Gender performativity and hegemonic masculinity in investment management

Corina Sheerin (School of Business, National College of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)
Margaret Linehan (School of Humanities, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 1 October 2018



Through an examination of the everyday organisational and social practices, this paper aims to consider gender performativity and hegemonic masculinity within front office investment management. At the core of this research is the need to understand the interactions between gender, power and patriarchy.


An interpretivist philosophical stance underpins the study. A theory-building approach using 19 semi-structured interviews with investment management employees based in Ireland was undertaken.


The findings highlight a sector in which gender is performed in line with sectoral expectations, which place men in positions of dominance with hegemonic masculinity inherent. The organisational structures and daily interactions are imbued with male norms, which dictate how gender is to be performed, and which places women firmly as “different” and “outsiders”. These mechanisms of inequality are further supported by men’s “blocked reflexivity”.

Practical implications

The findings of this study indicate clear evidence of a “patriarchal dividend”, which is underpinned by the maintenance of closure regimes and gender blindness particularly, among senior male gatekeepers. Such results call for policymakers to go beyond goals of numerical parity and ensure transparency and equality across all aspects of work. A holistic and multifaceted approach to addressing issues of gendered culture and the normalisation of men’s privileged relationship with power positions is needed.


This paper is situated within a relatively under-researched labour market space, that of investment management. The findings conceptualise gender as a social process, thus facilitating traditional assumptions about gender at work as a single entity to be challenged. The results also advance theoretical insights of misogynistic work cultures and hegemonic masculinity through the analysis of gendered behaviours within this traditionally male environment.



Sheerin, C. and Linehan, M. (2018), "Gender performativity and hegemonic masculinity in investment management", Gender in Management, Vol. 33 No. 7, pp. 561-576.



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