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Women's accounts of organizational politics as a gendering process

MacKenzie Davey, Kate (2008) Women's accounts of organizational politics as a gendering process. Gender, Work & Organization 15 (6), pp. 650-671. ISSN 0968-6673.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2008.00420.x

Abstract

Organizational politics is implicated in all levels of organizational functioning, from power structures and informal interaction to individual identity. This study argues that organizational politics provides an approach to examining professional women's experiences of organizations as gendered. Women graduates in male-dominated organizations claimed not to be limited by explicit discrimination, but they construct organizational politics as being masculine in character and as a barrier to their careers. These women represent organizational politics as irrational, aggressive, competitive and instrumental, leading to individual, not organizational, success. Their accounts undermine the stereotypical dichotomy of masculine rationality and feminine emotion by claiming that women behave reasonably and by focusing on emotion in men's political game playing. However, claiming to be rational and rejecting politics, while acknowledging its role in career success, is uncomfortable for ambitious women. They risk sabotaging their own position by appearing too sensitive to engage in the less savoury aspects of organizational life. Organizational political processes are seen as fundamental to gender in organizations, first, because political activity is seen as gendered and masculine and contrary to female identity; secondly, because politics is part of the informal system which constructs organization from which outsiders are excluded; and finally, because political activity is linked to the performance, achievement and maintenance of power.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): gender, identity, organizational politics, organizational socialization
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Organizational Psychology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2011 15:42
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2069

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