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Gender and competition: a dynamic for managers

Dennehy, Jane (2010) Gender and competition: a dynamic for managers. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Gender inequality continues to exist in the labour market and this project contributes to discussions on why women are not equally represented in management hierarchies relative to their labour participation rates. Competition is the central lens used to evaluate current debates and add new perspectives to gendered processes in management. As an area of research, competition is largely neglected in the gender and management body of work. This study is important in exploring how as a concept and a practice, competition can operate in organisations and in the individual careers of men and women managers. Informing the thesis is a review of theories including gender performance, individualization, stereotypes and management styles which contribute to building a framework for understanding and engaging with competition and competitive relations. Adapted from Bradley’s (1999) model of gendered power, competition is defined as a series of dimensions which are investigated to research how and in what ways competition is gendered. Qualitative data was collected and analysed with the findings indicating a confused and often contradictory picture demonstrating how managers engage with competition and competitive relations. Within organisations and management hierarchies competition, some managers claim, remains distant from their experiences at work and is not widely discussed. For others external competition located within the marketplace is strongly identified with, whereas other managers cite personal competition and its role in their own self development as the base for their experience. Suggesting competition is a single concept or has a single location for practice has limitations. The model designed and used in this project builds competition as a multidimensional concept which can be explored across a range of activities and attitudes examining how increased visibility and understanding of competitive relations can inform those management practices and policies which sustain gender inequality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Jane Dennehy
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Gender Institute

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