Some years ago, Caroline and I survived a period during which we both deeply hurt each others’ feelings. I discovered something in the course of reconciling with her. Firstly, I could face any situation at work if I felt secure and happy at home. Secondly, I could face any situation at home when secure and happy at work. No matter where we find our security and happiness, it provides a place from which to develop life afresh, to recover and heal our wounds and reduce our desire to punish others. Amongst the many things we found to help was a reading that we chose for our wedding ceremony. Although these words were directed to married couples, they have something to teach us about the nature of relationships – including those in the workplace:
Escape from Loneliness
Love is something far more than desire for sexual fulfilment; it the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives. There is a deep-seated fear, in most people, of the cold world and the possible cruelty of the herd; there is a longing for affection, which is often concealed by roughness, scolding or a bullying manner. Passionate mutual love puts an end to this feeling; it breaks down the hard walls of the ego, producing a new being.
Nature did not construct human beings to stand alone and civilised people cannot fully satisfy their sexual instinct without love. The instinct is not completely satisfied unless our whole being, mental quite as much as physical, enters into the relationship. Those who have never known deep intimacy and intense companionship have missed the best thing that life has to give; unconsciously, if not consciously,
they feel this, and the resulting disappointment inclines them towards envy, oppression and cruelty. To give due place to love should be therefore a matter which concerns us all, since, if we miss this experience, we cannot attain our full stature, and cannot feel towards the rest of the world that kind of generous warmth without which society would be much poorer.
Adapted from ‘Marriage and Morals” by Bertrand Russell.
In this chapter, I want to suggest to you that the best strategy for handling relationship problems at work is to create an organisation structure where people have the space to talk about their relationships. This may mean providing support for informal groups as well as formal ones, and providing support – while resisting intervention – when people are in distress. In arriving at this view, I will explore the findings of a recent international study of intimacy, including the authors’ recommendations to managers on handling conflict.
There are two arguments that will evolve in the first half of this chapter. Firstly, a positive attitude to intimacy at work is the mark of an emotionally mature – and economically insightful – leader. Intimacy helps people learn relationship skills, and management – more than any other occupation – is about forging, managing, developing and ending relationships. This does not necessarily mean that managers should encourage intimate workplace relationships, but it does suggest that whenever a person is struggling in one – whether inside or outside the workplace – it is in the interests of all for the leader to support them in their struggle to work out a solution, rather than intervene on their behalf. The way such moments of a person’s life are handled leaves an indelible mark on the way they approach situations in the future.
Secondly, leaders (whether formally ‘appointed’ or not) are more likely to find themselves the subject of others’ relationship aspirations. People flock to them, seek things from them more often than others, and this can make it harder to navigate the ambiguity inherent in receiving a lot of attention. As working closely with people is the single
biggest factor in the development of intimacy, and leaders have more relationships than others, their own emotions – on several levels – are more at risk. This provides an added incentive for those with career aspirations to equip themselves for the task.
In the second half of this chapter, I turn my attention to strategies for handling conflict. I draw out the rationale and argument for mediation – both informally, and as part of the legal documents that govern the organisation’s relationships with employees, suppliers and customers. I consider the ideological implications of a changed approach for the simple reason that our approach to handling conflict is often rooted in the ideology that we apply to life. By changing the way we view a “problem”, we change the way that we deal with it. One of the strategies I offer is to view problems in a different way in order to maximise the chance of a win-win-win outcome (win for each party plus the organisation to which they belong).
As part of this journey, let us first review how intimacy impacts on people in the workplace.
The Impacts of Intimacy at Work
One of the surprises in the background reading for this book was the discovery that four times as many people report beneficial outcomes from intimate relationships at work than the opposite.1 Secondly, the desire for intimacy is increasing and cannot be inhibited by management action. These are the conclusions of an international survey published in 2004. In that survey only 2% of respondents believed that policy-guided approaches to managing intimate relationships actually work. A far greater number felt that policy-based interventions made the situation worse rather than better.
The reports of those who experience intimacy make fascinating reading and women’s accounts provide some balance for the predominantly male accounts in earlier chapters. Names are not given in the original study, but I
give people fictional names to make it easier to read. Let us start with Sheila:
I grew and changed as an individual through this experience. I have learned a lot of things about myself, about the true nature of love. I have also learned to be more sympathetic and less judgemental of other people (and of myself) when they are facing difficult situations. Has it enhanced my life? Undoubtedly! Was it traumatic? Desperately! Would I take it back? No, not a moment of it!2
Handling intimacy, and the emotions aroused, is not stress free. Even though the above relationship led to marriage, Sheila’s work colleagues reacted badly and both she and her husband had to leave the company. However, even when relationships did not result in marriage, women still report predominantly positive experiences. Indeed, both parties to intimate relationships report positive attitudes more often than negative attitudes, even when the relationships broke up or were short lived. The account below was given by Jenny:
Stan was a ‘hunk’, an attractive guy who was fully aware of his physical attractiveness to the other sex. At the same time, he was highly intelligent and able to ‘play’ with ideas and inspire interesting thoughts in everyone around him, including me. I remember in particular his statement, which I pondered for years, “there is nothing more logical than emotion and nothing more emotional than logic.” At the time, the mere fact that one could sit and debate the meaning of concepts such as ‘love’, ‘logic’ and ‘emotion’ was a revelation to me. It was so refreshing…I simply basked in the freedom that Stan exuded and enjoyed every minute of being around him.
He was a free spirit and was not interested in me being tied to him. I was not interested in having him tied to me either…he was not the type to get attached emotionally to anyone. Even though the relationship did not result in a marriage or even a long term friendship, I cannot say that it resulted in a trauma or big disappointment…He came into my life at a time that I was ready to be liberated and changed it forever. He
inspired me to pursue my dreams. How could I be angry at him for that? 3
In these two accounts – whether the relationships survived or not – intimacy transformed the women’s lives. They learnt a great deal about themselves, how to handle emotions, about tolerance, and the give and take of close relationships. For those, however, that hid the strength of their feelings, the outcomes were more mixed. Let us look at two more stories where women did not express their feelings to the men they desired.
Belinda was a mature student who fell in love with her research supervisor, William. She changed courses to avoid “complications” when William did not respond. Belinda says that she tried all sorts of non-verbal ways of interesting her supervisor but stopped after he started another relationship. Despite this, William continued to take an interest in her work and helped her whenever he could. After her studies she wrote a letter and told him that she loved him and he replied that he had no idea she had felt like this but that their relationship “was like an island out of time and space”. She regarded it as “one of the most beautiful letters that I have ever received”.
As a result, they continued corresponding even though both had married other people. They had a life-long friendship until William died. When William’s marriage broke down, he emailed Belinda to say he was single again and she wrote back quickly to invite him to stay. Disappointingly, however, Belinda received no reply. Later she learnt that William had died on the very same day, living in his work office, searching for a new place to live after being asked to leave home by his wife.
In reflecting on this, Belinda commented that:
I learnt that not doing is worse than doing. I simply couldn’t forgive myself for not even trying to initiate a relationship with him. When I found myself in similar situations later in my life, I did take the initiative and learnt to live with the consequences. The most important learning from this relationship was that I was more than just a brain. This man taught me that I had feelings…thanks to him I managed to
emerge out of the intellectual cocoon that I created around myself….4
Even though the relationship was not consummated, it had a lifelong impact on their personal and working lives. As with Jenny, the sense of gratitude is palpable – Belinda believed that she benefited from the relationship for the rest of her life.
Carol and Richard
The third story illustrates the economic impact from being unable to express feelings. Carol, a project administrator contacted Richard, a senior manager to begin discussions on a multi-million pound project. Richard was known as a cranky, private and difficult man but Carol found that once there was mutual sexual interest, they started to get along well:
…most people who had already worked with him were baffled as to how well we working together and how I seemed to have been able to move him along in accepting some of the parameters that other stakeholders were insisting be part of the proposed collaboration. My ability to keep him ‘on side’ and keep the project moving forward had earned me a great deal of recognition within the organisation.5
Carol reports that she started to fall in love with Richard – simply on the basis of their email correspondence and when they had a chance to meet they hit it off well.
Within a few minutes we were sharing a laugh…his two closest colleagues – both women – had worked with him for more than ten years and did not enjoy this easy rapport with him. I found myself thinking about the possibility of an affair with him. Did I want this? Yes, I did, but I also recognised what was at risk for me both personally and professionally.
They socialised and continued to work together, but over time her feelings started to change:
I sensed that there was something amiss but I couldn’t put my finger on it. In retrospect, I think that deep down I was beginning to recognise that the fantasy of a special
relationship with this man was just that – a fantasy that would not be sustained.
With her change of attitude, the relationship quickly deteriorated and Richard stopped returning her calls. Eventually she told the other stakeholders in the project that she could not work with him any longer and recommended they stop funding the project. In her reflections she says:
…as difficult as it was, I did learn that I could do what was necessary when I had to – that I could maintain my professionalism. I also learned to trust my inner voice…my trust meter is much more sensitive today.6
The story is illustrative for two reasons: firstly, it shows how powerful a force love can be in motivating people to work together efficiently. The exhilaration that sprang from the opportunities for intimacy made an ‘impossible’ project possible, simply because Carol and Richard were so motivated to work together. Later, however, when neither could find a way to say out loud what they were privately feeling, the relationship starts to deteriorate. It is likely – although Carol does not express it in these terms – that Richard felt rejected. Carol interprets Richard’s change of behaviour as “unprofessional” while her own – closing down the project – is presented as a “professional” course of action.
Was recommending the termination of a multi-million pound project a reasonable and professional course of action? Or would Carol have shown greater professionalism by expressing her feelings to Richard? Would it have been more professional to admit the impact of her feelings to her work colleagues? Maybe this way, the project could have continued.
Tackling the Intimacy “Problem”
While we could take the view that the kinds of problems reported above arecreated by intimacy at work, an alternative point of view is that intimacy itself is not the problem – the inability of the parties to deal with intimacy
is the problem. Problems arise when people are unable to express their true feelings inside (or about) a relationship that is becoming, or has become, intimate.
As the above stories illustrate, the ability and inability to express feelings has personal and organisational consequences that are far reaching. Few people who expressed their feelings regretted doing so – the regrets come predominantly from those who did not express their feelings. A few, like Carol, came to think that putting work before personal relationships was an expression of “professionalism”, but we should not lose sight of the way her intimate relationship with Richard gave her career a massive boost when it “earned [Carol] a great deal of recognition”.
In the Kakabadses’ study, those who conquered their fears found that enduring friendship was the most frequent outcome (40% of cases). For some, the outcome was bitterness and disappointment (10% of cases). The impact of jealousy or bitterness from relationship breakdown – as was found at Custom Products and elsewhere – is of such a magnitude that there is still an incentive to find better ways to handle relationship breakdowns. With this in mind, let us consider the views of Ann, one woman who had difficulty coping with sexual advances, however innocent:
As a social and fairly extroverted person I have, on occasion, been propositioned by men at work with whom I have enjoyed what I consider to be a good platonic relationship. Looking back, if I had been able to anticipate their advances I would probably have been able to deal with them better. Instead, I have found myself employing avoidance tactics, feeling very guilty and even, on one occasion, bizarrely dating a man simply because, as a friend, I couldn’t bring myself to let him down. Certainly, in terms of work relationships, post my realisation of their feeling, I have found it very difficult and embarrassing to deal with these individuals which may certainly have affected my productivity.7
Ann was unable to process her own or other people’s emotions. Her admission that she finds it “very difficult
and embarrassing to deal with these individuals” belies that she is embarrassed by sexual feelings. When propositioned, Ann regarded her work colleagues as “overstepping the mark” rather than exploring or engaging in reasonable sexual behaviour. Ann was not alone in believing that people should not have intimate relationships at work – some men held these views as well.
|Imagine that a colleague came to you in this case. What advice would you give regarding the “appropriateness” of the men’s behaviour? Do you believe that Ann is correct in characterising her male colleagues’ behaviour as “inappropriate”? Or do you consider that her colleagues’ behaviour is reasonable in the circumstances.|
In my view, it is not helpful to Ann to regard her colleague’s behaviour as “inappropriate” unless they continue their pursuit after Ann has communicated her disinterest. Even then, it is helpful to both Ann and the men interested in her to understand how a misunderstanding occurred in the first place. The most constructive approach, therefore, is to support Ann so that she can express to her male colleagues what her wishes are, and help her understand why she is attractive to them. One sentence in her account stands out:
…if I had been able to anticipate their advances I would probably have been able to deal with them better...
Why was she not able to anticipate them? Knowledge of body language alerts people to others’ interest quickly. There are a wide range of behaviours – particularly eye contact, body alignment, patterns and frequency of communication, touch and copying behaviour – that can quickly alert an observant person to others’ interest. There are also signalling behaviours that are commonly interpreted – even if not intended – as a desire for sexual attention. By helping Ann understand what is attractive in her behaviour, and the various ways she is communicating her desire for attention, she will come to understand why her male colleagues are asking her out.
|As an employer, the best way to protect Ann is to help her learn about her own attractiveness and the signals she gives off that others interpret as a need for attention. That way, she can take control of what she is ‘saying’ to others. The men will also feel respected if they are not blamed for responding to behaviours that are attractive.|
In some organisations, the culture of ‘no relationships’ is so strong that employees cannot admit to having a relationship. The farcical outcome in one solicitor’s practice is described by Pauline and Jeremy:
|Pauline:||It’s crazy. There must be about five or six other couples, all like us, trying to hide their affair. The reason the management do not know is that everybody here is very professional. They do their job as required and more! As if we have a social life! We both work over 60 hours.|
|Jeremy:||What is irritating and wastes time is what we have to do to conceal our relationship, pretend we are distant from each other, not speak to each other at work; be careful where we are seen socially outside of work. That is irritating; to think that management here figuratively follow you when the work is done. And all of this deceit for what? People have relationships at work. Here, in particular, nobody knows. In other places nobody could care less. The only ones affected are us. As soon as I can leave, I will. What a waste.8|
Given that management interventions cannot stop intimacy at work, any workplace that implements ‘no relationship’ policies has to contend with two things: the impact of clandestine relationships; the loss of staff (together with the investment in their recruitment, training and induction). The relationships – as the above extract illustrates – will continue.
The Hypocrisy of “Professionalism”
“Professionalism” is a cover, a charade that hides the social reality of sexual desire and intimacy. As Jeremy points out – it is wasteful. It means that he and Jenny cannot have a ‘normal’ relationship even outside work. As a result, the organisation will lose two hardworking employees. This raises costs, reduces profits, simply to maintain an image of “professionalism”. How professional is an organisation that leaves its staff no option except to resort to deceit and intrigue in order to lead a normal life?
If we recall the conflicts earlier in the book, the claim of “unprofessionalism” is recurrent. Brenda felt it was unprofessional for Ben to flirt with Hayley, or for John to consider a relationship with a sales representative. Mark accused Amy of unprofessionalism for talking about the nature of friendship between men and women. Simon considered Andy’s relationship with Gayle unprofessional.
In all these cases, others behaviour caused distress to the accuser. But why? Logically, it can only cause distress if the alleged targets of affection (i.e. those not receiving affection) are thinking about the prospect of intimacy, or are jealous of the intimacy enjoyed by others. Secondly, most examples show women unable to understand the intent of men, and unwilling to ask questions in order to clarify it. In some cases there was sexual interest, but in other cases it was projected onto the men by other women/men. In some cases the accusations were clearly rooted in jealousy, and all are characterised by hypocrisy. In most cases, accusers are trying to hide (from themselves or others) the meaning and consequences of their own thoughts and conduct.
While we can have sympathy for those people who felt unsettled and intimidated by others (or their relationship aspirations), was it reasonable to make accusations without establishing the reason for, and nature of, their interest? In earlier chapters, we established that women are as interested in relationships (and sex) as men, and privately fantasise about this. While the prevailing view is that women are particularly good at intimacy and relationships,
the above cases do not support this contention. Let us consider for a moment why this may be the case.
Secrecy and Power
The pattern in both the Kakabadse’s study, and the cases described in this book, is that both sexes, but women more than men, are reluctant to express their feelings to the people they are attracted to. Women are more willing than men, however, to discuss their relationships with third parties.9Moreover, when either receives attention from others’ and wish to hide their own feelings, they react either passively or aggressively. As a result of the norms in most societies, this means women getting angry at (or frightened of) men more often than the other way around.10
These accord with the findings of a survey of over 2,000 women in which 60% of those attracted to a male work colleague said they would not reveal their feelings to anyone – even their best friend. Men who pick up on a woman’s feelings, and make a sexual advance, may find – in 60% of cases – that they will be faced with flat denial that the woman was interested. If you remember, a 60% figure was also established by Dr McDowell with regard to false claims. In the Kakabadse’s study, the “majority” (i.e. nearly 60%) of harassment claims were regarded as unjustified. The 60% figure, perhaps, should be put to the test in further studies.
It is, therefore, little wonder that men are often confused over their own behaviour towards women. It may be that in around 60% of cases, they assessed the situation correctly only to be told that they did not. Women’s reluctance to express, or admit, their feelings is a hidden and potentially problematic management issue when intimacy erupts into conflict. The conflict may be created by the emotional defences of those hiding their feelings (not the behaviour that took place).
We also need data on the extent to which men hide their feelings (or are able to keep them hidden) in the same contexts. As women’s behaviours are largely non-verbal, they are more deniable, and this makes men more vulnerable to accusations. Until such time as people can
discuss body language and non-verbal communication as similar to verbal communication, confusion and misdirection will reign (for this reason, I include Appendix A – a summary of research into body language).
Some of the stories illustrate that “sexual advances” do not indicate a strong wish for a sexual relationship. This was evident in Andy’s comments regarding Gayle, Ben’s attitude to Hayley, and Amy’s comments to Mark. In the Kakabadse’s study, 21% of respondents reported “intimate” relationships that were non-physical (compared to 39% which were physical and 40% who reported no intimate relationships at all). The primary problem during relationship development – as we saw vividly throughout earlier chapters – is how each party establishes the intent of the other. One psychologist couched the problem as follows:
There is no such thing as a non-sexual relationship between men and women, only sexual relationships in which both parties agree not to have sex.11
And this is the crux of the problem – how do women and men agree not to have (or have) sex when they like each other?12 The answer, ironically, is one of two ways: firstly, by developing an intimate relationship that allows the parties to discuss their feelings; secondly, through non-invasive flirting that enables each party to gauge the interest of the other. Both these behaviours, of course, can be considered harassment if one or other party (mostly women) claim they are offended by the other. In short, the way that men and women decide not to have sex is against the law whenever one or other party decides to be offended after feeling snubbed. It is no wonder, therefore, that handling such issues at work are becoming more emotive and difficult to manage.
The Kakabadse’s study concluded the following with regard to harassment:
Some of the harassment incidents reported are viewed as unjustifiably made. It is considered that in the majority of known harassment cases, the parties involved had entered into the relationship willingly, with no evidence of undue pressure made on one person by the other at that point.
What also comes out of this survey is that, in the eyes of many, intimacy at work is basically not a problem, is on the increase (or at least will not go away) and many report improvements in work performance resulting from the exhilaration of intimacy experiences. So, what is the problem that requires treatment and attention? …The level of attention given to sexual harassment in the academic literature and more popularly in the press and media is judged, from this survey, as questionable.13
Only 11% of respondents felt that managers handled these problems well, and over half felt that managers should show greater tolerance by handling cases individually. With regard to frequency, the authors found that sexual harassment was extremely rare, even less common than a consummated homosexual relationship.
In terms of advice for professionals and managers, it is oriented towards the development of sensitivity rather than policies, guidelines or procedures.
What so clearly emerges from this study is that no one can really tell you, the manager, or you the individual, what you should or should not do. Introducing more policies is unlikely to facilitate better quality working relationships, or discourage people from pursuing physical intimacy in the workplace or even reduce the number of harassment complaints. Assisting managers to understand and thus become more skilful at addressing personal sensitivities in the workplace, is the way forward...
….the sensitivity and skill of each manager to facilitate a way through emotionally complex situations is emphasised…In order to deal with intimacy, the challenge in the eyes of respondents is to determine just what is the problem at hand.
The occurrence of intimacy, of itself, is not viewed as a concern.14
This book begins where the Kakabadse’s study ends. Their study describes the situation we currently face, but stops short of describing in detail how intimacy develops. In this book, I have set out how intimacy develops as well as the ways that people control and inhibit the development of intimacy. I show how it is integrally linked to courtship (or courtship norms) as well as social advancement and leadership. Let me conclude this issue by commenting on the centrality of sexuality in working life.
The Centrality of Sexuality
In 1987, two researchers – Jeff Hearns and Wendy Parkin – published their extensive review of a question that few people were prepared to ask. What is the role of sex at work? Their book is a landmark for revealing how sexuality is “an ordinary and frequent public process rather than an extraordinary and predominately private process” and “part of an all-pervasive body politic rather than a separate and discrete set of practices.” 15
On the whole, this particular book supports their conclusions. While others attempt to make a distinction between sexual roles and organisational roles16, and argue that sex – while important – is not that important, this book supports the contention that surface disputes are frequently underpinned by sexual tensions between and among the genders, or rooted in deeply held sexual attitudes about “appropriate” and “inappropriate” behaviour. It is untenable – not to mention irrational – to argue that sexuality is unimportant while expressing views that are deeply rooted in sexual attitudes.
At a deeper level, however, is the issue of social acceptance. Some of the cases in this book hinge more on the question of whether a person is, or is not, accepted by their peers. While their sexual behaviour might be used as a way of drawing them in or pushing them out of a social group, the critical question is whether a person is an “insider” or “outsider”. If they are an “insider”, their sexual
behaviour does not cause offence, and may even be encouraged; if they are regarded as an “outsider” (or recast as an “outsider” after previously being an “insider”) sexual behaviour is reconstructed as inappropriate and morally reprehensible. At this level, those who argue sex is not the most important consideration may have a point, even if dispute resolution is linked to sexual behaviours and attitudes.
The view I take, based on my own work, is that people are intimacy seekers, rather than sex seekers. Intimacy – while often linked to sexual behaviour – is conceptually different (a relationship might be more intimate if lesssexual, for example). Intimacy, conceptually, is about being able to make private feelings public and have them listened to within a two-way conversation. This is extremely valuable in a business context. The ability to do this is not necessarily linked to sex, although a considerable body of evidence indicates that being able to talk freely to another contributes to sexual attraction.17 This is, therefore, something of a chicken and egg argument – cause and effect work in both directions. We want to talk to those we are attracted to. We are attracted to those who are good at talking and listening.
Patterns in the Data
In looking back over all the cases in this book, there is a pattern that recurs. Around each person who displays leadership qualities, or who is perceived by others to hold or be capable of holding a leadership position, there are number of recurrent findings:
- Larger numbers of exchanges – both social and financial – that create emotional and material dependency. Leaders (at all levels of an organisation) are at the nexus of emotional and material life, whether they seek to be or not.
- Leaders arouse stronger emotions (both inadvertently and deliberately) as a by-product of entrepreneurial, managerial and leadership behaviour.
- Those regarded as leaders attract relationships (both inside and outside the workplace): these may be instrumental or sexual, but they arouse jealousy and hostility as well as the desire to love and care.
- In each relationship that is intended to be long-term, the most productive dynamic is towards equity, reciprocity and informality. This dynamic also creates mutual attraction.
- In each relationship that is not intended to be long-term, the most productive dynamic is inequity, asymmetry and formality. This dynamic inhibits mutual attraction.
Whatever philosophy we adopt and teach others, people repeatedly win respect and love from others by demonstrating their ability to take responsibility, contribute economically, and handle social conflict. The platform for men and women to demonstrate they can ‘perform’ these skills is overwhelmingly the workplace. In as much as these qualities attract sexual partners, and lead to long-term relationships, the behaviours can be regarded as courtship rituals. What is more, employers generally encourage such behaviours in managers and senior staff, and promote them for it. This leads to greater sexual activity around ‘successful’ people for the simple reason that their behaviours are attractive and sexy.
While it is supposed that these are ‘masculine’ behaviours, Betty Friedan found that sexual activity is also more common amongst women who are successful in the workplace:
The transcendence of self, in sexual orgasm, as in creative experience, can only be attained by one who is himself, or herself, complete, by one who has realized his or her own identity. In the years between the ‘emancipation’ of women…and the sexual counter-revolution, American women enjoyed a decade-by-decade increase in sexual orgasm. And the women who enjoyed this most fully were, above all, the women who went furthest on the road to self-realization, women who were educated for active participation in the world outside the home.18
Friedan links emotional maturity to engagement in the wider world. Our identity is not something that we find alone; it is something that we establish through our relationships with others. Moreover, sexual knowledge, in particular the giving and receiving of care and pleasure is not the most “primitive” part of a human being. It is the most evolved aspect of humanity, a place where we discover and reach the limits of our emotional development:
…the most ‘emancipated’ women, women educated beyond college for professional careers, showed a far greater capacity for complete sexual enjoyment, full orgasm, than the rest. The Kinsey figures showed that women who married before twenty were least likely to experience sexual orgasm, and were likely to enjoy it less frequently in or out of marriage, though they started sexual intercourse five or six years earlier…19
What separates the two groups of women – in Friedan’s argument – is education rather than the availability of sexual contact. Friedan, however, assumes there is a cause and effect link between education and sexual emancipation. What if the link is the other way around? What if the capacity to get to know people is the key to the development of social intelligence and career success?
Some studies have found that skills that contribute to intelligence and academic achievement are more strongly correlated with patterns of communication in family life than factors such as class, gender or ethnicity. People growing up in families that debate issues freely develop children’s capacity for openness, self-reflection and intimacy20. These skills, in turn, have been repeatedly linked to the critical judgement that develops general intelligence.21 Like the argument about intimacy and sex, the argument about intimacy and career success is another chicken and egg situation because the benefits are mutually reinforcing.
This provides an added incentive for managers to improve their knowledge of sexuality and emotional development. As a group, they are more sought after and
more likely to have to cope with close relationships than the people they manage.22
As Andy commented at the conclusion of his interview:
People wonder if the most efficient social structure is a man supported by women who adore him, with other men who accept subordination to his authority. I am not sure. That arrangement is going to discriminate against a great many men who will be eased out of the way. It also discriminates against women (because they can’t ever get to be a leading male).
What I have learnt, slowly, is that it also discriminates against leading men who feel pushed into roles without seeking or wanting them. I did not ask to be recognised as our manager until it had been drummed into me by others that I was already leading everything. It changed my self-image and probably my behaviour. But once recognised as the leader, my behaviour changed again because I expected to control things. But others became more controlling too – and criticised me much more. It caused resentment both ways.
I felt I resisted the ‘power and privilege’ normally taken for granted by leading males because I thought it would create a problem if I became too intimate with the women. What I now realise is that the jealousy occurs anyway, whether physical intimacy takes place or not. People thought that I was, or that I wanted to be, having affairs with women at work. For me, it was enough to enjoy the attraction, fantasies and dreams. If there is shared knowledge of mutual attraction with a woman it can be exciting, but the result is more often lasting friendship than a sexual relationship. That is special in its own right.
If I had started a relationship it might have cost me my marriage and family life. Even though I did not, others’ speculation upset both me and my wife – I still get extremely angry about that. These are the most acute dilemmas we have faced, but somehow we managed to navigate through them. People were hurt sometimes, including myself, but
more often a lot of goodwill was generated. Over the years, respect and friendship has been a far more common outcome, and my marriage is still a close one.23
The Case for Change
In discussing this book with a friend – a client for 16 years and a life-long trade unionist – she told me a story that highlights the need for new ways to investigate sexual conflict and the danger of failing to investigate what lies behind people’s feelings in a dispute.
Her son, Robert24, works for a trade union. A while ago, Robert had to handle a complaint that Wendy had been sexually assaulted by Martin, her co-worker, at an office party. Robert took on the case and represented Wendy. Martin vehemently protested his innocence: his wife would not believe him and his marriage broke down. As Martin had been accused of a sexual offence, his wife secured a court order to keep him away from his children.
During this period, Robert’s doubts grew about Wendy’s story. She had got drunk and, when questioned, could not (or would not) recall what had happened to her. Eventually, she admitted coming home late, and drunk, and having a row with her boyfriend. Eventually, Wendy admitted she lied. She was attracted to Martin but wanted to hide this from her boyfriend. She felt trapped inside the process that her allegation had started and was too afraid to admit the truth. She delayed. Martin, however, having lost the wife and children sank into a deep depression. He committed suicide.
When we leap too quickly to a person’s defence, a process begins that affects many people. What occupied our minds as we talked about this story in the pub was the unstoppability and destructive power of an investigation process that, theoretically, is designed to protect people. There is an urgent need for investigators and managers to handle sexual conflict in a new way. In the next section, some of the thoughts that were generated by that conversation (and the book as a whole) are set out.
New Approaches to Handling Conflict
For a person attempting to understand a conflict, the question that could start every investigation is “how is the accuser hurting?” or “why does the accuser feel a need to make an accusation?” It may be wise not to widen the scope of a dispute until the circumstances of the accusation are understood. To accuse, there must either be a moral principle at stake, an interest that has to be defended, or an anger than seeks an outlet. Initially – before shifting focus to the accused, establish the balance between these three.
If possible, search back through events with the accuser to trace any source of emotional hurt (remembering that it may come from somewhere else in the accuser’s life and is not necessarily the outcome of their relationship with the accused). If you cannot shed any light, start to involve the accused. Initially, you are still trying to understand the reason for the accusation from the point of view of the accuser, not the accused.
If you bring the parties together, let the parties be emotional – it provides information. Avoid taking sides – the objective is not blame. The objective is to stimulate dialogue so that you, and they, can understand the source of emotional hurt and shed light on the hidden dynamics of the conflict.
If you find yourself displaying emotions, consider how the outcome of the dispute affects your own interests. Does your emotionality betray a desire for a closer relationship with one party? Is one party particularly important to achieving your own personal (or organisational) goals and objectives? Talk to someone outside the dispute about your own emotions to shed some light on them. No-one is completely impartial and you may still be the best person to mediate.
If it is a gender dispute, remember that most men want close relationships with women more than with other men, and women want close relationships with men more than other women (except for lesbian and gay women and men). “The other” is often perceived as the source of emotional hurt but this does not necessarily mean it is true. Hurt is a
reflection of our own desire, our own sense of loss. We hurt most when we cannot fulfil our desires (and the bigger the gap between our desires and reality, the greater our hurt). Find out, if possible, what event changed the relationship. What did each party say to the other? Could it be an outcome of changes outside work?
|If somebody is deeply distressed, establish if it comes from a sense of loss (remembering always there is a 60% chance in the case of a woman – and possibly also in the case of men – that they will not divulge their sexual feelings under any circumstances). Talk carefully. On a one-to-one basis, ask them to describe the relationship from the beginning. This will give you a sense of how the relationship evolved and changed.Support people through loss. If no loss is found, find out why people feel violated. Does the person need protection? If not, then mediate as soon as possible. If yes, then seek professional advice.|
Both women and men hurt – it is not women’s or men’s problem alone and can only be solved together. Men fear showing their feelings, not always because they are ashamed, but because experience has taught them that expressing feelings will lose them the respect of the woman (or women) they currently want to love them, or their male friends and colleagues. Women and men teach men this by calling them “losers”, “wimps” or “sissy” whenever they show feelings that reveal their vulnerability. Men and women, on the other hand, teach women to be ‘submissive’ by rushing to comfort them when they become distressed. The more beautiful the woman, the quicker people will seek to help. Remember why.
Bear in mind that these responses are fairly automatic – internalised during childhood/adolescence (in much the same way as Pavlov and his dogs). They are continually reinforced during courtship and through films, TV programmes, magazines, books and stories.
They can also be unlearnt (see Chapter 2). Gendered responses are not a good indicator of who is being truthful and who is truly hurting. Women may cry to avoid having to talk. Men may cry, but are more likely – due to cultural conditioning – to become angry as a way to get (or deflect) attention.25 Both crying and anger may be genuine or affected responses. They may be honest or a “performance” to win hearts and minds.26
When we know that women are no more likely to be physically harmed in personal relationships than men27, our attitude to both men and women changes. When we know that men’s feelings are hurt as much as women’s, but they do not show this, our attitude changes again. When we understand that women are more creative and convincing liars (because they cannot resort so readily to physical force to win their fights), and that men are less good at hiding their lies (because they are punished more readily and frequently for lying during childhood) our attitude changes even more28. We start to understand that men need as much protection from tale telling as women need from physical violence or rape.
Women who understand men are no more inherently violent than themselves will no longer feel a need for special protection. Although they will continue to fear violence from men more than from women, they will begin to understand this is the response of any person who desires to be with them, but cannot be so. Men who start to understand that women are as violent as themselves will no longer feel such a need to give them special protection. If they do, they will come to understand this as a product of their desire to be a hero to the women who watch them, and part of their ownneed to win approval from women.
The Case for Mediation
Mediation offers a solution that is consistent with the values and goals of both democracy and gender equality. It affords protection to all the parties regardless of status, ethnicity or gender. Critics of mediation (or “restorative justice” as it is called in criminology) worry that mediation simply gives the
perpetrator another opportunity to intimidate the victim. At this stage, however, it is not clear who is perpetrator and who is victim. The apparent victim may be the perpetrator – it is the mediation process that helps to determine this.29
Mediation is hard work – it may involve participants coming to terms with deeply held prejudices, or face up to the full impact of their behaviour on others. But it also gives them a chance to explain their intent and for others to learn why they responded in a particular way. The process may not be quick or easy. The alternative, however, is a workplace culture – and society generally – that pays lip service to fairness and equality but takes refuge in defensive approaches to conflict.
To support change, build the process of mediation into employment and trading contracts30 so that investors and entrepreneurs, employers and employees, customers and suppliers, face penalties under the law for authoritarian approaches to conflict resolution. These laws are the ones we can create for ourselves for our own organisations – they are not imposed by government statute. Consequently, no acts of parliament need to be passed for these laws to come into effect – they can be brought about by changes in management understanding and practice.
This way, existing laws will stop favouring the party who unilaterally withdraws and start favouring those committed to reconciliation. The laws would start to reward compassion and tolerance. Individual businesses taking initiatives to switch to mediation as a tool of social control will be entrenching democratic values without ever having to involve a politician! What greater incentive do you need?
Compulsion and Conflict
The argument that nobody can be forced to mediate is a common one. This is true. But should we reward people who will not commit to mediation when it is unclear how the dispute started? While an argument can be made that compelling people to enter mediation is a waste of time, the current situation compels people into conflict. Neither legal
arrangement is neutral – both are rooted in ideological commitments.
Mediation permits the employer to make equal opportunity a reality at all levels in an organisation. It is a good way to protect all parties and promote gender, racial and other forms of equality. It does not presume which party is right, or seek to make one party accept responsibility for conflict in advance of discussing the emotional hurt that underpins the dispute. Nor does it allow either party to walk away (whether accuser or accused) and avoid accountability for their actions.
If mediation is required by contract, then refusal to mediate is a breach of contract. This leaves the withdrawer liable for losses. Nevertheless, mediation will only ever provide a partial solution, not a complete one. How much balance there should be in the legal instruments that govern a company is a matter of judgement.
The question for managers, directors, lawyers and politicians is “which ideological commitments are most likely to improve trade and civil society?” If the right to withdraw is considered more important than the responsibility to engage, the party who willingly commits to a relationship and seek solutions collaboratively can be accused of ‘harassment’ simply for pursuing an equitable outcome to a shared problem. To those with democratic aspirations, the defensive “right” to withdraw is not more important than the constructive “responsibility” to engage.
At present, a falsely accused party is coerced by the legal options available to bring actions against people they like – simply to achieve a modicum of justice. The legal route, therefore, increases the division and fragmentation of our society (to the financial benefit of lawyers). It does little to heal conflict and promote social cohesion. By making it prohibitively expensive and difficult for people to practice democracy (i.e. the right-to-reply, the responsibility to engage) the pursuit of a democratic society is made more difficult.
Nothing here says that people must have relationships with others, or that people cannot withdraw from relationships. What it does encourage, however, is that
withdrawal is negotiated and undertaken in such a way that knowledge is generated. This is respectful behaviour and allows people to process their emotions, even if doing so means enduring some pain.
An option to unilaterally withdraw must remain. It will be essential for those in abusive relationships, or in relationships where one party will not consent to the withdrawal of the other after mediation. The law, however, will do more good than harm if it permits unilateral withdrawal only when equity cannot be established by mediation.
Broader Political Issues
At present, the foundation of our legal-rational society is rooted in the principle of self-defence, buttressed by a court system that adjudicates and judges disputes. This system, however, has recently (i.e. over the last 200 years) been imbued by individualist philosophy to the point that personal sovereignty, rather than community relationships, has taken centre stage. Personal sovereignty is important, but not to the exclusion of community relationships (any more than ‘community’ can be used to exclude personal rights). The struggle, always, is to achieve both.
By constructing the world differently, we can change our place and the practices within it. This starts with a changed understanding of the way sexual desire influences our lives. The most critical decision each of us makes – one that affects the way we see the world and other people in it – is whether to have, or not have, a relationship that leads to children. When we talk of the battle between the sexes, we miss that human life is overwhelmingly guided by the desires of men to be with women, and women’s to be with men. These desires permeate all aspects of our culture making it hard to see their impact.
For those who may think I am marginalizing lesbian and gay couples, this is not my intention. Around 10% of men and women have such relationships at some point in their life, but only 1–2% of all sexual activity is between people of the same sex.31 Heterosexuality dominates our culture for
the simple reason that the majority of men/women want children at some time in their life.
When men and women do have children together, their biology impacts more strongly on their lives. Generally, men intensify their commitment to wealth-creation (because they cannot suckle their child) while women intensify their commitment to child raising (because they can suckle their child). It does not have to be so, but there are many good health reasons for continually reproducing this division of labour (at least in the short term).
In most households, the arrival of a child is accompanied by a drop in joint income. For this reason, wealth-creating skills become critically important at the very time the household workforce is temporarily cut in half. It is for this reason that higher earning men have more children (and are pursued more as sexual partners). This division of labour cannot be abolished without preventing men and women from raising their own children. No human society has (yet) thrived under a political system that denies parents the right to raise their children. In my view, no such society could ever thrive.
As men and women work together to raise children, they have to contend with two ways of looking at the world. One way is to prioritise human reproduction and see work as ‘a job’ to support the family. The other way is to prioritise ‘wealth creation’ and see the world of home as something that provides future workers for additional wealth creation. In 2005, I constructed these two views to illustrate the impact they have on each other.32
For those whose priority is human reproduction, the world takes on the following character. In Figure 7, only the celebrity elite can avoid working. In other households, even primary carers find a way to contribute to wealth creation. Secondary carers are primarily concerned with wealth creation as their contribution to child raising. This affects their emotional connection to family life. Those with no dependents have more choices. Usually, single people embed themselves in workplaces or friendship networks, but in some cases the loss of family life creates an enduring
sense of disconnection. This perspective contrasts with the one in Figure 8.
Figure 7 – Economic Life from a Socially Rational Perspective
In Figure 8, the elite are constituted by those whose wealth creates further wealth sufficient to live off the proceeds. These elites are small, however. Others have to work. The best paid careers are in management and the professions. Management, however, is a full-time occupation that prevents people from playing anything other than a secondary role in child raising. The professions can be more flexible (particularly later in life) allowing couples to share child raising if they wish. People in the administrative and labouring classes – because they are involved in the repetitive tasks associated with direct production – more often regard friendship networks, human reproduction and child raising as sources of emotional stimulation and well-being.
Figure 8 – Social Life from an Economically Rational Perspective
The unacknowledged aspect of the gender debate is the way men divide women into those they will and will not support at home, while women divide men into those they will and will not support at work. The balance can change, individual couples can choose how to divide their responsibilities, but institutions in society tend to reinforce divisions of labour created during the early months of child raising. Moreover, men and women frequently seek to confirm or develop their social identity through commitment to (or by fighting against) their biological role.
Presenting these outlooks helps us to understand that neither is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’: both are required to raise future generations. We need a constant debate about the dividing line and the way that men and women accept or allocate responsibilities. My preference is that the dividing lines should be as flexible as possible and always open to debate. Under these conditions, I believe that both human emancipation and economic efficiency become more possible. Others argue, however, that people should be
encouraged toward roles ‘intended’ by nature (i.e. a biological norm) or one determined by religious faith (i.e. a moral norm). From a human rights and democratic perspective, however, the benevolence of these positions needs to be carefully evaluated.
Leaders, Performers and Followers
The second way to reconstruct the world is to change the way we understand the relationship between performers, leaders and followers. Think of the last time your saw dolphins performing tricks at an aquarium, or on the television. The audience is all around – almost like a political rally, pop concert or sporting event. The audience marvel at how well the dolphins are trained, how intelligent they are, how they have human-like intelligence. The cleverer the tricks they perform, the more the audience is amazed, the more it claps. And when the performance is over, the dolphins are regarded as the stars: they are the attraction that draws in the crowds.
We know, however, that the dolphins will not be released back to the wild while their performances can draw in the crowds. In fact, the better their performance, the less likely it is that they will be allowed to run free again. They are in captivity and will remain so until their captors – people who are generally not in the public eye – agree to let them go or ‘the market’ demands to see dolphins in the wild rather than in captivity. The dolphins, in this analogy, are performers. They draw the applause.
Imagine that one dolphin – a particularly intelligent dolphin – decides not to cooperate. This dolphin decides that there are better things to do with his or her life than perform tricks to obtain applause. How will they appear to others? They might appear to be rebelling. They might even appear to be sick. Those who train the dolphin – perplexed at the transformation in this dolphin’s behaviour – may not grasp that the dolphin may simply want to be as free as they are, or to follow different goals than those that have been prescribed without their consent. How might the trainer react to a dolphin with ‘no discipline’ (i.e. one
intelligent enough to want something better than a life performing tricks)? They might put the dolphin in a zoo (i.e. restrain or imprison it). They might destroy the dolphin (i.e. murder it).
Can the most intelligent people in society be compared to the dolphins that will not be trained? We are slower to applaud those who perform tricks less often and less readily. When we characterise a person concerned with their own emancipation as ‘selfish’ perhaps we miss what it is that promotes human freedom. Where dolphins are concerned, we never mistake the performance of tricks as a sign of either “freedom” or “leadership”, no matter how much the dolphin may seem to be enjoying the performance. We realise in an instant that no matter how well they are treated, no matter how much money they attract, no matter what standard of luxury accommodation they have at their disposal, they are still captives performing for the rest of us.
So it is with sports stars, rock stars, political leaders and “charismatic” businesspeople. They have been trained. They may be intelligent, but their intelligence may not extend as far as understanding that their vanity is exploited to increase their performance efforts. Many burn-out performing for others. Others realise before they burn out. It is a serious intellectual mistake to consider them leaders, even though they may obtain the trappings of success.
Ralph finally realised this (see Chapter 5). With a push from his wife Ginny, he finally started to contemplate how deeply he had been trained. Once the penny dropped, however, he found that he was ridiculed by his fellow “leaders” (which is what exposes them as followers rather than leaders). Ralph gained the respect of other men from all social classes who appreciated his growing self-awareness. He also gained the respect of his wife. Together they started to look at the world in a new way – one in which they started to see the shallow rhetoric of stardom and performance. They began to realise that their working lives were similar to a Big Brother TV show – a “reality show” for the amusement and satisfaction of others’ financial and emotional gain. Their own rewards, however,
were pegged to their capacity to entertain (regardless of whether the product of their performance was really needed or not).
A long term goal worth striving for, however, is to achieve as much independence as possible so that we can spend as much time as possible with the people, and doing the things, we love. This might be at work, at home, or a combination of both. It does not necessarily require that we scale the ladders of the corporate world to reach the top – there are few places on earth where a person has less independence. We each need to develop sufficient craft that we can assemble, and become part of a social network that we wish to support, and which wishes to support us. This goal is within the reach of most of us. With greater tolerance for diversity, it should be within reach of more of us. It does not require big business or huge government interventions to be achieved (just their political support and tolerance).
Powerful Relationships are Tolerant
Enforcing equality – indeed enforcing anything – is not usually the best solution because it destroys the natural enthusiasm that people have for each other and the things they like to do together. We do not need quotas to ensure equality of opportunity. Rather, we need the reverse – that such policies are eliminated so that institutional energies divert from enforcement (of rules, behaviours, ideologies) towards mediation and dialogue.
In this way, social values and systems of governance will start to be flexible rather than dogmatic, democratic rather than totalitarian, and will reflect diverse personal and shared ideologies. Reflection will gradually replace blame and judgement: rules will give way to interpersonal sensitivity. We can then, hopefully, see some shrinkage in the legal profession in favour of trading organisations that contribute to the quality of our lives as well as the wealth of our communities.
The result could be substantial and continuing differences in the lifestyles of men and women that may not
please political, corporate or thought-leaders. Or we may find that free from institutional interference women and men choose lifestyles that become more equitable. Whichever, behind statistics that suggest discrimination will be personal choices emanating from the fusion and tension created by our desire for intimacy and social advancement. As more autonomy – within the bounds of equitable relationships – becomes possible, emotional development will increase our capacity for social democracy. Economic life within the firm, not just in the marketplace, will start to be determined by the aspirations of the many rather than the control of the few.
Notes on Chapter 7
1 Kakabadse, A., Kakabadse, N. (2004) Intimacy: International Survey of the Sex Lives of People at Work, Palgrave. The authors distinguish between emotional and physical intimacy in their study, but their definition is restricted to sexual relationships. In my own work, I argue that intimacy is broader than this – that it can apply to non-sexual same-sex relationships as well as sexual relationships. Goldberg describes intimate relationships between men as being ‘buddies’ – he devotes a chapter to the lost art of buddyship in his book “The Hazards of Being Male”.
2 ibid, p. 57
3 ibid, pp. 72–73
4 ibid, p. 62
5 ibid, p. 88
6 ibid, p. 90
7 ibid, p. 124
8 ibid, p. 78
9 Farrell, W. (1986) Why Men Are The Way They Are, London, Bantam Books, Chapter 5 (“Why Men Don’t Listen”). In a later book “Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say”, the author reports that it can take as long as 6 months of group support or therapy before men develop sufficient trust to reveal their true feelings about intimate relationships.
10 Public anger and fear, that is. For a discussion of men’s fear of women see Lynne Segal’s “Slow Motion: Changing Men: Changing Masculinities”, or Warren Farrell’s “Why Men Are The Way They Are”. Much ‘macho’ behaviour is a way to hide fear. The fear does not go away, however, it gets internalised and later surfaces in medical conditions such as ulcers and heart attacks.
11 This comment was made to me by a qualified psychologist at one of my research sites. To protect the identity of the company, the name of the psychologist will not be divulged.
12 The same dilemmas occurs in same-sex (lesbian and gay) relationships.
13 Kakabadse, A., Kakabadse, N. (2004) Intimacy: International Survey of the Sex Lives of People at Work, Palgrave, p. 5
14 ibid, Chapter 4 summaries advice to managers, and recommendations for management training.
15 Hearn, J., Parkin, W. (1987) Sex at Work: the power and paradox of organisation sexuality, Wheatsheaf, p. 57
16 Ackroyd, S., Thompson, P. (1999) Organizational Misbehaviour, Sage Publications, Chapter 6.
17 Aronson, E (2003) The Social Animal, Ninth Edition, New York: Worth Publishers, Chapter 8.
18 Friedan, B. (1963) The Feminine Mystique, Penguin Books, p. 282, 284
19 ibid, p. 284
20 Huang, Li-Ning (1999) “Family Communication Patterns and Personality Characteristics”, Communication Quarterly, , ProQuest Education Journals, 47(2): 230–243
21 Moutafi, J et al. (2002) “Demographic and personality predictors of intelligence: a study using the Neo Personality Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator”, European Journal of Personality, 17(1): 79–94.
22 Buss, D. (1994) The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, New York: Basic Books
23 Adapted from post-interview comments by Andy and Pauline, rechecked with the interviewees.
24 As with all the other cases, the names are fictional to hide true identities.
25 Pease, A., Pease, B. (2003) Why Men Lie and Women Cry, Orion.
26 Goffman, E. (1969) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
27 This is a finding in western cultures only. In African, Asian and Far Eastern cultures, findings vary, but the few English language studies available indicate that women are more likely to be harmed than men.
28 O’Connell, S. (1998) An Investigation into How We Learn to Love and Lie, Doubleday.
29 Roche, D. (2003) “Gluttons for restorative justice”, Economy and Society, 32(4): 630–644. This interesting article reviews two leading texts by criminologists on research into restorative justice. Concerns
remain, but in the context of sexual disputes there is one particularly interesting finding. The restorative justice schemes that have been most successful are those where the ‘crimes’ trigger the strongest emotions. As sexual disputes evoke particularly strong emotions, this strengthens the case for restorative justice when they occur.
30 And Company Law perhaps, as a way of rebuilding confidence in corporate governance!
31 Johnson, A. M., Mercer, C. H., Erans, B., Copas, A. J., McManus, S., Wellings, K., Fenton, K. A., Korovessis, C., Macdowell, W., Nanchahal, K., Purdon, S., Field, J. (2001), “Sexual behaviour in Britain: Partnerships, Practices, and HIV risk behaviours”, The Lancet, 358: 1835–1842. This study shows that just over 60% of men/women were in committed relationships in the year 2000, the same percentage as a decade before. Despite media publicity promoting ‘singledom’ as a lifestyle, combining the number of unmarried and marriage couples shows that the number of people in “committed” relationships is unchanged. Homosexual encounters are a much lower percentage of all sexual activity than the percentage of people reporting they have had homosexual relationships. This is because people experiment with homosexuality while still practising heterosexuality most of the time.
32 Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2005) Communitarian Perspectives on Corporate Governance, PhD Thesis, Sheffield Hallam University.