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Article

Sara Louise Muhr and Beate Sløk-Andersen

The purpose of this paper is to examine why and how past stories of women’s insufficiency for military work survive and how they come to form a gendered organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine why and how past stories of women’s insufficiency for military work survive and how they come to form a gendered organizational narrative dominant in constructing current opinions on women in the military.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based mainly on archival data, but supported by interview material as well as participant observation data. The authors do this from the assumption that the culturally constructed notion of the ideal soldier is based on a historically constructed professional narrative.

Findings

The authors show how a historically produced gender narrative – based on (fictional) stories on what women can and cannot do – is perceived as true and thereby casts women as less suitable for a military career. Thus, despite the current equal legal rights of men and women in the military, the power of the narrative limits female soldiers’ career possibilities.

Originality/value

The paper is unique as it, in drawing on archival data, is able to trace how an organizational narrative comes to be and due to its ethnographic data how this creates limitations for women’s careers. This narrative is stronger and much more powerful than management is aware of. The paper therefore adds crucial knowledge about the ideological influence a historically produced organizational narrative can have on current change initiatives.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article

Lotte Holck and Sara Louise Muhr

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the construction and everyday maintenance of racialized psychological borders in the Greenlandic Police Force reproduce a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the construction and everyday maintenance of racialized psychological borders in the Greenlandic Police Force reproduce a postcolonial hierarchy of knowledge, where Danish knowledge and perceptions of professionalism are constructed as superior to Greenlandic knowledge and perceptions of professionalism.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an ethnographic study comprising 5 days of observation of a training course for Danish police officers going to Greenland on summer assistance, 13 days of observation of police work in Greenland, 2 days of participatory observation of a leadership development seminar in Greenland, 26 interviews conducted in Denmark and Greenland with both Danish and Greenlandic officers and interventions in Denmark and Greenland.

Findings

The racialized borders create strong perceptions of “us” and “them”, which are maintained and reinforced through everyday work practices. The borders have damaging effects on the way police officers collaborate in Greenland and as the borders are maintained through (often implicit) everyday micro-processes, management has difficulty dealing with it. However, the way the racialized borders became visible through this research project created an awareness of – and sparked conversation about – the colonial stereotypes that have constructed and reinforce the borders. This awareness opens up possibilities of collaborative disruption of those borders.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows how racialized borders limit the way professionalism is understood in the Greenlandic Police Force. But it also shows that, because these borders are socially constructed, they can be contested. Making the implicit everyday discrimination explicit through vignettes, for example, offers the chance to contest and disrupt the colonial hierarchy otherwise deeply embedded in the work practices of the police force.

Originality/value

Thanks to unique access to Greenland’s police force, this paper offers exclusive in-depth insights into current processes of racialization and colonialization in a contemporary colonial relationship.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article

Lotte Holck, Sara Louise Muhr and Florence Villesèche

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the identity and diversity literatures and discuss how a better understanding of the theoretical…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the identity and diversity literatures and discuss how a better understanding of the theoretical connections between the two informs both diversity research and diversity management practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Literature review followed by a discussion of the theoretical and practical consequences of connecting the identity and diversity literatures.

Findings

The authors inform future research in three ways. First, by showing how definitions of identity influence diversity theorizing in specific ways. Second, the authors explore how such definitions entail distinct foci regarding how diversity should be analyzed and interventions actioned. Third, the authors discuss how theoretical coherence between definitions of identity and diversity perspectives – as well as knowledge about a perspective’s advantages and limitations – is crucial for successful diversity management research and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The authors argue for a better understanding of differences, overlaps and limits of different identity perspectives, and for a stronger engagement with practice.

Practical implications

The work can encourage policy makers, diversity and HR managers to question their own practices and assumptions leading to more theoretical informed diversity management practices.

Originality/value

The theoretical connections between identity and diversity literature have so far not been reviewed systematically. The work foregrounds how important it is for diversity scholars to consider identity underpinnings of diversity research to help further develop the field within and beyond the three streams the authors discuss.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Book part

Sine Nørholm Just, Sara Louise Muhr and Thomas Burø

Queer scholars and activists share a central predicament with critical management studies: how to avoid the dangers of self-defeat. That is, how can one make a critical…

Abstract

Queer scholars and activists share a central predicament with critical management studies: how to avoid the dangers of self-defeat. That is, how can one make a critical difference without becoming embroiled with or turning into the powers that be? This chapter offers suggestions for how to remain critical and queer by first introducing the notion of queer posing then exploring its conditions of possibility in terms of performativity and affectivity, respectively.

Here, we encounter another seeming impasse between the epistemological voluntarism of which studies in the performative vein are sometimes accused and the charge of ontological determinism that is often levelled against affect theory. Turning from vain dichotomies to productive tensions, we propose that potential for critical performativity is inherent to affective organizing of materiality as events in relation to which action becomes possible. The concept of plasticity, we suggest, enables investigations of the simultaneously formed and formative character of being and, further, the explosive potential of critique – the shaping of corporeal events is not only confining, but also holds potential for blowing up existing configurations.

On this basis, we sketch three plastic relations of affectivity and performativity, three modes of organizing material assemblages as actionable events: invitation, intervention, and celebration. We illustrate the performative power and critical potential of these three modes of affective organizing by indicating how they give form to, are formed by, and become explosive to Sabaah, a Danish activist network and community for LGBT people with minority ethnic background.

Details

Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-498-3

Keywords

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Book part

Laurence Romani, Lotte Holck, Charlotte Holgersson and Sara Louise Muhr

This chapter presents the principal interpretations that took place in Denmark and Sweden regarding the discourse on ‘Diversity Management’. We organise our presentation…

Abstract

This chapter presents the principal interpretations that took place in Denmark and Sweden regarding the discourse on ‘Diversity Management’. We organise our presentation around three major themes that are central to the local Scandinavian context: gender equality, migration and moral grounds. This chapter shows the important role of gender equality work practices and how these practices now tend to be progressively incorporated in a broad Diversity Management construct, possibly leading to a less radical stance. Moreover, the comparison between Denmark and Sweden reveals the political associations with Diversity Management and migration in Denmark, but not in Sweden. Our third contribution unveils the tensions between the value of equality, which remains strong in the Scandinavian welfare state model, and the actual practices of Diversity Management.

Details

Management and Diversity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-550-8

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Book part

Sara Louise Muhr, Michael Pedersen and Mats Alvesson

Contemporary working life highlights the challenge between exploitation and exploration both on a general and a more individual level. Here, we focus on the latter, and…

Abstract

Contemporary working life highlights the challenge between exploitation and exploration both on a general and a more individual level. Here, we focus on the latter, and connect the critical debate regarding self-management to March's exploitation/exploration trade-off, as this forms a useful theoretical frame to understand how employees make sense of their self-management efforts. The employee is subjected to an individual responsibility to understand and manage an exploration of the self while handling the norms of self-exploitation that a self-management culture creates. Through an empirical study of a large group of management consultants, we explore how they perform and make sense of self-exploitation and self-exploration through three specific discourses: the discourse of workload, the discourse of aspiration, and the discourse of fun. Through these, the consultants try to identify optimal amounts of work, play, and ambition, all while handling the trade-off between self-exploitation and self-exploration. We show how this keeps failing, but how it reappears as a necessary condition for avoiding future failures. In all three discourses, the trade-off therefore presents itself as the problem of as well as the solution to self-management.

Details

Managing ‘Human Resources’ by Exploiting and Exploring People’s Potentials
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-506-7

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Article

Sara Louise Muhr

The purpose of this article is to question whether business is ethical as long as it follows rules, and on this view, to reflect over the relation between responsibility…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to question whether business is ethical as long as it follows rules, and on this view, to reflect over the relation between responsibility and justice.

Design/methodology/approach

To exemplify this relation, the paper is based on in‐depth interviews with a human rights consultant. In this way, the paper presents a story from the field and thus follows a narrative method to retell the story of the consultant leading a human rights project in South Africa.

Findings

The paper concludes that following rules is not enough to ensure ethical business in a global market place. As global business rests on dynamics and flexibility, it seems limited that most business ethics rests on bureaucratic notions. The value of also viewing ethical decision‐making as personal responsibility is introduced through the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on in depth interviews with one person. Although this method ensures access to deeply personal and thorough knowledge about the event, it also has its limitation and risk of bias. Although this paper points towards some interesting relations between personal responsibility and international/organisational justice, more research is needed in the field of personal responsibility to make stronger conclusions.

Practical implications

The paper proposes that people working at the global market place could benefit from being educated in personal ethics and not only bureaucratic notions of ethics.

Originality/value

The paper provides valuable insight into the scarcely researched area of personalised business ethics.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 46 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Article

Rasmus Johnsen, Sara Louise Muhr and Michael Pedersen

With the help of Slavoj Žižek's concept of interpassivity, this paper seeks to illustrate the frantic activities performed by employees to maintain a separation between…

Abstract

Purpose

With the help of Slavoj Žižek's concept of interpassivity, this paper seeks to illustrate the frantic activities performed by employees to maintain a separation between the idea of an authentic self and the idea of a corporate self. Furthermore, this paper aims to illustrate these activities empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical example is based on a case study of three of the largest international consultancy firms. About 50 consultants were interviewed in this study, but this paper primarily focuses on the experiences of one of these consultants, and goes into depth with his experiences to illustrate the frantic mechanisms of interpassivity.

Findings

The paper shows how the maintenance of an “authentic self” outside of the corporate culture demands a distinct and frantic activity; that this activity can best be understood as interpassive in the sense that it involves taking over the passive acknowledgement for which someone else is responsible; and how the separation of an authentic from a corporate self, rather than resist the demand to enjoy one's work – prescribed by contemporary management programs – nourishes it.

Originality/value

The paper builds on recent literature on cynicism and normative control in organisations. It introduces interpassivity to this discussion.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-498-3

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Abstract

Details

Feminists and Queer Theorists Debate the Future of Critical Management Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-498-3

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