Gender and the MBA: Using the equity scorecard to pursue organizational change in a graduate business school context

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
Although women represent close to half of the workforce, they are underrepresented in management positions, especially at the most senior levels. Numerous authors have argued that management education has a masculine bias that reproduces the stereotypes that sustain the systems, decisions, and processes that allow these differential outcomes to persist. Despite decades of calls to surface and reduce the masculine bias, and add the feminine into management education, little change has occurred. In this thesis I draw on the equity scorecard methodology by Bensimon (2012) and other researchers at the Centre for Urban Education. Integrating action research, sociocultural, organizational learning, practice, and critical race theories, the equity scorecard method is a change process designed to reduce racial inequity in higher education that involves assembling a group of organizational members, presenting them with data on differential process and outcomes for different student identities, and discussing change strategies. I adapt this methodology to determine if a process of awareness and dialogue can lead to an attempt to improve gender equity in a graduate business school context, specifically: changes in policy, practice, and how organizational members talk and think about gender equity. I studied the indicators of change, factors that support change, and barriers that inhibit the change process. Although I found no policy changes and few practice changes, I did see change in how organizational members spoke and thought about gender equity, which is an important antecedent to organizational change. Three important factors that supported change were context, people (care, equity-conscious, optimism, internal focus), and process (fit with academia, facilitator role). Barriers to change included a lack of urgency, agency, responsibility, and consensus on desired outcomes, as well as organizational issues that compounded these barriers. I present numerous suggestions for organizations, departments, and individuals attempting to advance equity in their organizations. This thesis offers a better understanding of organizational change related to progressing equity initiatives that can be extended to other business schools and organizations.
269 pages.
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Thesis advisor: Nilson, Michelle
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