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- Acquire: In a situation like this, organizational leaders need to shift the way they think about women’s work as attorneys. There are specific beliefs and values involved,
unexpressed but felt by Pattie and most likely other women in the firm. The firm of Hannigan, Fisher, and Schultz must recognize the cultural norms that sustain the behaviors. Because Robert
is Pattie’s ally and a senior partner, he can advocate for her, but he needs to know what cultural dynamics are occurring in the organization to be able to articulate and communicate the
issues to his supervisors. As he makes his case, he can ask himself questions like “What’s the big picture?” or “What’s possible here?”
- Build: Robert can continue to support Pattie by acting as a coach or mentor. But, in his role as coach or mentor, he must pay attention to the cultural elements such as her
gender, age, legal experience, and seniority in the firm, even the organization’s culture. These cultural elements will likely impact the types of suggestions he has for her and the kind of
support he can give her.
- Contemplate: In this situation, because the organization is entrenched in very specific belief and value systems, Pattie may never get to be a partner. She will need to
consider what keeps her motivated to be in the job and why she would want to work for the firm. She cannot allow the situation to lower her self-efficacy; rather, she must make the most of it
given her situation. As she learns more about her values and goals (self-concept), she may find that she no longer wants to work in the firm.
- Do: Because Pattie cannot change the minds of her employers, the best she can do is to understand who she is in the situation and how she wants to manage it. She can make the
situation worse by holding a negative attitude or she can choose to manage her emotions effectively until she decides what to do. Opening herself to other possibilities might seem challenging
given her family situation; but as she adapts to the changes in her life, she will eventually transition into a better place.