Op-Ed: How to Overcome Unconscious Gender Bias?
Posted 9.15.17Diana Bilimoria, professor of Organizational Behavior & instructor for the Leadership Lab for Women in STEM, pens this Op-Ed for IndustryWeek.
Diana Bilimoria, professor of organizational behavior & instructor for the Leadership Lab for Women in STEM™ wrote an op-ed for IndustryWeek looking at what organizations can change to overcome the real problem of unconscious gender bias:
Achieving benefits through organizational change is nothing new to manufacturers. Numerous companies in a wide range of industries have adopted process improvement programs such as Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Total Quality Management and other initiatives – all with highly successful outcomes.
The key to success for all of these programs is full-scale commitment. It begins with top management, who must make it clear that these initiatives are necessary for the company to achieve its most important goals, and that commitment must cascade throughout every part of the organization to ensure every individual contributes to the effort. Piecemeal and ad hoc initiatives cannot do the job; rather organizational transformation occurs through systematic, multi-level, multi-dimensional, and simultaneously enacted organizational innovations. These initiatives are targeted, well-resourced, and supported by executive sponsorship. They introduce a new mindset and language.
In many cases, these transformational efforts target ineffective processes and practices that are deep-seated within an organization’s culture. Entrenched habits and widely held beliefs must be overcome so that better practices can be adopted.
Similarly, the subtle effects of unconscious gender bias are often unrecognized and deeply rooted in an organization’s culture. To eliminate this unseen but pervasive bias, which can inhibit a company from achieving its full potential, the drive for gender equity must become institutionalized within the organization. Efforts to remove the barriers that prevent women from advancing in manufacturing must be truly transformational in nature.
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