The rallying cry for millions of fast
food and retail workers is $15 an hour.
But, low pay isn’t the only occupational hazard that baristas, servers,
and cashiers face. These workers also
contend with work schedules that are unstable and unpredictable.
Long gone are the days of 9-5 shift,
and so too are even regular night or evening shifts. Instead, workers contend with schedules that
vary from day-to-day and week-to-week often with little advance notice. Workers
are required to be on-call – paid if asked to work, but otherwise uncompensated.
No one likes to be told what to do, but it happens all the
time—even to some of the most powerful people. When powerful people have to
comply, what does that mean for the organizations they influence?
We all know
what it feels like to be coerced into doing something that makes us
uncomfortable. As you consider examples of this, you may go to the extreme and think
of a scenario where someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do
something that you never would do otherwise. While a gun to the head is,
luckily, very unlikely, there are many settings where we might see forced
compliance in our day to day world – including both business and philanthropic settings.
We see this, for example, when watchdog groups or other outside stakeholders (for example, regulatory agencies) mandate certain rules and actions even when the organizational members themselves consider the mandate to be detrimental to their stakeholders. Our motivation for this study was in exploring the performance impact of forced compliance on boardroom actions in corporate and non-profit settings.
Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton(LV)’s men’s artistic director, and founder of Haute streetwear label Off-White, admits he learned a lot from his LV predecessor, and former mentor, Kim Jones, now creative director for Dior Homme.
The two first met in 2007 when Virgil was a virtual unknown and
Kim, a prominent designer renowned for successfully blending high fashion and
streetwear. Virgil reflected on his dream of collaborating with Kim, who he had
admired for years: “I slept on his couch in a front room in Maida Vale and
forced him to teach me stuff; I spent a summer sitting there with him.”
Like every aspiring innovator, Virgil knew that working closely
with stars such as Kim would be good for him. Indeed, stories of junior
designers learning from creative masters are common in various industries. However, what do you get by working with a creative
star beyond fame and connections? And does it actually
make you more creative?
have shown that people with large networks who have many friends and work
relationships are less likely to quit their job than people who only have small
work-related networks. But do people who think of quitting their job change
their networks at work? Do they change the people they go to for advice or seek
out for help? Do they change their friends? Knowing this is important because
after all it may be that people who expect they will be leaving a company give
up their network during the months prior to quitting.
If this is the case it means that many previous studies that have found a connection between network size at time of exit and turnover incorrectly concluded that smaller networks make people leave the organization. Should the explanation behind the relationship between networks and turnover need to be re-written? Indeed, we found in our study that people who were thinking of quitting their job had very different networks from those who were not thinking of quitting. But the results were different from what we expected.
Matrix companies such as Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly,
General Electric, or PepsiCo are more likely to enter into complex alliances
with other companies, because their
structure and experience working in a matrix give
managers more confidence to collaborate in challenging situations.
Our research shows, however, that the stock market often penalizes
these companies for such collaborations because companies take on “double complexity”;
that is managing complexity both within the organization and in its alliances.
The matrix organizational structure is designed with
multiple links across the company’s customer, functional, geographic, and
product groups. You work in a matrix organization if you have more than one
boss; for example, you report to both a regional leader and a product leader.
Account manager positions and cross-functional teams are typical elements of
the matrix design.
Democracy, they say, is in crisis. The Washington Post ran a Super Bowl ad warning
us that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Political scientists Daniel
Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky have published a book titled How Democracies Die. And Larry Diamond, éminence grise of democracy scholarship, has diagnosed a global democratic recession.
It is not my aim to pour cold water on these kinds of concerns. There
is much in recent history to fret about. Yet a single-minded focus on
contemporary events can mislead. In studying only today’s backsliding,
we risk ignoring the forest for a few Trump-shaped trees.
To understand democracy — to defend it and to deepen it — we should
examine its long history rather than obsess about recent headwinds. In
a recent article published in the American Journal of Sociology,
I attempt to do just that. My research suggests that democratic
progress over the last 150 years is the fruit of the changing character
of class struggle over the state. Democracy has its origins in the capacity of the poor to disrupt the routines of the rich.
Over the last half century, American women have gradually entered lucrative and prestigious occupations, one obvious sign of a reduction in gender inequality. The feminization of those occupations, however, may in turn reduce their average pay levels. In this research, I examined trends in the effect of occupational feminization on occupational pay over several decades in the U.S. and explored the mechanisms underlying these trends.
last few years have brought renewed attention to the unique challenges facing
women leaders. Feminist
like Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and Ava DuVernay decry sexist double
standards that hold women back professionally, and intense public commentary
has focused on the possibility of a likability
for women in politics. The conversation touches on an either/or
bind described by sociologists of gender: either women can “do gender” by
displaying warmth and caring, or they can “do professionalism” by
showing strong leadership and authority. But they can’t do both.
But is this tension reflected in the work experiences of all women leaders? In a recent study, we found that overlapping cultural stereotypes of what it means to be “white” and a “woman” give rise to a particular expectation for “feminine behavior” that may not exist for women of color whose race and gender elicit more masculinized stereotypes.
position in society, particularly in the labor market, ranks high on the
political agenda in many countries. One policy under debate is implementing
gender quotas in top positions or on corporate boards. Also the vice president
of the European Commission in 2012 has proposed legislation enforcing such
gender quotas in all European countries.
argument is generally that the gender of the manager, or the gender composition
at the managerial level, affects career prospects of female employees. Thus, increased representation of women at
higher levels within firms is often assumed to improve wages and career
advancement of women.
This can be through preferences of the manager such as homophily – implying a preference to interact with individuals with similar characteristics, i.e., as regards gender. Or through productivity-enhancing effects due to better communication and mentoring. Alternatively an increased female representation contributes by firm structures becoming more family-friendly.
As expected, President Trump touted the “hottest” economy in years in his State of the Union address. As evidence for a booming economy, Trump noted that, “Unemployment has reached the lowest rate in half a century. African-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.” And that “All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.”
focus on a minority group with historically low rates of employment — people
with disabilities — and examine some of these claims. Employment rates for people with disabilities have
declined since the late-1980s. An analysis of employment trends over time also shows similar declines even when
accounting for differences in age, education, and family background. Despite
these overarching trends, the President claimed in his address that
“Unemployment for Americans with disabilities is at an all-time low.”
To be sure,
many organizations have fact checked Trump’s SOTU speech. True:
unemployment among people with disabilities did decrease slightly from 10.5% to
9.2% in 2017 and rates are lower for other minority groups. This isn’t,
however, a record low nor did Trump mention that unemployment among people with
disabilities is still about twice as high as the rest of the population. It also masks the fact that while
unemployment may have declined, it is still highest among African Americans and
Hispanics with disabilities.
The bigger problem isn’t the hyperbolic tone we’ve come to expect in a SOTU address and especially one delivered by Donald J. Trump. It’s trying to convince American voters that the economy is doing well because of increased employment.
Work in Progress is a project of the American Sociological Association's Sections on Organizations, Occupations, and Work, Economic Sociology, Labor and Labor Movements, and Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility