This research paper presents a case study of offshore oil platforms, a work environment that has traditionally rewarded men for masculinity and interactions centered on proving masculinity. This case helps to develop how features of an organization such as work practices and norms can help disrupt the conventional masculine identity-constructed processes. According to the case, features of the organization designed to enhance effectiveness and safety had the unintended purpose of changing how men enacted their masculine identities at work. Data gathered through interview and participation show that the major reorientation was away from seeking gain masculinity principles and towards finding better means of performing their jobs effectively and safely. The latter required workers to engage in mutual expression of vulnerability, which includes, acknowledging physical limitations, learning from past mistakes, and attending to individual and emotions of others (Ely, & Meyerson, 2008). Consequently, these men expressed a broader range of personal qualities including those that run opposite to the conventional masculine script. The findings from the study point to mutability of masculine identity as a social status achievement and how organization can evade such tendencies and stand a chance to gain in the process.
The case study highlighted two key issues. First, the macho behavior practiced by managers is not necessary but found its way into how they do their job. Second, their notion about the ingredients required change. The company implemented changes in work practices, norms, behaviors, and perception. Consequently, the firm’s rate of accident declined by 84%, while efficiency, productivity, and reliability increased beyond the previous benchmark set by the industry. If men working in the hyper-masculine environment of oil rigs can put to an end their macho ideal, then other corporations can follow suit. From the case study, it is evident that the problem does not only involve the traditional masculine attributes alone, but also on the efforts of males to prove their worth in dealing with the hazardous setting of an offshore oil platform or in an executive setting.
` Traditionally, gender was equated to women, but today, gender scholars have realized that men too have a gender ant that masculinity is a central component of gender relations worthy of study. It is therefore important to reexamine masculinity and maleness in manner that does not carry the assumptions of what “masculine energy” looks like. Solution to this issue requires gender transformation. Organizations should put into practice programs that address masculinity by placing emphasis on informing men that aggression is wrong. The only problem with this approach is that men are told to change their identities, but the proponents fail to give proper alternatives. Such programs should extend further and explain that there are constructive ways of expressing masculinity. In addition, organizations should focus on job requirements rather than basing their judgment believed to equate with competence can help the organization free employees to do their jobs best. Organizations should also adopt new attitude toward work. This requires the management to open up for new information that challenge their assumptions and acknowledge the problems posed by masculinity.
In conclusion, the oil rigs are a dangerous, dirty, and demanding workplace that have traditionally encouraged display of masculine strength and technical prowess. The study shows that people working in the industry have realized the problems associated with macho cultures and expressed the willingness to embrace more constructive modes of running organizations.
Ely, R. J. & Meyerson, D. (2008). Unmasking manly men. Harvard Business Revenue.