Jirs Meuris, assistant professor of management and human resources at the Wisconsin School of Business, is the recipient of the 2023 Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices from the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division of the Academy of Management.
The paper, “Devaluation by Association: Gender Diversity and Performance Recognition in Masculine Occupations,” was co-authored with Jennifer Merluzzi of The George Washington University. OMT’s Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices recognizes research that advances the understanding of environmental and social dimensions of organizing.
Meuris’ paper examines gender diversity and performance recognition in law enforcement. “Responding to persistent gender inequalities, organizations have adopted initiatives to increase women’s representation in male-dominated occupations,” Meuris and Merluzzi write. “Although sociological research has identified many challenges for the women entering, we know less about the impact on workers inside these occupations.”
Using data from non-monetary awards that recognized front-line police officers in the line of duty, the study suggests that both women and men officers were less likely to receive a performance recognition award when a larger proportion of women were employed in their units.
“Collectively, our findings identify a barrier to diversity initiatives aimed at increasing women’s representation in male-dominated occupations as incumbents become penalized for their association with work units that include more women peers,” Meuris and Merluzzi note.
“This important research highlights unintended consequences of well-intentioned diversity initiatives that can be addressed when the problem is made salient to organizational leaders,” says Russ Coff, Thomas J. Falk Distinguished Chair in Business and professor of management and human resources at WSB.
Meuris’ work sits at the intersection of behavioral science, human resource management, and public policy, and focuses on the role of work and organizations in the emergence, persistence, and ending of demographic and economic inequality. He holds a courtesy appointment with the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and serves as a faculty affiliate at UW–Madison’s Institute for Diversity Science; Center for Law, Society, and Justice; Institute for Research on Poverty; and Center for Financial Security.
Founded in 1936, AOM is the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars with nearly 18,000 members across 120 countries. The association’s mission is to build a vibrant and supportive community of scholars by markedly expanding opportunities to connect and explore ideas, and to inspire and enable a better world through scholarship and teaching about management and organizations.