This case study aims to explore the practice of female managers within a small higher education institution experiencing rapid growth and undertaking significant organisation change.
This study takes an ethnographic approach to the exploration of professional identity constructions in management practice. Using an approach based on “grounded” principles rather than a pure grounded approach, it was possible to draw together key concepts arising from the data. Initial themes generated through thematic analysis were later penetrated with the use of a narrative approach which allowed for deeper insights to be captured through detailed participant stories.
This case highlights how management practice is affected by ambiguity and uncertainty. Gendered practice and belonging highlights the impact of the “silent identity”. In particular this study emphasises the implications of incongruence between the self and the organisation as new “in groups” form as a result of perceived exclusion from the executive team.
Paying attention to good practice in the management of change is essential to diminishing some of the tension that may present itself within evolving organizations. The investment of time on arrival as the new leader in an organisation will support the development of a cohesive management team and provide the basis for effective communication channels.
This study provides an empirical contribution to the study of women and professional identity within the workplace and the way in which this is conceived.
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