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Pleading the Fifth: Re-Focusing Acker’s Gendered Substructure through the Lens of Organizational Logic

Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures

ISBN: 978-1-78714-546-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-545-0

Publication date: 5 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose—The notion of organizations as gendered is not new, yet critical gaps in the understanding of the processes responsible for the creation and maintenance of these gendered organizations still exist. Within the existing breadth and depth of feminist organizational scholarship, an increasing number of researchers have been drawn to Joan Acker’s notion of the “gendered substructure” as one of the more promising frameworks for analysis of the gendering of organizations. In this chapter, the authors seek to develop an analysis of Acker’s gendered substructure through, and reflection on, its application.

Design/methodology/approach—Acker’s framework of gendering processes is explored through a case study of the gendering of a single organization over time—Pan American World Airways (Pan Am). The authors’ “reading” of the archival materials was informed by a combination of feminist poststructuralism, critical discourse analysis, and critical hermeneutics.

Findings—Through an exploration of the roots of Acker’s framework and its application to a case study of a single organization over time (Pan Am), the chapter contends that its greatest potential lies in examining the four process sets—division of labor, workplace culture, social interactions, and (self) reflection—through a fifth process of “organizational logic” that is seen as temporal and contextual. Drawing on poststructuralist feminist theory, it argues that organizational logic can be viewed through analyses of organizational, and organizationally based, discourses.

Originality/value—The chapter argues that the (widely recognized) heuristic value of Joan Acker’s “gendered substructure” has not been realized due to inconsistencies in its interpretation and application. This study engages Acker’s framework in its entirety, as gendering processes do not exist in silos and are likely more interdependent than typically credited. The chapter looks at the dynamics of, and between the five sets of, gendering processes.

Keywords

Citation

Dye, K. and Mills, A.J. (2017), "Pleading the Fifth: Re-Focusing Acker’s Gendered Substructure through the Lens of Organizational Logic", Mills, A.J. (Ed.) Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 329-350. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-545-020171018

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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