Identity Work As A Mechanism For Understanding Gendered Organising And Organisations

Identity Work As A Mechanism For Understanding Gendered Organising And Organisations

Length: 1401 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Identity work as a mechanism for understanding gendered organising and organisations
To explore identity work as a salient and contemporary tool for understanding organisation (verb) and organisations (noun), the concept of identity also warrants discussion. Firstly, as “identity” is highly debated and uniquely defined across multiple disciplines, from sciences to humanities, this paper examines it from a largely organisation and management perspective. Within this context, identity remains contentious. Many authors consider it “dynamic” and “fragmented,” connoting positive and negative associations (Nic Beech, Robert MacIntosh, and Peter McInnes, 2008: 957; Matts Alvesson and Dan Karreman, 2001: 64 and 63; Andrew D. Brown, 2015: 24; Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, 2008: 114). Secondly, as a result, identity work is also disputed, with Brown (2015) identifying three notable iterations of identity work by Snow and Anderson (1987), Sveningsson and Alvesson (2003), and Watson (2008). These definitions cover the range of divergent identity work conceptions. Moreover, Brown (2015: 20) pinpoints five key themes of identity work that appear throughout the literature: choice, stability, coherence, positivity and authenticity. While recognizing the inherent limitations in selecting single definitions, this paper includes the following definitions as points of reference. For identity, Cerulo (1997) and Gergen and Gergen’s (1988) definition suffices, as cited by Brown (2015: 23):
[I]dentity refers to the meanings that individuals attach reflexively to themselves, and developed and sustained through processes of social interaction as they seek to address the question ‘who am I?’
Additionally, Tony J. Watson’s (2008: 129) definition of identity work i...

... middle of paper ...

...the “same” and women as “different” in examples, even if gender is not the focus of the article (Alvesson and Karreman 2001, 63). Identity work invokes this gendered sameness-difference dialectic in many organising processes. For instance, in Watson’s (2008: 138) study, a female personnel manager Kay smokes and swears frequently, described by a male co-worker, Leonard Hilton, as “want[ing] to be a man.” Here, Kay engages in discursive interaction identity work, adopting the stereotypically masculine quality of swearing. This occurs in response to Leonard and others attempting to impose a gendered social identity on her. Watson (2008: 139) describes her circumstance and resulting identity work as “clearly related to broader structural and discursive circumstances of gender inequality.” In this way, the dominant discourses and structures create gendered organisations.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries

- Kathi Weeks talks about how critiques of work need to include “the whole work day” and not just waged work. This is related to the gendered nature of work. Summarize her argument. In her book “The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries” Kathi Weeks (2011) argues that today we work too hard and that work is quite important that is a requirement to survive. Work has become a privatized system and ultimately is a way of life (p.3). She also claims that the idea that a subject must work to become a worker it is more related to discipline than it is to economic....   [tags: the gendered nature of work]

Better Essays
2252 words (6.4 pages)

Professional Organizations : Professional Organisations Essay

- Professional Organisations Having an understanding of professional organisations can help a manager effectively manage dire situations or reactions from staff. As Shell (2003) explained professionals are a different group of people, they are experts in their own field giving them expert power and therefore must be managed differently. Professionals are highly autonomous therefore they expect a high degree of control and the freedom to exercise their independent professional judgements. They act to serve their own primary interest, and not necessary the organisation’s....   [tags: Management, Organization, Organizational studies]

Better Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Identity, Work and Labor

- What are the differences between work and labor. There are many differences between work and labor. At the same time, it is complex to point out these differences because they are subtle. To illustrate one difference between work and labor, here is an example from a building site. The manager or contractor organizes the structure of the tasks that need to be executed. The laborers are those who are doing the heavy work, laying bricks, digging the holes and carrying the lumber. The manager, foreman and the laborers, however, are all working at the site....   [tags: Work, career, ]

Better Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Gendered Media: The Journey to Gender Identity Essay

- In a study done by The 4Th Estate, the results showed men are quoted around five times more than women in stories regarding women (Pesta 1). With media being so male centered, it is not surprising that often women become the target of sexual objectification in all realms of media. With the concept of “Sex Sells” still holding true, many advertising outlets have continued to fund ads with sexually focused content. Whether you are listening to the radio, reading your favorite magazine, or just window shopping in the mall you are being targeted by media’s gendered advertising....   [tags: Traditional Expectation, Social Lights]

Better Essays
1219 words (3.5 pages)

Gendered Spaces Are Socially Constructed Locations Essay

- Gendered spaces are socially constructed locations commonly defined by their utility to service a particular gender. They are founded by historic common and continual performative usage upon which specific designs are built and a collective understanding and expectation is attached and is shared. Just as these identifying markers have come to legally and socially define a space as gendered, through signifying dynamics (i.e. - unfettered access, physical interaction with its utilities) the spaces themselves reciprocally identify their users as a particular gender....   [tags: Gender, Transgender, Gender identity, Sociology]

Better Essays
796 words (2.3 pages)

Gendered Identity in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act of Union’ Essay

- Gendered identity in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act of Union’ In 1801, the political Act of Union created a legislative bond between Great Britain and Ireland, bringing Ireland under British control as part of the “United Kingdom”. Within the poem ‘Act of Union’ Heaney draws upon the double meaning of this titular phrase to compare the long lasting effect of this lawful union with an act of sexual domination. Within the work, Heaney anthropomorphizes both countries. He compares the geological features of Ireland to the ‘tracked and stretchmarked body’ of a woman, whose most intimate identity - here symbolised by the ‘ferny bed’ and ‘bogland’ is invaded by the phallic ‘battering ram’ of an ‘imperial...   [tags: dominance, sexual, hierarchy ]

Better Essays
528 words (1.5 pages)

Social And Private Sector Organisations Essay

- INTRODUCTION In the last two decades both the public and private sector organisations have experienced incredible changes in their management processes (Hassard et al 2013). Some of these changes in the world of work have been influenced by technology, demography, globalisation to name but a few. These changes are occurring at different areas and levels thus posing a challenge for the management of organisations (Burke and Cooper 2006), hence the importance of using theoretical approaches in organisational development....   [tags: Management, Theory, Organization]

Better Essays
1134 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on High Performance Work Organizations

- High Performance Work Organizations Since the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) issued its report in 1991, organizations have been urged to become "high performance workplaces" and vocational educators are considering how best to prepare workers for them. What are high performance work organizations (HPWOs). Do they exist. Are they really the wave of the future and the best hope for organizational survival into the next century. The myths and realities of HPWOs are explored in this publication....   [tags: High Performance Work Organizations Essays]

Better Essays
1828 words (5.2 pages)

The Importance of Group Work in Today's Organizations Essay example

- The Importance of Group Work in Today's Organizations It could be argued that in order to be successful, modern organisations must actively develop strong and cohesive work groups. Why. Is it true that there is no room for the individualist in today’s organisation. The rapid progression and improvement in information and communication technology has led to modern organisation finding new ways to work. One of these innovation ways is using work group. More organisations are now becoming global than ever, which means they rely on distributed teams to carry out certain tasks (Nedelko, Z, 2007)....   [tags: Team Group Work ]

Better Essays
1591 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Organisations

- Organisations Objective: To understand the basic concepts of organisational structure as they appear on/affect ICT systems. What is an organisation. An organisation is a collection of human and non human resources that are brought together in order to fulfill a designated purpose. 1. Supermarket 2. School 3. Shop 4. Large commercial enterprise 5. Small informally structured non commercial group – green peace In some cases the structures are clearly defined and inflexible, in others the structure is less formally defined....   [tags: Business and Management Studies]

Better Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)