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Organizational Behavior: Case Study

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Case study-2

Julia Stasch (A)

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Section – B


Name | Roll No. | | | Archana Sharma | 2012074 | Ashish Saxena | 2012080 | Ayush N. Aggarwal | 2012085 | Bhavneet Singh Uppal | 2012092 | Chetan Chawhan | 2012100 | Deepak Chandak | 2012104 | Gaurav Kapshe | 2012119 |
Outline of the case

A. Introduction

Richard A Stein, an entrepreneur, established a company named Stein & company in 1971. In short span of time, company evolved with many parallel businesses like real estate services, development and construction consulting, tenant and landlord representation, brokerage, leasing, marketing, asset management and program management and got a privilege to be in fortune 500. In their construction business, they have worked with big giants like AMT, USG Corporation, U.S. General and the University of Chicago. By 1988, company was responsible for more than $1 billion worth of properties.

Julia Stasch, B.A. from Loyola University and an M.A. from University of Illinois, joined the company in 1976 as a secretary. Prior to this job she used to teach history in school and was enjoying a schedule that permits her for long vacations. Though, she was unhappy with her salary.

Initially the firm, in 1976, employed only four people, and Julia Stasch was one of them. Due to this she had great responsibilities, which consists of reviewing construction loan applications, inspection of work in progress and to lead daily operations. As company grew, Stasch’s position also grew. She started with Secretary, then Project coordinator, then Executive Vise president to Chief administrative officer.

Stasch’s vision was to empower women in construction industry and to support minority and women-owned businesses. She got this opportunity in 1984, when local government asked the firm to include affirmative action in a small project. Affirmative action is an action or policies to benefit underrepresented group in areas of employment, education and business.

After this project, the firm bid for AT&T, the telecommunication giant, by adding affirmative action component. And combination of business and social cause helped them to win the contract. Stasch with Joe Williams, affirmative action consultant, draw a strategy and made a task force. The work of task force was to define goals and strategy to achieve it. Task force worked out a handbook with details and rules for the contractors and sub contractors, if they want to work with them. They also helped women and minority owned firms with orientation sessions and with giving requisite certificates, bonding and insurance. This leads to success of affirmative action program and brought many awards from both task force and outsiders.

Affirmative action program did impact on construction industry but didn’t change male dominated construction jobs of Chicago. A verdict by Bill Townsend and Lauren Sugerman proves the same. Questioning about their upper body strength, the “Catch 22” Situation, rude comments, sexual harassment are some of the issues which makes difficult for women to survive in construction jobs. The happenings with Veronica Rose shows dirty picture of construction industry.

B. Objective

As construction industry is male dominated and women survival is difficult in the same. To find various ways or strategies by which women empowerment can be done in construction industry and to club this social cause with business for win-win situation.

C. Analysis

Background of the problem:

In this case, even after affirmative action program, minority and women-owned suppliers cannot change the male dominating thinking of construction industry. All the high ranked and high paying jobs were held by men. Sex discrimination and anti-women attitudes are still prevalent on worksites, despite the fact that sex discrimination is illegal.

Female construction workers suffer from gender and sexual harassment, a factor associated with low job satisfaction as well as psychological inadequate information and the lack of education and training, about workplace safety and health greatly concern women workers. The culture and attitudes of construction workers, supervisors, and companies about health and safety often condone risk taking and unsafe work practices, passing "bad" habits from one generation of workers to the next.

In the background we still have a cultural stereotype in our societies which associates masculinity with strength and power and femininity with tactfulness and sensitivity. And that is why anti-women attitude have dominance over construction industry. These expectations in turn create distinct social environments in which men and women learn to communicate and deal with conflict in quite different ways. The assumptions that root the frequent argument are that woman is physically not strong to endure this strenuous task. When entering the gender segregated occupations, these women need to prove their competence despite their qualifications and experiences.
Among the common barriers are social acceptances of employment, sexually-inappropriate occupation, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, physical incapability, unqualified for blue-collar jobs and labour conditions such as extreme weather, unsociable work-hours and exposure to hazards.

Various incidents in this case are hypothesis to this context:

1. Stasch being aware of AT&T’s attempts to support minority-owned vendors and suppliers, she suggested that Stein & Company should distinguish its bid by including a strong affirmative action component which bought success and Stein & Company got the project to build AT&T’s headquarter building. 2. Affirmative action achieved new heights when more than 100 minority and women-owned contractors and sub-contractors worked on AT&T’s project, and 23% i.e. about $37 million of the aggregate construction dollars went to these firms. 3. Male workers often made rude comments, played hurtful pranks, committed sexual harassments and sometimes deliberately put women in physical danger. A CWIT study stated that- 88% women workers were subject to picture of naked or partially dressed, 83% unwelcome sexual remarks, 80% faced problem of no toilets or dirty toilets, 60% being given heaviest or dirtiest assignments, 57% being touched or asked for sex. 4. A male co-worker paused by the ladder on which Veronica Rose was working, looked her over and urinated on the bottom rung. Rose had already been threatened with being pushed off from high floor of Manhattan Construction site. She had to face a punch which fractured her jaw by the foreman, whose sexual advances she had snubbed. Once, Rose was pushed into a supply closet by a co-worker and nearly raped.

Various alternatives to find the solution:

Occupational Segregation:

Occupational segregation is one of the barriers which prevents women and men from fulfilling their potential in the labour market, and consequently contributes to the pay gap. According to one perspective, occupational segregation is grounded in biology; men’s and women’s jobs to a significant degree reflect innate skills, abilities, and preferences that result in women working as elementary school teachers and men as auto mechanics. According to this perspective, women tend to self-select into jobs that allow them to balance work and family responsibilities, putting them out of running jobs that require large commitments of time and energy. Employers should use occupational segregation to determine the pay scale of workers irrespective of gender which can bring a gender justice in society.

Reduced gender gaps in primary school education:

Education may be an important precondition to women empowerment, but it does not guarantee that empowerment. For this to occur, women must also enjoy equal rights with men, equal economic opportunities, use of productive assets, freedom from drudgery, equal representation in decision-making bodies, and freedom from the threat of violence and coercion.
Most important, education must serve as the vehicle for transforming attitudes, beliefs and entrenched social norms that sustain discrimination and inequality. Data around the world shows that increased education is associated with the empowerment of women. Educated women are more effective at improving their own well being and that of their family. These empowering effects of women education are manifested in a variety of ways, including increased income earning potential, decision making autonomy, control over their own fertility and participation in public life.

Gender Equality and Empowerment of women:

A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy will help them to manage their own lives. It will bring gender justice, greater opportunity and better quality of life so that equality is achieved at high level of well beings.

Other Practically Applicable Solutions: -

* Contractors should be made clear that if any case of women harassment is reported against them, then they will be barred from applying in any of the further projects. * Women workers should be motivated and encouraged to raise voice against any such incidence happened with them and come forward and report about it to the management. * Should encourage labour unions and employers to include sexual harassment prevention training in safety and health programs. * Review all communication materials to ensure that they are gender neutral and include women. Visual materials (videos, posters, pictures, etc.) should include examples of female construction workers to promote an integrated construction workplace. * To address the problem of workplace isolation of female construction workers should assign female workers in pairs.

Best Proposed Solution:

Government should enforce the prominent safety for women workers. Company should amend the rules for contractors that in case of women harassments, contractor’s company will be barred for further biddings.
To establish gender neutral work culture all the above mention solutions has to implement on a long term basis.

D. Conclusion

In this case we had seen that has the construction labour force becomes more diversified, the construction industry as a whole cannot afford to overlook the genuine problem regarding the safety concerns of female construction workers. These issues merit attention to and action by, all those who share responsibility in the arena of construction safety and health. With the above proposed solution we can empower women as social and economic participants - A first step in the journey towards socio-economic development. And we will be able to provide them a safe and healthy environment in construction companies.

The employment of progressive values and externally-motivated philosophies practices can enhance overall corporate health in two important areas. First it will enhance the productivity of corporation. Second it will positively affect the outside stakeholder. Sticking to the values and causes for social benefit will help the organisation to grow.
E. Managerial learning derived from the case

By analysing this case we learned that the creative change strategies implemented by one executive can help in upbringing of minority and women in society and organisation. And how one individual can create social changes? Business can encourage the workforce diversity in organisation. Stasch was having wide latitude of responsibilities in company. But Stasch was making huge efforts to increase the use of minority and women suppliers on Stein’s projects. Being a manager we can create plans and strategies within organisation which can create a positive change in society.
For the social economical development of society, gender justice is necessary.

References: -

1. An Introduction to the Sociology of Work and Occupations
By- Rudy R. Volti 2. The Future of gender
Cambridge University Press- Jude Browne

References: - 1. An Introduction to the Sociology of Work and Occupations By- Rudy R. Volti 2. The Future of gender Cambridge University Press- Jude Browne

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