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 10: Embodying the Subject: Integrating Separation and Connection

Brownen Ann Rees


This book is particularly concerned with women managers. In keeping with the spirit of critical theory, it has attempted to render the connections between how knowledge is generated (that is, how we perceive competent managers) and whose interests this serves, more visible. In this concluding chapter, I offer up some reflections on some of the issues that emerged from the empirical work and relate these back to the theoretical framework that I set out earlier. In particular, I hope that the connections made between critical theory and feminism may mark a way forward to open up organisational life to more ‘voices’, and that this may be useful to those struggling in the midst of the organisational complexities, particularly in this ever-changing, globalising world where we need to communicate across and through diversity. 10.1 THEORY EMERGING FROM PRACTICE The research set out to expose concrete practices by which organisational strategies ‘hid’ and possibly reinforced a gendered substructure. Three issues emerged from this research. The first, which I had anticipated, was the strong influence of language on creating ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions. The second was somewhat unexpected – this was the use of the myth of culture change as a means of hiding processes of gender construction. Finally, a third, perhaps more unexpected issue, was the break between paradigmatic and narrative cognition and the implications of this for women managers. The ‘Technologisation’ of Language Language played a critical role in shaping perceptions, cognitions and action such that practices of gender construction remained hidden. While poststructuralists...

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