Gendering the eye of the norm: exploring gendered concertive control processes within two self-managing teams
Gender, Work and Organization
This article explores the workplace interactions of two self-managed teams of recruitment consultants. I use data from participant observation and recorded interviews to show the gendered nature of what Barker (1993) terms concertive control: the social processes by which team members regulate each others’ conduct in line with negotiated team values. My analysis examines how team members negotiate core team values, translate these into specific actions, and regulate these actions through concertive control interactions. I then set out three ways in which gender acts as a resource for these concertive control processes. These are: team members’ assumptions about men’s and women’s relative skills and capacities, the ‘tough’ masculinity of the haulage industry in which one of the teams operates, and the regulation of performances of heterosexuality during customer interactions. Building on research by others, I show gender to be not only embedded in the values and managerial style associated with teamwork (Benschop and Doorewaard 1998, Metcalfe and Linstead 2003), but also integrated into the collaborative process of teamworking itself. I emphasise that social categories like gender, become resources in the regulation of conduct at work, and can reify hierarchies even within so-called ‘participative’ practices like self-managed teamwork.
Author's draft. Final version to be published in Gender Work and Organization. Available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
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