It’s Not You, It’s the Workplace: Women’s Conflict at Work and the Bias That Built It

Andrea S. Kramer and Alton B. Harris. Nicholas Brealey, $27.95 (300p) ISBN 978-1-4736-9726-3
A badly needed rejoinder to a tired stereotype arrives from married couple and attorneys Kramer and Harris. A persistent cultural meme insists that the greatest threat to professional women is other women—backstabbing, conniving “queen bees” and “mean girls.” Hogwash, say the coauthors, who investigated these stereotypes using surveys, social science research, and interviews. Conclusion: there’s no evidence that there’s more conflict at the office between women than there is between men or between different genders. To address this misconception, Harris and Kramer reframe the issue, showing that it’s not about how women behave, but about the structure of workplaces, which tend to make female employees feel like outliers. In fact, the authors report, women tend to be much more concerned about their intragender workplace relationships, and thus, more distressed when conflict occurs. Bringing in relevant insights from intersectionality theory, Harris and Kramer discuss how to have better conversations about “identity biases,” such as those that might involve race or sexual orientation, with one tip being to remember that “your aim should be to understand, not to demonstrate you are a good person.” The cumulative result of their work is a refreshing, well-timed rebuttal to a hackneyed old fiction that blames individual women for the institutional biases they face. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2019
Release date: 08/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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