Masculine Bullies in the Workplace

A disturbing bit of sexist thinking in the business world:

“Just the mention of men treating other men badly on the job seemingly shakes the men’s movement to its core. It is what Peggy Klaus, an executive coach in Berkeley, Calif., has called ‘the blue elephant’ in the room. . . . ‘We believe that a sense of pride in men’s accomplishments is important in getting men to help one another,’ Ms. Lau said. ‘To have this sense of pride, men need to be aware of their shared identity as men.’ In the workplace, however, it is unlikely that men will constantly think of themselves as members of one group, she said. They will more likely see themselves as individuals, as they are judged by their performance.” –[Instapundit]

Honestly, what is our country coming to? Can you imagine a more cooperation-destroying idea than one in which people should think of themselves first as members of a group and only secondly as individuals? Do we want men looking at their colleagues and judging them based on their sex instead of their merit? This is especially true given men’s clear advantages in educational achievement which means that in the future a higher percentage of men will hold management positions than do women. 

Do you want to live in a world in which your male boss believes that he has a moral responsibility to side with the men working under him instead of the women? Imagine if that kind of sexist thinking occurred at every level in management! Women might find the entire workplace a hostile environment where a woman would have to be twice as good as a man to get the same reward! 

I find it disturbing that we seem to have developed an entire political movement around the idea that men should look at women as some kind of enemy against which they should collectively and automatically circle the wagons. 

Men just have to bite the bullet and accept that they have to judge other people as individuals instead of as members of any type of group. Only then as a society will we receive the benefits of meritocracy and social justice. 

7 thoughts on “Masculine Bullies in the Workplace”

  1. Boys bully boys in school. Girls have groups that are “selective” and diss those girls they feel don’t merit admittance to the group. My wife has long worked in human resources and notes that bullying does go on, by both males and females in the workplace. Men don’t think of themselves as belonging to a group; women for whatever reasons continue to see themselves as women. If a man gets fired, he does not sue (if he is to sue) because he is a man; a woman does.Why?

  2. Clearly people should not be making work decisions to prefer their own gender over the other. I think one thing that happens, though, is that too many women are extremely vicious in their treatment of some other women at work. This happens mainly in 2 cases:

    //If a woman does not demonstrate strength to maintain her position as part of the social group, she’ll be mercilessly attacked. Showing mercy to the vulnerable and the outcast is not usually a female characteristic, and status wars among women can be very ruthless.

    //If a woman is extremely attractive, other women in the workplace will regard her as a threat and will attack her, unless she has the social skills to quickly establish dominance.

  3. Bullying is a natural human behavior. Although humans have to cooperate to survive, individuals can gain an advantage by creating a status hierarchy in which they gain a disproportionate share of the benefits of that cooperation. This is the function of bullying in both its weak and strong forms. It creates dominance over the victim for the bully so that the bully can always negotiate a 60/40 split in the bully’s favor.

    That doesn’t explain why we have people encouraging men to view themselves as a cohesive group who should look out for the group interest ahead of their self interest or that of other groups.

  4. Are you sure that wasn’t written somewhat tongue-in-cheek? If you read “women’s movement” and changed the gender of the piece (no pun intended) you would see a familiar feminist rant. But since when has there been a “men’s movement”?

    I must have missed it. Guess I was too focussed on my individualism and mission accomplishment. Oh, wait a second. Doesn’t that mission accomplishment thing involve teamwork and unit cohesion and “one for all, etc.”?

    Well, I’ve got to go now and share my identity as a man with some guys down at the bar.

  5. I’m not sure what to make of this post. The original article dealt with women in the workplace, at least that’s what it was at the other site I read about it. If you changed it to make a point, I’m not sure what that point is.

    In the original, I got the impression that the author was somewhat dismayed by the lack of group solidarity on the part of working women, and that too many women in “the movement” try to pretend it isn’t like that.

    But, like the laws of reality, or economics, the laws of human behavior apply to women as well as men. In any situation in which people are evaluated, and their performance is key to some form of higher reward, it requires a very strong motivation to put oneself second and some group identity first.

    I don’t think gender is a sufficient motivator.

    Furthermore, it would be a wondrous day indeed if the very many women who have climbed up on a very high horse would finally admit that their gender was every bit as susceptible to all the flaws and failings of our common humanity as the other gender they constantly criticize.

    If the point of the article was calling for an end to such moral posturing, it would be welcome honesty in an area normally fogged with ideological posings.

  6. Ed Rasimus,

    Are you sure that wasn’t written somewhat tongue-in-cheek?

    Oh, just a little bit. In looking back over the original instapundit quote, I see that somehow during the copying and pasting the “women” in the original got truncated to “men” and “Pink” got turned into “blue”. Well, that’s what I get for using a Mac. An Apple Computer always thinks it knows better than you.

  7. Ideally, the group an employee identifies with will be a team of coworkers, regardless of gender. If the group succeeds, the individuals will succeed. When I do performance evaluations I lean heavily on the team player aspect for both men and women.

    I think sometimes people get a pass for bad behavior because it squares with a stereotype. Boys will be boys when it’s a harassing man, that’s just how women are when it’s a bullying woman. Better to put aside those generalizations and insist on professional behavior from everyone.

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