Handling Resistance to Change When Societal and Workplace Logics Conflict


Source: Namrata Malhotra, Charlene Zietsma, Timothy Morris, Michael Smets, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 66, Issue 2, 2021
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From the abstract:
Changes in societal logics often leave firms’ policies and practices out of step. Yet when firms introduce a change that brings in a new societal logic, employees may resist, even though they personally value the change, because the incoming logic conflicts with existing organizational logics. How can change agents handle logic-based resistance to an organizational initiative that introduces a new logic? We studied elite law firms that introduced a new role into their traditional up-or-out career path in response to associates’ anonymously expressed desire for better work–life balance, which associates resisted because expressing family concerns was illegitimate within the firms. Change agents responded to three forms of resisters’ logic-based concerns—irreconcilability, ambiguity, and contradiction—with three tailored responses—redirecting, reinforcing, and reassuring—using contextually legitimate logic elements. Over time logic elements of each concern–response pair harmonized to enable individuals to enact their logics seamlessly and organizations to update the existing logic settlement to assimilate the societal change. We demonstrate that the way available logics are accessed and activated between pluralistic change agents and resisters can enable logic settlements to be updated in response to societal change. We draw insights about how logics do or do not constrain agency.

Order from Chaos: How Networked Activists Self-Organize by Creating a Participation Architecture

Source: Felipe G. Massa, Siobhan O’Mahony, Administrative Science Quarterly, OnlineFirst Published May 3, 2021
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From the abstract:
Collectives attempting to self-organize without relying on managerial control can leverage open, digital networks to foster information exchange and agility. But, as collectives grow, the open boundaries that enable the mobilization of participants and rapid exchange of ideas can give rise to new organizing challenges that make collective action untenable. We examine this tension by exploring how networked activists self-organize through open, digital networks to achieve shared aims without belonging to a common organization that supports their cause. With a seven-year, inductive field and archival study, we capture how activists from the Anonymous collective organized 70 protest actions while struggling to integrate newcomers and coordinate increasingly complex activities. Rather than succumb to chaos or managerial control, Anonymous learned to self-organize, gradually abandoning normative forms of control in favor of forms of architectural control. By creating a participation architecture—a sociotechnical framework that empowered technical experts and unobtrusively channeled newcomers to designated forums—networked activists enhanced their collective ability to coordinate complex, interdependent actions at scale. Our grounded theoretical model reveals how the challenges of self-organizing emerge with rapid growth and how these can be overcome by configuring architectural control.

Effecting Real Progress in Executive Diversity and Inclusion

Source: Adam Payne and Dana Kaminstein, MIT Sloan Management Review, February 24, 2021
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Why diversity and inclusion efforts often fail to produce the intended changes, and proactive approaches leaders can take.

Well-run companies expect good returns on their spending, and leaders who continue to support initiatives that don’t produce results usually find themselves demoted or fired. So why have the billions of dollars that many organizations have spent on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts produced so little substantive progress toward greater diversity?

Numerous reports indicate that the percentage of Black people in the leadership ranks of large U.S. companies hovers at just above 3%. This percentage remains persistently low despite large investments in diversity and inclusion training, the creation of offices of diversity and inclusion, and other companywide initiatives. Studies now indicate that DEI training rarely improves an organization’s record of hiring or promoting Black people. Companies that bemoan a dearth of qualified Black candidates for leadership roles rarely consider that the hiring process itself may disqualify potential applicants of color.

Aware of the ways in which organizations defend themselves against change that threatens their social structures, philosopher and social theorist Donald Schön noted that organizations will “fight like mad to stay the same.”…

Breaking the Cycle of Bias That Works Against Women Leaders

Source: Maryam Kouchaki, Burak Oc, and Ekaterina Netchaeva, MIT Sloan Management Review, March 31, 2021
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Women are presented job opportunities differently than men — depending on the hiring manager’s political ideology.

It turns out that gender bias in hiring and advancement is more pervasive than we thought.

While progress has certainly been made toward workplace gender parity — some companies, for example, are writing more gender-balanced performance reviews — the reality is that women are still underrepresented in private-sector leadership positions. There are likely multiple drivers of this. Outright discrimination — denying women jobs on the basis of their gender rather than their skill sets — is certainly one. But another, harder-to-detect factor can contribute to the leadership gap: the tendency of some organizational decision makers to subtly dissuade women from pursuing leadership roles….

Related:
It’s a man’s world! The role of political ideology in the early stages of leader recruitment
Source: Burak Oc, Ekaterina Netchaeva, Maryam Kouchaki, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 162, January 2021
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Highlights
• Conservatives describe a leadership position less positively to a female candidate.
• Liberals do not demonstrate such gender bias.
• Conservatives experience greater anxiety when communicating with female candidates.
• Anxious decision makers describe the position less positively to candidates.

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated the impact of political ideology on a wide variety of psychological and behavioral processes. Contributing to this research, we examine the effect of organizational decision makers’ political ideology and job candidates’ gender on how the decision makers communicate information about leadership positions to the candidate. In five studies, we demonstrate that decision makers who are more conservative exhibit gender bias by providing a female (versus male) candidate with a less positive description of a leadership position, an effect driven by the decision makers’ felt anxiety. We further show that making information on women’s success in leadership positions salient diminishes the effect of political ideology insofar as both more and less conservative decision makers will exhibit similar levels of positivity when communicating with a prospective female candidate. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

Redesigning the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Source: Gerald C. Kane, Rich Nanda, Anh Phillips, and Jonathan Copulsky, MIT Sloan Management Review, February 10, 2021
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Work as we know it is forever changed by COVID-19. Now is the time for managers to envision the office that employees will return to. …. The anticipated gradual return to colocated work in the coming months provides opportunities to experiment with hybrid ways of working. Returning to the office strategically, by focusing first on the activities best performed in person and, in the process, evaluating the effectiveness of both remote and colocated work, gives managers the ability to critically consider the ways in which a hybrid workplace might be more effective. ….

Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2021

The U.S. Department of Education, launched the Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse (the Clearinghouse) in accordance with Executive Order 14000 Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers. The Clearinghouse is designed to support young children, students, families, early childhood providers, teachers, faculty, and staff as early childhood education programs, schools, and campuses continue to reopen following closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The Clearinghouse will be a place to share and highlight best practices and lessons learned for operating safely during and after the pandemic submitted by early childhood providers, teachers, faculty, staff, early childhood programs, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, other places providing educational instruction and States.

Quantitative Data Tools for Service Sector Organizing

Source: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Suresh Naidu, Adam Reich, and Patrick Youngblood, New Labor Forum, February 2021
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…The fundamental problem for a labor organization is persuading individual workers to commit to personally costly (and often risky) actions that yield collective benefits for workers within a workplace and for the labor movement as a whole. Such collective action is critical for workers since the labor movement will always have a hard time matching business in terms of money, technology, and influence with elites and politicians. Instead, labor’s power lies in its ability to mobilize large numbers of everyday people, whether to strike, sign petitions, canvass voters, or even target their pension investments (see “Capital Strategies for the Common Good: A Tool for Labor’s Revival” by Patrick Dixon in this issue). Despite being the source of organized labor’s power, bursts of worker collective action are rare and difficult to sustain. What can be done to make such action easier in the current U.S. political climate, in which organized labor appears to have limited durable influence?

Modern quantitative social science provides some new tools to address this challenge. These tools have been used to allocate scarce resources, for example, matching medical residents with hospitals, allocating food donations across food banks, assessing tactics in political campaigns, and evaluating anti-poverty initiatives in developing countries….

Why the Rise of Remote Work May Help Companies Become More Diverse — and More Inclusive

Source: Samantha McLaren, LinkedIn Talent Blog, February 3, 2021

For companies that were able to transition predominantly to remote work at the outset of the pandemic, the past year has brought countless new discoveries and realizations. This is reflected in the still-evolving attitudes toward remote work: In December 2020, PwC found that 83% of employers felt the shift was a success, compared to 73% in June. What’s more, 52% of executives now report that employees are more productive than they were before the pandemic, up from 44% in the earlier survey.

A surprise bump in productivity isn’t the only unexpected outcome to emerge from this challenging situation. Some companies are recognizing that remote work could make it easier to attract and hire underrepresented talent that might not be abundant where their office is located. At the same time, many employees from underrepresented groups are hailing work-from-home as a stepping stone to greater inclusivity, helping them to bring their whole selves to work without facing unnecessary obstacles.

As you start to think about what happens after the pandemic, here are a few reasons why adopting a hybrid or fully remote workforce model in the long run could support your diversity, inclusion, and belonging efforts.

Remote work is the next diversity frontier

Source: Paul Estes, Fast Company, March 11, 2020

Organizations that don’t actively support remote work are limiting their capacity to engage with top talent.

…Every company wants to promote diversity and inclusion. In every industry, firms are creating executive-level chief diversity officer roles, and those people are tasked with running diversity and inclusion programs. Yet, those same companies do not yet understand the importance of making remote work a key part of their diversity and inclusion strategy.

Location as an element of diversity is not yet part of the conversation. It really needs to be.

Too much diversity policy is based on a desire for compliance, not on a genuine wish to restructure the way teams function. Did anyone ever do anything truly worthwhile because they wanted to avoid a lawsuit? The system gets in the way of what it’s supposed to accomplish because the underlying imperative is to take risk out of the equation….