Hostile Work Environment.Com: Increasing Participation of Underrepresented Groups, Lessons Learned from the Dot-Com Era

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Data is presented from three cases studies of three small IT-focused businesses that were created and failed within the context of the Dot-Com era (1996–2001). This era can be characterized as a time in which the IT industry was facing an acute shortage of employees and yet, as the analysis shows, chose to create a culture that hired a gender, racially, ethnically, and culturally homogeneous workforce. From evidence drawn from interviews, observations, self-reported organizational charts and time diaries, I argue that the organizational cultures, created by the owners and managers of these three companies, made it nearly impossible for female employees to be hired trained and retained. I also claim that once a small number of female employees were hired, the organizational culture made the work environment so hostile, it drove these employees to leave and seek alternative employment. The owners and managers of these three IT companies used the myths that were readily available in the wider American culture of the time to construct an organizational culture that would motivate and manipulate their employees. This culture may have satisfied the immediate needs of the Dot Com industry but were disastrous for traditional protectionist measures that protected women in the workforce, recruited and retained women in the workforce, and make the IT workplace hospitable to a variety of people, including women. The conclusions that I draw from this case study are that in the case of this business, the Dot-Com Bubble did more to impede entrance to women into the IT workforce than to facilitate it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalData Base for Advances in Information Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 28 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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