Analysis of the Case Study
Steve, a sales director at Lasalle (a fortune 1000 company), decides to have a gender transition and informs the senior management. Steve is a 38-year-old male who earned his position after continuously contributing to increased sales through his well-established customer base. Steve is regarded as an influential person in the company. Henrietta (the senior vice president for Human Resources at LaSalle Chemicals) is responsible for providing information regarding the company’s problems due to Steve’s gender transition decision. Despite knowing that many US companies (25%) had policies that protected employees from discrimination, she knew that this change would contribute to numerous problems for the company (Gary and Elliot 35).
The majority of LaSalle’s clients are masculine, and having Steve transition to a female will have negative consequences on the company’s sales since the clients are so conservative. Additionally, the gender transition will have a negative impact on the other employees, as seen by Alex’s negative attitude towards Steve’s gender transition (Gary and Elliot 37). The impact includes rejection from colleagues, resistance to collaboration, and is considered immoral and weak (as a female).
Despite Henrietta’s desire to give Steve moral support in his transition, she is faced with the dilemma of ensuring that the transition does not affect the company’s culture or sales. LaSalle Chemicals is a conservative company that lacks procedures in addressing ethical issues like transition. Henrietta suggests the option of giving Steve an internal position to accommodate him during the transition.
This suggestion seems discriminatory to him due to his gender transition and a demotion from his sales director position. Henrietta cares so much about the clients and company sales despite knowing the existing laws in Illinois that protect employees against gender discrimination. The juggle between having the employees work together, accepting Steve’s gender transition, and retaining the conservative clients leaves Henrieta frustrated.
In this scenario, supporting Steve and ensuring that other employees accept his decision without discrimination are equally important. The problem arises in converting conservative people like Steve and the clients while maintaining productivity. Additionally, demoting Steve by giving him an internal position is against Illinois’s gender identity discrimination policy and may bring negative consequences to the company. This issue arises due to Henrietta and the management’s ignorance in formulating policies that prevent gender identity discrimination.
My Thoughts and Feelings Towards Steve’s Decision
Steve’s decision is quite personal and is based on his reasons. His productivity after decisions will not be affected, but he needs to understand what he will likely face and have himself mentally prepared. This means that Steve should not accept the internal position. Additionally, the company needs to actively work on developing a policy against gender identity discrimination and the employees trained on it as well as statutory laws that safeguard transgender individuals. The assumption that all clients will reject him should be dismissed. However, there is a high likelihood of this happening, but clients need to be informed that their choices are personal and medical in nature. Furthermore, Steve’s decision has no impact on his performance or the quality of the products sold. Statutory policies also demand the need for the inclusion of people of all genders.
Evaluation of the Situation as a Manager
Steve needs full support in his gender transition phase, especially from his colleagues and the LGBTQ community. He does not need any discrimination but needs to be informed of what he is likely to face to give him psychological preparedness. The law needs to be fully implemented in the company by accepting Steve’s transition without changing his position. The department needs to sit down and formulate gender inclusivity and non-discriminatory policies. This should be followed by intense training of employees about the policies and all matters surrounding them. Until all that has happened is when the information about Steve’s decision should be broken.
Steve needs to receive moral support from the team members during his transition, and anyone who discriminates against him should be told that they are breaking federal law. The department needs to develop and build relationships with the LGBTQ community that will help in supporting Steve in his transition phase. Additionally, it will also help integrate talented group members into the company, thus encouraging the development of an all-inclusive culture.
Action Plan for Addressing the Issue
The first plan is to create a gender identity antidiscriminatory policy in the organization. This will ensure that the rights of Steve and any other person in the future are protected as stipulated by federal law and company policies. The second phase will include providing intense training to colleagues about the issue of gender identity transitioning. This needs to be an open discussion to allow each individual’s exchange of information and openness while stipulating the policy changes and legal implications of discriminating against others. The third action plan is to educate Steve on what he is likely to phase while interacting with others and the clients.
He also needs to learn how he will break the information to the clients that will see them accept his new status (Sawyer and Thoroughgood 58). He also needs to indicate to the client that the decision was quite personal and does not affect his expertise or the quality of the products sold.
Gary, Loren, and Brian Elliot. “When Steve Becomes Stephanie.” Harvard Business Review, vol. 86, no. 12, 2008, pp. 35–39.
Sawyer, Katina, and Christian Thoroughgood. “Gender Non-Conformity and the Modern Workplace.” Organizational Dynamics, vol. 46, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1–8.