Unseen and unheard? Women managers and Organizational Learning

Martin, Lynn and Lord, Gemma and Warren-Smith, Izzy (2017) Unseen and unheard? Women managers and Organizational Learning. The Learning Organization. ISSN 0969-6474 (Accepted)

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Abstract

This paper uses (in)visibility as a lens to understand the lived experience of 6 women managers in the U.K. HQ of a large multinational organization, in order to identify how ‘gender’ is expressed in the context of organizational learning The researchers take a phenomenological approach via qualitative data collection with a purposeful sample –the six female managers in a group of 24. Data was collected through quarterly semi structured interviews over 12 months with the themes - knowledge, interaction and gender. Organisations seek to build advantage in order to gain and retain competitive leadership. Their resilience in a changing task environment depends on their ability to recognize, gain and use knowledge likely to deliver these capabilities. Here gender was a barrier to effective organizational learning with women's knowledge and experience often unseen and unheard. This is a piece of research limited to exploration of gender as other but ethnicity, age, social class, disability and sexual preference, alone or in combination may be equally subject to invisibility in knowledge terms, further research would be needed to test this however. Practical applications relate to the need for organizations to examine and address their operations for exclusion based on perceived ‘otherness’. Gendered organizations cause problems for their female members but they also exclude the experience and knowledge of key individuals as seen here, where gender impacted on effective knowledge sharing and cocreation of knowledge. This exploration of gender and organisational learning offers new insights to help explain the way in which organisational learning occurs – or fails to occur - with visibility/invisibility of one group shaped by gendered attitudes and processes. It shows that organizational learning is not gender neutral (as it appears in mainstream organizational learning research) and calls for researchers to include this as a factor in future research

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: gender, work organization, organization culture
Faculty: Lord Ashcroft International Business School
Depositing User: Ian Walker
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 14:05
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/701861

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