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Gender and Organization's Culture

Center for Gender in Organizations

The Center for Gender in Organizations (CGO)at Simmons College in Boston, MA conducts research, provides consultations, holds public seminars and workshops, maintains a website, and produces publications. This article outlines their approach to gender as it relates to an organizations' culture and practices. Rather than view gender as a problem that individual women face at work, the CGO analyzes how gender is embedded in an organization's work practices and culture. Analyzing an organization through a gender lens creates opportunities to identify systems, practices, and norms that make it difficult for different groups of women (and often men) to be optimally effective. The CGO works with many organizations to show how performance is enhanced by gender equitable workplaces that enable both women and men to be productive contributors. This systemic linking of equity and effectiveness is what we call the dual agenda. In contrast to other approaches, where gender, work and personal life issues, and diversity are handled through human resource policies and procedures, we focus our research and involvement at the level of work practice and deep cultural assumptions about work and how it gets accomplished. To achieve gender equity within an organization, it is critical to build internal constituencies among different groups that can sustain this unique form of change. Our thinking and practice on gender equity is organized around these themes: Leadership, Gender Equity & Change, and Working with Differences: Diversity. Focusing at the intersection of scholarship and practice, CGO works in four principal ways: 1. CGO conducts research to deepen understanding of the way organizations are gendered and the impact of gender and identity on organizational performance. 2.CGO engages in consultations and action learning projects with organizations to translate CGO concepts into practical actions. 3. CGO convenes public events, seminars, and workshops to highlight new research and practice on gender and diversity in organizations and to help link professionals both scholars and practitioners in the field. In addition, through the CGO Speakers Bureau, their affiliates speak to external audiences about our work. 4. CGO synthesizes and disseminates gender information to organizations through the CGO website and by producing publications: Working Papers on current research; CGO Insights, practical briefing notes on innovative research and practice; and CGO Commentaries, which highlight current and emerging topics in the area of gender equity and organizational change.

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