Double Agents: Organizational Culture, Gender and Resistance

Year: 2008

Source: Sociology, 42(3), pp. 418-435

Paper Category: Journal Article

Authors

Hawkins, B

Abstract

This article presents ethnographic data showing how recruitment consultants negotiate managerial attempts to control workforce culture. I suggest the values which senior managers encourage consultants to embody prioritize so-called ‘masculine’ attributes over ‘feminine’ ones. I attempt to demonstrate the limits of cultural control by outlining three ways in which the consultants engage with this imposed culture: defiance, parody and ritual. These activities contain gendered assumptions similar to those embedded in corporate culture. I discuss the potential such practices have for resisting corporate culture and the gender within it, suggesting that one source of ambiguity within workplace ‘control’ and ‘resistance’ practices is that they employ overlapping cultural resources and assumptions.