(Re)producing gender: management accounts of Affirmative Action

Susan Ainsworth, Angela Knox, Janine O'Flynn

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    Abstract: In this work-in-progress research we explore how versions of organizational reality and gender are constructed in management discourse and whether such patterns change over time. Specifically, we examine management accounts of the gendered nature of their organizations, through their commentaries on their Affirmative Action programs. In Australia, private sector organizations with 100 or more employees are required to report to government on their Affirmative Action programs for women. In these documents, management representatives outline objectives for the coming year and report on their progress in reducing employment-related barriers for women. In so doing, they construct accounts of both the 'problem' of gender-based discrimination that Affirmative Action is designed to address and justifications for their actions (or lack of action). Rather than treating such statements as factual, we examine their functions in the discursive and political context of Affirmative Action reporting. We also focus on identifying contradictions in accounts, constructions of agency and responsibility, and those aspects of employment, social and political context that are accorded factual or objective status. More fundamentally, we regard Affirmative Action reporting as a site for the (re)production of gender categories and explore how aspects of gender and organization are taken-for-granted, challenged or problematized in these accounts. Comparing reports from the hospitality sector over a fourteen-year period, we explore whether there is any evidence of discursive change in management accounts of gender-based discrimination in employment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAPROS 11 Proceedings: Papers from 11th International Colloquium of Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organization Studies
    EditorsMichael Muetzelfeldt
    Place of PublicationMelbourne
    PublisherRMIT Publishing
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)192116638X
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventAPROS 11: Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies 11m - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 4 Dec 20057 Dec 2005


    ConferenceAPROS 11: Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies 11m


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