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Gender in Organizations

Gender in Organizations

Are Men Allies or Adversaries to Women’s Career Advancement?

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Debra A. Major

Diversifying the workforce is becoming increasingly important, with gender equality being a central feature of overall equality. Men seem to be part of the problem and a necessary part of the solution. This collection ties these themes together in the context of talent management and organizational effectiveness.

Chapter 6: Men, masculinity, well-being, and health

Ronald J. Burke

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, gender and management, organisational behaviour


Why do we need a chapter on men, masculinity, and health? Donít we know enough about them? It is true that although most research on work and health has involved men, the experiences of men as men have been virtually ignored (Hearn, 1994). In the 1970s and 1980s, attention was focused on women, spearheaded by scholars who called attention to the fact that increasing numbers of women were entering the workforce and womenís roles were changing (Powell, 1999). In the mid-1990s, the focus shifted to men and menís roles, which are still undergoing sweeping changes (Levant, 1994). The popular press has suggested that considerable confusion currently exists about menís roles (Kimmel and Messner, 1989). Questions such as ëWhat are men supposed to do?í and ëWhat do women want from men?í convey the general tenor of this uncertainty (Kimmel, 1993). Part of the confusion may be the result of pressures on men to exhibit behavior that conflicts with traditional notions of masculinity. Such pressures include those to commit to relationships, communicate oneís deepest feelings, share in household responsibilities, nurture children, and to limit aggression and violence (Levant, 1994). In addition, many men find it increasingly difficult to fulfill the expectations of the provider role. Historically, men have defined themselves by their work, a profession, and a paycheck (Kimmel, 1993, 1996).

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