Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work
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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Work

A Research Companion

Edited by Mustafa F. Özbiligin

With over thirty chapters, this book offers a truly interdisciplinary collection of original contributions that are likely to influence theorization in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion at work.
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Chapter 31: ‘Talking Sports’: Sports and the Construction of Hegemonic Masculinities at Work

Michele Rene Gregory


Michele Rene Gregory* INTRODUCTION What role do sports play in the formation of American white-collar organizational cultures and to what extent do they produce inequality? Using the concept of ‘talking sports’, this chapter illustrates the importance of sports in the construction of exclusion and inclusion based on gender and race at work, and, in so doing addresses the function of spatial relations. ‘Talking sports’ refers to displays of sports knowledge about teams, players, games and matches and the use of sport metaphors. The primacy of sports in the construction of masculinity in Western countries has been documented (Messner, 1992; Connell, 2005), as has the importance of professional men’s sports (Knoppers and Anthonissen, 2005). As white men dominate the most esteemed organizational positions in countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (Wajcman, 1998; Hearn and Parkin, 2001; Connell and Wood, 2005; Johnson, 2005), examining the relationship between athletic games and the embodiment of masculinities at work and marginalized groups is vital. ‘Talking sports’ is one of three components – the other two being ‘playing sports’ (the role of participating in sports such as golf as part of work) and ‘sports strategies’ (the use of athletic tactics, such as ‘slam dunk’ in the workplace) – which are part of a theoretical model that I have developed on sports relations at work. The need for this research developed after a review of international feminist, masculinities and management literature was found to address only marginally the relationship between sports and hegemony at...

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