Research: When Employees Identify with Their Company, They’re Less Likely to Recognize Gender Discrimination

Identifying as an organizational member — or feeling a strong sense of attachment to the organization — is generally a positive thing for employees and employers. But our research on workplace incivility and mistreatment shows that it can also shape when — and if — employees recognize and respond to subtle forms of discrimination against women at work. Evidence shows that leaders, as well as employees, play a key role in identifying and remedying gender discrimination in all its forms. If the goal is to proactively address gender discrimination in the workplace and encourage leaders and workers to remove their rose-colored glasses, this article offers a few suggestions.

You’re in the elevator of your office building. The doors open and two coworkers — one male and one female — enter the elevator in a heated debate. The female employee is trying to explain an issue on a project she’s leading, but the male employee interrupts her: “Geez, I’ve heard enough of you and your opinions!” The woman falls silent, clearly upset and shaken by the comment.

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