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Women in the Workplace: The Hidden Battle


Throughout our history, women have adopted new roles from working as a housewife to entering the workplace and providing for their family or oneself. As women entered the workplace, we saw issues of sexual harassment, unequal pay and opportunity starting to emerge. These issues are still seen and frequently voiced today as women are continuously taking a stand for their rights. Unfortunately, there are many issues that go unnoticed that need to be addressed. Every day women have to prove that they are just as good or better than their counterparts and when they fail to do so they are labeled as weak, incompetent or just plain lazy.

In the recent years, the discrepancy between men and women has hardly narrowed down. As per statistics, even though roughly the same number of men and women enter the corporate world, it is not odd to see that the percentage of men who climb up the managerial positions are double that of women (Fuhrmans, 2017). A Woman generally has three different stages in her career and with every stage comes a different challenge. Take note that even though there is no particular challenge that emerges within a certain stage, we do see common denominators that go hand in hand with certain stages.

Stage one

Typically women in this stage are young and just starting out in their career and are very ambitious, wanting to climb the corporate ladder. It is in this stage that women are most likely to be subjected to sexual harassment. Being at an entry level position and trying to move up is difficult and some men may try and use that to their advantage. Many women are seen as objects rather than a human being and are preyed against by males. We see sexual harassment being conducted in a number of ways. Such as men in authoritative positions trying to use their title and power to attract and control women. Men who conduct such acts tend to pick on women whom they think are easy targets, would have no one to turn to and who would not be able to stand up for their own rights (Reddy 2017). Sexual harassment is a common issue that all women want to eradicate. This is one of the most shameful and grave challenges that women face at the workplace.

Another challenge women face during this stage is finding a role model, someone they can look up to. Nowadays there are a lot of both men and women leaders in the workplace but very few female role models that other women can look up to. Men leaders tend to train those that look up to them to be like them and when women turn to males as role models, they receive a different result than what a male would see. Since men and women think and communicate differently, it therefore causes women who seek help from men to feel detached and disoriented (Reddy, 2017). We do see some women turning to other female coworkers that are on the same level as them for guidance or learning to make their own path.

Stage two

Stage two typically emerges for women who want start a family and become mothers. Naturally, we see the family becoming a dominant priority and the career coming second. The work-life balance is always a hidden battle for women as throughout centuries women were seen as the sole homemakers and as somebody who would take care of the family at home. Nowadays it is not always set and stone for which parent will take time of to stay at home with the child when it’s born. When women are the ones to take time off and go on maternity leave, we do not see less challenges emerging for them. Maternity leave is not so much of a hidden challenge, but it is one that should be made aware of. Most women who go on maternity leave tend to do so near the newborn’s delivery date and after the baby is born. What needs to be made aware is the stress and discomfort women feel as they work during the nine-month pregnancy. Women not only have to carry and care for another human being inside of them but they also have to deliver the same amount of work productivity and expectations. It is hard for soon-to-be mothers to keep stress levels low and be in a healthy state of mind when they still have to prepare and give presentations at office meetings and ensure to hit tight deadlines all while their bodies are changing (Reddy, 2017).

It sometimes doesn’t get any easier for women once they come back after maternity leave as they have more obstacles to face. Some women are thrown back into the heavy workload they had before leaving while others have to prove their worth to the company all over again. Thankfully we are starting to see changes occurring to help women bridge the gap of returning to work from maternity leave, as corporate firms are now introducing flexible policies for women (Reddy, 2017).

Third stage

The third stage directly correlates with stage two as children are now grown up and house responsibilities for the mother have subsided. We see women shifting their focus to their careers again but are faced with an enormous challenge. It is easier for women who choose to work part time or flexible hours when they were raising their children to transfer back into full time work. Those who took a leave of absence from work for an extended period of time have great trouble reentering the job market. They are seeing that large changes have occurred as technology advances and women are finding it more difficult to get their foot in the door again than when they first entered the job market. Not having recent work experience or keeping updated with where their specific industry is going are all factors that hinder the likelihood of women who took time off taking care of their children to find work in their field again.

Another major issue that arises in stage three is ego clashing. As women climb the corporate ladder and reach management and senior positions, it may cause ego clashing as some men consider themselves superior to women. Some men try to surpass their female manager, look for faults or they may simply not cooperate with orders given to them. It is challenging for women to have to deal with and it is sometimes beneficial to find alternative approaches in communicating and handling difficult people.

Power play politics in the workplace have been in place for a while now and men were seen as the only players. We are now starting to see power struggles occur, as women are starting to fight back and not surrender power to men. Women have to work vigorously to survive these power play politics and for some it is a crucial part for them to get hired in upper management (Reddy, 2017). Meanwhile, a lot of men are automatic contenders and go through far less scrutiny and obstacles to be considered for certain roles. Power play politics takes a lot of hardship out on a women and it sometimes can disturb ones emotional and mental peace. Power play is one such challenge that all women have to deal with no matter what sector they work in (Reddy, 2017). It is an unfortunate part of our society but women are starting to make real head way in the issue.


Challenges are found at every stage of life and not just in the workforce. It is important to move out of comfort zones and explore different avenues and for a lot of women, the more challenges they face, the more satisfaction they get from their achievements. While all these things are imminent for a well-rounded personality, some of the workplace battles which women face every day hinder their overall well being. There is a lot of energy and effort that women put into overcoming these challenges and issues in hopes that one day, women won’t have to go through the same obstacles and challenges that they did.


Fuhrmans, V. (2017). The Hidden Battle fo the Sexes at work. Retrieved 12 11, 2017, from The Wall Street Journal:

Reddy, K. (2017). Women in the Workplace: Top 10 Issues and Challenges. Retrieved 12 08, 2017, from Wise


The Gender Wage Gap Explained

Many famous individuals have used the quote “Women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes”, and although this fact is statistically true, there is a lot that is unexplained in it. The above fact only compares the two median wages of men and women and does not factor into account how the wage gap plays out in individuals with different education levels, different occupations or different ages. These factors are very important to take into account if we want to ever close the gender wage gap.

To explain much of the argument on the gender wage gap, I must first state that economists have modeled wages through the Mincer Wage Equation, which can be stated as:

The equation above can be interpreted as log wages is a function of the years of schooling, plus the amount of career experience, and career experience squared, and an error term and a constant term for other unaccounted for factors. In simpler words, employers reward employees for the amount of schooling and experience they hold.

Child-bearing responsibilities

June O’Neill wrote a paper in 2003 studying the gender wage gap in the US economy by looking at two population surveys. In his conclusion, he writes, “As I have shown in this paper, the unadjusted gender gap can be explained to a large extent by nondiscriminatory factors. Those factors are unlikely to change radically in the near future unless the roles of women and men in the home become more nearly identical.”

What June O’Neill meant to convey in her conclusive remarks is that much of the gender wage gap can be attributed to the fact that females are the only sex that is biologically able to produce offspring. It is not a discriminatory attribute that women have the ability to give birth, and this ability has continuously led to the difference in the amount men and women earn.

What usually tends to happen after college graduation in today’s labour market is after holding a stable job for a few years, when women are in their mid-twenties and thirties, they usually take some time off to give birth and nurture the child after birth. In a study conducted by Bertrand, Goldin and Katz to examine the gender wage gap in MBA graduates, they state that one of the principal reasons why there exists a big gender wage gap between men and women is that in the first fifteen years post-graduation, women take on more career interruptions and work shorter weeks because of household responsibilities. The study also finds that even though some women took modest breaks from work for parental leave, the labour market penalized these breaks greatly. The discontinuity in a professional career during this age is also the prime time to build one’s career.

Such discontinuity is penalized by a lower wage, and this is quite fair because the said individual took time off during a time where they could be obtaining prime experience in their careers. June O’Neill finds that 34% of women with children under the age of six were out of the work force between the ages of 25-44 compared to only 16% of women who were out of the workforce who did not have children. Making the choice to have a child is a quite strong indication of work discontinuity which will directly lead to a loss in experience gain and a lower wage.

Career choice

The science behind the labour market is centralized around human capital theory, where employees are rewarded with wages for their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and do so efficiently.

Again, it is no secret that some careers are better paid in today’s world than others. This is a harsh reality in some underpaid occupations, but in other cases, it is quite justifiable. Rewarding an occupation like a surgeon to perform life-saving operations is very fair in my opinion.

“The expectation of withdrawals from the labour force and the need to work fewer hours during the week are likely to influence the type of occupations that women train for and ultimately pursue” – O’Neill, 2003. This statement in his paper is given by examining the career choices that women have chosen and how they came to the decisions that they did through population surveys. Women tend to lean towards occupations where there is more leniency towards career discontinuity and careers where part-time worked is more readily available. A direct example of this is the nursing versus doctor industry, where most nurses are women. Nurses hold set shifts and know exact times when they will be working and so is more favourable to a mother who has to care for a child. As an emergency doctor that can be called in at any time during the day, your shifts can vary a lot and it would make life difficult to care for a child and be on-call at a hospital.


Much of the gender wage gap can be explained by the two factors that are outlined above. The fact that women take breaks during their working life to nurture children and build their households, and that women choose careers that are more flexible in the hours that employees are required to work, which is a result of the time off women need to take to have children.

Although this explains a lot of the gender wage gap, there is evidence to support that some of the wage gap is purely discriminatory. But there is some good news to accompany this, Pew Research Centre conducted a study that found that “The gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, particularly among younger workers…” and so there is some hope that someday we will be able to eliminate the gender wage gap completely.


Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2017, April 03). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Retrieved August 11, 2017, from

O’Neill, J. (2003). The Gender Gap in Wages. The American Economic Review, 93(2), 309-314. Retrieved August 7, 2017, from

Bertand, M., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2010). Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2, 228-255. Retrieved August 04, 2017, from

This article was written by volunteer Mohammadali Saleh.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Journey to Diversity Workplaces.


Ethics, organisational culture and behaviours

I. Introduction

One of the big issues in ethics is the basic problem of how to create an ethical culture within

an organisation i.e. how culture shapes organisational behaviour. We have heard a lot about

how culture influences organisation by driving organisational behaviour. It is true that the

workforce is becoming more of a knowledge workforce and they are now not treated as being

“naturally lazy” or can only be motivated by money (suggested as Taylor theory – one of the

neoclassical management theories). Hence, excessive controls or rules might not be as

efficient as it used to be to curb employees’ behaviours. Culture then becomes a modern way

to manipulate organisational behaviours. It is obvious that, people might be reluctant to rules

because they have their own judgements. Moreover, the reverse psychology problem is so

common that when something becomes rule, people would try to figure out a way to get

away with it. Therefore, culture is then a perfect solution of diverting behaviour by the norm

without forcing anyone to obey it. This essay will analyse different approaches in the issue of

aligning ethics to culture so as to accelerate ethical behaviours.

II. The relationship between culture and ethics

Anand, Ashford and Joshi’s paper (2004) by analysing the most well-known corruption

scandals (Enron, Worldcom, etc.) has figured out their common features which are partly

created by rationalisation tactics and socialisation tactics. This means that rationalisation

allows people to justify their corruption and if this is collective used, new employees would

be affected accordingly and commit unethical acts (Appendix 1). Thus, culture considering as

the act of the norm cannot be ignored within an organisation as it drives ethical behaviours.

With the help of a euphemistic language, social cocoon and group attractiveness, the

rationalisation tactics and socialisation process become more intertwiningly facilitated, which

in turns leads to organisational corruption (Appendix 1). Ethical behaviour among employees

ensures that employees complete work with honesty and integrity. This is where the “magic”

happens after the tone of the top (particularly in ethics) has been passed down. The power

of the norm plays an important role in diverting behaviour because acting to what most of

other people do satisfies individual social needs. However, ethics can guide behaviours by the

code of ethics or policies and rules (which align the organisational goals). Having said that,

those rules should only establish a guidance or framework which help people make ethical

decisions. Furthermore, sometimes being ethical is actually self-harm. The clear example is

that most whistle-blowers after reporting wrongdoings because the feel it is ethical to do so,

are shamed against, got redundant, etc. all sort of bad consequences. Then, the norm power

is now actually more harmful and it acts as the “bad side of the blade”.

On the other hand, Anderson and Englebardt (2007) have explained this relationship by

various ways. They started by arguing that organisation involves a commitment of

relationship with a common identity of membership. Hence, the culture if formed by

communication and structures, which make culture greater than the definition of the norm.

Indeed, “Culture involves major systems of ideology and practice that constitute the

conditions of our daily affairs” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007), which is more than just

shared values. This requires organisations to establish the right membership identity and

framework of action that is culturally embedded. Therefore, culture would relate to ethics in

terms of the “interrelationships between the true and the good – between the knowledge

that justifies and the values that qualify” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007).

Militaru and Zanfir (2012) also shows the influence of organisational culture on ethical

principles internationally. In fact, organisational culture and ethical behaviour are

interdependent and this provides firms a competitive advantage in the long term. Hence,

once the culture is embedded, it is difficult to implement as it represents collective perception

of all individuals to the business values, morals and beliefs (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012). Thus,

“the economical performances of every company are influenced, sooner or later, by the

manner of applying business ethics” (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012).

Some researches have studied this relationship empirically. Valentine and Barnett (2003)

concluded that ethics code awareness and organisational commitment (as components of

organisational culture) are driven by perception; an ethics code awareness existing within a

company suggests higher ethical values and higher level of organisational commitment. Bejou,

Ennew and Palmer (1998) reveal a more particular relationship in the financial services sector

that customer perceive their satisfaction on many factors and ethics is one of them. According

to the authors, ethics directly affects satisfaction via the relationship quality but it also

influences satisfaction indirectly via trust factor along with customer orientation, expertise

and sale orientation. Obviously, ethics contributing to satisfactory customer relationships

assists enhancing organisational performance. Another similar study assessing employee

satisfaction (Koh and Boo, 2004), “indicates significant and positive links between ethical

culture constructs (i.e. top management support for ethical behaviour and the association

between ethical behaviour and career success within the organisation) and job satisfaction”.

Therefore, management is suggested to encourage organisational ethics to manipulate

organisational outcomes.

III. The problems of creating an ethical culture

Defining ethical behaviour

According to Business Dictionary, having ethical behaviour means “acting in ways consistent

with what society and individuals typically think are good values”. If we are considering the

culture environment in an individual society, following the norm does not necessarily mean

the act is ethical. Moreover, it also depends on individual perceptions as well. One person’s

ethical values are not the same as others. In addition, the ethical values of the norm changes

through time. For examples, Hilary Clinton used to be an anti-LGBT leader but when she ran

for the president, she actually changed and supported it just to allegedly adapt to the norm.

Therefore, it’s important to set the right culture to reflect what is truly ethical internally and

externally to the wider society. Since “the ethical philosophy an organisation uses to conduct

business can affect the reputation, productivity and bottom line of the business” (Kelchener,

n.d.), organisations have to constantly tailor and implement their ethical frameworks to align

with the demand of the society’s ethical necessities.

As the businesses are now more socially oriented rather than economically responsible,

culture seems to become the key in driving collective mind-set of individuals. Hence, Militaru

and Zanfir (2012) has argued that culture has to be managed by considering different level of

collective “mental programming” to drive behaviour at individual, collective and universal

level. Moreover, morality is also included in the definition of organisational culture. Internally,

what morally drives the perception of an ethical culture could be the board, company’s values

and history; or external factors such as national culture, technical, juridical or economic

factors could have impacted culture accordingly (Militaru and Zanfir, 2012). Lozano (1998)

explained the critical relationship of ethics and corporate cultures that this link is exposed

from 2 perspectives: corporate culture is part of the factors institutionalising ethics and

corporate culture is the base of forming corporate ethics. This is said to cause many

confusions in creating a corporate culture, since companies have to approach things

differently depending on which side of those perspectives they perceive. For example,

organisations deciding on their processes have to deal with the core cultural identity values

(difficult to change) or with expressions of culture (easy to change) (Lozano, 1998). Only when

companies are able to understand this, the definition and the execution of a corporate culture

could be emerged within an organisation.

Therefore, the relationship between ethics and culture seems to be Intricate due to different

paradigms being perceived. “The concept needs to be defined broadly enough to include

basic elements for a comprehensive definition, and it must be defined distinctly enough to

facilitate the examination of the concept” (Smith and Hume, 2005), especially for

organisations when they try to create or implement their culture.

Trust is everything

The mechanism of ethics and culture is interrelated with some factors such as the economic

and politic system (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007). It is a fact that trust in the economy is

fierce because it involves resources allocation (i.e. values determining). The reason is that

trusts help justifying for action and acts as the invisible hands so that the market goes back

to equilibrium from time to time. Culture maybe embedded in the economy that it entails

obligation and, and obligation entails morality (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007); However,

the reality is more complicated as multiple market economies are having obligations which

compete or contradicting. More importantly, the social system is the one which creates trusts.

Recently due to many events, the people seem to loose trust from the social system from

many huge political events such as the Scotland referendum, the Brexit, Donald Trump got

elected, etc. As Sir Bischoff (2016), the chairman of the financial reporting council, has said

that something must be done to restore trust and building confidence in business and

corporate sector in order to enhance economic development. Indeed, without trust, the

ethical values become more unstable than ever. For example, supporting Trump does not

mean that one person is unethical. However, most of his sayings are unethical from being

very racist to unreasonable (asking Mexico paying for the Wall); it is hard not to associate

Trump supporters with supporting unethical behaviours. The attention brings to the point

that the whole America is being divided just because of the ethical values associated with


It is stated by Kimmel (2015) that trust is more superior than compliance and ethics because

compliance requires enforcement, whereas, ethics and trusts are voluntary. Also, ethics is a

subset of trusts and being ethical does not guarantee trustworthiness. Hence, many papers

have claimed that “trust is essential for understanding interpersonal and group behaviour,

managerial effectiveness, economic exchange and social or political stability” (Hosmer, 1995).

In particular, trust within an organisation is proved to influence the association between

ethical environment and employee engagement (Hough, Green and Plumlee, 2016). In other

words, employee’ perception of an organisation’s ethics influences their behaviours in

engaging more in their work because they are more likely trust the organisation. Trust is such

an important factor in driving ethical culture; however, it is a personal choice. Hence, there

exists a challenge of how to making people place trust in the organisation in terms of ethics.

Without trust, the rationalisation of norm towards ethical behaviour would be non-existent.

In addition, the code of ethics might not be powerful enough to drive ethical behaviour

because the employees do not trust the organisation. Newer generations facing threat of

redundancy from financial crisis or technology advancement do not trust the organisations as

much as the previous generation did that they expected to stay with a company and work

there for the rest of their lives. Therefore, the degree of trust and loyalty to an organisation

has changed and it is a challenge for managers to figure out a way to gain trust so that it drives

ethical behaviours. As Brien (1998) has stated that “the culture is one that seeks to promote

trust in the profession and trust worthiness as a virtue exemplified in each individual”; thus

culture of trust would lead to ethical behaviours “at first by the hand, then through the heart”.

Culture Matters More than Codes

Militaru and Zanfir (2012) stated that “culture of ethical rules to meet up society’s expectation

but it does not provide instant benefits to firms”. It is true that corporate culture is proven to

gives companies with better competitive advantages and, eventually, superior profitability.

Nonetheless, those are long term so, with the short-termism concern of the management to

manage expectation, the culture might be neglected. Besides, in the long term, all companies

will be having what they called “corporate culture”, which does not make having a culture

unique as a competitive advantage anymore. Hence, this threatens the recognition of the

invisible benefits bringing by culture, or ethical culture in particular. Lozano (1998) referred

to this issue by a simple question “Do organizations have a culture or are they a culture?”.

Obviously, thinking organisation itself as a culture is better helping firms focus more on the

culture side of it without imposing culture as the sake of having it.

The pressure of having an ethical culture might be there but organisations focus too little on

how to manage it. Obviously, promoting an ethical culture just for the sake of having it

without enforcement will not work and it does not contribute anything to the organisation at

all. It would be a continuous process of understanding, improving, sustaining the ethical

behaviours. Specifically, implementation has to reflect what is perceived as general principles

and values of an organisation. The code of ethics or policies could be useful tool in shaping

culture as they established a baseline of what should be done and what should not. To

continuously improve and sustain this, it is essential to notice the effects of business

environment to ethics up to standards. Organisation also need to educate people and rewards

people to encourage ethical behaviours so that they can benefit the most from an ethical


Statistics from LRN (Marketwired, 2017) reported that management is trying to foster ethics

and compliance but it is just for the purpose of ticking the checklists. Specifically, 90% of chief

ethics & compliance officers agreed that their middle managers are able to communicate the

code and 70% ethics officers holds leaders accountable for their ethical behaviour.

Nevertheless, not many managers are aware of their responsibility of implementing or

actively supporting the code. Evidently, “too many companies don’t do anything with the

documents; they simply paste them on the wall to impress employees, customers, suppliers,

and the public” (Donaldson, 1996).

Enron is one of the great example in illustrating that “business ethics is a question of

organizational “deep” culture rather than of cultural artifacts like ethics codes, ethics officers

and the like” (Sims and Brinkmann, 2003). From a company with the status of being economic

and ethical, Enron’s collapse emphasises the intrinsic value between words and deeds. All of

those established code and procedures did not shed a line on the true culture of the company

where it is so competitive that employees were pushed to stretch the rules further and

further until the limits of ethical conduct are easily overlooked in the pursuit of the next big

success” (Sims and Brinkmann, 2003). The competitive culture creates pressures on earning

expectation over the boundary of what is ethically acceptable, while their ethical policies

were left in negligence.

Cultural conflicts

Culture does not stop at individual or group level; it could be extended to a larger paradigm

such as national level. It is obvious that, if culture means what people do things around here,

different countries may impose different ethical standards, values, conduct and culture. For

examples, many acquisitions made my Canadian banks in the US failed because of the ethical

culture of the banking industry in both countries. Canadian banks obey the “know your

customer rules” when accepting but US banks focus more on building customer base by their

network (asking a university friend to make a loan). Hence, it might be unethical in Canada to

bypass some of the “know your customer” criteria but it is how they do retail banking in the

US. Furthermore, the specific culture embedded in a country could be potentially affecting

business culture. As illustrated in Appendix 2 by Alas (2006), in a culture with undesired

practices, more undesired practices lead to higher need for ethical values and vice versa.

“People feel that they need some kind of regulation mechanism in an aggressive society, a

mechanism with strong interest groups and a strong hierarchy” (Alas, 2006). Reversely, a

culture full of desired practices where ethical values are well established, the need for ethics

is not as high. Thus, different ethical values across countries or subcultures creates cultural

conflicts, especially for multinational companies.

It is stated that organisational values would be more visible and effective if “values are

selected by leadership to make sure everyone understands what the organization stands for,

including ethical behaviour and social responsibility” (Ferrell and Ferrell, 2011). Another

example could be that the CFA institute established their professional code and ethical

standards as a principles based so that when they got into an ethical culture conflict situation,

the standards would guide them to solve the dilemma. For instance, if a CFA member lives in

a country with no security law and does business in a country with less strict law than the CFA

standards; he must adhere to the CFA standards (CFA institute, 2016). Davidson (1996) also

argued that many managers came working overseas then returned shortly after due to the

culture conflict of development and conflict of tradition. This is when the concept of the

“moral free space” emerges (good activity might be considered bad in other culture).

Therefore, it is suggested that “codes of conduct must be explicit to be useful, but they must

also leave room for a manager to use his or her judgment in situations requiring cultural

sensitivity” (Davidson, 1996).

IV. How to create an ethical culture?

“The leaders of a business may create an ethical culture by exhibiting the type of behaviour

they’d like to see in employees” (Kelchener, n.d.). The code of ethics seems to be a great tool

in curbing ethical behaviours. However, the tone at the top seems to be more important. A

research from Toor and Ofori (2009) reveal that ethical leadership plays a mediating role in

the relationship between employee outcomes and organizational culture. Specifically,

“ethical leadership is positively and significantly associated with transformational leadership,

transformational culture of organization, contingent reward dimension of transactional

leadership, leader effectiveness, employee willingness to put in extra effort, and employee

satisfaction with the leader” (Toor and Ofori, 2009). We can see that people from Trump’s

cabinet are the ones who have the same philosophy as him. Deregulation, for instance, could

ruin the corporate governance system to ensure market functions ethically and people have

spent years developing it. I am really curious to know what will happen when this tone of the

top is passed down to organisations, society and individuals. Some signs have been shown

from the fact that Uber is still accepted by people even though it has a bad reputation of a

very unethical of culture from the CEO (lack of respect for employees, arrogant, etc.) to

company image (“male-dominated, high octaine investment banking” – Leigh, 2017) and


It is suggested that managers should develop more “humane and future-oriented practices”

depending on the characteristic of a specific entity and its ethical dimensions (Alas, 2006).

According to Alas (2006), over-regulated should be abandoned because the internal

mechanism would “encourage creative solutions, risk taking, and learning from mistakes”.

This inner mechanism is also said to lead by collectivism of the entity itself instead of group

collectivism. Moreover, “Managers should avoid aggressiveness in social relationships and

also avoid high levels of power distance” (Alas, 2006). Hence, given the importance of the

code, it should not be overpowered.

Sinclar (1993) discussed two main approaches managers to improve organisational ethics via

culture: the unitary culture approach and the subcultural approach. An organisation with a

unitary culture consider ethics bring in common shared values but it does not always lead to

morality because it excludes self-reflection. On the other side, subcultures within an

organisation nurture ethics from self-reflecting instead of imposing standards. By

understanding this, managers could better reflect cultures and get the best mix of each into

the organisation.

The role of the Board is also important in “establishing and delivering the right behaviours

and importantly the right incentives” (Bischoff, 2016). They can do this by applying the

mechanism illustrated in Appendix 3. It is obvious that one the culture of Ethics and

Compliance is embedded, companies have to continuously implement and assess it using the

factors specified in the chart with the principle performance of people, process and

technology. As the environment is changing dynamically, ethical values could be successfully

reflected in culture using this mechanism.

V. Conclusion

The individuals’ moral structure is so complex than what any organization includes as their

culture. “By a careful examination of a culture that flourishes under the concept of organizing,

a moral organisation is continuously making decisions based on ethical considerations, mixed

with political systems, and social enactments” (Anderson and Englebardt, 2007). Poor culture

would lead to a widespread of bad behaviour, which in turns will taint the organisation

ethically. “For that we require a concerted effort to improve the integrity of business and its

connectivity with society” (Bischoff, 2016). As mentioned above, the Code should be tailored

to the best suitable practice in each organisation. As the value ethics brings into the

organisation is intangible and long term, it is necessary to measure it with the right proxy so

that it is well transferred and interpreted within the organisation. Moreover, Bischoff (2016)

has stated that “we need to promote a culture in our organisations that resonates with

employees and other stakeholders important to us, as much as with the top management”.

Hence, companies that are on the way of designing an ethical culture should analyse what

values are best perceived by their employees and clients in terms of cultures. For the ones

with the culture already emplaced, they should continuously enforce, assess and improve it.


Alas, R., 2006. Ethics in countries with different cultural dimensions. Journal of Business

Ethics, 69, pp.237–247.

Anand, V., Ashford, B., E., and Joshi, M., 2004. Business as usual: The acceptance and

perpetuation of corruption in organizations. Academy of Management executive, 18(2),


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Sexual Harassment Interventions

Sexual harassment affects people of all ages and races and of both sexes. Although it has been outlawed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, many companies and schools have yet to develop adequate policies and procedures for addressing sexual harassment. Evidence of this is apparent in the increased number of grievances filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): from 10,532 filings in 1993 to 15,889 in 1997 (Ganzel 1998). The Supreme Court rulings in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries v. Ellerth are an attempt to halt these incidents by requiring harassed employees to work within their companies to resolve grievances before turning to the EEOC. They place responsibility on the employer to set guidelines for preventing sexual harassment and on the employee to follow them (Barrier 1998).

This Digest examines the implications of federal laws covering sexual harassment, the characteristics of company policies and grievance procedures to prevent and report sexual harassment, and program strategies for preventing sexual harassment in schools and workplaces.

What Institutions Can Do

The Supreme Court’s recent rulings are motivating employers to take actions that reflect their compliance with federal laws as protection against sexual harassment litigation. Emerging from the literature on sexual harassment prevention are three key steps that employers can take to counter sexual harassment (Kimble-Ellis 1998; “Protecting Employees” 1998):

1. Develop a strong company policy that specifies in writing outlawed behaviors and penalties for their demonstration

2. Establish grievance procedures for reporting, processing, and resolving complaints

3. Provide sexual harassment training for supervisors, managers, and workers that explains what sexual harassment means and how it can be recognized, confronted, and averted.

Strong Company Policy

Although a number of large companies have already established policies governing sexual harassment, effective compliance with the Supreme Court’s rulings on sexual harassment requires that all companies, as well as schools that receive federal funds, establish sexual harassment policies that they put in writing, disseminate, and enforce (Barrier 1998). A company policy addressing sexual harassment must clearly specify (1) the behaviors that constitute harassment and the company’s intolerance of such behaviors; (2) channels employees must follow to report sexual harassment complaints to their supervisors or designated company representative; (3) strategies the company will follow in investigating and resolving a complaint, including confidentiality practices; (4) warnings that violation of the policy will result in punishments that could include dismissal; and (5) assurance that retaliation will not be allowed (Ganzel 1998).

Good policy statements reflect collaboration among executives, supervisors, and employees and among administrators, teachers, and students. They respond to the organizational climate, which includes family and community as well as school influences. Because “sexual harassment is a manifestation of deeply held beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and cultural norms . . , it is predicated on sociocultural views and sex-role stereotypes” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 39). It reflects the abuse of power, a gender-power differential, and sometimes power-related retaliation. Some authors add sexual orientation power struggles to that list (ibid.).

In an address to educators at a conference organized by the Safe School Coalition, Marjorie Fink, a national sexual harassment prevention trainer, identified climate as a major component to guide prevention efforts (“Trainer: Stop Bullying” 1999). Every school, like every business, has its unique climate. In some organizations, verbal teasing, dirty jokes, and sexual pictures may be the dominant behavior that reflects sexual harassment; in others, improper touching, stalking, or shoving may be the misbehavior (ibid.). When all members of a work organization or school become involved in establishing policy, these contextual issues can be more effectively addressed and behaviors targeted.

Grievance Procedures

Although companies are required by law to handle grievances internally before seeking outside litigation, schools are also finding internal grievances procedures to be more effective in handling sexual harassment complaints. “Internal grievance procedures may save time, minimize emotional and financial expense, and be more sensitive to all persons” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 53).

Effective grievance procedures should clearly define the steps for submitting complaints, both informally and formally. Procedures for informal complaints should detail how the harassed person should go about seeking advice or counsel about a proper response to the offending behavior and describe the process of mediation, negotiation, and problem solving that may be used to resolve the issue. Procedures for formal complaints should require that the grievance be submitted in writing and present all facts related to the incident-who, what, where, when, the scope of the incident, and names of individuals involved. Typically, these reports must be submitted immediately after the incident, not weeks later. However, it is the responsibility of each company and school to specify the procedures it wants its employees or students to follow.

Grievance procedures should also identify the person or persons to whom grievances must be submitted. In the grievance officer model, all complaints are processed through a designated supervisor or officer; in the grievance board or committee model, grievances are submitted to a group (Brandenburg 1997). Although the grievance officer model offers the advantage of one entry point for complaint submission, it has the disadvantage of possibly requiring the harassed employee to deal with someone with whom he or she may be uncomfortable. The committee model, which places the problem in the hands of many, has the disadvantage of requiring greater communication and coordination between committee members and the harassed employee, making it more difficult to ensure confidentiality (ibid.).

Whatever process is adopted, the procedures the grievance officer/committee will follow must also be identified, e.g., receive the written complaint, identify the specific harassment, interview complainants, interview the accused, interview witnesses, determine if sexual harassment has occurred, present the findings to both parties along with the consequences of the action, and require employees to accept mandatory arbitration (“Protecting Employees” 1998).

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

No policy or set of grievance procedures will be effective unless all employees, from supervisors to line workers, administrators to custodial staff, are knowledgeable about the company’s policy and grievance procedures. To prevent vulnerability to sexual harassment allegations, an organization must provide access to training for all employees and document their participation in and completion of the training program. Employees need to be aware that, although the recent Supreme Court’s rulings held companies liable for harassment by supervisors even when management was unaware of the incidents, they made it clear that companies cannot be held liable for incidents in which an harassed employee did not follow the company’s reporting procedures or did not participate in company-sponsored sexual harassment prevention training (“Protecting Employees” 1998).

Sexual harassment training should explain the law that prohibits sexual harassment, identify the actions that may be categorized as sexual harassment, describe the company’s policy and its grievance procedures. However, the training should also heighten awareness of sexual harassment and present strategies for intervention.

Effective programs define sexual harassment and provide information on its incidence. Sexual harassment should be defined as “unwanted sexual attention that would be offensive to a reasonable person and that negatively affects the work or school environment” (Brandenburg 1997, p. 1). The key word in the definition is “unwanted.” Two categories of sexual harassment may be given to guide thinking during the training program: quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment occurs “when submission to or rejection of such (unwelcome sexual) conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual” (ibid., p. 2). Hostile environment harassment, on the other hand, occurs “when unwelcome sexual conduct causes the environment to become hostile, intimidating, or offensive, and unreasonably interferes with an employee’s or student’s work” (ibid., p. 3). Training programs should ensure that participants understand these definitions so that they can construct their own meanings of sexual harassment as they discuss the experiences of others.

Effective programs reflect good teaching and learning practices. They are descriptive, intensive, relevant, and positive (Berkowitz 1998):

They require the involvement of all members of a company or school and include family and community members who have an influence on the employees’ or students’ life.

They offer participatory, problem-based learning experiences that are interactive and actively engage the student in learning.

They are tailored to the “age, community culture, and socioeconomic status of the trainee and are contextualized to the individual’s peer group experiences” (ibid., p. 3).

They present information from a positive viewpoint, encouraging healthy behavior rather than forbidding poor behavior.

Effective programs teach intervention skills. Berkowitz (1998) identifies the following steps for converting bystander behavior to intervention (pp. 3-4):

Help learners to recognize sexual harassment incidents by providing them with appropriate and relevant definitions and examples of sexual harassment.

Help learners to interpret which behaviors signify harassment.

Encourage participants to share their experiences and their intolerance for certain behaviors as a means of illustrating their common ground.

Encourage participants to feel responsible for dealing with the problem.

Teach intervention skills and provide opportunities to practice them. Use role play scenarios to help participants find comfortable and appropriate ways to express their discomfort with another’s behavior.

Help participants be free of retaliation. Explore participants’ fears about retaliation and provide examples of how interventions will be supported.


Sexual harassment training programs for a business or school organization’s supervisors and employees can be internally or externally provided. Some companies are making training available online. Corpedia Training Technologies in Phoenix, or example, has an Internet-linked CD-ROM-based sexual harassment program to help employees and their supervisors recognize and take steps to prevent sexual harassment (“Sexual Harassment Training Online” 1999).

Although the sources of training may vary across organizations, each program should result in the achievement of designated learning outcomes. Case studies, scenarios, and ill-structured problems offer ways to connect knowledge about sexual harassment to its prevention in the workplace. The ultimate success of a company’s or school’s sexual harassment prevention training program will be reflected in the organization’s ability to eliminate the behavior and avoid sexual harassment lawsuits.


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This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Digests may be freely reproduced and are available at <>.

This paper came from: (2016) Sexual Harassment Interventions. Retrieved from


Sexual Harassment and Diversity in the Workplace

Workforce diversity is a new term in business and industry. It is a term that is still uncommon in various areas of the world. Diversity can be considered by taking two different perspectives. Firstly, there are those fundamental individual attributes that make everyone on the earth unique for example disability, personality among others. Secondly, there are those differences that exist based on group membership for example race, ethnicity, and cultural differences among others (Barak, 131). Diversity is being an associate of either an indiscernible or discernible groups that are believed to be mainstream in the society (Barak, 131).

Pluralism, on the other hand, is the distribution of supremacy among the many groups of the society (Carroll and Buchholtz, 8). In other words, pluralism means decentralization and diversification of authority from a group of few individuals from the top to the majority at the bottom of the societal hierarchy.

Workplace diversity brings about a variety of ethical issues in the places of work. For example, sexual harassment due to sexual orientation, racism and ethnicity, gender issues among others. Sexual harassment is characterized by annoying sexual advances and innuendos meant for others; who think that such actions violate their right or interfere with their work. People take part in sexual harassment because of their sexual desires, or when, they want some sexual favors; prompted by the prevailing situation. For example, employees may be harassed sexually, by their managers, so that they get promotion. Sexual harassment is one of the ethical issues that face managers and employees alike. If it is perceived in an organization, it can strain the relationship between the organization and the society (Carroll and Buchholtz, 4).

My personal view
Regarding sexual harassment, I personally think that people need to have a more mature way of dealing with issues of sexuality. We need to go about them more carefully and privately. Sexual advances can be made provided the two individuals consent on the same. These advances should not be pegged on certain expectations on favoritism in workplace but can be for the continuity of the genealogy or for the purposes of procreation.
Various cultural practices have seen various forms of sexual relationships that exist within the society. As a Christian, I think is wrong and unfair to engage in irresponsible sexual behaviors like sexual harassment. We should bear in mind that it is against Christian teaching and against the ten commandments of God. I strongly believe that matters of sexuality and sexual harassment are matters of personal commitment to one special individual and having personal principles to adhere to.

In many places of the world, sexual harassment has prompted the enactment of various legal frameworks to guard against the vice. Besides, various nation-states have various definitions of what constitute sexual harassment. At workplaces, various suggestions have been postulated to deal with sexual harassment. For example, telecommuting, career development, education and training on what is tantamount to sexual harassment (Barak, 258).
Telecommuting is a program where one can work from home and not necessarily be present at workplace. Besides, education and training of workers and sensitizing on their rights as well as the course of action that they need to take when faced with sexual harassment and lastly, there should be clear paths for career development and advancement for those vulnerable to sexual harassment.

In conclusion, there are several ethical issues that arise in business and industries. It calls for every individual to counter these perceived vices in society. Thus, matters of inclusion and personal intuition are very paramount to be alive in a world which is more ethical.

Works Cited

Barak, M. (2010) Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. Los Angeles: SAGE

Carroll, A & Buchholtz A. (2008) Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder
Mason: Cengage Learning

This essay is from: (2016) Sexual Harassment and Diversity in the Workplace. Retrieved from