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Workplace Identities, Interactions, and Inequalities Workplaces have become more diverse spaces over the latter half of the twentieth century

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14.3 Workplace Identities, Interactions, and Inequalities Workplaces have become more diverse spaces over the latter half of the twentieth century. There’s no doubt about that. That means that men are more likely today to work alongside women than ever before in history. People of different races are more likely to have the same jobs than ever before too. It has not been a seamless transition. Indeed, workplaces and workplace dynamics have had to change as a result of these shifts toward increasingly diverse work settings. Because of these changes, challenges to inequality are increasingly likely to be concerned with work settings themselves—policies regarding sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and more represent some of the ways we attempt to acknowledge and challenge inequality in the workplace. Your gender, racial, and sexual identities shape your workplace interactions in ways you might not assume—both in terms of the work expected of you and the work from which you are excused. In this section, we examine the ways that increases in workplace diversity are associated with a move toward workplace equality, but have also been associated with new forms of workplace inequality as well. We will examine wage gaps, job discrimination, and segregation, and explain how sociologists have discovered that the new forms of workplace inequality are sometimes difficult to identify, necessitating new language to help us examine taken-for-granted workplace realities that distribute workplace obligations and opportunities inequitably across groups. This research helps us better understand the realities of inequality in the workplace today. Workplace Diversity

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14.3.1 Explain why increased workplace diversity has not necessarily led to workplace equality. Domestic comedy movies from the 1950s often began at a suburban train station, where a crowd of white middle-class men, all dressed in identical gray suits, prepared for their work day in the big city. And, in fact, the middle-class work world in 1950 was nearly that homogeneous. In 1950, white men occupied more than 90 percent of white-collar jobs in the United States. More recently, men’s share of managerial positions has shrunk to 61 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). Women and ethnic minorities have been steadily catching up. As we learned in Chapter 8, during the next 50 years, the numbers of Hispanics and Asian Americans in the United States will triple, whereas the white non-Hispanic population will increase a mere seven percent. The United States will become a “majority minority” nation, with more than half the population belonging to ethnic minority groups. This shift will necessarily produce a corresponding increase in racial diversity in the workforce (see Figure 14.3). Coupled with increases in women’s workforce participation, this means that white men may soon become a minority in the workplace. As the composition of the U.S. workforce becomes increasingly racially diverse, so too will many U.S. workplaces. Yet, sociologists are also concerned with studying the ways that gender and racial segregation and discrimination in the workplace often work to resituate socially dominant groups in positions of wealth, power, and authority. This means that the workforce will become more diverse for more people. Certainly, occupational segregation and discrimination will continue to produce different workplace realities for different groups. But that scene from 1950s movies is a scene of the past. Getting to work means going out into that diversity. Behind this increasingly diverse workplace, however, is a larger reality of economic inequality in which the earnings gaps between the have and the have nots are growing, and this growth will continue to produce class-based segregation, even as other kinds of segregation are challenged. Consider the subway system in New York City. Along each subway line, earnings can range from poverty to a great deal of wealth. And this range means that subway cars may be filled with people from across the class divide as they proceed down the line, but the stops the rich and poor get on and off at may overlap less than you’d think. Racial Diversity

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14.3.2 Understand the meaning of tokenism and how it operates in workplaces. Higher representation does not necessarily result in equality in the workplace. The salaries of people of color consistently lag behind those of white men, for instance. For every dollar that white men earn, black and Hispanic men earn 65 cents, black women 58 cents, and Hispanic women 48 cents. Two problems are becoming increasingly common in the racially diverse workforce—tokenism and the glass ceiling. When only a few members of a minority group occupy a job, they often believe (and are treated as if) they were hired as tokens, as representatives of their group rather than individuals. They are hypervisible—everything they say or do is taken as what group members always say or do. If they get angry, for instance, their coworkers will conclude that everyone in the group gets angry easily. Their failures will be taken as evidence that the group as a whole is incompetent. Under constant pressure to reflect well on their group, tokens must be on guard at all times. Indeed, research has shown that tokens must consistently outperform their coworkers just to be perceived as equal (Moss-Kanter 1977; Yoder 1991). Think about a time when you were the only member of some group in a larger group. You could have been the only woman or man, white person or person of color, straight or gay or bisexual, old or young, Christian, Muslim, or Jew—­whatever set you apart. Let’s say you were the only Latino. At some point, someone turns to you, innocently enough, and asks, “Well, how do Latinos feel about this?” At that moment, you become invisible as an individual, but you are hypervisible only as a member of the group. Of course, the only sensible answer is, “How should I know? I’m just an individual. I can only answer for myself. But I bet there are sociologists who have surveyed Latinos, and we can find out what most of them think about the question.” And while workplaces are becoming more diverse, it is also the case that as you climb workplace hierarchies, that diversity slows down. It is for this reason that scholars sometimes refer to the glass ceiling in workplaces—an invisible barrier that seems to continue to protect the positions at the upper echelons of the workplace for men, and often, straight white men. Hillary Clinton routinely said she was at work “cracking the highest glass ceiling in America” while campaigning for president in 2016. And the women most likely to break through are most often privileged on the basis of race (see Figure 14.4). We address this more next. Figure 14.4 Proportion of Standard & Poor’s 500 Board Seats Held by Women, by Race, 2014 Men still occupy the vast majority of board seats for the most powerful companies (more than 80 percent). And though women have broken through this glass ceiling, white women have been much more likely to make this transition than have women of color. Of the 19.2 percent of S&P 500 board seats occupied by women, more than 80 percent of them are occupied by white women. Yet, as we climb higher, the proportion of women drops dramatically. For instance, although women occupy almost 1 in 5 board seats at S&P 500 companies, they occupy fewer than 1 in 20 CEO positions at those same companies. Source: Data from Catalyst, “Statistical Overview of Women in the Workforce.” Available at http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/statistical-overview-women-workforce. Gender Diversity: Wage Inequality

 

14.3.3 Summarize what the gender pay gap is and how it has changed over time. In 1900, less than 20 percent of American women (age 15 and older) worked outside the home. Today more than half do, and the percentage is increasing worldwide. And women’s employment is highest in poor countries, where everyone who can work does. Over the second half of the twentieth century, the U.S. workforce has quite literally transformed. Some of the largest transformations have to do with gender. In 1950, of the almost 60 million people working in the United States, less than one in three was a woman. Two things have changed today: The workforce has expanded considerably and women comprise a much larger proportion of workers. Some of this change has been brought on by a move toward gender equality; but the majority of this change is the result of economic shifts—structural transformations that have caused people to have to adapt to keep up with a changing society. Consider Figure 14.5. Figure 14.5 Number of U.S. Workers and Proportions of Men and Women, 1948–2016 From this figure, you can see two things: There are a lot more people working in the United States today than there were a half-century ago and the proportion of those people who are women have been steadily increasing that entire time. Note: These numbers reflect annual averages for employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population, 16 years and older. Source: Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey. Figure 14.5 Full Alternative Text The increase in the number of women in the workforce during the past 50 years has been called the quiet revolution because its consequences have been gradual but wide-ranging—a transformation of consumer patterns, workplace policies, dating and relationship norms, parenting practices, household maintenance, and self-concepts for both men and women. But that transformation is incomplete. Men and women are still not equal, either in the workplace or at home. Indeed, just because women and men are working in more equal numbers today does not spell workplace equality. You may have heard of the gender wage gap—the difference in the amounts of wages provided to women and men for performing the same work with comparable sets of credentials. You may already know that women earn less than men. As of 2014, women employed in full-time jobs earned a median weekly income of $719; the median income for men working full-time was $817. Women’s median earnings were approximately 83 percent of men’s in 2014. As you can see in Figure 14.6, this is a big increase from the first year the Census has data allowing a comparison of men’s and women’s income—in 1979, women’s median income was 62 percent of men’s. But, you may also notice that the rate of change has slowed. The gap is noticeable across all racial divisions, although it is smaller for blacks and Hispanics than for whites and Asians. The gap varies considerably by geographic location and by age; it is much smaller among young workers (25 to 34) than middle-aged and older ones. Figure 14.6 Median Annual Earnings by Gender, 1960–2014 Overall, the gender pay gap has decreased over the last half century. But, you may also notice here that changes in the gender wage gap seemed to stall out at the end of the 1980s. It is also important to understand that the pay gap varies extensively by race as well. Note: All figures are expressed in 2014 dollars. Source: Data from U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements. Figure 14.6 Full Alternative Text As you can see, once we begin to examine intersections between gender and other identities, the pay gap can change dramatically. For instance, the pay gap between white men and black women is much larger than the gap between white men and white women. This does not mean the gender pay gap is not meaningful. What it does mean is that gender is only one way to measure pay inequality. And, as much as one variable can explain anything in social life, gender is among the most important variables to consider when looking at pay inequality. Gender Diversity: Occupational Segregation

14.3.4 Understand how occupational segregation contributes to the unequal distribution of status and economic rewards associated with different kinds of work. One of the largest reasons that the gender pay gap is reproduced is that it is actually harder to recognize than you might think. For a variety of reasons, directly comparing women and men in the workplace is more challenging than you might assume. And chief among those is that, although similar numbers of women and men are leaving for work every day, they are not headed to the same places—not exactly anyway. Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as occupational sex segregation. Consider the following fact. There are more than 500 separate occupational categories listed on the U.S. Census—the categories we use to tell the Census what kind of work we do. Of those more than 500 occupations, about one-third of the more than 70 million women in the U.S. workforce can be accounted for by only 10 of those occupations (these are the jobs referred to as “pink collar work”). You can probably guess many of the occupations on that list—among them are: secretaries and administrative assistants, primary and middle school teachers, nurses, retail sales workers, customer service representatives, and cashiers. About half the world’s workers are in sex-segregated occupations. In the United States, men comprise 98 percent of construction workers and 97 percent of airline pilots, for instance, whereas women comprise 76 percent of cashiers and 75 percent of clerical workers. Although the overall sex segregation declined significantly in the 1970s, there is evidence of a recent slowdown and resegregation of jobs within broad occupations (Charles and Grusky 2004; Padavic and Reskin 1994/2002). Occupational segregation is one reason that makes giving an overall number to represent the gender wage gap challenging. So, sociologists are also interested in examining the gender wage gaps of different kinds of occupations to see where pay gaps are the largest and smallest. For instance, those jobs with some of the highest average incomes also have among the highest gender wage gaps. In 2014, women CEOs earned only 70 percent of what CEOs who happened to be men earned (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). These are also jobs that are heavily dominated by men—only 4.1 percent of CEOs for major S&P 1500 companies are women. In fact, there are more CEOs for S&P 1500 companies whose first name is “John” than there are women CEOs at all (Wolfers 2015). Among physicians and surgeons, women earned only 62 percent of what men earned in 2014 (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). Women who enter occupations dominated by men tend to receive less money and are often segregated within those professions as well (among physicians, pediatrics is one example). Sometimes this is referred to as the glass ceiling. Although women have been making small gains consistently for half a century, white men still control nearly all of the top jobs in corporate America. Women comprise more than half of all managers and professionals but less than 16 percent of the Fortune 500 corporate officers, only about 6 percent of the top earners, and only 3 percent of the CEOs (Catalyst 2009; Jones 2009). Women of color fare worse: They comprise only one corporate officer of every 100 (Catalyst 2003) (see Figure 14.4). And women at the top are paid less, too. A 2008 study of more than 3,200 companies in North America found women CEOs earn 15 percent less than men in the same jobs (Jones 2009). The Glass Ceiling Commission observes: “The world at the top of the corporate hierarchy does not yet look anything like America.” Men, however, don’t have quite the same experience when they participate in jobs dominated by women. Sociologist Christine Williams (1992) showed that men doing “women’s work” receive more, on average, than do the women doing that work—a phenomenon she refers to as the glass escalator. Subsequent scholarship suggests that this advantage seems to be primarily experienced by white men (Wingfield 2009). Gender inequality in the workplace looks different today not only because of occupational segregation. It is also as a result of the transformations in the U.S. economy more generally. Economic sectors historically dominated by men have, on average, shrunk in recent history. There are fewer of those jobs than there used to be. Meanwhile, sectors dominated by women have grown quite a bit. Consider Figure 14.7. Figure 14.7 Women as a Proportion of Different Economic Sectors, 1972–2017 Occupational segregation by gender can be seen simply by looking at the proportions of women and men working in different economic sectors. And here you can see how this has shifted over time. In fact, a great deal of the economic growth over the last 50 years in the United States has been in economic sectors that either were or are becoming more dominated by women (education and health services, for instance, or professional and business services). Economic sectors that were dominated by men 50 years ago and continue to be today are associated with jobs that are in increasingly short supply (like manufacturing and construction). Source: Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics. Figure 14.7 Full Alternative Text Manufacturing has been declining in the United States throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Meanwhile, jobs requiring more education have increased. And a great deal of those require service and care work. Men continue to dominate some of the smaller sectors of the economy; but those that have seen the most growth are jobs in which women and men work together in roughly equal numbers or pink-collar industries in which women dramatically outnumber men. Gender and Work–Family Dynamics

14.3.5 Understand how work–family balance dilemmas are experienced in gender-specific ways that work to women’s collective disadvantage in the workplace. Our family lives also reinforce workplace gender inequality. Beginning in 2002, for the first time, the majority (51 percent) of married male–female couples in the United States were dual income (perhaps not surprisingly because the middle-class lifestyle that used to be feasible on one income now takes two). As women break into the ranks of the top earners, salary differences sometimes upset the traditional designation of the men as “breadwinners” among heterosexual couples. Indeed, 29 percent of women in dual-wage households earn more than their husbands (Chalabi 2015). Though, among heterosexual couples in which wives out-earn their husbands, the average is to bring in two-thirds of the family income; among husbands who out-earn their wives bring in, on average, more than four-fifths of the household income. However, household maintenance is still widely assumed to be a woman’s job. A Western woman spends an average of 10 hours per week on household maintenance and a man about 5 hours. Sociologists have found that living arrangements don’t change the average much: Two women living together will still spend about the same amount of time, as will two men. When men and women marry, the woman will perform 50 percent more housework than the man, even if they are both working full-time outside the home (Couprie 2007). Once children arrive, the gap actually grows. American mothers do three times as much housework as men, spending 17 hours a week on average, while fathers spend just 6 (Seward et al. 2006). How Do We Know What We Know? Workplace Discrimination Although new laws and regulations try to reduce the amount of workplace discrimination based on gender or sexuality, old stereotypes persist, keeping economic gender or sexual equality elusive. One way to see these dynamics is to observe what happens when people—not their workplaces—change. In a fascinating study, sociologist Kristen Schilt and economist Matthew Wiswall examined earnings records of recent male-to-female and female-to-male transgender people. Because they are really still the same people, their experiences reveal something about gender dynamics in the workplace. Schilt and Wiswall found that average earnings for female-to-male employees increased slightly following their sexual reassignment surgery, but the wages of male-to-female transgender people fell by nearly one-third! Becoming socially recognized as a woman led several transgender women to lose authority and prestige as well as wages—along with increased harassment and often termination. On the other hand, becoming socially recognized as a man brought a slight increase in respect and authority (Schilt and Wiswall 2008). Transgender employees offer an important illustration of gender inequality in the workplace, particularly when we examine the ways they receive different treatment as they go from being socially recognized as being one gender to becoming seen to be another. Their experiences help sociologists studying gender inequality in the workplace to examine forms of inequality that cisgender persons might take for granted or not recognize as inequality. The United States ranks below a number of wealthy nations in the percentage of mothers in the labor force, with 70 percent of all mothers of children younger than 18 in the workforce (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015). In other nations, the percentage ranges from 83 percent (Sweden) to 30 percent (Turkey). For many years, working mothers have been struggling to make corporate culture see children not as “problems” or distractions but as part of “business as usual.” Yet, research has consistently documented a motherhood penalty by which women receive a host of consequences in the workplace for being parents. For instance, working mothers are perceived as less competent and are offered lower starting salaries than are women without children. Men, conversely, do not face these workplace penalties associated with parenthood; indeed, some work finds that men receive workplace benefits (Correll, Benard, and Paik 2007). Research continues to find that this and other forms of workplace discrimination continue to put socially marginalized groups at a disadvantage in the workplace. As parents, mothers often want more flexibility in their hours and in their career paths, more options, updated criteria for success. Recently some men have joined them, reframing the issue from “women’s right to work” to “parenting and the workplace.” Employers could benefit significantly from accommodating working parents of either sex. The skills one learns from parenting, including communication, emotional availability, multitasking, efficient organization, and patience, are valuable in the twenty-first-century workplace (Crittenden 2005). Levine (1997) found that “working fathers,” or fathers heavily invested in their children’s daily lives, perform better and are more comfortable in a diverse workplace than the traditional “breadwinners.” Emotional and Aesthetic Labor and Inequality

14.3.6 Distinguish between emotional and aesthetic labor, and understand how this work disproportionately impacts the work lives of women and people of color. Workplaces have always been complete with occupational requirements that might not necessarily have been listed on the job advertisement, but are nevertheless central requirements associated with the job. Emotional labor refers to the process of managing your feelings and emotional expressions as a part of your job. If you have ever held a position in the service industry, this is a form of work you are familiar with—whether you recognized it as work or not. Emotional labor can take two general forms: expressing an emotion you may not actually feel or suppressing an emotion you may strongly feel. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild (1983) coined the term emotional labor in a study on flight attendants—an industry dominated by women. Hochschild not only talked with flight attendants, but also observed their required education at training programs. Formally, the job of a flight attendant is to maintain passenger compliance and order throughout the flight, and to help save passengers’ lives in the event of a crash or malfunction. But a big part of their job that Hochschild was interested in had nothing to do with these formal qualities associated with their work. She wanted to know more about the obligations associated with flight attendants’ emotional management during work. Flight attendants are expected to manage their emotions according to a set of demands placed on them by their employers. Because women are disproportionately in field associated with service and care work, they are also much more likely to have to endure the costs associated with emotional labor as well. Consider this excerpt from Hochschild’s book, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling (1983): The young trainee sitting next to me wrote on her notepad, “Important to smile. Don’t forget smile.” The admonition came from the speaker in the front of the room, a crewcut pilot in his early fifties, speaking in a Southern drawl. “Now girls, I want you to go out there and really smile. Your smile is your biggest asset. I want you to go out there and use it. Really smile. Really lay it on.” Smiling isn’t something that was suggested to flight attendants in their training. It’s a workplace obligation. The services flight attendants were trained to provide in flight were not all the work they were being asked to perform. As Hochschild put it, “the emotional style of offering the service is part of the service itself.” Although not everyone loves their job, flight attendants were quite literally being asked to appear as though they do whatever their actual feelings. And Hochschild was interested in examining what kinds of different feeling rules different kinds of jobs require. This can be an awkward experience, and Hochschild discovered that emotional labor was an underacknowledged form of workplace inequality that disproportionately affected women’s work lives. Sociology and Our World Are Some Emotions Off Limits for Non-white Employees? How do feeling rules work in ways that produce gendered and racialized experiences of inequality in the workplace? The majority of research on emotional labor has examined the ways that it reproduces gender inequality in the workplace. But diversity in the workplace is not only measured along gender lines. Less research considers whether racial minorities have demands on their emotional labor that differ in any way from white employees. Sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield (2010) conducted an interview study with black professionals to study this issue in more detail. She discovered that feeling rules in the workplace are not only gendered, but are also racialized, imposing additional restrictions and obligations on black employees. Although all employees are expected to control their emotional outbursts in the workplace, Wingfield discovered that this expectation seemed acutely felt by black professionals. The black professionals in Wingfield’s study felt obligated to express pleasantness beyond what they felt was required of their white colleagues. But, more than that, they also discussed the need to conceal irritation and anger in ways not required of the white people they worked alongside. As one of her interviewees put it, “It’s more how they [whites] express those emotions. I couldn’t yell at people. I would have some kind of note in my file, but I have seen how white folks get away with that stuff. And nobody says anything!” Sadly, although the black professionals in Wingfield’s recognized this as a form of workplace inequality, they also expressed subtle pressures to keep quiet. This suggests that when we consider emotional labor, we need to do so intersectionally to understand that different groups and subsets of groups experience distinct emotional obligations that create very different workplace experiences. Similarly, sociologists have subsequently examined a separate kind of work based on appearance norms associated with different jobs—aesthetic labor. Although emotional labor is concerned with workplace demands on how employees feel, aesthetic labor helps us examine demands on the ways employees look and act. For instance, Christine Williams and Catherine Connell (2010) interviewed employees in retail positions with low pay and no benefits. They were interested in examining the types of labor practices that might attract middle-class workers to what are, objectively speaking, relatively “bad” jobs. Drawn to these jobs by discounts on brands they already like, upscale retail stores attract employees that embody the “look” and “feel” they are attempting to sell without necessarily appearing to do so. This aesthetic labor demanded in these jobs was premised on social inequality and often meant that young, conventionally gendered, thin or “fit” bodied, white men and women were more likely to both seek out these jobs and acquire them. As Williams and Connell write, “Aesthetic labor offers a justification for employment discrimination that blames the worker, and not the employer, for sorting workers on the basis of gender, race, and class” (2010: 372). Sexual Diversity

14.3.7 Explain some of the ways lesbian and gay employees are disadvantaged in the workplace as a result of their sexuality. The workplace originated in a heterosexual division of labor: the male husband/father/breadwinner and the female wife/mother/domestic worker. Early decisions about wages and benefits assumed a single breadwinner for the entire ­family—and assumed that he was not only male but heterosexual. This is why the pay offered to men was referred to as a family wage. Many companies continue to assume that all of their employees, stockholders, and customers are heterosexual. There are no federal regulations barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, so employers can refuse to hire gay men and lesbians or fire them at any time. As a result, most gay or lesbian employees must pretend that they are heterosexual, but even those who are out tend to bump up against what is sometimes called the lavender ceiling. Sociology and Our World Do You Have a “Gay” Resume? Are job applicants who are LGBTQ discriminated against for having resumes that “out” them? As you already read in Chapter 8, research has consistently shown that job applicants with “white-sounding” names are much more likely to receive interviews and job opportunities than are applicants with “black-sounding” names (Bertrand and Mullainathan 2004; Pager 2003). Sociologist Emma Mishel (2016) was interested in whether sexuality might also produce job discrimination in the application process. Although previous work has indicated race on applications by varying names (Jamal versus James, for instance), Mishel wanted to find a similar way to indicate sexuality. For this experiment, Mishel sent out women’s resumes to more than 800 jobs in four states dominated by women (administrative work, clerical and secretarial positions). She sent two fictitious resumes to each position. The two resumes were generally comparable, aside from one small detail related to work experience on each. Both women listed work experience as a secretary for a university organization. But, one resume listed the university’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organization as her administrative experience, whereas the other listed administrative experience in a non-LGBT (but similarly progressive) university organization. She wanted to know whether this small detail might affect the likelihood that either of the women were contacted for follow-up interviews. Note: N=1,550. Difference between the two callback rates is statistically significant at p<0.01. Source: Data from Mischel, Emma. “Discrimination against Queer-Perceived ­Women.” Contexts blog. February 22, 2016. Available at: https://contexts.org/blog/discrimination-against-queer-perceived-women/. .3-13 Full Alternative Text The resumes that listed an LGBT organization as administrative experience received approximately 30 percent fewer callbacks than did the resumes with non-LGBT administrative experience. Although Mishel found some regional variation based on where different jobs were located, her finding was consistent throughout the sample of jobs that received the resumes. This one small detail made potentially LGBT women applicants almost one-third less likely to be pursued for a position. This finding does not even begin to address pay inequities in the workplace. Rather, Mishel is interested in whether queer women are less likely to even get a job to begin with. Corporate culture is built around the assumption of heterosexuality, with conversations and jokes from the boardroom down to the loading dock focused on husbands and wives, other-sex boyfriends and girlfriends, and the attractiveness of various movie stars. Employees who refuse to participate are perceived as cool, distant, and snobbish, not “team players.” Employees who mention same-sex partners, interests, and experiences are perceived as “problems.” As a result, they are more easily passed over at promotion time. Despite the stereotype that all gay men are sophisticated interior designers living in Manhattan high-rise apartments, for example, gay and lesbian salaries lag behind those of heterosexual workers (Raeburn 2004). Some changes have occurred recently. For instance, more than half of all Fortune 500 companies offer benefits for same-sex partners, and more than 400 include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies. Yet, only a handful of CEOs are openly gay or lesbian (Petroff 2014). iSOC AND YOU Workplace Identities, Interactions, and Inequalities The workplace is both a source of inequality (class) and an expression of ­inequality. And your social identity—race gender, sexuality, age, etc.—plays a critical role in how you interact with the workplace as a social institution. Your identities shape what kinds of work you do, but also shape your experience in those jobs in ways that reproduce existing lines of inequality in society. Your ­interactions with others within economic institutions are patterned by these other sources of identity and inequality. And they all intersect in ways that often emphasize some forms of inequality and mute others.

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