Robin Ely: Drilling in the Gulf - Risk, Safety, and the Culture of Masculinity

Presentation: Drilling in the Gulf:  Risk, Safety, and the Culture of Masculinity
Robin J. Ely, PhD, Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community and Warren Alpert Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School
What can managers in business and professional service firms learn from roughnecks and roustabouts on an offshore oil rig?  How might gender have contributed to the recent incident in which a deep-water oil platform exploded, taking 11 lives and causing the worst oil spill in history?  Professor Ely presented findings from ethnographic research conducted on two, deep-water oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  The bottom line:  Extinguishing macho behavior is vital to achieving top performance.  Her team's findings suggest how a macho, hard-driving culture can compromise decisions and increase mistakes and how leaders—whether in the dirty, dangerous setting of an off-shore oil platform or in the posh, protected surroundings of the executive suite—can jettison such cultures in service of increasing effectiveness.

This PowerPoint presentation was made at NCRW's Corporate Circle Advisory Board meeting on January 11, 2012 hosted by Morgan Stanley.