Organizational Ethics Gender Issues and Resolution Our history and present have demonstrated many issues regarding gender. Despite suffrage, women still believe that they are the weaker sex due to circumstances involving the workplace. Take for example, the story about AT&T employee Burke Stinson. He was caught using his work computer to send emails to another coworker who happened to be a woman. They were questioned separately. Good thing they were allowed to keep their positions. However, they were reprimanded.
Since Burk initiated the email exchange, management just sent him a memo noting his actions as unacceptable behavior. Now, if the woman started the exchange, she would have been fired on the spot. This is just one of the many discrepancies regarding the inequality between a man and a woman in the professional atmosphere. To make the story truly interesting, Burke and the woman he was sending the affectionate emails to, are a couple; they are married to each other. Back in the 1940s, workers from both the industrial and the corporate workplaces are deemed to be good providers.
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Anyone who has seen the movie “North Country” with Charlize Theron, would be aware of the struggle women had to go through when they tried penetrating these testosterone-filled workplaces. In the movie, the male workers believed that women had no place in the coal mines. Since they were outnumbering the females, some males showed their dominance to them by pulling pranks one after another. In the end, Charlize Theron’s character filed for sexual harassment. At that time, sexual harassment was new to the court since they were living in a society where men and women were separate.
The court had a hard time coming up with a decision because the men did have a point. The coal mine was there territory. However, the few women workers reasoned that they were just like the men, in the sense that they leave their homes and go to work in order to provide for their families. The main root of the problem is that men felt their egos were attacked with the women coming into a world that should be machismo. During that time, women were expected to work in offices as secretaries, in schools as teachers, in hospitals as nurses and in schools as librarian. Furthermore, during that time, women were the assistants of men.
Therefore, having women working at coal mines was something they had a hard time adjusting. Historically, this reaction from men working in the mines was unexpected, considering that during the Second World War, female employees were already doing masculine duties such as employees in the Pentagon and even women in the military. In the 21st century, sexual harassment cases come up left and right because of men and women working together. As a matter of fact, managers have to consider the status (single, married, divorce) of each employee he or she hires for the very reason that an office romance might incur.
Take for example, a study that has been conducted in selected companies. Turned out, managers often hire young married women because they are least likely to flirt with their coworkers. Additionally, since they are just starting a family, they are so focused into the work that they are very productive in their positions. Management also makes sure they have physicians capable of giving every woman the special care they need, especially concerning female conditions; this may be present added expenses for the company, however, will prove necessary.
This leads us to the differences between men and women employees. To give an example, managers should be tactful when they issue instructions or criticize female employees. Most women cannot shrug or brush aside the harsh words of their superiors, compared to most men. Make notable some differences between a civilian organization and the military; one in particular concerning gender and sexual harassment is, in the military a female holds legitimate power without legal repercussions tactfully to inform another Soldier that she does not appreciated it (e. g. exual gesture, sexual advancement) and is considered a sexual gesture and will be reported if he continues in his actions. Females are also given adequate number of breaks in a day. Some organizations, including the military, allot additional time to compensate for the erratic feminine psychology. They know that females are more confident if their hair is tidy, their lipstick is fresh and their hands are clean. These mentioned instances of ‘special treatment’ again result to the argument regarding the inequality of men and women. Because of the scenarios mentioned above, these justify females are unequal to their male counterparts.
Though some feminists strongly believe that these statements should not be generalized, fact of the matter is, it still holds true to most. Just like the movie example presented above, proving power in numbers. Most women conform to what the previous paragraphs described. Thus results in special treatment of the management to their female employees, which men and feminists detest. John Gray’s work “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” holds true to this ongoing gender issue. Both genders have gone a long way, but still have many arguments to be resolved, sexual harassment and equality just being two of these.
Today’s workplaces are so integrated that the productivity as well as the personal peace and the disposition of the mind depend on the positive and bisexual dialogue between the men employees and the women employees. This is where ethics come in. It may seem far fetched but ethics has become a catalyst for the productive interaction of men and women in the workplace. Take for example, hospital ethics; why is it that in this organizational environment sexual harassment reports are considered below average in this workplace?
Maybe the doctors, nurses and surgeons are too busy saving lives that they have no time to inter-act with their coworkers. Truth is this atmosphere is more integrated than those of the typical workplace because of that reason. So, why are there fewer sexual harassment issues between men and women working together? The answer is Ethics. Organizational ethic issues help in the interaction of employees with one another in any workplace. These include honesty, rights, privacy and proper decorum with coworkers. By considering all these starting points, the gender issues do not seem too serious anymore.
An important fact to know is that sex and gender are not considered as synonyms. True, these two words both speak of maleness and femaleness; however, the whole point is that biology determines sex just as society determines gender. The distinction is arbitrary and this can be the main argument whenever people disagree and believe otherwise. The battle of the sexes occurs whenever conversations that titillate the overtones of the men and the women in the workplace. Management should be very wary because these result to what could then be defined as “sexual harassment. Take for example; one of my occupational specialties is transportation (88M), and while on deployment in Iraq, my unit’s mission was convoy security escorts. Years ago, it was unheard of for a female to perform duties equal to their counterparts (males) in this particular field. Although, gender in the workplace has made extraordinary advancements for females, the ethical issues surrounding sexual harassment in the military are on a continuous incline. Soldiers in the military are mandated to attend sexual harassment briefings annually; failure to do so could result in a dishonorable discharge.
The military has made a stand in favor of the female gender; however, resolving the differences resulting in sexual harassment charges is still under investigation. The regulations and mandatory briefings concerning sexual harassment are a modest start in resolving sexual harassment in the workplace (military). Legally, “sexual harassment” occurs when a person of one gender is being harassed by another person of the opposite gender. This does not necessarily mean a male boss harassing a female subordinate. It can also be a female boss harassing a male subordinate, as what Demi Moore did with Michael Keaton in “Disclosure. The military’s definition of sexual harassment is outline clearly in the Army Regulation 600-20, Chapter 7 “Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves un-welcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1)Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s job, pay, career, or (2)Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person, or (3)Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. ” Regulation continues to state “Any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones implicit or explicit sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a soldier or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment” (?? 4). Issues that were once thought to be only important to women have also become men’s issues too. Take for example, the benefits of single mothers. Single fathers are also opting for lobbied airports, restaurants and other public venues in order for them to change the diapers of their tots.
Furthermore, it may be true that a woman’s illnesses affect their dependability and attitude in the workplace but the same can also be said about men. Take for example, cancer. If a man is diagnosed with cancer, he would act the same way as a woman would had she been diagnosed with the fatal disease. The diagnosis and treatment also pose as challenges for the man in dealing with this personal problem while he is trying to do his best in his career. Therefore, illness also presents a challenge for the man, whether it is in his self-esteem, self-image or dependability in the workplace and his attitude when he deals with those around him. Three basic reasons exist in the never-ending organizational issue on gender.
Number one, the tendency to be assigned a social role which depends ultimately on the biological differences of the employees is something that is hard to break free from. Some men still think that women are hysterical and will be too emotional in making the right decisions (ethical dilemma); therefore, these kinds of men will always perceive women as the weaker sex. Number two, the woman’s reproductive system imposes another inequality issue simply because woman can give birth and a man cannot. This results to social concerns and differences in benefits such as maternity leave. Finally, every woman wants to be respected by men. Disrespecting women always results to a “Sexual harassment” case.
They want to be recognized for their dependability, stability, skills, good judgment and intelligence. They want to be appreciated. This is not a female characteristic. This is a human characteristic. The military “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program” is a resource available to all Soldiers regardless of gender; this program was adopted in the pursuit of resolving sexual misconduct in the military; however, the attempts to change the organizational culture have had little impact on individual behavior. The military’s continued efforts and goals to eliminate the gender barrier have proven to be a benefit in the fight for equality between females and males in what some would claim a male organization.
Therefore, the resolution is for both genders to understand where the other is coming from and to treat each other with respect; hard work and accomplishment must be recognized; this is the most ethical and moral action any employee or Soldier can do to his or her coworker or fellow Soldier. Reference Army Command Policy, (May 2002). Army regulation 600-20: Prevention of Sexual harassment. Retrieved August 10, 2007 from http://www. sexualassault. army. mil/files/r600_20_chapter7. pdf Thompson, R. E. , (Jan-Feb 2005). The changing face of gender issues in the 21st century workplace. Retrieved August 9, 2007 from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0843/is_1_31/ai_n10016760