implement it. Those who don't want to are clever at finding loopholes and ways out. Instead, for example, it would be better advised to: • encourage the Board of Directors or management to lead by example • portray role models and communicate (internally) about pilot projects • communicate (internally) the advantages of Home Office for companies, executives and employees • illustrate in an annual presentation (e.g. in the annual report) the proportion of working time within the company spent in home office, per area and per department • publish an online quiz with humorous questions and possible answers – with a subsequent presentation of the results (prepared anonymously) • put up information displays, posters or stickers with "Have you considered working from home today?!" • In the case of obligatory recurring executive meetings, put the topic on the agenda each time – with a different orientation, for example, taking up previously mentioned options Changing the culture can only be done through habituation and making something an everyday routine. At the same time, it happens when employees realize that the issue will not "go away again". In the case of managers, companies should also use the peer effect, which works well either through role models or (healthy) competition. The level of structure As mentioned above, this level is at the same time prerequisite and outcome. It is embedded in the environment, which is self-evident on the other two levels. At the same time, the structures determine corporate culture and makes the company attractive for certain people and unattractive for others. Instruments and measures for achieving equal opportunities include, for example: • Flexible working time and space • Target agreements with quantitative and qualitative indicators • Gender-oriented job descriptions and job advertisements • Structured and transparent recruitment and promotion practices • Life-phase oriented employee development Here we also notice the interdependency with the other two levels: at the cultural level, for example, sabbaticals or parental leave must be seen as valuable opportunities for acquiring extra-occupational skills that are useful for professional work (such as organizational talent, patience, curiosity, dealing with the unusual, getting involved in new things etc.). As a result, sabbaticals and child-raising periods are then promoted structurally, included as a performance characteristic when analyzing an employee's job potential, queried during job interviews and integrated into life-phase oriented employee development. At the same time, employees and managers must also be convinced of the positive effects so that, on the one hand, they accept and approve the offers of sabbaticals. On the other hand, this is also necessary to ensure future employees are asked about these types of development phases during, for example, job interviews – and that the aspect it not simply ignored. The level of content I have neglected this level so far because it often does not play such a major role in companies. In contrast, this level is more relevant, for example, in the education and social sectors. Here we are concerned with offers for the various target groups (in the education sector) or the consideration of gender in the social sector (such as gender-oriented nursery work or intercultural care). The question of target groups and gender aspects in professional work naturally also concerns companies. In most companies, however, only few people have a real influence on products, which is why it may be sufficient, for example, to include the target groups in (external) communication. Conclusion Over the past years this model of "organizations" has helped me a lot with falicitating change towards equal opportunities. It allows an understanding of relations and interdependencies and serves as basis for developing and implementing structured activities and measures. However, there is no magic formula: every company is different. Employees are different, cultures are specific, industries are diverse and (the most urgent) needs vary. Consequently, these must be taken into consideration and instruments and concepts need to be adapted accordingly. An energy supply company certainly has a different organizational culture with its tasks and employees compared to a social economy organization. But regardless of the differences, there are common principles that help to implement equal opportunities. In addition, every organizational development project is a dynamic process. The truly relevant levels, the activities that promise the greatest possible success or the "biggest failures" may only become apparent over time and during the course of the project. My own experience taught me a lot about the ups and downs involved : The pleasures we feel in using creative approaches in the designing the processes, and the frustrations we experience when the organization develops much slower than we previously expected and desired. In my opinion, creating pressure, for example through sanctions, only creates counter-pressure, which in most cases increases behavioural rigidity and more evasive manoeuvres. Every change process also involves resistance, and as this is where the energy is, it is important to work with that energy and not against it. Besides the absolutely essential support of management, it is viewing the organization as learning and hence diversity as a facilitator for good solutions. If you would like to find out more about our work, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to contribute to our project as a manager or equal opportunities expert, we would be pleased to hear from you via email. This post was first published on Genderworks. From Diversity Management to Diversity & Inclusion? 2 September 2019, by Dr. Gabriele Schambach As already 10 years ago, the conference and scientific networking meeting of diversity researchers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland took place from 26 to 27 August 2019 at the University of St. Gallen (more information). In eight sessions, 26 contributions from research and practice were presented and used as a starting point to discuss how diversity and inclusion can be (better) implemented in companies and organizations. The contributions dealt with questions of how diversity and inclusion can be anchored conceptually and theoretically, as well as questions about change, learning, contradictions and exclusions. Moreover, the latest empirical results from organizations, administration, universities and non-profit organizations were unveiled. Over and above geographical and content boundaries, the focus was again and again on how we can make it possible to create more diversity and facilitate inclusion. The diverse nature of contributions showed in how many different contexts diversity and inclusion are addressed and dealt with. The wealth of information stimulated reflection as well as lively discussions about the contributions during session breaks. Three fantastic keynotes were the anchor points of the conference: Prof. Maddie Janssen from the University of Leuven in Belgium offered a review of the development of diversity research and presented a truly exciting dance project, which represents a potential opportunity for further sustainable research in the field. No less inspiring, and particularly exciting for our project, Prof. Elisabeth Kelan from the University of Essex in the UK presented her research and illustrated how (male) managers can promote equal opportunities (we will give you more details in a separate post!). Serving as a transition from the academic conference to the practitioner-oriented 3rd Gallen Diversity and Inclusion Conference on August 29, 2019, PD Dr. Thomas Köllen from the University of Bern presented his research findings on LGBT* in organizational and management research. Titled "Inclusion means cultural change - or what male executives can do for the advancement of women in the company", Prof. Dr. Julia Nentwich and I submitted a paper from our project "Leaders for Equality - equality needs men" (see presentation slides). For our presentation, we started by giving an overview of the status quo of international research on the topic of men, male executives and gender equality in organizations. While there have been several interesting projects and some advancements have been made indeed, research is scarce on this topic to date. On the one hand, this is regrettable because we would like to build on existing work in our project. On the other hand, it makes clear how urgently our research contribution on the role of male executives is needed if diversity and inclusion in companies are to prosper. For the second part, we presented our professional experiences in working on that topic with male managers in companies. Like this we were able to show that some of the practical examples are more far-reaching than current research. For us, this is also the confirmation that our project will create a close link between academic and business practice. In the coming months, we will now gradually fill the gaps in research and link them to activities in our project companies. In any case, we will also present our findings at next year's specialist and networking conference for diversity researchers in German-speaking countries at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (see here). If you would like to find out more about our work, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to contribute to our project as a manager or equal opportunities expert, we would be pleased to hear from you via email. Why Organizations Need to Include Men to Promote Diversity 1 July 2019, by Dr. Gabriele Schambach Diversity is a women's topic. Women are still (strongly) underrepresented in the top management of Swiss companies. Women earn less than men. Their skills and potential as managers and experts are still underestimated. As mothers, they take care of most of the so-called care work, i.e. the everyday caring for children and relatives as well as managing the household. Their professional biographies are incomplete due to family periods. Their career prospects are limited by part-time work. Pensions are correspondingly low. They are regarded as emotional, conflict-shy, bitchy, family-oriented - all characteristics that are not particularly appreciated in professional life. Companies react – if at all - with individual measures for further qualification and empowerment of women. They offer solutions to help balance career and family, mentoring and seminar programs, networks of women etc. These are indisputably meaningful activities - but the assumption that the focus on women alone changes the situation is not enough. The reason being that these activities are usually designed to change women and make them conform with the circumstances of the company, which is also known as "Fixing the Women". Necessary changes in corporate structures and cultures are not taken into account. Likewise, male colleagues, superiors and employees are not taken into account - and thus the potential they offer for equality is not exploited. Even though it is absolutely necessary to include all employees in a company, in order to initiate the necessary cultural change. Especially the – predominantly male – managers need to be brought on board. They represent a resource for equality that has hardly been used to date and which also represents – quantitatively and qualitatively – an influential stakeholder group. Only together, it is possible to implement adequate measures and achieve equal opportunities. But why should men support gender equality? After all, they no longer have the same career opportunities if there are to be more women in management positions! There are (at least) two answers to this question: 1. Men also benefit from gender equality. So far they have worked long hours in the office and bear the largest burden in generating family income. This responsibility, as well as the culture of competition and dominance that often exists in male-dominated companies, is unhealthy for men. Their life plans are based on the role of "tough guys", who feed the family and have a career. Variation and diversity exists in the form of sabbaticals, family time, part-time work, being a houseman or the like, but as of right now, they are still all too often the exotic exception and not yet the norm. Many fathers would also like to have more time for their family. Both fathers and mothers want to be there for their children after starting a family. A more reliable professional development of women would enable men to live a more relaxed life and at the same time help reduce their wives' overall workload. It becomes clear: If corporate cultures and structures change towards more equality, this also opens up a vast range of opportunities for men. 2. Promoting equal opportunities is a task for – male - managers. Implementing equal opportunities in day-to-day business is a question of fairness and justice. It has also been known for some time that equality, equal opportunities and diversity are by no means harmful for companies - on the contrary, they contribute significantly to the economic success of companies. If something is to change here in the coming years, men are wanted in their function as managers and as designers of change. – and in this function, we should urgently help them to assume this responsibility! Of course, promoting equal opportunities does not only require men. It also requires women. And because we believe that equality and change can likely be achieved by managers, we have named our project "Leaders for Equality – managers seizing opportunities”. If you want to learn more about our work, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you would like to contribute to our project as a manager or diversity & inclusion expert, we would be delighted to hear from you via email.