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Gendered Enterprise

Gill Kirton


What do we mean when we say that enterprise or organization is gendered? As Acker (2003) argues, “to say that an organization, or any other analytic unit, is gendered means that advantage and disadvantage, exploitation and control, action and emotion, meaning and identity, are patterned through and in terms of a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine.” However, the traditional approach to organizational analysis is criticized by a number of contemporary authors, including Acker, for its neglect up until the 1980s at least, of women and gender. This neglect occurred firstly because organizational research often focused on senior levels of the hierarchy where men predominate. Secondly, men dominated the academic research process and generally showed little interest in female employees or gender as a unit of analysis. Critics argued that within traditional organizational analysis men's experiences and interpretations of organizational life were taken as universal, producing gender-neutral knowledge, which failed to recognize gender as a significant dynamic of organizations and rendered women invisible. Although some of the criticisms remain valid in regard to mainstream organization and management studies, there is now a significant and growing body of gender and organization literature, largely produced by women and often with women as the analytic focus, which ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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