There is a shocking lack of minority CEOs, and a new study shows white men undermine the few who manage to land those top roles. In the Fortune 500, just 27 CEOs are women and 3 are black; zero of those are black women. The men’s rights bros aka conservatives would have us believe low numbers are simply indicative that minorities don’t want these high stress jobs, but new research shows that white men throw a tantrum when their CEOs are women or people of color.
Seems when a company appoints a minority CEO, white male employees become less helpful to fellow employees who are women and people of color. “Our theory is that the appointment of minority CEOs triggers biases,” said James Westphal, a professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business one of the authors of the Academy of Management Journal’s study. “They actually identify less, psychologically, with the organization after the appointment of a minority CEO and that reduces their propensity to help their colleagues.” Cue my surprised face.
When this uncooperative behavior comes from upper level employees it directly hinders a new CEO from implementing their plans and changes. The decrease in cooperation from lower level staff results in less productivity. Both result in diminished returns and reflect poorly on that new CEO. So, should we cue the tiny violins for the fragile white boys who can’t suck it up and do their jobs because of hurt feelings, while studies show women suffer through diminished health from the stress of working in hostile companies and under leadership whom they don’t identify with.
In addition to fragile white male sabotage, minorities who do find themselves in leadership positions aren’t set up for success. The so called glass cliff describes the phenomenon of promoting minorities when a company is deep in a crisis. If said CEO can’t turn the company around quickly they are replaced by white men. The ones who do manage to stay are constantly self policing. “I have to constantly think about ‘I don’t want to be the angry black woman’ because I am the only black woman,” said Felicia Felton, HR & safety manager at a manufacturing company.
How long do you think it will take for men’s rights activists like James Damore and Jordan Peterson to use this study to argue that minority leadership isn’t good for business? I give it a week. A better argument might be to demote the men who can’t play ball.
By Being Liberal contributor: Sarah Ficca