The Design of Everyday Men

Why is workplace gender equality still so difficult to achieve? Much of the answer may lie in an unexpected place: how traditional masculinity keeps men tied to the strenuous expectations of many organizational cultures.

Deloitte’s new report The design of everyday men investigates men’s experiences with work, family, and masculinity to explore the impact of organizational and cultural expectations on their behavior both within and outside the workplace. Based on an intensive ethnographic study of 16 professional men in and around the Greater Toronto Area, the study concludes that business leaders have a significant opportunity to change organizational cultures to enable men to approach gender equality, not just as supporters, but as active participants.

Four themes of masculinity in the workplace revealed in the study:

  • "It's on me." Men place enormous pressure on themselves to handle responsibilities on their own as individuals.
  • "I'm terrified." Men are afraid of failure, which leads them to overcompensate with hypercompetitive behavior to mask their insecurity and earn professional success.
  • "I can't turn to anyone." Personal relationships are vulnerable interactions help to alleviate pressure and fear, but men have difficulty building these connections.
  • "Show me it's okay." Men look to leaders and peers in their organizations to understand what behaviors are acceptable and lead to status.

The time is now for business leaders to enable and encourage men to take an active part in creating a more equal and inclusive future. If they do, organizations will be more competitive, women will be more empowered, and men will be more fulfilled.

Check out the full article and download the full report by Eric Arthrell, Carolyn Lawrence, Jodi Baker Calamai and Alex Morris.