Archive for July, 2012

Beyond the Blind Spots

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

This blog was first posted on the MARC (Men Advocating for Real Change) web site, June 11, 2012.

I often think about these three guys I know:

  • Guy 1 is devoted to gender equality. He knows there are gender inequities in society and the world over, and he goes out of his way to make sure that he fights for the rights of women.
  • Guy 2 doesn’t really give a damn about gender equality and bristles at the notion that we’re having the conversation. He believes that men have their status relative to women and that’s how it goes (besides, women have a lot of benefits men don’t have).
  • Guy 3 is on the fence; he thinks things aren’t always right in relations and dynamics between men and women, but he doesn’t have a lot of motivation one way or the other to do anything differently.

OK, now the pop quiz—which guy fosters greater equity and inclusion for women and men in organizations?

Most people choose Guy 1. He’s the one who is active, energized, and committed to creating change. Guy 2 is the clear resistor and he’s not forwarding the cause. And Guy 3 is annoyingly indecisive, so he’s not helpful. Indeed, many men who care about gender equity follow the heroic path of Guy 1.

But each of these guys has blind spots that get in the way of being trusted and reliable agents of change in creating inclusion and equity. Guy 2 is the obvious knucklehead in this regard. He does not understand and appreciate the value of true equity with the women in his life, both professional and personal. For example, one manager I worked with shared privately that his experience revealed that women were exceptional in social relations positions like HR in his organization, but that he had serious concerns about hiring women for technology-intensive positions.  Guy 2 is generally not interested in the kinds of arguments offered by Michael Kimmel in his MARC post on Why Men Should Support Gender Equality that show how his work and home life could be better. He also doesn’t appreciate the costs he incurs by embracing his unearned privilege as a man.

Guy 3 is picking his nose. He’s not focused on the impact of inequities and lives in a fog about this stuff. He sees the problems that women colleagues and friends have, but he gets distracted and ends up not following through on trying to do anything about the problems.

And Guy 1—the Committed One—knows exactly what needs to be done to create change, and his certainty and arrogance about it all alienates many of the men (and the women) with whom he needs to collaborate.

The guy who may be most important in fostering gender equity and inclusion is Guy 4. He’s the one who accepts the mission to engage each of three above to work together to change gender inequities. This fourth actor is committed to equality, but understands the importance of not discounting any of the other three. At any moment in time, one of these guys may be instrumental in creating change. Guy 1 will be a tireless advocate and can lead in that way. Guy 2 can model that change can happen even for someone who seems resistant. His visible learning can be inspirational. And Guy 3 is the silent majority who, if motivated, can transform an organization or community that is exclusive to one that embraces equity.

So here’s one last confession. I didn’t make these guys up out of thin air. I am all of these guys. At different moments and in different relationships, I experience each of these “guy states.” At times I am outraged and deeply hurt by the inequities that I see and I am highly motivated to create change. I push for inclusion because the alternative is unpalatable. At other times, I feel resentful of my women colleagues and friends. They seem not to support me when I need it the most and I am annoyed and frustrated by their behaviors and attitudes. And at other times, I am simply paralyzed, knowing that change is needed, but not knowing what to do or how to do it. Part of what helps me to be effective in supporting change is not beating myself up when I am not perfectly politically correct and not getting too self-important when I am. Men who really want to make a difference need to embrace their inner Guy 4s.

August 4, 2012, 10:00 am, 72nd Annual Academy of Management Conference, Boston, MA

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

This year’s AoM conference theme is “The Informal Economy,” which refers to commercial activities that occur at least partially outside a governing body’s observation, taxation, and regulation.

Martin Davidson, together with Heather Wishik, consultant, Tim Ewing, Case Western Reserve University, and Sharon Bueno Washington, Washington, Orange, Wheeler, LLC, plans to explore the intersections of power and identity in self-management by identifying and deepening  understanding of the impacts dominant social identities have on intra- and interpersonal dynamics.

Join the panel for what promises to be a provocative and complex discussion.  View this year’s program and register for the conference at  Please plan to attend Martin’s book signing for The End of Diversity as We Know It: Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, at the Darden Business Publishing and Berrett-Kohler publishers booths in the main Exhibit Hall at the Hynes Convention Center, 3:00 pm.

August 2, 2012 Management Doctoral Student Association Trailblazer Award

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Martin is very proud to receive the Doctoral Student Association Trailblazer Award for outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to the management profession, considerable resourcefulness in overcoming all barriers, and serving as an exemplary role model for all those who will follow in his footsteps. He will accept the honor and give a keynote address at the awards dinner August 2, preceding the annual Academy of Management Conference, Boston, MA.

August 1, 2012 State Suprintendent Executive Development Program

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Martin continues his contribution to the Darden/Curry PLE program with a presentation to senior education officials in the State Superintendent Executive Development Program at the Darden School of Business.

July 23-25, 2012, 5th Equality, Diversity and Inclusion International Conference, Toulouse, France

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

The 5th EDI conference will be held in Toulouse, Southwest France, 23-25 July 2012. It will provide an exciting forum for encounters and publication projects in a stimulating intellectual, cultural and historical environment. Martin Davidson and colleague Heather Wishik will present new research on Identity and Power.  For more information and to register, visit

July 15, 2012 The End of Diversity as We Know It

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

The Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) is a joint venture of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and the Curry School of Education. Martin will present principles from his book The End of Diversity as We Know It to school superintendents and principals on July 15.