Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Caregivers hide actions to enhance careers

20.02.2006


University faculty with family responsibilities may practice bias avoidance behaviors to hide their caregiving responsibility and to prevent biased, negative career implications, according to a Penn State labor studies expert.



"We divide bias avoidance behaviors into productive types that improve work performance and unproductive types that are inefficient," says Dr. Robert Drago, professor of labor studies and industrial relations and women’s studies. "Our study of university faculty indicates that both types of bias avoidance are relatively common, with women more often reporting both types."

Productive bias avoidance includes behaviors that minimize actual family commitments to improve work performance and facilitate career success. Productive behaviors improve career chances because they increase the time and energy available for the job. In the case of university faculty, people may choose to delay partnering or marriage, limit the number of children raised or delay child rearing, until they attain tenure.


Unproductive bias avoidance behaviors produce the appearance of commitment to the job, but either have no effect or hinder job performance. These behaviors include not requesting flex time for fear it will look bad, making excuses for absences or missed meetings rather than admitting caregiver responsibilities, and not asking to stop the tenure clock. Unproductive bias avoidance behaviors are particularly puzzling in the academic world where tenure qualifications are measured by scholarship, teaching and research.

Drago and Carol Colbeck, professor of education, looked at men and women who had faculty appointments in either English or Chemistry. The two disciplines were chosen because they represent areas where there are few women – chemistry – and many women – English. These disciplines also differ in that chemistry requires fast-paced publishing, pressures for external funding, competition between groups and collaborative work within research groups, while English generally has a slower pace for publication, little available external funding, minimal competition and generally solitary work.

The researchers looked at faculty from educational institutions ranging from 2-year associate degree granting institutions to major research institutions. They eventually sampled 507 institutions. A survey of 36 items estimated to take five minutes to complete was completely filled out and returned by 4,188 participants for a 28.6 percent response rate. Each respondent could donate $2 to a charity of their choice as incentive to fill out the survey.

"Foremost, the survey provided empirical support for the existence of productive and unproductive bias avoidance behaviors," Drago told attendees at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science today (Feb. 19) in St. Louis, Mo. "Employees do strategize to avoid career penalties by minimizing or hiding caregiving commitments."

Another finding is that women more often engage in both productive and unproductive bias avoidance behavior.

"We found that locations with supportive supervisors reported reduced rates and probably had a reduction in bias avoidance behaviors," says Drago. "Institutions with gender equality seem to report lower levels of bias avoidance for women."

Other findings were mixed. Women in chemistry reported returning to work too soon after childbirth. Women employed in institutions where teaching was the major focus reported missing more important events in their children’s lives. Women at institutions with gender equity more often reported taking advantage of the ability to stop the tenure clock.

"Women-friendly institutions also tend to be family-friendly for women," says Drago.

While the survey only looked at university and college faculty, bias avoidance strategies probably exist for other employees, but research into specific fields would be necessary to show where and to what extent.

"Because bias avoidance and gender appear to be linked, successful attempts to achieve gender equity at colleges and universities will probably require reductions in the incidence of both productive and unproductive avoidance behaviors," says Drago.

A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>