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Organizational Change and Gender Equity in Academia: Using Dialogical Change to Promote Positive Departmental Climates

Gender Transformation in the Academy

ISBN: 978-1-78441-070-4

Publication date: 6 October 2014



To implement and assess an intervention designed to promote gender equity and organizational change within STEM departments in two Colleges at a single Research High university. Department climate impacts the retention and success of women faculty.


A survey was administered both before and after the department intervention in order to capture departmental change on variables that measure a positive climate for female faculty.


Across all of the science and engineering departments, levels of Collective Efficacy toward Gender Equity significantly increased while levels of Conflict significantly decreased after the department facilitation. In the science departments, the level of Vicarious Experience of Gender Equity among faculty significantly increased while in the engineering departments levels of faculty Dependence significantly decreased. There was a statistically significant decrease in Optimism about Gender Equity among the science faculty.

Practical implications

Organizational change within universities has been documented as slow and labor intensive. Departmental climate, particularly interactions with colleagues, remains an area wherein women continue to feel excluded. The departmental intervention resulted in measurable improvements in key aspects of climate critical to women’s success (e.g., reductions in conflict and dependence; increases in collective efficacy) as well as more realistic view of the effort needed to attain gender equity (decrease in Optimism).




Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE IT Program under Award HRD-1007978. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Latimer, M., Jackson, K., Dilks, L., Nolan, J. and Tower, L. (2014), "Organizational Change and Gender Equity in Academia: Using Dialogical Change to Promote Positive Departmental Climates", Gender Transformation in the Academy (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 333-353.



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