The large scale entry of women into paid work and the increase in the number of people, both men and women, who are working later in life have fueled the need to redesign workplaces so that workplaces are better aligned with the lives of the people who work in them. Redesigning work also has the potential to help businesses better harness the talents of today’s workforce. The changing nature of work itself, brought about by the movement from an industrial to an information-based economy, has further inspired the need to redefining workplaces. Careers too have changed, with men and women working for more employers over the course of their working lives.
The objective of this course is to explore how workplaces of the 21st century might respond to changes in the U.S. workforce and changes in the nature of work. We will begin with a day long compressed lecture and discussion of the research on the ways in which gender impacts the work experiences of both men and women, focusing primarily on the experiences of men and women in managerial and professional positions in businesses and some non-profit organizations. We will also examine how these gender dynamics have changed over recent history. Topics covered will include the effects of proportions of men and women in a job on the experiences of men and women, whether and how men and women's networks differ, the various causes of the gender gap in pay and promotions, and the multiple issues related to juggling the demands of work and family and how this impacts both men and women.
Next, a series of guest lectures, business cases and videos will provide examples of historical and recent attempts to redesign workplaces in different industries and firms. Special attention will be paid to the ways that workplaces have been modified to be more flexible in terms of the hours that men and women work, where and how the work is done and how employees are evaluated. Through active discussions, we will debate what kinds of changes would be feasible and productive for both individuals and businesses. The course will conclude with a mini-conference where student teams present a project on a workplace redesign for a specific industry. Students will be evaluated on the quality of their presentation and their participation in daily discussions