Gender, Identity, and the Culture of Organizations

Gender, Identity, and the Culture of Organizations

Gender, Identity, and the Culture of Organizations

Gender, Identity, and the Culture of Organizations

Synopsis

This work considers how organizations operate as spaces in which minds are gendered and men and women constructed. It brings together four powerful themes that have developed within the field of organizational analysis over the past 20 years.

Excerpt

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Otherness at large

Identity and difference in the new globalized organizational landscape

Anshuman Prasad and Pushkala Prasad

[W]hat is now before us nationally, and in the full imperial panorama, is the deep, profoundly perturbed and perturbing question of our relationship to others - other cultures, other states, other histories, other experiences, traditions, peoples and destinies.

Edward Said, Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's Interlocuters

The spectre of 'otherness' has been haunting Western organizational landscapes for a long time. Relationships between dominant majority groups (typically Euro-American/Western men) and 'different' or 'other' social identity groups (e.g. women, African-Americans, gays, Latinos, etc.) have been recognized as central issues affecting the advancement, legitimacy and survival of organizations themselves. These questions of otherness have further intensified as national boundaries become more permeable and workplaces are swamped by the tides of diversity and cosmopolitanism. In sum, the currents of globalization have altered the contours of difference and otherness, simultaneously rendering them more immediate, more exciting and profoundly more problematic.

One thing is for sure - under conditions of postmodernity and globalization, otherness looms very much at large: an integral part of everyday organizational life, impossible to ignore and constantly holding the potential for conflict, creativity and disruption. Arguing that these new conditions require alternative conceptual frameworks, our chapter uses postcolonialism as a theoretical lens to understand the contemporary dynamics of difference and identity in organizational cultural milieus.

Woman as 'other' in organizations

Most serious discussions of 'otherness' in organizations have been conducted within different strands of feminist theory, explicitly seeking to understand how the 'other' is coded as female and constructed within the context of hierarchical and bureaucratic relations of patriarchy (Mills, 1988; Oseen, 1997). In essence, many feminists argue that core organizational principles (e.g. hierarchy, standardization, etc.) are constantly involved in constituting and reproducing woman as a distinct and subordinate 'other' with significant implications for

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