Gendered noise: Organizations and the silence and din of domination

Elizabeth Harlow, Jeff Hearn, Wendy Parkin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A broader macro-perspective marks the start of the chapter. The focus then changes towards a narrower micro-perspective. The chapter is divided into four sections. The first provides the general context of how organizations are gendered. Five different but interacting ways in which organizations can be gendered are considered. These are the dominance of the public sphere over the private; the division of authority within organizations; the dominance of the centre over the margins in organizations in both a literal and metaphoric sense; the relationship of organizational participants to their domestic responsibilities; and finally, the operation of sexuality within organizations. The significance of silence and din is then considered in relation to the structure and construction of organizations. In this second section, attention is paid to the gendered relationship between the public world of the organization and the private domestic world as well as the gendered interactions which take place within organizations. Specific examples of both literal and metaphoric silence and din are considered. These illustrations are drawn from a variety of different organizations and settings. The third section considers how silence and din both inside and outside organizations contribute to the construction of gendered subjects. It is argued that subjects are constructed and gendered by means of language, conscious and unconscious processes and power relations. This construction is only ever temporary and the need for its constant re-creation opens up opportunities for subversion and change. Lastly, the conceptualization of organization itself is reviewed from the perspective of silence and din. For example, silences exist in organization theory on who holds power and who is excluded from power within organizations. There are relative silences on topics such as ‘race’, sexuality and violences within organizations, as well as on the gendered nature of particular theories. The din in organizational theory comes from the dominant perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Culture and Organizational Change
Subtitle of host publicationPutting Theory into Practice
EditorsCatherine Itzen, Janet Newman
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781134832620, 9780203427965
ISBN (Print)9781138867505, 9780415111867
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes


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