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 Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>