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Men Who Get It: How Inclusive Cultures Evolve


NEW YORK (September 4, 2013)—How do you make a seriously male-oriented organization more inclusive, so both women and minorities can advance?

Get the guys involved and get all employees talking more honestly about their differences. Candid, respectful communication (and lots of it) is the foundation for building a more inclusive workplace and achieving concrete change, according to Catalyst’s new report, Anatomy of Change: How Inclusive Cultures Evolve.

The study is the fourth in Catalyst’s Engaging Men research series, and the second to examine Rockwell Automation’s predominantly white male-oriented North American Sales division as it works toward achieving a more equitable workplace. This on-the-ground research goes inside Rockwell Automation to reveal a promising culture change and how it’s happening. Through in-depth focus groups, it identifies the critical factors necessary for creating inclusive organizations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Rockwell Automation is becoming more inclusive. But change doesn’t happen on its own. White male leaders must engage women and people of color across the organization in critical dialogues about gender and race issues.
  • Dialogue is essential for inclusion. But it needs to be taught. More than 700 Rockwell Automation managers and 2,700 non-managerial employees across the organization learned how to listen empathetically and address difficult, emotionally charged issues in skill-building learning labs developed and conducted by White Men as Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP).
  • After training, employees said they could have more honest discussions about discrimination without worrying that they’d be treated negatively. They felt that their different experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds were now being valued rather than glossed over or ignored.
  • Talk leads to action—as long as it’s the right kind of talk. The focus should be on understanding, not proving a point. These honest, open conversations motivate employees of all backgrounds and levels to commit to achieving a more inclusive culture together. This commitment is happening both informally (employees sharing and implementing what they learned with colleagues and teams) and formally (through company-wide seminars and structured groups, where practices, policies, and next steps are hammered out). Alliances like these are critical for inclusion to gain traction.
  • Inclusive behaviors have a ripple effect outside the company. Several participants described how interactions with customers and distributors had changed for the better too.
  • Conversations must continue for lasting change. Dialogue must remain at the heart of all problem-solving and solution-building. To keep dialogue and momentum going, Rockwell Automation provides its employees with many opportunities to continue talking about gender and race with each other, and to hone their skills through additional training, coaching, and learning sessions.

“It takes more than lip service about gender and racial inequities to change a company’s culture,” says Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO of Catalyst. “Organizations must commit to having candid conversations about these sensitive issues, and teach employees across all levels how to talk openly and honestly with each other about their differences. Only then can companies begin to significantly shift attitudes, formalize solutions, and create more inclusive workplaces, where diverse talent is valued and advanced.”


Read more about the study and its methodology.

For a summary of the data, view the infographic.

Watch the video introduction.                                                             

Watch Lee Tschanz, Rockwell Automation’s Vice President, North American Sales, discuss the company’s culture change in-depth.

This blog post follows the experience of a Rockwell Automation sales manager and his team.


Interviews available.

Topics: Engaging Men