Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Tyranny of Invisible Barriers in a Women’s Career

Do women executives harbor fears of holding positions of power and authority?  Women agree that there is a need for them to take on stretch roles and assignments that will help them get noticed. On the other hand, women will over-analyze the challenge and shrink away from the work for fear of failure or the extra strain it will put on their home life; whereas men will put their hands up and be prepared to “learn by doing.” Unless challenging opportunities are not sought to prove one’s competence, how can you be entrusted with important clients and high-level roles?
This dichotomy gives an impression of whether women managers—at least some of them—really want to succeed, as they often complain they cannot due to various organizational factors. Or do they, in fact, harbor the fear of holding power and authority deep within them, simply because it will challenge the current power structures in organizations. Some competent young women fear success because they believe it will cost them socially. Others claim that actually the major force holding women back from success and achievement is their wish to be taken care of.
An article in Fortune (2003) that featured the 50 most powerful women in business. The writer of the article also wondered whether women really want power. “Many fast-track women are surprisingly ambivalent about what’s next. Dozens of powerful women we interviewed tell us that they don’t want to do something exceptionally good as running a huge company, they merely want a decently paying honorable job”. Thus, this dilemma prompts them to choose “prevention” strategies—avoiding failure—rather than “promotion” strategies—actively driving success.
Men and women have different perceptions of power. Men think about power as more competitive and hierarchical, while women think of it as more cooperative and interdependent. However, women’s perception of power as an instrument of public purpose rather than as a tool for personal ambition could produce radical changes in organizations that are currently imbibed in a hierarchical notion of power over others. New research suggests that women are not in leadership positions, among other things, because they do not want the jobs as much as men do. Shocking as it may seem, in one of the studies conducted on 650 recent MBA graduates, researchers had participants rank their current position in the industry, their ideal position, and the highest position they could realistically attain. Women had no doubt that they could realistically attain the same level of success as men, but they ranked their ideal position lower.
Another study explains that finding by suggest­ing that women have more negative associations with power than men do. This is because women expect more stress, burdens, conflicts, and difficult trade-offs to go with high-level positions. Powerful positions stress women out because they have less time in which to attain a greater number of goals.
By and large, women in management fall into three categories. A small proportion extremely career-focused women. They are willing to make all adjustments to do well in their careers. At the other end of the spectrum, there is another small group of family focused women. But the vast majority encompasses women who would like to combine career and family. It is this group which is ambivalent towards their career. It is this group that would like to have answers to their frequently asked questions, such as:
• Is it possible to be a woman and a manager without falling into a male stereotype?
• Is it possible to be competitive and ambitious without compromising with a woman’s identity and self-image?
• Is it possible to move out of the female stereotype and be seen in a new light?

Anjali Hazarika in her new book ‘WALK THE TALK’ takes us through the invisible barriers that a woman encounters during her professional career.  Her book is a ‘call for action’ to create an ecosystem of empowerment.

Grab your copy today and find out how our author proposes to close the gaps between Women, Work, Equity, and Effectiveness!



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moderating Impact of Job-worth on Burnout and Self-worth of Indian Call Centre Employees

A significant proportion of the Indian workforce is engaged as customer service representatives or call centre employees. The National Association of Software and Services Companies in India (NASSCOM) Information Technology–Business Process Management (IT–BPM) industry FY2015 performance review states that India has been able to retain its leadership position in business process outsourcing, despite competitive challenges presented by emerging off-shoring destinations such as Philippines, China and Singapore. These global sourcing services are largely delivered to off-shore destinations across the world through call centres. For India, this has been possible due to a unique set of factors that multiply its value proposition. The key factors being unparalleled cost advantage and being world’s largest pool of employable talent. Despite these positive factors, the call centre jobs, as research suggests, are perceived negatively. The key question then is: India being a massive hub for the call centre jobs, wherein more and more workforce opt for it annually, is it justified to state that it is only doing harm to the employees than good?

An article from the South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management questions the negative generalization of call centre jobs for the Indian population by studying three broad issues:
  •    If call centres are associated with negative work outcomes, then why do people opt for these jobs?
  •     If these are high-stress jobs then does it influence the workforce alike?
  •    Have the previous studies on call centres missed the link of self-worth and job-worth?
     In the context of India, because of the abundance of English-speaking graduates, call centres are the important source of employment generation. With differentiated labour markets utilizing more semi-skilled workforce, those employees who are getting more monetary benefits for their limited skills lead to greater self-expectations, thereby, it is expected that these would generate more positive experiences on the job.
      However, among the primary issues that are usually reported on call centres are concerns of burnout. The article argues that burnout experiences do not always have a negative impact on the employee’s self-worth. The relationship is, instead, moderated by the impact of job-worth, which acts as a potential individual resource. 

      If you are interested to seek answers to the mind boggling questions related to BPO's, register  here to read the full article.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Demonetisation: A means to an End?

At the midnight hour of 9 November 2016, two shock therapies were being administered on two sides of the globe, the United States of America (USA) and India. In the USA, against all the forecasts of election pundits and renowned economists, Donald Trump was winning in one constituency after another. In India, Prime Minister Modi had announced that after the midnight of 8 November, Indian notes of `500 and `1,000 would cease to be legal tender except for some specified uses, and the holders had until December 30 to deposit their notes in the banks for conversion into new notes. Pandemonium broke out in India, and people were flocking to all kinds of shops to use their notes to purchase whatever they could before midnight. An avalanche of criticism flooded the television and local newspapers.

The exercise was basically propelled, as the Prime Minister said in his announcement, by the desire to check corruption and build the foundations for clean prosperity. Demonetisation in India, thus, was not a financial exercise. It was about curing corruption and achieving clean growth. The electorate has strengthened the hands of the government to strive for not only cleaner India but also richer India.

This entirely unfamiliar situation of 'Demonetisation' unleashed a huge debate on television, in newspapers, and on social media, the likes of which had never been seen. Several months later, we are still questioning: Was this a disastrous blunder or a leap forward?
To answer these questions, a renowned economist 'Dr Ramgopal Agarwala' takes an incisive look at the events that led to demonetisation, the aftermath, and its implications. He sifts through many irrelevant rants, a lot of politically motivated mud-slinging, and asks the most important question: What now, what next?

Grab your copy today to find out answers to your questions on Demonetisation.

What could be the motivations for engaging in long-distance parenting in South Asian Indian migrants?

In Western cultures, the traditional notion of the family involves the nuclear unit living under one household with parents providing primary care for their children. Some families sometimes opt for long-distance parenting on account of various reasons but what could be the motivations for engaging in long-distance parenting in a population of high income South Asian Indian migrants in the United States.
Although long-distance parenting is often depicted as a response to the crisis (e.g., economic) or other stressful life events, it is sometimes undertaken in various culturally normative situations. This study from the journal 'Psychology and Developing Societies' explores the motivations of South Asian Indian immigrant parents for sending their young children to India to live temporarily with their grandparents. This qualitative study involves in-depth interviews with first generation immigrant parents about their experiences and motivations for sending their children to India. 

Analysis of the study revealed five themes, namely: 
(a) contextual and daily challenges in caring for their children in the United States, 
(b) parents’ concern around paid group childcare, 
(c) grandparents as ideal caregivers but unable to stay in the United States, 
(d) presence of other extended network of relationships and support in India and 
(e) parents wanting their children to maintain their language and customs. 

Findings suggest culturally grounded beliefs around optimal childrearing (e.g., grandparents as ideal caregivers, presence of extended network of support in India and maintaining Indian traditions and values) and parents’ contextual needs (e.g., parents’ busy schedule around job and education) when traditional caregiving context changes due to migration to a new country. Implications for researchers are discussed.
Overall, interviews evoked themes that reflect a convergence of traditionally held notions around childcare and family and a shift in the traditional caregiving context as a result of migration. Parents’ responses reflect deeply held traditional notions of childcare, notably, the involvement of extended family, the acquisition of ‘traditional Indian culture’ and collective care. However, set against the backdrop of migrant family life, this model of child caregiving was difficult to sustain.

Register here to read full article.