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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Ruth Sealy

The aim of this paper is to explore how an elite group of senior women in banking represent and describe their understanding and experience of the role of meritocracy

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to explore how an elite group of senior women in banking represent and describe their understanding and experience of the role of meritocracy, within the context of their own career.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 33 senior female directors from six global investment banks. Template analysis was used in the qualitative analysis of the coding.

Findings

The paper found that the women's adherence to the notion of meritocracy diminished over time, as merit appeared to be less defined by human capital (ability and experience) and more by social capital (seen as political behaviour). The paper also reveals how the concept is construed on two levels: first, on a symbolic level, demonstrating how the organization defines and rewards success; second, on a personal level, how it affects the individual's cognitions, emotions and self‐belief.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the small literature on the concept of meritocracy in the management field, with an emphasis on the experiences of successful female directors in global investment banks.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 February 2021

AbdulWahab Esmaeel Baroun

The purpose of this paper is to provide a picture on the impact of the meritocracy and personality traits on the recruitment process in small and medium-sized enterprises…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a picture on the impact of the meritocracy and personality traits on the recruitment process in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the State of Qatar.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used ADANCO software for carrying a structural equation modelling analysis and for descriptive statistics.

Findings

The findings showed that meritocracy and personality traits had an impact on recruitment process. In addition, meritocracy showed to be more important than personality traits in the recruitment process.

Research limitations/implications

This research is conducted only in one country, i.e. the State of Qatar, and findings cannot be generalised for other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council and abroad. Extending this research in other countries and comparing the findings will help create a better portray on the role of meritocracy and personality traits on the recruitment process.

Practical implications

This paper will help the Qatari and other SMEs owners to use a more comprehensive approach during the recruitment of their employees, considering that the process of recruitment plays an important role within the overall human resource management. Recruiting the right people has become an extremely daunting mission for SMEs, given that competition for talent is increasingly becoming a very tough and uncompromising issue.

Originality/value

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the only paper that has researched the role of meritocracy and personality traits on the recruitment process in the SMEs in the State of Qatar and abroad. Separate studies were conducted that treat the impact of meritocracy and personality on recruiting the right person(s) for the company, but none treated these aspects together in one single paper.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 16 July 2019

Saheli Nath

This study reviews the academic literature on global reputations and its implications for meritocracy. Over the years, systems of measuring and visualizing reputation have…

Abstract

This study reviews the academic literature on global reputations and its implications for meritocracy. Over the years, systems of measuring and visualizing reputation have proliferated globally with organizations competing for talented employees, clients, and resources in a situation of limited supply, resulting in the emergence of reputation systems as a device to position businesses in the international market and to contend cross-nationally for prestige. Yet, the tangible utilities of these systems for promoting a meritocratic culture remain contested. Notwithstanding their utility as cognitive heuristics, global reputation systems can distort information and become dysfunctional when consumers embedded in vastly different cultures and institutional environments navigate these systems. This chapter identifies gaps in extant knowledge and suggests number of ways of improving our theoretical and analytical frameworks on the association between reputation and meritocracy. Specifically, it advances the concept of “reputation work” to understand how reputations are built, evaluated, maintained, communicated, consumed, and deconstructed and calls for attention to each of these dimensions to forge a stronger coupling between reputations and meritocracy.

Details

Global Aspects of Reputation and Strategic Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-314-0

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Connecting Values to Action: Non-Corporeal Actants and Choice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-308-2

Article
Publication date: 2 October 2017

Savita Kumra

This paper aims to examine how the work of Ruth Simpson and the subsequent collaborations have contributed to understanding of the gendered constructions of meritocracy

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how the work of Ruth Simpson and the subsequent collaborations have contributed to understanding of the gendered constructions of meritocracy, as they apply in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a personal analysis of the work of Ruth Simpson and her colleagues and the way in which her work has resonated with me and influenced our joint collaborations. The key questions our work has addressed, both when we work together and with others, include how merit is constructed. Is it gendered? How does it influence organizational outcomes? How is merit recognized? Is merit “performed”? Key theoretical constructs and frameworks are used to address these issues; including, gendered organizational structures and regimes (Acker, 1990; Ely and Meyerson, 2000; Gherardi and Poggio, 2001), the gendered nature of meritocracy (Thornton, 2007; Sommerlad, 2012, Brink van den and Benschop, 2012) and the performance and “stickiness” of meritocracy (Ashcraft, 2013, Bergman and Chalkley, 2007).

Findings

The paper reveals alternative ways of interrogating the discourse of meritocracy. Usually taken for granted, as an objective and fair mechanism for the allocation of scarce resources, the concept is examined and found to be much more contingent, unstable and subjective than had previously been considered. The gender-based implications of these findings are assessed.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of the work are to broaden the field and develop frameworks within which we can understand more clearly the way in which merit is understood. Through the work we have done, we have highlighted that merit far from being an objective measure of ability is deeply rooted in contextual and we argue, gendered understandings of contribution, worth and desert.

Practical implications

The practical implications are that firms can no longer rely on discourses of meritocracy to evidence their commitment to equality and fairness. They will need to go further to show a direct link between fairness in the design of processes as well as fairness in the outcomes of these processes. Until these objectives are more clearly articulated, we should continue to shine a light on embedded inequalities.

Social implications

The social implications are that a call for wider societal understanding of meritocracy should be made. Rather than simply accepting discourses of merit, key constituent groups who have not benefitted from the prevailing orthodoxy should seek to examine the concept and draw their own conclusions. In this manner, the author develops societal mechanisms that do not just purport to ensure equality of outcome for all; they achieve it.

Originality/value

This paper offers an examination of the development of ideas, how we can learn from the work of influential scholars within the field and, in turn, through collaboration, advance understanding.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Open Access
Book part
Publication date: 1 December 2022

Julie A. Kmec, Lindsey T. O’Connor and Shekinah Hoffman

Building on work that explores the relationship between individual beliefs and ability to recognize discrimination (e.g., Kaiser and Major, 2006), we examine how an…

Abstract

Building on work that explores the relationship between individual beliefs and ability to recognize discrimination (e.g., Kaiser and Major, 2006), we examine how an adherence to beliefs about gender essentialism, gender egalitarianism, and meritocracy shape one’s interpretation of an illegal act of sexual harassment involving a male supervisor and female subordinate. We also consider whether the role of the gendered culture of engineering (Faulkner, 2009) matters for this relationship. Specifically, we conducted an online survey-experiment asking individuals to report their beliefs about gender and meritocracy and subsequently to evaluate a fictitious but illegal act of sexual harassment in one of two university research settings: an engineering department, a male-dominated setting whose culture is documented as being unwelcoming to women (Hatmaker, 2013; Seron, Silbey, Cech, and Rubineau, 2018), and an ambiguous research setting. We find evidence that the stronger one’s adherence to gender egalitarian beliefs, the greater one’s ability to detect inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment while gender essentialist beliefs play no role in their detection. The stronger one’s adherence to merit beliefs, the less likely they are to view an illegal interaction as either inappropriate or as sexual harassment. We account for respondent knowledge of sexual harassment and their socio-demographic characteristics, finding that the former is more often associated with the detection of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment at work. We close with a discussion of the transferability of results and policy implications of our findings.

Details

Diversity and Discrimination in Research Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-959-1

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 August 2011

Ulla Isosaari

The aim of this paper is to examine health care organizations' power structures from the first‐line management perspective. What liable power structures derive from the…

3306

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine health care organizations' power structures from the first‐line management perspective. What liable power structures derive from the theoretical bases of bureaucratic, professional and result based organizations, and what power type do health care organizations represent, according to the empirical data? The paper seeks to perform an analysis using Mintzberg's power configurations of instrument, closed system, meritocracy and political arena.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical study was executed at the end of 2005 through a survey in ten Finnish hospital districts in both specialized and primary care. Respondents were all first‐line managers in the area and a sample of staff members from internal disease, surgical and psychiatric units, as well as out‐patient and primary care units. The number of respondents was 1,197 and the response percentage was 38. The data were analyzed statistically.

Findings

As a result, it can be seen that a certain kind of organization structure supports the generation of a certain power type. A bureaucratic organization generates an instrument or closed system organization, a professional organization generates meritocracy and also political arena, and a result‐based organization has a connection to political arena and meritocracy. First line managers regarded health care organizations as instruments when staff regarded them mainly as meritocracies having features of political arena. Managers felt their position to be limited by rules, whereas staff members regarded their position as having lots of space and influence potential.

Practical implications

If the organizations seek innovative and active managers at the unit level, they should change the organizational structure and redistribute the work so that there could be more space for meaningful management.

Originality/value

This research adds to the literature and gives helpful suggestions that will be of interest to those in the position of first‐line management in health care.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 May 2010

Patricia Lewis and Ruth Simpson

This editorial aims to introduce the special issue on meritocracy, difference and choice.

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Abstract

Purpose

This editorial aims to introduce the special issue on meritocracy, difference and choice.

Design/methodology/approach

The first part is a commentary on key issues in the study of the notions of meritocracy, difference and choice. The second part presents the six papers in the special issue.

Findings

Five of the six papers in this special issue explore the work experiences of women managers/directors in senior positions within a variety of organizations. All of these papers demonstrate that despite their economic empowerment, these women are still strongly connected to the domestic realm through their continued entanglement in the traditional roles of mother and homemaker. This has led them to interpret their work situation either through a consideration of what they understand by the notion of merit or a presentation of their situation through the lens of choice. A further paper which explores the experiences of sex workers exposes the gendered nature of agency, highlighting the limitations on “choice” that different types of workers experience.

Research limitations/implications

The authors comment on how contemporary notions of merit and choice individualise women's experience within organisations, ignoring the structural and systemic elements inherent to women's continued disadvantage. This allows “blame” for women's absence in the upper echelons of organisations to lie with women themselves, explaining this in terms of their lack of skills or the traditional “choices” they make. The six papers which make up the special issue explore how women's “choices” are constrained, how the contemporary discourses of merit and choice conceal issues of structure and organizational process and how women struggle to make sense of their own and others' experiences.

Practical implications

The issues discussed in the papers have important implications for understanding women's experience of work and organizations. They highlight the need to introduce a structural and systemic element to the understanding of how women experience work at senior (and other) levels of organizations, why they take the decision to leave a senior position and why women appear to “choose” not to seek senior positions.

Originality/value

Gender and Management: An International Journal invited this special issue on meritocracy, difference and choice to draw attention to the ways in which women draw on these discourses as a means of understanding their organizational situations and how use of these discourses acts to conceal the structural and systemic element connected to their work experiences.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2006

Yossi Yonah

In this commentary I take issue with Torpey's claim that political developments at the dawn of the new millennium caused liberal democracies to tilt away from those…

Abstract

In this commentary I take issue with Torpey's claim that political developments at the dawn of the new millennium caused liberal democracies to tilt away from those visions that have the potential of promoting an inclusive and just society. I argue that the politics of identity and its modes of repair do not necessarily undermine these visions but rather render them often possible and even infuse them with their true meaning. I present my argument against Israel's recent policies to privatize state-owned lands and of the various strategies employed by different social groups to influence these policies in their favor. These policies, I claim, involve all the ingredients that figure in Torpey's lamentation against the politics of identity and its modes of repair. In a way, they buttress Torpey's disdain for the politics of difference, for they show how the category of culture or cultural affiliation figure detrimentally in the articulation of social groups’ demands for reparation based on their past. But nonetheless, and in contrast to his condemnation of identity politics, I present this account with the aim of underscoring its significance and of stressing the importance of reparation as a means to promote equal and full citizenship. My claim is that social and political arrangements in the nation-state are so ordered – either formally or informally – that they promote the interests of the dominant groups, based on their alleged past contribution to the res public, i.e., the common good of the nation. Put differently, the promotion of these interests is grounded in what we may label republican meritocracy. Republican meritocracy amounts to a reward system allocating benefits to dominant groups for the efforts they allegedly exerted in the past in promoting the ‘vital interests’ of the nation. Thus, this system takes on board the notion of compensation but incorporates it within a meritocratic system. It does not grant these groups with a compensation for past injustices inflicted upon them but a compensation for their alleged past contribution to the nation. Hence, when marginalized and oppressed groups embark upon identity politics they do not actually depart from a political system that looks askance at the idea of reparation and compensation, but rather they employ moral vocabulary which is already embedded in that system.

Details

Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-437-9

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Mike Hyter

In my consulting practice, I spend a great deal of time talking with senior level executives about their organization’s human resource practices. One theme I hear…

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Abstract

In my consulting practice, I spend a great deal of time talking with senior level executives about their organization’s human resource practices. One theme I hear consistently is that their organizations are “truemeritocracies where the “gifted” rise to the top as a result of a fair process. The irony is that women and professionals of color in those same companies often tell me that the environment is far from fair to them.

Details

Handbook of Business Strategy, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1077-5730

Keywords

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