A Blinding Lack of Progress: Management Rhetoric and Affirmative Action

Susan Ainsworth, Angela Knox, Janine O'Flynn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In this study we explore how versions of organizational reality and gender are constructed in management discourse and whether such patterns change over time. Specifically, we examine management explanations and accounts of the gendered nature of their organizations through their commentaries on their affirmative action programmes. In Australia private sector organizations with 100 or more employees are required to report to government on their affirmative action programmes for women. In these documents, management representatives outline objectives for the coming year and report on their progress in reducing employment-related barriers for women. In doing so they account for the 'problem' of gender-based discrimination that affirmative action is designed to address, justify their actions (or lack of action) and reproduce versions of gendered identity. Thus we use affirmative action reporting as cases of management rhetoric to explore how aspects of gender and organization are constructed, taken for granted, challenged or problematized. Comparing reports from the hospitality sector over a 14-year period, we explore whether there is any evidence of discursive change in management accounts of the gendered nature of their organizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)658-678
    JournalGender, Work and Organization
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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