The paper aims to shed light on how a group of feminist managers/leaders, in education and social studies departments, a notably under-explored and under-theorised group, “do power” in the increasingly corporatized education marketplace.
The research draws on the narratives of a small group of feminist women who hold authority positions at middle or senior levels. It draws on data from ethnographic interviews and participant observation carried out as part of an in-depth narrative inquiry (Andrews et al., 2008), carried out at three higher education institutions in the UK.
From a small sample such as this, any findings are necessarily tentative. Nonetheless, findings suggest that, whilst taking account of individual differences in styles, there has been a shift, over time, in the ways that the management role is approached by some feminist women. Analysis of the data also reveals that gendered expectations remain for those who carry the “feminist” label and asks whether these expectations are realistic.
The sample group is small which raises questions about what can and cannot be claimed. However, along with Maguire (2008), the author’s purpose is not with generalizability but seeks to explore issues and open up further areas of study.
This paper is an original empirical research which explores an under-researched group of women, namely, feminist managers and leaders who operate within the education marketplace. As they negotiate the challenges of working within the neoliberal academy, these women try, to varying degrees, to remain true to their feminist values and beliefs.
Thompson, B.M. (2019), "Shifting feminisms: Collaborative or individualized managers? An exploratory study in three UK universities", Gender in Management, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 287-305. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-12-2017-0179Download as .RIS
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