'Between a rock and a hard place': towards a theorisation of the role of gender in junior management

Matthew J. Brannan, Vicenza Priola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


This paper seeks to theorise the role that gender plays in the careers of junior female managers. We do this by drawing upon two separate empirical studies, firstly a largescale study based on interviews with female managers in the West Midlands (UK) is used to explore the growth of female participation in junior managerial roles with reference to the notion of managerial careers as seduction. We explore the routes the women have taken into junior management careers and the barriers that exist to progression toward more senior roles. Secondly, a small-scale ethnographic study of a large service-based organization, also based in the West Midlands, is documented in an attempt to theorise the organizational role of female junior managers. While the dominance of masculine values and practices in organisations is explored, we also argue that growing female participation at junior managerial levels can only partly be explained by female managers adopting, or appearing to adopt, masculine behaviours. We seek to contribute to a fuller explanation by drawing attention to the way in which senior managers in the case study sought to employ female junior managers particularly for their perceived feminine skills. Significantly, however the ethnography reveals the ambiguously gendered construction of female junior managers roles through an exploration of the enactment of both masculine and feminine practices during the ‘doing’ of management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe good, the bad and the ugly
Subtitle of host publicationorganizations and demons : proceedings of SCOS XXIV : Nijmegen 2006
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-99669-1-2, 952-99669-1-1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventXXIV Anniversary Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS) - Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 13 Jul 200615 Jul 2006


ConferenceXXIV Anniversary Standing Conference on Organisational Symbolism (SCOS)

Bibliographical note

© The Editors & Authors 2006


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