Unmasking Men

Topics: Oil platform, Gender, Drilling rig Pages: 2 (681 words) Published: October 4, 2011
Unmasking Manly Man
Rigoberto Magana
Excelsior College

During a 19 month study of life on two oil platforms that included living, eating, and working alongside crews offshore, the key finding was that extinguishing macho behavior is vital to achieving top performance. Oil rigs are dirty, dangerous, and demanding workplaces that have traditionally encouraged displays of masculine strength, daring, and technical prowess. Over the past 15 years or so the platforms have shifted this macho type of culture to one where men can admits their mistakes and ask for help when needed. These workers shifted their focus from proving their masculinity to larger, more compelling goals: maximizing the safety and well being of coworkers and dong their jobs effectively. Their altered stance revealed two things: First, that much of their macho behavior was not only unnecessary but actually got in the way of doing their job; and second, that their notion about what constituted strong leadership needed to change. These changes in work practices, norms, perceptions, and behaviors were implemented company wide. The company’s accident rate declined by 84%, while productivity, efficiency, and reliability increased beyond the industry’s previous benchmark. If men in the hyper masculine environment of oil rigs can let go of their macho ideal and improve their performance, then men in corporate America might be able to do likewise. Numerous studies have showed that men’s attempt to prove their masculinity interfere with the training of recruits, comprise decision quality, marginalize women workers, lead to civil and human rights violations, and alienate men from their health, feeling, and relationship with other. By creating conditions that focus requirements of the jobs, rather than on stereotypical images believed to equate with competence, organization can free employees to do their best work. How do the concepts of roles and norms figure into this case? Norms: “is an...
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