Posted by: kenwbudd | October 4, 2009

The Glass Cage excludes female, cultural minorities and aging employees

Are you aware of the term “glass cage”? No, well that probably means it does not apply to you or is apparently protecting you.

The ‘Glass Cage’ refers to a discriminatory process within organisations that deliberately and systematically construct organisational structures, job limitations, and discrimination that prevent women, cultural minorities and aging employees, from advancing and moving into management positions.

It also restricts the ‘type’ and ‘style’ of management found and blocks collaboration and co-operative efforts throughout the organisation.

Breaking into or even cracking that cage, involves radically changing the structure of the organisation’s work itself. Reducing, softening or removing boundaries and increasing collaborative teamwork, can give women, cultural minority and aging employees the visibility, leadership experience, and strategic ties they need to develop and build, repeatable success.

Start by looking at the effectiveness of self-directed work teams, defined as; groups of employees pulled from diverse functional groups who met regularly to develop new ideas or tackle specific tasks. If you are extra cautious, first establish an experimental task force and monitor.

In addition to and in alignment with this, examine cross-training programs for employees, in which they learn about and experience what it is like to work in different positions and taking various roles, throughout the company. Monitor the effectiveness these efforts have on the employees’ potential for advancement to management-level jobs.

When managers get to know and trust the previously excluded; female, cultural minority and aging employees, through these team assignments and cross-training initiatives, they will be better able and more motivated to act as mentors and references for future job openings.

Therefore, when employers and organisations restructure their operations in favour of small, responsive, employee-directed teams, they greatly increase the collaboration efforts across departments and, in turn, greatly improve their management-level diversity.

When employers examine their prejudices closely, they will find little benefit in retaining these views and greater advantages in radically changing them. The first step is to blur the lines and responsibilities between employees and their roles. Soften the boundaries and encourage self-directed, collaborative, work teams, they can revolutionise and greatly increase your efficiency and diversity in management-level positions.


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