Sexism at business school

When it comes to changing deep-seated work attitudes, recognising and acting against gender inequality remains a colossal challenge. One approach, adopted by London Business School students and highlighted by the FT,  is the creation of so-called ‘Manbassadors’. Male MBA students take a lead to support female colleagues, pledging to engage fellow students and continue their support after graduation. Manbassadors run skills workshops to help students recognise and avoid sexual bias. These might involve such ‘microsexism’ as unthinkingly interrupting women in meetings. Wharton, Harvard and Columbia business schools have similar initiatives. Business schools are an effective place to start, say participants, because they are likely to be running companies in the future. But there’s no reasons why executives can’t instigate similar projects now.

Notes on a scandal

In this excellent view on the legacies of corporate scandal, the FT’s management editor Andrew Hill considers what German car maker VW might learn from BP’s experience with Deepwater Horizon disaster. In the short term, VW’s scramble to draw a line under its US exposure looks sensible, he writes. But before the heat starts to abate, companies can expect lawsuits, independent reports, official external reports, documentaries, books and even Hollywood movies. Moreover, old cultural failings may resurface long after new managers think they have stamped out former bad habits. ‘The half-life of corporate scandal is long — and largely beyond companies’ control.’

In the FT’s opinion, ‘picking a deceptive strategy and then (if all the allegations are true) doubling down on it as the net closed looks mad.’ The bigger problem, however, is one of regulation, in which ‘poor regulatory incentives met a governance regime that discourages accountability.’ Fiat Chrysler, too, is defending itself against similar emissions-evading accusations by the US Environmental Protection agency, and could face a $US4.6bn fine.

How to work when your boss does not care

Michael SkapinkerThe most recent annual Edelman Trust Barometer, produced by the public relations company, showed that large numbers of workers no longer trusted the company they worked for. In Japan, only 40 per cent trusted their employers. In France it was 48 per cent and 57 per cent in the UK. In the US, nearly two-thirds of employees trusted their companies but that has to be set against other downbeat US surveys.

FT couminist, Michael Skapinker, argues that employee disenchantment has costs beyond poor customer service: absenteeism, shoddy work and high turnover. Read his article on performance management (requires subscription).