Bauer Researcher Finds Family-Friendly Policies Benefit Organizations, Employees

Published on October 1, 2018

Management & Leadership Department Chair and Professor Steve Werner

Management & Leadership Department Chair and Professor Steve Werner

How do you keep gender discrimination out of the workplace?

Are there characteristics potential employees can look for when they’re considering a job, or try to build into their professional profile over the course of a career?

What practices can leaders implement or encourage to make sex discrimination less likely, for the sake of the well-being of their employees and their business?

Recent research from Steve Werner, professor and chair of Bauer College’s Department of Management & Leadership, suggests some things to look for that may be correlated with less gender discrimination:

  • A greater proportion of women employees in the workplace
  • Higher education levels among those employees
  • Higher participation in development activities

In “The Effects of Multi-level Signals on Sex Discrimination Experiences Among Female Employees,” published by Human Resource Management, Werner and colleagues report on a survey of employees in South Korea with implications for businesses everywhere.

“Although hiring a greater proportion of women in itself reduced discrimination experiences in staffing, our findings suggest that this effect carries over to all conditions of employment that were measured, including task assignment, salary (compensation), promotion, training opportunity, performance evaluation, and sexual harassment,” the researchers write. “This finding suggests that firms should be particularly vigilant against gender discrimination in hiring and should make every effort to increase the proportion of women in the organization (within legal constraints).”

Werner says the findings also suggest that the extent to which an organization has family-friendly policies can be used as an indicator of the likelihood of sex discrimination in organizations.

“We speculate based on our findings that developing, implementing and institutionalizing family-friendly policies may help organizations reduce sex discrimination experiences among women and avoid associated negative consequences.”