Category: Sociology of Organizations & Work

Breadwinning Mothers and the Importance of Intersectional Thinking

It is hard to imagine that only several decades ago, many women in the United States did not work outside the home. If they did work, their income was a supplement to the household, not the primary share. In fact, in 1960, census reports found that mothers were the primary breadwinner in only 11% of households. A new Pew Research Center study shows us how much times have changed. Not only are women working and making more money than ever...

Big Data: The new frontier or a methodological nightmare?

  Big Data refers to the enormous amount of information now possessed by companies, that we offer up in our day-to-day lives. In Google searches, Facebook wall posts, or any purchase we are contributing to the vast amount of data, and allowing companies to make predictions about how we will behave. The use of patterning, statistical analysis and algorithms give these companies a perceived ability to ‘predict the future’; ranging from suggesting future purchases to tracking the flu virus through...

Role Models, Glass Cliffs and Marissa Mayer: Should women be managing “as women” or “like men”?

Increasingly, a great deal of media coverage and public discussion focuses on the growing number of women in senior corporate positions. Women such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, have become renowned public figures whose success is held as an example of how far women have come in their struggle for gender equality. They are seen to have shattered the glass ceiling. Whilst this success shouldn’t be belittled, there remain problems with the media’s...

Feminism, Family, and Work

This week, Stephanie Coontz contributed an opinion piece to the New York Times in honor of the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique. Coontz’s article, entitled “Why Gender Equality Stalled,” explores some of the structural and economic reasons hindering equality between men and women. The attitudes and beliefs of individuals are not to blame for the stalled gender revolution; instead, Coontz points to a failing economy and inadequate work-family policies as the major obstacles to gender equality. Coontz...

Debating Gendered Workplace Inequality

The presidential debates have raised some interesting and important questions about gender inequality in the U.S. Specifically, the second debate (transcript) brought up the issue of fair pay and equal wages for American women. While Governor Romney’s response—which involved “binders full of women”—rightfully took a lot of heat, both candidates could have benefitted from a brief lesson in the sociology of gender discrimination. Perhaps their aides will pass this on.Gov. Romney’s answer focused on increasing women’s participation in the workforce...

NFL “Ref Crisis 2012”: The Entertainment of Sports Over Fair Wages?

Bad calls leads NFL league and NFLRA to reach an agreement: On Thursday September 27, 2012 the National Football League (NFL) and fans welcomed official referees back to the field with cheers and chants.  If for some reason you didn’t hear that NFL referees were on strike,  you arer either not a football fan, or missed sports fans complaining about “bad calls” this past week. I for one am not a die-hard football fan, but it has been impossible to escape the...

Kansas City Getting Wired: Google Fiber and the Digital Divide

Google is a behemoth of an organization. Most everyone is familiar with its search engine (to the point where “Google” is a now a verb), and of the top 25 most-visited web sites in the world 6 are Google-branded, including YouTube. The company makes much of its money by selling targeted advertisements through its AdWords service, and has been wildly successful doing so. But Google has been busy with some interesting projects that fall outside its traditional role as search...

Yes, You Are a Statistic

I can no longer stomach certain clichés.  Last night at the Democratic National Convention, I heard one of these.  A university student, who introduced Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice-President, noted that she “shouldn’t be here” and was “almost a statistic.”  My immediate response, to my computer screen, was “You still are a statistic and you don’t understand what statistics are.”  I know that she was just rehashing a cliché, but it is a cliché that privileges “self-help culture”...

"Deserving" and "Undeserving" Welfare

Over a decade since the 1996 welfare reform bill, welfare is in the news again.  The latest controversy is over laws that seek to limit what welfare recipients can spend money on.  This comes shortly after state legislatures passed laws to require drug testing of welfare recipients.  These new laws are not a direct attack on what remains of anti-poverty programs in America.  Instead, these initiatives allow for both a deserving and an undeserving poor.  A moral evaluation of the...

Just a Flash in the Pan?: Institutional Fads and the Medicalization of Addiction

In popular culture, fads are common occurrences that follow a relatively basic trajectory.  That is, cultural fads typically materialize, become increasingly popular, and then fade away almost as quickly as they appeared (Best 2006).  From American Idol to zoot suits, fads associated with pop culture rapidly rise and promptly plummet before being replaced by a new trend that is ultimately destined to follow a similar path.  This cycle of emerging, surging, and purging is not, however, limited only to relatively...

Windmills on Lanai: Qui Bono?

Hawaii is strapped for energy.  Most of the State’s energy comes from foreign oil, and Hawaii spends 8% of its GDP on oil and the island that uses the most energy (Oahu) has the fewest sustainable sources.  (In Kihei, Maui, Gas is $4.86 for regular.)  Other islands have had limited success with solar and small scale windfarms, but a new proposal calls for a large wind farm on the island of Lanai. The company that owns Lanai has proposed a 12,800 acre windmill...

Rethinking Behavior Change, Nudge-style

A prevailing regime by which groups, organizations, and institutions attempt to alter the behavior of its members and constituents is through imposing penalties and fines, which seek to deter certain behaviors. Parking tickets intend to prevent people from parking in certain areas, sometimes at certain times. Prison sentences, and the death penalty, are intended to serve as deterrents for serious legal violations. However, fines often prompt behaviors different from what those trying to mould behavior (e.g., governments or organizations) intend....

New issue of Sociology Compass out now! (Vol 5, Issue 9)

Crime & Deviance Racial Profiling/Biased Policing (pages 763–774) Clayton Mosher Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00403.x Culture Social Interaction: Do Non-humans Count? (pages 775–791) Karen A. Cerulo Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00404.x Organisations & Work Mediators of Opportunity: High School Counselors in the 21st Century (pages 792–806) Vicki Smith Article first published online: 6 SEP 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00407.x   Work and Neoliberal Globalization: A Polanyian Synthesis (pages 807–823) Nina Bandelj,...

Second Video Abstract Available! – “Older Workers: The 'Unavoidable Obligation' of Extending Our Working Lives?”

Older Workers: The ‘Unavoidable Obligation’ of Extending Our Working Lives? Sarah Vickerstaff VIDEO ABSTRACT: ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Older workers are becoming an increasing topic of research interest and policy concern as the populations of Europe, the United States and many other countries age. Some commentators argue that living longer means that there will be an ‘unavoidable obligation’ to work for longer as well. This article considers the reasons for concern about an ageing workforce. It then looks at the different literatures,...

Gender disparity in global newsrooms: New findings and continued concerns

On March 25, The International Women’s Media Foundation revealed its two-year study, “Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media” during its Leaders Conference in Washington, revealing that – not surprisingly – there is gender disparity in newsrooms worldwide. According to the final report (2011), “More than 150 researchers interviewed executives at more than 500 companies in 59 nations using a 12-page questionnaire” (p. 7). Although the report offers a regional breakdown of findings, the global results...