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The ideal worker norm refers to the belief that employees can and should be singularly devoted to work. Our purpose is to understand the extent to which workers buy into…
The ideal worker norm refers to the belief that employees can and should be singularly devoted to work. Our purpose is to understand the extent to which workers buy into various components of ideal work and how unpopular components of the ideal worker norm persist. We hypothesize they persist, at least in part, because of pluralistic ignorance. Pluralistic ignorance entails situations in which most people privately reject a norm, but incorrectly assume others accept it.
Drawing on original survey data, we examine the extent to which US workers subscribe to a range of factors described in the ideal work literature. We test the pluralistic ignorance hypothesis by comparing workers’ agreement with, and their perceptions of their coworkers’ agreement with, these factors.
We find workers embrace some components of ideal work. Yet, regardless of gender or parental status, they dislike those components that involve working extremely long hours and prioritizing work at the expense of personal or family life. In addition, regardless of gender or parental status, workers experience pluralistic ignorance with respect to those components that involve prioritizing work at the expense of personal or family life.
Our findings suggest that researchers distinguish between different components of ideal work. They also suggest that everyone – not just women or parents – desire work–family balance. Lastly, because people often behave in ways that are congruent with what they mistakenly believe to be the norm, our findings suggest workers may unintentionally perpetuate family-unfriendly workplace standards.
An accelerometer is a device that measures force due to gravity or a change in speed or direction of travel. This paper describes accelerometers and their application in…
An accelerometer is a device that measures force due to gravity or a change in speed or direction of travel. This paper describes accelerometers and their application in other disciplines and, by way of an example, explores the utility of accelerometers for studying aggression. We end with a discussion of additional ways accelerometers might be used in group processes research.
We first review the use of accelerometers in other disciplines. We then present the results of four studies that demonstrate the use of accelerometers to measure aggression. Study 1 establishes the measure’s concurrent validity. Study 2 concerns its stability and representative reliability. Study 3 seeks to establish the measure’s predictive validity by associating it with an existing measure. Study 4 demonstrates the ability of accelerometers to address a sociological research question.
In Studies 1 and 2, we find that accelerometers can be used to differentiate between distinct levels of aggression. In Study 3, we find that men’s average peak acceleration correlates with a previously validated measure of aggression. Study 4 uses accelerometers to reproduce a well-established finding in the aggression literature.
We conclude that accelerometers are a flexible tool for group processes’ researchers and social scientists more broadly. Our findings should prove useful to social scientists interested in measuring aggression or in employing accelerometers in their work.
Despite the absence of federal legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, many companies have adopted such policies in recent…
Despite the absence of federal legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, many companies have adopted such policies in recent years. We examine the impact of several contextual factors thought to influence gender identity and expression nondiscrimination policy adoption among Fortune 500 firms from 1997 to 2007. Our findings suggest that city and state laws likely influence policy adoption, as do federal case rulings regarding gender nonconformity and the adoption of similar policies by companies in the same industry. We found little evidence that companies respond to state or city executive orders or to media coverage of gender identity issues in the workplace.
Dina Banerjee is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Purdue Center for Faculty Success at Purdue University. She graduated with her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2009. Her areas of specialization are gender, work and occupation; development and social change; transnational feminism and globalization; and sociology of developing nations. In her doctoral dissertation she examined the effects of sex-segregation and racial/ethnic segregation on the job-related well being of women workers in the United States. She is the coauthor (with C. C. Perrucci) of “Race, Work Experiences and Perceived Promotional Opportunity,” published in the International Journal of Contemporary Sociology. Dr Banerjee is also associated with the Women's Studies Program at Purdue University. Before coming to the United States as a graduate student, she worked as a lecturer in the University of Calcutta (Kolkata, India).
The chapters in this volume are the fruit of a feminist revolution in sociology that transformed conventional ways of thinking about work in the 1990s. Prior to the feminist revolution, the most important sociological theories that accounted for gender inequality in the workplace were human capital theories and socialization theories, both of which blamed women workers for their lower status and pay in the workplace (Schilt, 2010; Williams, 1995). Human capital theories argue that men and women receive different pay-offs from employment because they invest differently in their careers (Padavic & Reskin, 2002; Blau, Ferber, & Winkler, 1998; Polachek, 1981). Men seek higher education, skills training, and overtime at work because they are family breadwinners whose major responsibility is to support their wives and dependent children. Meanwhile, women invest less in the human capital valued by workplaces because their primary commitment is to their families. This theory assumes the heterosexual nuclear family, which is no longer the typical family form (Coontz, 1997). This rational choice perspective also fails to explain recent trends in women's educational attainment and labor force participation rates, now estimated to be equal to if not greater than men's (England, 2010).
The goal of this chapter is to both provide a sociological explanation for gender differences in risk-taking behavior and to explain how such gender differences in…
The goal of this chapter is to both provide a sociological explanation for gender differences in risk-taking behavior and to explain how such gender differences in behavior may contribute to women’s underrepresentation at the top of hierarchies.
I synthesize relevant research findings from the fields of social psychology, economics, psychology, decisions science, and sociology.
I argue that risk-taking is a gendered action due to both prescriptive and descriptive gender stereotypes. The fact that risk-taking is a gendered action offers sociological insights as to why women take fewer risks than men. First, women may rationally choose to take fewer risks, given that risk-taking is less rewarding for them. Second, the aforementioned gender stereotypes may cause institutional gatekeepers to give women fewer opportunities to take risks.
Sociologists should care about this phenomenon because large rewards are attached to successful risk-taking behavior. Thus, if men as a group take more successful risks than women as a group – simply because they take more risks, and thus by chance experience more successful risks – then more men than women will experience upward mobility caused by risk-taking.
Gender differences in risk-taking behavior likely depress the upward mobility of women and are a contributing factor to the dearth of women in top positions. In this era of falling formal barriers and women’s educational gains, gender differences in risk-taking behavior are likely of increasing importance for understanding the inequalities in hierarchies in U.S. society.