The Construction of Management
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The Construction of Management

Competence and Gender Issues at Work

Brownen Ann Rees

Despite continuing equal opportunity approaches, women are still significantly under-represented at senior management levels and earn less than male colleagues. The author questions whether competence systems – developed and implemented in the workplace to provide objective measurement of management performance – contribute to, rather than improve, women’s disadvantaged position in the workplace.
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Chapter 5: Competent Organisations

Brownen Ann Rees


Why do organisations choose to adopt competence approaches, how are they introduced and what do senior management hope and expect from the competence frameworks? How do the models match up to those examined in the last chapter? What do people think of them? This chapter presents the espoused expectations and hopes as they were presented by those who initiated and/or implemented these schemes. 5.1 WHY AND HOW IMPLEMENTATION TOOK PLACE Organisation A: Higher Education Institute This particular institution had been the first to provide distance learning at graduate level. As higher education was changing, the University recognised that it would have to adapt to a new environment. The university was currently undergoing a major Plans for Change, 1994–2004 project which was the organisation’s first strategic development plan, laying out the direction in which the University would have to move to face the challenges of an expanding and increasingly competitive market. The University management structure was divided into three: academic/administrative/regional to reflect the fact that the courses are developed and written centrally, but delivered regionally through a country-wide tutorial system. The impetus for introducing competences came from the HR department who felt that the ways of working and communicating needed to change. It was expected that this would provide better information and increase the speed of response throughout the organisation and a perceived need to reduce unit costs and become ‘more businesslike’. There was equally a recognition that senior staff should play a key role in deciding the future of...

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