Managing masculinity/mismanaging the corporation - Book Report/Review Example

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The research analysis that led to the writing of this article was stimulated by reflections on the global financial crisis of 2008 and the exposure of earlier financial and other scandals and crises in corporate capitalism. The article seeks to fulfill the lacuna in literature…
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Managing masculinity/mismanaging the corporation
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Mismanaging Masculinity/ Mismanaging the corporation What is the article about?
The research analysis that led to the writing of this article was stimulated by reflections on the global financial crisis of 2008 and the exposure of earlier financial and other scandals and crises in corporate capitalism. The article seeks to fulfill the lacuna in literature not as a way of displacing other forms of analysis but complementing them. This article explains the link between managing masculinity and mismanaging the corporation leading to government bailouts for banks and a near collapse of western economies. The article further examines the crisis Sweden, the UK and the US largely through media documents but in Sweden also attendance at over 40 corporate Annual general meetings in banks, investment trusts and big export companies. Blomberg (2009) argues that the financial sector is particularly important because it exerts more and more influence on people’s everyday life.
What are the central arguments / Findings of the article
Analysis show that there is a strong link between management and masculinity, this explained by the majority in numbers of men among managers , how that affected power relations and the consequences for a minority of women. The analysis further predicted that the allocation of power in corporations would change to reflect more gender equality. However, the movement to a more equal allocation has been slow than expected and white men continue to dominate management in most western economies. Butler (1990) and west andZimmerman (1987) argue that gender is not there to be played as a set of role expectations , it has to be performed and working lifeis an important arena for this p[rocess of doing gender.
There is a relationship between insecurity in masculinity and management because of social expectations of what is to be a man such as tough, independent, bread winner, impregnable and indestructible. The discourse of masculinity involves hierarchical claims to superior wealth and status is closely connected with management. Kerfoot and Knight (1993) argue that to be a senior manager involves conquest, competition and control as performative elements in the process of doing masculinity in business life.
Feminists attributed the financial crisis of 2008 to comparative absence of women in senior management. While gender equality is important, this argument was found inconvincing. However,it is believed that masculinity discourses have contributed to the crisis in its relationship to the preoccupation with excessively high salaries and bonuses. Financial crisis has also been linked to three central problems: human/cultural, communication and regulatory/ supervisory weaknesses. It is argued that by correcting these weaknesses future crisis can be prevented.
What are the implications for these arguments/ findings for individuals and organizations
Analysis show that masculine and managerial identities has exhibited high levels of insecurity because both are dependent on social recognition and confirmationof success hence affecting management and has contributed to financial crisis because men and some women pursue ever- increasing spiral of material rewards since high salaries and bonuses can serve as a proxy for social recognition that is so elusive and precarious. Kerfoot and Knights(1996) argue that in so far as masculine identities are a product of performance, they are necessarily precarious since there is no inevitability, universality or constancy in ‘what means to be a man’.
In conclusion, neo- liberal faith in the free market and other alternatives revolving around diversity, gender, feminist, post colonial theory, and discourse of masculinity should not be ignored because according to the analysis it is argued that they contributed to mismanagement of corporations to the point of near collapse despite past history of prudential solidity and cautious stability.
Blomberg, J 2009, “Gendering Finance: Masculinities and Hierachies at the stock exchange’” Organization, 16, 203-225.
Butler, Judith 1990, Gender Trouble, Routledge, London.
Kerfoot, D and Knights , D 1993, ‘‘Management, Manipulation and Masculinity: From partnerlism to corporate strategy in Financial services’’, Journal Management Studies, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 659-667.
Kerfoot, D. and Knights, D1996, “The best is yet to come: Searching for Embodiment in Management”, in David collinson and Jeff Hearn (eds), Masculinity Management. Sage, London. Read More
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