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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2020

Sue Williamson, Lisa Carson and Meraiah Foley

Governments have demonstrated a renewed interest in progressing gender equality for their workforces, including in Australia. This refocusing has resulted in a tranche of…

Abstract

Purpose

Governments have demonstrated a renewed interest in progressing gender equality for their workforces, including in Australia. This refocusing has resulted in a tranche of new gender equality policies being introduced into the Australian Public Service (APS). The purpose of this paper is to examine how New Public Management (NPM) is reflected in these gender equality policies and consider whether NPM may assist or hinder gender being “undone” or “redone” in APS organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis was conducted to assess the strategies contained within the gender equality policies of all 18 Australian government departments.

Findings

The content analysis reveals that the policies strongly reflect an NPM framing, except in one important area – that of monitoring and evaluation. The lack of attention to this crucial element of NPM may hinder effective implementation of many of the policies. The authors also conclude that while good intent is evident in the policies, they may “redo” rather than “undo” gender in organisations.

Practical implications

The paper will assist organisations which are developing and implementing gender equality policies. Even though NPM is specific to the public sector, the research highlights the potential and pitfalls when developing such policies in an environment focused on increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Originality/value

While gender equality and public sector reforms occurred simultaneously in Australia, few researchers have examined the interactions between the two.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2019

Michael O’Donnell, Sue Williamson, Arosha Adikaram and Meraiah Foley

The purpose of this paper is to explore how human resource (HR) managers in garment factories in a Sri Lankan export processing zone (EPZ) navigated the tension between…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how human resource (HR) managers in garment factories in a Sri Lankan export processing zone (EPZ) navigated the tension between their role as stewards of employee welfare and their role to maximise firm productivity in response to time and production pressures imposed by international buyers. Relatively little attention has been paid to the role of HR managers as liaisons between firms and labour. This omission is significant, given the importance of human resource management in the recruitment and retention of labour and the role of HR managers in organisational performance and regulatory compliance.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was used based on interviews with 18 HR managers, factory managers and other key informants, and 63 factory workers from 12 firms in the Katunayake EPZ. The interviews and focus groups in English were transcribed and coded into themes arising from the literature and further developed from the transcripts. Initial codes were analysed to identify common themes across the data set.

Findings

HR managers were acutely aware of the competitive pressures facing the EPZ garment factories. While examples of company welfarism were evident, HR practices such as incentive payment systems and the management of employee absences reinforced a workplace environment of long hours, work intensification and occupational injury.

Originality/value

This paper goes some way towards filling the gap in our understanding of the roles played by HR managers in garment factories in the Global South, raising theoretical debates regarding the potential for HR managers in developing countries to distance themselves from the negative consequences of HR practices such as individual and team reward systems.

Details

Employee Relations: The International Journal, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2018

Meraiah Foley and Sue Williamson

Anonymous recruitment seeks to limit managers’ reliance on stereotypes in employment decisions, thereby reducing discrimination. This paper aims to explore how managers…

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Abstract

Purpose

Anonymous recruitment seeks to limit managers’ reliance on stereotypes in employment decisions, thereby reducing discrimination. This paper aims to explore how managers interpret the information embedded in anonymised job applications and how they interpret the organisational priorities driving the adoption of anonymous recruitment.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews with 30 managers in two Australian public sector organisations were analysed.

Findings

The results showed that managers used implicit signals and cues to infer the gender identities of applicants in anonymised applications, reintroducing the possibility of bias. Managers perceived that anonymous recruitment sent positive external signals to prospective employees but were sceptical about its effectiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The results showed that removing applicants’ names and identifying information from applications may not be sufficient to reduce bias. In organisations where managers are sympathetic to equity and diversity issues, use of anonymous recruitment may provoke resentment if managers perceive organisational distrust or inconsistent objectives. Limitations regarding the size and nature of the sample are acknowledged.

Practical implications

Organisations seeking to reduce gender discrimination in recruitment may consider adopting standardised application procedures or training managers to understand how stereotypes affect evaluations. Organisations should also assess managerial support for, and understanding of, anonymous recruitment prior to implementation.

Originality/value

The findings add to existing knowledge regarding the effects of implicit gender signals in managers’ assessments and the effectiveness of anonymous recruitment in reducing gender bias. It also contributes to signalling theory by examining how managers interpret the signals conveyed in organisational policies.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2018

Meraiah Foley, Marian Baird, Rae Cooper and Sue Williamson

The purpose of this paper is to explore how entrepreneur-mothers experience independence in the transition to entrepreneurship, and whether they perceive independence as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how entrepreneur-mothers experience independence in the transition to entrepreneurship, and whether they perceive independence as an agentic, opportunity-maximisation motive or a constrained, necessity-driven response.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a qualitative and interpretive approach, the authors analysed interviews with 60 entrepreneur-mothers to refine conceptual understanding of independence.

Findings

The authors find that entrepreneur-mothers experience independence not as an opportunity, but as a functional necessity in managing the temporal and perceived moral demands of motherhood. The authors assert that there is a fundamental difference between wanting independence to pursue a more autonomous lifestyle, and needing independence to attend to family obligations, a difference that is not adequately captured in the existing conceptualisation of independence. Consequently, the authors propose the classification of “family-driven entrepreneurship” to capture the social and institutional factors that may disproportionately push women with caregiving responsibilities towards self-employment.

Practical implications

This paper proposes that a new category of entrepreneurial motivation be recognised to better account for the social and institutional factors affecting women’s entrepreneurship, enabling policymakers to more accurately position and support entrepreneur-mothers.

Social implications

The authors challenge the existing framing of independence as an agentic opportunity-seeking motive, and seek to incorporate family dynamics into existing entrepreneurial models.

Originality/value

This paper delivers much-needed conceptual refinement of independence as a motivator to entrepreneurship by examining the experiences of entrepreneur-mothers, and proposes a new motivational classification, that of family-driven entrepreneurship to capture the elements of agency and constraint embedded in this transition.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2010

Saul J. Berman, Richard Christner and Ragna Bell

The purpose of this paper is to make suggestions as to how an organization successfully manage uncertainty and complexity and, ultimately, foster growth in the wake of the

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1053

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make suggestions as to how an organization successfully manage uncertainty and complexity and, ultimately, foster growth in the wake of the recent economic crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper recommends three main goals that organizations should concentrate their actions around.

Findings

The paper finds that as organizations prepare for a future ripe with uncertainty, there is urgency for companies to take actions to prepare for the key opportunities presented in this post‐crisis environment. Business leaders should start by developing clear scenarios for their industry and the overall situation that can help identify which strategies and business models will best position their organization to succeed across the range of possible future outcomes. By combining an understanding of their current position with a clear set of future scenarios, they can select decisive moves across the three recommendations identified in this study

Originality/value

The paper presents useful information on action an organization can make in order to manage uncertainty and complexity and, ultimately, foster growth.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 38 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

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