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Author Archives: Julie Kmec

ussoccerlogo Perhaps you have heard of Landon Donovan.  He is a professional soccer play for the L.A. Galaxy and the all-time leader in both scoring and assists for the U.S. national soccer team and one of the few in the U.S. professional soccer league who has who has registered both 60 goals and 60 assists.  He’s played professionally in both the U.S. and abroad since the age of 17 (he is now 32) and has made successful World Cup appearances for the U.S. national team, scoring five goals in World Cup play.

Perhaps you have also heard that he was recently cut from the final 23-man US men’s national team’s World Cup roster. Some speculate he was cut because his skill level has recently declined (yet days after he was cut from the national team, he broke the MLS record for most goals scored in the regular season) or because of the U.S. men’s national coach could not stand having a star detract attention from him.

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pink collarI recently talked with my colleague, Associate Professor of Sociology at Washington State University, Dr. Jennifer Schwartz about her April 2013 American Sociological Review collaboration with Darrell Steffensmeier and Michael Roche entitled “Gender and Twenty-First-Century Corporate Crime: Female Involvement and the Gender Gap in Enron-Era Corporate Frauds.”

The article is of particular interest to readers of this blog for its application of theories of work (e.g., homosocial reproduction, network theory, and theories of power at work) to explain the connection between gender and corporate malfeasance.  This piece also tells us about gender differences in work styles and locations:  women engage in less “big time” corporate fraud than do men, a fact that is NOT fully explained by their lower level corporate positions. The authors suggest male-dominated networks at the top of work organizations and informal barriers to women’s upward mobility may explain why men outpace women in corporate fraud.

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by Julie A. Kmec, Lindsey T. O’Connor, and Scott Schieman

President Obama’s State of the Union address last month recognized that working women—and men—should not face hardship for taking care of their family responsibilities.Recent research by sociologists,Julie A. Kmec, Lindsey Trimble O’Connor and Scott Schieman suggests that workplaces have a long way to go before realizing the President’s message.  In new research, they find that working mothers perceive penalties—like feeling ignored and that they are given the worst tasks—when they adjust their work schedules after having children.  They suggest that policies and practices that challenge societal assumptions about ideal work are a good starting place in attempts to realize President Obama’s call to give working parents a “break.”

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social-mediaWe–fellow Work in Progress Blogger Adia Harvey Wingfield and I–recently attended a summit centered on Redesigning and Redefining Work. This summit, organized by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, had lofty goals:  to join academic researchers, government policy makers, members of the media, and company representatives to discuss, among other things, new ways to redesign the world of work so that workplaces can better align—for the long term—with the composition and needs of today’s workforce while at the same time allowing workers and businesses to flourish.

The summit focused, among other things, on how flexible work arrangements have the potential to change work environments in ways that produce greater gender equality. Presenters from corporate and academic sectors considered the ways that these programs have been implemented, barriers to implementation, successes, challenges, and benefits.  The program offered a number of different perspectives on ways that flexible work arrangements can have multiple, expected, and possibly surprising benefits for workers and for corporations.

We wanted to share our personal observations of the summit, whose agenda can be found here, because we feel that sociologists of work should be keyed into the discussion of redesign.  We also think the public should be aware of—and join in via commenting here—work redesign discussions happening in academic, workplace, and policy circles.

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Flirt(1)

New research by management scholars on workplace flirting is getting quite a bit of media attention.  You might have rolled your eyes at the topic, thinking that nothing serious can be learned about the workplace by studying flirtatious women.

I disagree.

A study of flirting at work may reveal a lot about workplace gender inequality.  In fact, the behavior may be telling of underlying problems that are not “sexual” in content.

First, the study (read a summary of the study here).  The authors surveyed about 300 employed female attorneys in 38 Southeastern U.S. law firms.  Female attorneys reported on, among other things: their strategic flirting (engaging in socio-sexual behaviors with the intent of attaining a desirable outcome); daily mistreatment (the frequency with which they were treated rudely, excluded from a work activity, or as not-smart or inferior); and the femininity or masculinity of their law firm (the extent to which their firm could be characterized by terms such as “assertiveness, forcefulness, and masculinity” versus “compassion, and warmth”).

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Documenting Desegregation

Over the last few months, in various parts of the country, several scholars have been invited to critique and discuss fellow OOW members Kevin Stainback and Don Tomaskovic-Devey’s new book, Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012. 

This panel brings together a few of these scholars’ voices in an attempt to kick start a conversation about occupational sex and race segregation and, in many cases to move forward with more research. 

You will want to read OOW member and Work in Progress blog editorial board member Steve Vallas’ summary below.

The book is the first major study use EEO-1 data to examine the nature and consequences of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) over time. The book is painstaking in its use of data, but also careful and creative in its application of theory (largely, social closure theory). Major findings emerge in the book, some of which confirm existing assumptions about corporate policy, and others that are highly counter-intuitive. The book has generated much debate in the few months since its publication, and seems destined to provide a touchstone in this field now and for the foreseeable future.

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