Paradigms for Women Leaders in Operations Management: Challenges of Implicit Bias in Gender and Race and What to Do About It

Our panel will examine how implicit bias adversely influences the development of women leaders in operations management (OM) and what interventions are needed. Over the past several years, we have led related sessions and open discourse at DSI and POMS describing the fact that OM management loses female talent along their career ladder. Specifically,  we provided data showing that female assistant professors, in contrast their male counterparts, woefully lag reaching higher echelons of the rank of full professor and other leadership positions in academia.  The situation is even more dire for women of color.  Moving forward toward mitigating this situation, our panel will explore one underlying mechanism that is less not well-understood in our field: the role of implicit (or unconscious bias) as an impediment to advancing OM women leaders. We will begin session by defining implicit bias and how it is generally assessed in research and practice. Next,  we describe how it touches women in academia, with an emphasis on the operations, supply chain and management science community. It has been shown to affect career decisions made about women faculty over phases of their academic careers–from acceptance into the doctoral program to recruitment to retention and to promotion. It may also play a role in their assigned teaching loads and number of distinct course preparations, their administrative and service assignments and access to research funding. Moreover, women faculty also may also face implicit bias in the classroom (e.g., course rating) and in professional societies.  We conclude with a discussion that leads to interventions that address the bias and capture from the audience their concerns and perceived threats. Male colleagues are encouraged to participate as you are deemed critical to the solutions.

Panelists include:  (To Be Announced)

Funda Sahin
University of Houston
Aleda Roth
Clemson University