Men are the ‘missing ingredient’ in changing workplace cultures

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Men are the ‘missing ingredient’ when it comes to changing workplace cultures and attitudes, according to a new report.

The Collaborating with Men study, released by Cambridge University’s Murray Edwards College, found that men were the key to promoting and establishing a change in workplace cultures to become more inclusive of women.

Within the research, the college found that women were still commonly reporting that experienced behaviours and assumptions from male peers and bosses, that frustrate them and impede promotion by merit. These behaviours included being interrupted or talked over in meetings and being side-lined from many informal conversations where decisions are often really made.

The report is ground-breaking research into the behaviours and perceptions of men regarding women’s workplace experiences. Previous research has mainly focused on women and their experiences in the workplace.

The research suggested that men could help improve workplace cultures by pairing employees with mentors of the opposite sex; facilitate meetings in which men and women can air their views and issues; lead project reviews with a mixed gender team; build closer relationships through informal networking; and for male colleagues to help amplify their female colleagues ideas.

Dr Jill Armstrong, who led the research said, “Small, incremental changes in the behaviour of individual men will add up to big changes for women’s advancement into the top levels of careers.”

“Many men involved in this research have suggested ideas to help their understanding of the problems women report, to improve relationships between male and female colleagues and help level the playing field for women.”

“Men and women in middle and early career stages have a lot to get done.”

“The best solutions will be those that adapt easily into the normal working day and positively improve the workplace culture for men as well as women.”

Continuing Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College said, “Men’s willingness to work beside women to change workplace culture is crucial to getting more women into senior positions.”

“Yet, until now, men have rarely been asked whether they see these behaviours as a problem for women and what they think can be done about it.”

Murray Edwards College are now aiming to work with organisations to trial these suggested methods within the workplace.

Tunde Olanrewaju, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, London, said, “All businesses need to think more about men, more systematically than just asking women about their view of workplace culture – making the unconscious conscious.”

“We advance and promote gender diversity in our own workplace, in our clients and in society more broadly.”

“Tackling mindsets and building a favourable environment for all organisations is critical for success.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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