A number of articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in recent years in which reference is made to the traditional view that male = manager, and how this has worked against women making inroads into senior management positions. The HBR often intersperses cartoons among the articles – cartoons which appear to perpetuate the male‐as‐manager norm. The results of a content analysis of the cartoons appearing in the HBR over the five‐year period, 1988‐1992 are presented. The content analysis suggests women appear as marginal players in the cartoon images of the organizational world. Not only do women appear in substantially fewer cartoons than men, there is also a wide divergence in how men and women are portrayed. The most common representations of women are as wife or secretary, although there is the occasional nurse, air hostess and fortune‐teller! The images of men, however, are overwhelmingly associated with paid work. The images of women and men portrayed in the HBR perpetuate and reinforce the expectation that “male = manager”. It may be that such cartoons can be considered trivial on their own, but cumulatively they can play a powerful role in defining the “appropriate” person for the manager′s job.
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