Negotiating Tensions between Theory and Practice
Edited by Julie Wolfram Cox, Tony G. LeTrent-Jones, Maxim Voronov and David Weir
Chapter 15: Silences and Disappearing Acts: The Politics of Gendering Organizational Practice
Margaret L. Page CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK While the rhetoric of equality and diversity as normative culture and practice has been widely absorbed into Western organizations, daily news reports demonstrate that the meanings of both continue to be contested. Policies and practice intended to promote gender equality often thrive alongside organizational practices that reproduce inequality, and may mask wider divisions (Calás and Smircich 1993). As strategies for promoting equality and diversity proliferate, it seems particularly timely to explore how current critical organization research might usefully inform them. The project of gendering organizational analysis is concerned with strategies for interrogating gendered meanings within organizational and management theory (Acker 1990; Mills and Tancred 1992). From this perspective, organizations are sites for the reproduction and performance of gendered relations, and do not simply reflect gender relations in their external social environments (Gherardi 1995; Meyerson and Kolb 2000). Gendered organizational analysis thus offers a framework for critical research and practice, exploring how management and organization practices in any specific context may reproduce or break patterns of gendered power (Acker 2000; Ely and Meyerson 2000; Fletcher 1998). It is concerned with gendered assumptions embedded in the ways in which organizations and organizational practices have been theorized, and organizations designed. It has critically interrogated these by drawing from the experiences of women and more latterly from the experiences of men that do not figure within mainstream organizational research. Many of these experiences concern the exercise of power by men over women, and women’s strategies of resistance. While...
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