Friday, March 24, 2017

What's In A name? Bias In The Workplace - MONDAQ

by Katherine Siuta O'Shea
Originally published: March 22, 2017
Publisher: mondaq.com

As Shakespeare wrote, "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." But there is in fact much to a name—a name can convey a sense of identity, culture, and family history. Recently, a series of viral tweets illustrated how much something as simple as a name could affect an individual's employment.

A man and his female coworker conducted an experiment whereby they switched their e-mail signatures for two weeks. The series of tweets describes the man's struggle to gain clients' respect when using his female coworker's name.

The experiment started when, because of a shared inbox, the man accidentally e-mailed a client with his female coworker's signature line. He received a lot of pushback and attitude from the client. Upon realizing the mix-up with the e-mail signature , he switched back to his name and continued communicating in the same way with the client. He said he noticed an immediate improvement and positive reception from the client when he reverted to his real name. The man claimed his advice to the client never changed, only the fact that he was signing the e-mails with a man's name instead of a woman's name.