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Sexuality and sexual symbolism as processes of gendered identity formation: An autoethnography of an accounting firm

Kathryn Haynes (Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 22 March 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate sexuality and sexual symbolism within the organisational culture of an accounting firm to explore how it is implicated in processes of gendering identities of employees within the firm.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a reflexive autoethnographical approach, including short vignettes, to analyse the inter‐relationships between gender, sexuality and power.

Findings

By exploring the symbolic role of artefacts, images, language, behaviours and buildings in creating and maintaining gendered relations, male sexual cultures and female sexual countercultures, the paper finds that sexual symbolism in this accounting firm entwines gendered power and domination, practice and resistance, in complex cultural codes and behaviours. It draws out implications for organisations and accounting research.

Originality/value

The paper extends current conceptualisation of gendered constructs in accounting to include sexuality; applies organisational and feminist theory to autoethnographical experience in accounting; and contributes a seldom‐seen insight into the organisational symbolism and culture of a small accounting firm, rather than the oft‐seen focus on large firms.

Keywords

Citation

Haynes, K. (2013), "Sexuality and sexual symbolism as processes of gendered identity formation: An autoethnography of an accounting firm", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 374-398. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513571311311865

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited