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When requesting flextime,
men have more muscle

Want your boss to agree to a flexible work schedule? As with so much else in the workplace, here's the key to success: be a man.

That conclusion is apparently supported by new research from the Yale School of Management, the University of Texas-Austin, and Harvard Business School.

In the study, SOM's Victoria Brescoll ’06PhD and others asked managers how likely they would be to grant flextime to hypothetical employees. There were three employee variables: male/female, high or low job status, and reason for requesting a flexible schedule.

The results, published in the Journal of Social Issues: managers were most likely to agree when a man in a high-status job asked for flextime to pursue professional development. Next most likely: a man in a lower-status, hourly job who wanted time off for childcare. 

At the bottom of the totem pole were women in low-status jobs who wanted flextime to take care of children.

“Workers most in need of flexible scheduling—women in low-status jobs with childcare needs—are among the least likely to receive accommodations from their managers,” notes Brescoll, an assistant professor of organizational behavior.

“Suppressing flexible scheduling has a range of implications, including the persistence of child poverty and lower productivity and unnecessary labor turnover for firms,” Brescoll adds in an SOM article describing the research.

Her coauthors are Jennifer Glass of UT-Austin and Alexandra Sedlovskaya ’11PhD of Harvard Business School.

Filed under School of Management, flextime, sex discrimination, Victoria Brescoll
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