Gender, Power, and Organisation: A Psychological Perspective

By Paula Nicolson | Go to book overview

Introduction

At any given moment, gender will reflect the material interests of those who have power and those who do not.

(Brittan, 1989:3)

Organisational processes are central to the understanding of gender relations, and…organisations are gendered.

(Witz and Savage, 1992:3)

The power dynamics inherent in traditional conceptualisations of gender was theorised in the writings of those who noted that 'difference' was often equated with women's subordination or inadequacy.

(Radtke and Stam, 1994:5)

Both gender relations and organisational dynamics are about the achievement and maintenance of power. The ability to influence and control human and material resources exists in a social and relational context where power and subordination are inseparable. This alliance occurs in professional organisations, and sexual, social and family relationships. It is almost always the case that women are in some way subordinate in these contexts (Leonard, 1984; Bleier, 1984).

This project is an examination of the psychological impact of the work setting on professional women, currently entering organisations in increasing numbers. It is particularly concerned with women who have achieved or aspire to professional power, and expressly about the psychological dimension of power for women, men and the organisations in which they work.

Work organisations have become a major site of gender politics for professional women and men over the last twenty years. While equal opportunities policies and affirmative action in the selection and training of women in the professions and management have had a qualified impact (Aitkenhead and Liff, 1990); increased career opportunities appear to have made the psychological context of the organisation more

-ix-

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Gender, Power, and Organisation: A Psychological Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Introduction ix
  • Part I - Biography, Biology and Career 1
  • Introduction to Part I 3
  • Chapter 1 - Gender, Subjectivity and Feminism 8
  • Chapter 2 - Gender, Knowledge and Career 32
  • Chapter 3 - Femininity, Masculinity and Organisation 51
  • Part II - Professional Socialisation and Patriarchal Culture 69
  • Introduction to Part II 71
  • Chapter 4 - Gender at Work 75
  • Chapter 5 - In the Shadow of the Glass Ceiling 101
  • Chapter 6 - Sexuality, Power and Organisation 117
  • Introduction to Part III 137
  • Chapter 7 - Barriers, Boundaries and Emotion 139
  • Chapter 8 - Conclusions 154
  • References 157
  • Index 170
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