Kurssin esittely


5 Miehet ja maskuliinisuus

5.1 Masculinity and Masculinities

Jeff Hearn

Many dominant models of management and leadership have been associated with men, maleness and masculinity – or “masculinities”, as is now more commonly spoken to. It sometimes seems it is difficult to think about management and leadership outside of the dominant images and models that are linked to men. Management and leadership are linked to men, maleness and masculinity, whether consciously or not. This can apply through (Collinson and Hearn 1994, 1996; Hearn and Collinson 2005):

  • men’s numerical domination of management, especially top management,
  • through ideological constructions of management and leadership,
  • through management and leadership styles (often called “masculine” or “feminine”),
  • through images and symbols of management and leadership,
  • through language around management and leadership using metaphors from sports and war,
  • through assumptions about sexuality and domestic situation, as well as the accessories of management and leadership, in dress, style and way of life

The concept of masculinity is historically well established; the concept of masculinities is much more recent dating from the late 1970s. The word, masculinity, derives from the Middle English masculin, from Middle French and from Latin masculinus (“male, of masculine gender”, “male person, male”) and masculus (male). Recorded uses of masculine date from the late 14th Century, as “belonging to” or “of the male sex”. The grammatical use of masculine is also from the same period. More specific meanings of having ‘appropriate’ qualities of the male sex, such as ‘powerfulness’, ‘manliness’, and ‘virility’ date from the early 17th Century. These have been elaborated to refer to characteristics or behavioural traits thought to be suitable or typical for men or the male sex.

Physical area of traditional masculinity

Stereotypic notions of masculinity, such as the physical area of masculinity (virile, strong, brave and athletic), are socially constructed and differ across time periods and cultures. Direct competition of physical strength is a feature of masculinity which appears in some form in virtually every culture on Earth. Here, two American marines in a wrestling match.

The first steps toward the modern analysis of masculinity are found in the pioneering psychologies of Freud and Adler. These demonstrated that adult character was not biologically predetermined but constructed through emotional attachments to others in a turbulent growth process (Connell 1994). Anthropologists such as Malinowski and Mead went on to emphasise cultural differences in such processes, structures and norms. By the mid-20th century, these ideas had crystallised into the associated concepts of masculinity and the male sex role. The concept of masculinity has also been used in academic analyses of literary and other texts.

In the 1960s and 1970s masculinity was understood mainly as an internalised role, identity or (social) psychological disposition, reflecting a particular (often US or Western) cluster of cultural norms or values acquired by learning from socialisation agents. In masculinity-femininity (m-f) measurement scales certain items were scored as ‘masculine’ (such as ‘aggressive’, ‘ambitious’, analytical’, assertive’, and athletic’) compared with other items scored as ‘feminine’ (such as ‘affectionate’, ‘cheerful’, ‘childlike’, ‘compassionate’, and ‘flatterable’). The most well-known are various formulations of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI) (Kts. myös 2.2 Sukupuolen käsite -> Kaksiulotteinen sukupuolikäsitys). Such notions of masculinity were subject to criticism in the 1970s and 1980s. M-f scales were criticised for obscuring differences between cultural ideals and practices, ignoring which gender is assessing which, lacking a power perspective, showing bias in using students in constructing scales, and being ethnocentric, especially US-centric (Eichler 1980). Since then, masculinity scales have been refined, in terms of gender orientation, gender ideology and cultural sensitivity (Thompson and Pleck 1995; Luyt 2005).

At the same time as sex role theory and m-f scales were being critiqued, in theories of patriarchy, men were analysed societally, structurally and collectively. Different patriarchy theories have emphasised men’s structural social relations to women, in terms of biology, reproduction, politics, culture, family, state, sexuality, economy, and combinations thereof. By the late 1970s, some feminist and profeminist critics suggested that the concept of ‘patriarchy’ was too monolithic, ahistorical, biologically determined, and dismissive of women’s resistance and agency.

These twin debates and critiques around masculinity/male sex role and patriarchy in many ways laid the conceptual and political foundations for a more differentiated approach to masculinities. Building on both social psychological and social structural accounts, social constructionist perspectives of various kinds highlighting complexities of men’s social power have emerged. Increasingly, different masculinities are interrogated in the plural, not the singular, in discussions of hegemonic, complicit, subordinated, marginalised, and resistant masculinities. Masculinities, hegemonic or not, can be understood as signs and practices obscuring contradictions. The concept of masculinities has been extremely important in widening the social analysis of men and gender relations, in organisations, management and leadership, and more generally (Brod 1987; Carrigan et al. 1985; Brod and Kaufman 1993; Connell 1995). Key features include:

  • critique and supplanting of sex role theory;
  • understanding masculinities as power-laden, in unequal relations between women and men, and between men;
  • highlighting the implications of gay liberation/scholarship and sexual hierarchies;
  • acknowledgement of socio-historical transformation, contradictions, resistance, and interrelations of institutional/social, interpersonal and intra-psychic dimensions.

The construction of masculinities has been explored in many different arenas, including: global, regional, institutional, interactional, and individual men’s gendered performance and identity constructions. Masculinities do not exist in socio-cultural vacuums but are constructed within specific institutional settings (Kimmel et al., 2005). They vary and change across time (history) and space (culture), within societies and through life courses and biographies.

The first substantial discussion of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ was in the paper, “Men’s bodies”, written by R.W. Connell in 1979 and published in Which Way Is Up? in 1983. Its background was debates on patriarchy; the Gramscian hegemony at issue in relation to masculinities was hegemony in the patriarchal system of gender relations. The social construction of the body in boys’ and men’s practices is analysed. In discussing “the physical sense of maleness”, Connell (1983: 18) emphasises the taking and occupying space, holding the body tense, skill, size, power, force, strength, physical development, and sexuality. Regarding men’s bodies, he highlights physicality within work, sexuality, and fatherhood. Connell stresses “the embedding of masculinity in the body is very much a social process, full of tensions and contradiction; that even physical masculinity is historical, rather than a biological fact. … constantly in process, constantly being constituted in actions and relations, constantly implicated in historical change.” (p. 30).

The notion of hegemonic masculinity was reformulated in the early 1980s, in the light of gay activism, thus articulating analyses of oppression from both feminism and gay liberation. Accordingly, it is not men in general who are oppressed in patriarchal sexual relations, but particular groups, such as homosexual men, whose situations are related differentially to the ‘logic’ of women’s subordination to men (Carrigan et al. 1985: 586).

In Masculinities, Connell (1995) discusses hegemonic masculinity in more depth. He reaffirms the link with Gramscian analysis of economic class relations through the operation of cultural dynamics. Hegemonic masculinity is now defined as:

… the configuration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women. (p. 77).

Though rather stable, hegemonic masculinity is contested and subject to struggle and change. Connell notes that the most powerful bearers of the cultural ideal of hegemonic masculinity are not necessarily the most powerful individuals. Indeed the individual holders of power may be very different to those who represent hegemonic masculinity as a cultural ideal. Even so there is some correspondence between the cultural ideal and institutional power, as in state and corporate power. There are also complex interplays of hegemonic, subordinated, complicit and marginalised forms of masculinity, for example, when some black men or gay men adopt or accept aspects of hegemonic masculinity but remain marginalised.

In identifying forms of domination by men, both of women and of other men, the concept of hegemonic masculinity has been notably successful. The reformulation of masculinity to masculinities is not, however, without problems. The term, masculinities, has been applied in very different, sometimes confusing ways; this can be a conceptual and empirical difficulty. There is growing debate and critique on the very concepts of masculinities and hegemonic masculinity from various methodological positions, including historical, materialist and poststructuralist (Whitehead 2002; Howson 2006).

Several other unresolved issues remain. First, are we talking about cultural representations, everyday practices or institutional structures? Second, how exactly do the various dominant and dominating ways that men are – tough/aggressive/violent; respectable/corporate/managerial; controlling of resources; controlling of images; and so on – connect with each other? Third, the concept of hegemonic masculinity may carry contradictions, and, arguably, has failed to demonstrate the autonomy of the gender system from class and other social systems. Mike Donaldson (1993) has pointed out that the concept of hegemonic masculinity is unclear, may carry contradictions, and fails to demonstrate the autonomy of the gender system. For him, in foregrounding (hegemonic) masculinity, economic class remains crucially important, politically and analytically. Fourth, why is it necessary to hang onto the concept of masculinity, rather than being more specific by referring to, say, men’s practices or men’s identities (Hearn 1996)?

Detailed discursive and ethnographic researches have provided close-grained descriptions of multiple, internally complex masculinities. Margaret Wetherell and Nigel Edley (1999) have identified three specific “imaginary positions and psycho-discursive practices” in negotiating hegemonic masculinity and identification with the masculine positions: heroic, “ordinary”, and rebellious. The first in fact conforms more closely with the notion of complicit masculinity: “... it could be read as an attempt to actually instantiate hegemonic masculinity since, here, men align themselves strongly with conventional ideals” (emphasis in original) (p. 340). The second seeks distance from certain conventional or ideal notions of the masculine; instead “ordinariness of the self; the self as normal, moderate or average” (p. 343) is emphasised. The third is characterised by its unconventionality, with the imaginary position involving flouting social expectations (p. 347). With all these self-positionings, especially the last two, ambiguity, subtlety, even contradiction, are present in self-constructions of masculinity, hegemonic or not. One feature of the hegemonic may be its very elusiveness: the difficulty of reducing it to a set of fixed men’s positions and practices.

More generally, Stephen Whitehead (1999) argues that: “… the concept of hegemonic masculinity goes little way towards revealing the complex patterns of inculcation and resistance which constitute everyday social interaction. … it is unable to explain the variant meanings attached to the concept of masculinity at this particular moment in the social history of Euro/American/ Australasian countries.” (p. 58). While this may be a harsh verdict, it points to possible empirical limitations, as well as the need to subject concepts to scrutiny in changing historical contexts.

Recent work has emphasised multiple masculinities in terms of ways of being men and forms of men’s structural, collective and individual practices, their inter-relations, and complex inter-weavings of masculinities, powers, other social statuses, and indeed violences. There has been strong emphasis on the interconnections of gender with other social divisions, such as age, class, disability, ethnicity, nationality, occupation, racialisation, religion, and sexuality. For example, relations of gender and class can demonstrate how different class-based masculinities may both challenge and reproduce gender relations among men and between women and men. Masculinities are placed in cooperative and conflictual relations with each other: - in organisational, occupational, and class relations - and in terms defined more explicitly in relation to gender, such as family, kinship, and sexuality. Such relations are complicated by contradictions, ambiguities and paradoxes that persist intra-personally, inter-personally, collectively and structurally. Such intersectional perspectives link with current research on global, (neo-)imperialist and (post)colonial relations.

The range of debates points to more fundamental problematics. Both masculinity and masculinities have been used in a wide variety of ways, often rather imprecisely, and serving as shorthands for various social phenomena. Sometimes their use may reinforce a psychological model of gender relations located in the individual, or represent masculinity/ies as a primary or underlying cause of other social effects. The concepts can lead to an anti-materialism, that may not reflect historical, cultural, (post)colonial and transnational differences. They can reproduce heterosexual dichotomies. There is also increasing scholarship on the separation of masculinity/ies from men, as in female masculinity (Halberstam 1998), within queer studies. Such various critiques provide the ground for the deconstruction of the social taken-for-granted-ness of the category of ‘men’ and its own hegemony. Critique of the hegemony of men can bring together feminist materialist theory and cultural queer theory, as well as modernist theories of hegemony and poststructuralist discourse theory (Hearn 2004).


Brod, H. (ed.) 1987. The Making of Masculinities. London: Unwin Hyman.

Brod, H. and Kaufman, M. (eds.) 1993. Theorizing Masculinities. Newbury Park, Ca.: Sage.

Carrigan, T., Connell, R. W. and Lee, J. 1985. ‘Toward a New Sociology of Masculinity’, Theory and Society 14 (5), 551-604.

Collinson, D.L. and Hearn, J. 1994. ‘Naming Men as Men: implications for work, organizations and management’, Gender, Work and Organization 1(1), 2-22.

Collinson, D.L. and Hearn, J. (eds.) 1996. Men as Managers, Managers as Men. Critical Perspectives on Men, Masculinities and Managements. London: Sage.

Connell, R.W. 1983. Which Way Is Up? Boston: Allen & Unwin.

Connell, R. W. 1994. ‘Psychoanalysis on Masculinity’, in H. Brod and M. Kaufman Theorising Masculinities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Connell, R.W. 1995. Masculinities. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.

Donaldson, M. 1993. ‘What is Hegemonic Masculinity?’, Theory and Society 22(5), 643-657.

Eichler, M. 1980. The Double Standard: A Feminist Critique of Feminist Social Science. London: Croom Helm.

Halberstam, J. 1998. Female Masculinity. Durham, N.C. and London: Duke University Press.

Hearn, J. 1996. ‘“Is masculinity dead?” A critical account of the concepts of masculinity and masculinities’, in M. Mac an Ghaill (ed.) Understanding Masculinities: Social Relations and Cultural Arenas, pp. 202-217. Milton Keynes, PA: Open University Press.

Hearn, J. 2004. ‘From Hegemonic Masculinity to the Hegemony of Men’, Feminist Theory 5(1), 97-120.

Hearn, J. and Collinson, D.L. 2005. ‘Men, Masculinities and Workplace Diversity/diversion: power, intersections and contradictions’, in A. Konrad, P. Prasad and J. Pringle (eds.) Handbook of Workplace Diversity, 299-322. London: Sage.

Howson, R. 2006. Challenging Hegemonic Masculinity, London: Routledge.

Kimmel, M., Hearn, J. and Connell, R. W. (eds.) 2005. Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities. Thousand Oaks, Ca.: Sage.

Luyt, R. 2005. ‘The Male Attitude Norms Inventory – II: A Measure of Masculinity Ideology in South Africa’, Men and Masculinities 8 (2), 208-229.

Thompson, E.H. and Pleck, J.H. (1995) ‘Masculinity Ideologies. A Review of Research Instrumentation on Men and Masculinities’, in R.F. Levant and W.S. Pollock (eds.) A New Psychology of Men, 129-163. New York: Basic.

Wetherell, M. and Edley, N. (1999) ‘Negotiating Hegemonic Masculinity: Imaginary Positions and Psycho-discursive Practices’, Feminism and Psychology 9(3), 335-356.

Whitehead, S.M. (1999) ‘Hegemonic Masculinity Revisited’, Gender, Work and Organisation 6(1), 58-62.

Whitehead, Stephen M. (2002) Men and Masculinities: Key Themes and New Directions. Cambridge: Polity.

5.2 Men and Masculinities in Management

Jeff Hearn

Many studies have made explicit the gendering of men and masculinities in workplaces. Organisations are sites of men’s power and masculinities, and workplace issues such as organisational control, decision-making, remuneration, and culture often reflect and reinforce masculine material discursive practices. Many ways of being men are formed and constructed in work processes of control, collaboration, innovation, competition, conformity, resistance and contradiction. As managers, leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, owners, board members, supervisors, team leaders, administrators, trade unionists, workers and unemployed workers, men have been prominent in the formation, development and change of organisations.

Emphasising paid work as a central source of men’s identity, status and power, feminist organisational studies have demonstrated how ‘most organizations are saturated with masculine values’ (Burton 1991: 3; also see Cockburn, 1991). They have critically analysed the centrality of masculine models of lifetime, full-time, continuous employment (Kts. myös 3.1 Urateoriat) and shown how masculine assumptions are embedded in organisational structures, cultures and practices. For many men, employment provides resources and symbolic benefits that mutually reinforce their power and authority at ‘work’ and ‘home’. Men have been shown to exercise control over women, through job segregation, discrimination, pay inequities, and harassment.

Masculinities operate in contexts of patriarchy or structural patriarchal relations. Masculinities are not fixed, but may shift over time and place. The focus on multiple masculinities helps in examining the shifting nature of asymmetrical power relations not only between men and women, but also between men in workplaces. Gendered power relations can simultaneously both change yet remain broadly the same. Just as a major issue within feminism has been the relation of commonalities and differences between women, so men can be analysed in terms of unities and differences, within patriarchy. In organisations there are tensions between the collective power of men and differentiations amongst men. Men’s gender relations intersect with other social divisions, such as age, class, ethnicity; men’s gender power relations are complex, contradictory and diverse.

Differences, such as by age, class, sexuality, ethnicity, occupation, reproduce gendered asymmetrical power between men and between men and women, even with the ambiguous, discontinuous, fragmented nature of gendered subjectivities. Many men seem to be preoccupied with creating and maintaining masculine identities, gendered power and status at work. Men’s search to construct such identities may draw on organisational resources, discourses and practices. Masculine selves are constantly negotiated and reconstructed in routine workplace interaction through identification and differentiation. They may also be threatened by unemployment, technology, equal opportunity policies, and class divisions.

Distinctions between hegemonic, complicit and subordinated masculinities suggest that some masculinities (for example, white, middle class, middle-aged, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied) often dominate others (for example, working class or gay masculinities). These former masculinities tend to predominate, at least ideologically, in powerful organisational and managerial positions, while others are subordinated. While many groups of men at work have been researched, some forms of diversity amongst men, such as age and disability, remain under-explored. The diversity of masculinities is partly shaped by different forms and sites of work and masculinity, varying by, for example, industry, class, organisational type. A feature of hegemonic and multiple masculinities at work is often intense competition between men, partly fuelled by desire to display dominance and validate identity. Yet competitive cultures and practices may render the search for dominance highly precarious, by reproducing material and symbolic insecurities competition sought to overcome. The search to secure clearly defined, coherent identities may, paradoxically, reinforce rather than resolve insecurity (Collinson 1992).

It is amazing that men’s domination of management is still not a serious topic of concern even in most critical social science. Typically, it is with the managerial function that organisational power, decision-making and authority formally reside. The assertion of managerial prerogative, and the managerial power and authority it reflects and reinforces, tends to be hierarchical and gendered; in most workplaces, industries and countries men dominate management. While various masculinities shape managerial practices, managerial practices also impact on specific masculinities. Pervasive, dominant managerial masculinities take the form of different workplace control practices, such as authoritarianism, careerism, paternalism, entrepreneurialism (Collinson and Hearn 1994, 1996).

Kerfoot and Knights (1993) contend that paternalism and strategic management are concrete manifestations of historically shifting forms of masculinity. They suggest that ‘paternalistic masculinity’ and ‘competitive masculinity’ have the effect of privileging men vis-á-vis women, ranking some men above others, and maintaining as dominant certain forms and practices of masculinity. Managerial masculinities might thus be understood as form(s) of (different) hegemonic masculinities. There are many ways in which the authority and status of managers can signify ‘men’ and vice versa. Cultural processes of signification include the size and position of personal offices; office furniture; the display of pictures and plants; the use or control of computers and other equipment; and the choice of clothing. While business suits appear to have a transnational significance, their particular style, cut and cost are important, not least as a means of managing impressions through ‘power dressing’. The colour and style of shirts, braces, shoes, socks and ties can carry embodied, context-specific meanings that may reflect and reinforce their organisational hegemony.

Managerial masculinities are also hegemonic within organisations in the sense that those in senior positions enjoy comparatively high salaries and other remuneration packages through secretarial support, share options, company cars, pensions, holiday entitlements and other benefits. Even when they are dismissed, managers may receive substantial ‘golden handshakes’, and poor performance does not seem to prevent re-employment in other managerial positions. On the other hand, there is also some movement towards a ‘proletarianisation’ and reduced security for some managers, as in delayering and business process reengineering.

There are many other issues to be explored around men, masculinities and management (Collinson and Hearn 2005). They include those on the historical relations of men and management in reproducing patriarchies (Hearn 1992); relations of bureaucracy, men and masculinities; transformations in managerial masculinities (Roper 1994); the numerical dominance of men, especially at the highest levels (Davidson and Burke 2000; Hearn et al. 2002); management-labour relations as interrelations of masculinities; managerial identity formation processes; masculine models, stereotypes and symbols in management; men managers’ routine discrimination against women in selection and mismanagement of sexual harassment cases; the possibility of men’s non-oppressive, and even profeminist management and leadership. Men, especially in mixed working situations, like other ‘… members of dominant and status identity groups typically display more aggressive nonverbal behaviors, speak more often, interrupt others more often, state more commands and have more opportunity to influence.’ (Merrill-Sands et al. 2003: 334).

In analysing men and management, it is important not to neglect the home as a workplace, and men’s continued relatively low participation in childcare and work there. Feminist studies have highlighted unpaid domestic labour as an important site of gendered work and of men’s domination of women. The home is still often not seen as a workplace at all, with domestic tasks unacknowledged as work. Constructions, definitions and understandings of work are material and ideological: what work is considered to be – in both everyday life and research – is gendered and contested. Men managers as working fathers can often distance themselves from children and family: such strategies may be seen to show corporate commitment; yet reinforce gendered stresses in families, with their own gender power relations. In many ways organisational workplaces are built upon unpaid domestic labour (Hearn 1987). Gender domination within organisations is paralleled by the dominant gender valuing of the public sphere over the domestic sphere; there is thus a double gendered domination in dominant constructions of organisations.

Dominant masculinities in the home complement, often in contradictory ways, masculinities of work and employment. On one hand, geographical separation of paid work and domestic life may reflect and reinforce specific masculinities at home and in the public workplace; on the other, for some men, paid work may take over the house and home, via constructions around life vocation, relations with technology, working long hours or maximising earnings. The erosion of the private sphere by employment is likely to increase with new technologies and corporate attempts to reduce costs blurring domestic and occupational tasks. For many managerial and professional workers employed by ‘greedy organisations’, more demands are being made on domestic time and space.

In addition to diversities by home situation, class, status, hierarchy and occupation, other sources of diversity amongst men and masculinities, such as sexuality, ethnicity and culture, are gaining attention. Heterosexual men are often unspoken category in management and organisational analysis (Hearn and Parkin 1995, 2001). Through male homosocial, heterosexual interactions, hegemonic masculinity is maintained as the norm to which men are accountable. Male homosociality combines emotional detachment, competitiveness and viewing women as sexual objects, and perpetuates hegemonic masculinity, suppresses subordinate masculinity and reproduces pecking order among men. Two apparently contradictory aspects to such sexual dynamics in organisations are: pervasiveness and dominance of men’s heterosexuality; and pervasiveness and dominance of men’s homosociability, in preferring same-gender company and spaces. Men’s heterosexuality is often understandable in terms of relations, sometimes homosocial relations, between men, as is clear in the men’s use of pin-ups and pornography in workplaces. ‘Women’ are displayed or viewed on screens as signs for contact between men, just as ‘women’ may figure as currency of conversation, jokes and putdowns in men’s socialising. ‘Individual’ harassments of women can also sometimes be seen as exchanges between men.

Studies have also reported on the marginalisation and subordination of gay men. Various studies have examined the experiences of gay men in business, the public sector, the police, and the military. The UK Gay and Lesbian Census (ID Research 2001) found that while 15% of lesbians and gay men in the workplace who responded believe their sexuality has hindered their job prospects, a surprisingly large number - 43% - had managerial roles. These figures are not fully representative, and do not take account of individuals not ‘out’ at work.

The intersection of racial and ethnic disadvantage and diversity with gender and masculinities produces complex dynamics. Men’s experience of ethnic and racial subordination may contradict their gender advantage relative to women of similar ethnicity or racialisation. Men’s experience of social subordination may challenge forms of masculinity that assume privilege. Similar contradictions may persist in workplaces in the relations of ethnic minority men, men of colour and black men to white and ethnic majority women, who may indeed be organisational supervisors and managers. At the same time, there are gradually growing numbers of ethnic minority men, black men, and men of colour entering supervision and management, especially lower and middle management in some sectors and countries. Marginalisations by ethnicity and racialisation may be compounded by class, nationality, language, religion and other diversities, discriminations and oppressions.

Multiple workplace masculinities may be shaped by national and regional cultures. Woodward (1996) reveals how international organisations like the European Commission are gendered bureaucracies with the male norm dominant and masculine practices of resistance to female leadership. With globalisation of management, men and masculinities on management in organisations are likely to impact even more. Connell (2001) has analysed the form of transnational business masculinity that is increasingly hegemonic and directly connected to patterns of world trade and communication dominated by the West and the global “North”, as opposed to the “South”. This masculinity is marked by egocentrism, precarious and conditional forms of loyalty, declining sense of responsibility, and sexual libertarianism.

A further key question is whether masculinities are irreducibly related to men or are they discourses in which women can also invest? It could be argued that women in organisations behave in similar ways to men, invest in equivalent discourses and engage in analogous strategies of power and identity (Wacjman 1998). Studies of women managers’ coping strategies also reveal the persistence of ‘hegemonic’ managerial masculinities. Martin (1990) shows how senior men expected women managers to organise caesarean operations to fit in with the launch of new products. Sheppard (1989) found that women managers’ strategies of resisting or trying to blend into the dominant male culture were both ineffective. Frequently experiencing a ‘no-win’ situation, some women managers may decide to resign, possibly to become self-employed. In Marshall’s research (1995) women managers frequently felt isolated, excluded and continuously tested on masculine criteria of success such as toughness, political skill and total commitment. Pierce (1996) argued that in the US courtroom with its adversarial model of dispute resolution men lawyers act as ‘rambo litigators’ seeking to dominate through intimidation and ‘strategic friendliness’. Women litigators who adopted similar strategies were denigrated while women who were more supportive were seen as ‘too soft’ and compliant.

In the UK Wajcman (1998) found that the very few women in her study who ‘made it’ into senior management felt compelled to ‘manage like a man’, working long hours, being totally committed to the organisation, and being ‘tough’, ‘hard’ and at times aggressive. While women managers had to abandon aspects of their femininity to develop attributes more typically associated with male executives, systematic gender inequalities ensured that women’s experience in management could not be the same as men. Indeed Wajcman concludes that, since these women managers are in most respects ‘indistinguishable’ from their male counterparts, there is ‘no such thing as a “female” management style’.


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