Title: ''Watch out, here comes feeling!'' Women executives and emotion work

Authors: Anne Ross-Smith, Colleen Chesterman, Margaret Peters

Addresses: Head of School of Management, Faculty of Business, University of Technology, Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia. ' National Director, Australian Technology Network, Women's Executive Development Program, PO Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia. ' Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Communication, Information and New Media, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia

Abstract: In this article, we present findings of an Australia-wide empirical study that investigated the impact of the presence of senior women executives on management cultures. We found that both men and women clearly agreed that the presence of women in senior roles had changed management cultures. When there was a critical mass of women employed at senior levels, both women and men believed that women encouraged greater collaboration, more consultative decision-making processes and more collegial workplaces. Whilst this might represent a welcome shift towards less instrumental management cultures, the findings also strongly resonate with stereotypical images of women|s traditional roles in Western culture – roles associated with the domestic sphere. Such perceptions have the potential to disadvantage women executives particularly if women accept that it is their role to manage these aspects of a culture – a scenario which could lead to the reproduction of a gender-based system of relations at the most senior levels in organisations.

Keywords: critical mass; emotion work; emotional intelligence; gender-based relations; masculinity/reason; femininity/emotion; mothering; senior women executives; Australia; management culture; organisational emotion; workplace emotion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2005.007326

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2005 Vol.1 No.1, pp.48 - 66

Published online: 05 Jul 2005 *

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