School of Management Blog

November 2012 Archives


Are You Doing Invisible Work?

disappearing_acts_bookcover.jpgIn September, the Women's Initiative Forum hosted a fascinating discussion with Joyce Fletcher on the subject of Invisible Work. Download her article Invisible Work: The Disappearing of Relational Practice at Work in CGO Insights 35.

Dr. Fletcher started the discussion by stating that relational skills are needed in today's workplace, and women are well positioned to operate in that way in the global economy. Unfortunately there is a disconnect - there is acceptance that those skills are needed, but in practice they often aren't seen as work, and are therefore invisible.

Her research showed that:

  • Women often used relational skills intentionally and strategically to support the work; it wasn't about being nice. However, often the people who work this way aren't seen as having leadership potential.
  • The relational work may get 'disappeared' because people misinterpret the intention. It is seen as thoughtful or nice, not strategic. Even the language used to describe the work tends to feminize or soften it. Words like helping, caring, sharing are not seen as strong (like competent, for example). It is seen as something women do because they like to do it, and conflated with femininity or motherhood. The problem with being seen as motherly is that there's no sense of reciprocity with mothers - so a woman who is collaborative might be expecting reciprocity, but if her behavior is conflated with motherhood, that may not be the expectation of the other person.
  • If you are female but don't have a lot of relational skills, you get into a double bind.

Career Choices of Middle Schoolers Tend to be Highly Gendered

Simmons College and Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Study Illustrates Impact of Societal Influences, Suggests Significant Effect on Future Workforce.

Most middle school students are listening when their parents tell them to aim for "whatever career makes you happy." However, a new survey found that although girls have strong career aspirations, they view their options as being more limited than boys, and ignore non-traditional fields such as emerging and more highly paid careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).



Reading List

Here's a sampling of what we're reading right now. Please let us know what books are on your night stand, so we can add them to a future list!

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Recommended by Elisa van Dam, Director of Executive Education. "I am fascinated by how people are (or aren't) motivated to accomplish things both at work and at home. This book provides a thought-provoking look at why traditional "carrot and stick" motivation doesn't work for most situations, and how to create settings that allow people to tap into their intrinsic motivators.


Special Event at Simmons: Gender Diversity in U.S. Company Boardrooms

2020_event_logo.jpgSpecial Event at Simmons: Gender Diversity in U.S. Company Boardrooms

12/12/12 Boston: Promoting Gender Diversity - and the Bottom Line
Be part of the national conversation. Join us for lunch and a panel discussion at Simmons College!

Lunch and Panel Discussion
Gender Diversity in U.S. Company Boardrooms
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Linda K. Paresky Conference Center, Simmons College