Identity and Difference

Joseph Reagle

Context

Identity

How we position/portray ourselves via behavior.

Historical shift…

… from cogs, to controlled, towards authentic self.

Klout?

Who owns your network and identity?

Identity

Sources of identity

direct (instructor) knowledge/skills (M.D.)
relative (hands-on vs paper-pushers) group affiliation (NU student)
motives (teacher in it for the kids) hierarchical (Asst vs Full Prof)
morals/values (hard worker) rules-of-game (“team player”)
context (thrive in uncertainty)

How do you define yourself?

direct (instructor) knowledge/skills (M.D.)
relative (hands-on vs paper-pushers) group affiliation (NU student)
motives (teacher in it for the kids) hierarchical (Asst vs Full Prof)
morals/values (hard worker) rules-of-game (“team player”)
context (thrive in uncertainty)

Frames

Frames as tools

Four frames

gender as view of gender/org eg.
difference at work bring gender (biological/ social) to workplace men = report; women = rapport
org performance gender performed on stage exotic dancers
gendered org identity slotted into gendered structure paternity leave
gendered narratives in pop culture gender ported from pop culture airline pilots

Difference at work


Gender identities are products of biological or socialized differences that are manifest in different communication styles and are evidenced in organizational behaviors. (202)

Report, rapport

What does it mean that “men report, women create rapport”?

Mansplaining

Do you believe in essentialist differences?

Biological or social?

Empirical findings

  1. Literature is ambiguous if gender affects conflict resolution and negotiation behavior.
  2. There is a vast difference between behavior and expectations.
  3. There is a sharp disjunction between lab and field observation findings: self-reporting may reflect differences in (self)expectations
  4. Similarly, self-reports may more accurately reflect some behaviors, laboratories may mitigate gender-based differences.
  5. The gender composition of the group may influence behavior.
  6. Power (managerial rank) may account for much of the gender difference, some believe the two variables interact, some show higher rank is more competitive, others as more cooperative but even this literature is ambiguous.
  7. Varied methodological concerns about studies. (ParghiMurphy 1999)

In sum

There’s mixed empirical support of behavioral differences between the genders’ organizational communication.

We do see differences in others’ interpretation (e.g., a man is assertive, a woman is a bitch) (p. 180) – and people are more likely to perform gender when watched.

Differences as performance


Gender identities are ongoing accomplishments that are performed into being in and constrained by organizational contexts. (202)

Emotional work/labor

… to mean the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value. (Hochschild 2003, p. 7)

How do organizations seek to regulate and control members’ identities?

Is this appropriate?

How do you perform gender??

Gendered organizations


Moves beyond the individual to suggest that organizations themselves are gendered by structures, policies, and practices that produce and reproduce gendered scripts. (202)

Characteristics

  1. Division of labor, its types, and positions along gender lines.
  2. Social construction of reinforcing images and symbols.
  3. Mundane communication reinforces men’s power.
  4. Performance reinforces above.
  5. Gender is an organizational logic that is reproduced. (Joan Acker, 1990)

Some questions…

Pop-culture narratives


Points out ways that larger social discourses, including popular discourses, represent organizations, organizational actors, and notions of work in ways that affect how individuals make sense of, experience, and perform gender in their everyday lives. (202)

egs of gendered narratives??

  • the soldier
  • pilot
  • manager

Is this still a concern today?

Conclusion

rev: Frames

gender as view of gender/org eg.
difference at work bring gender (biological/ social) to workplace men = report; women = rapport
org performance gender performed on stage exotic dancers
gendered org identity slotted into gendered structure paternity leave
gendered narratives in pop culture gender ported from pop culture airline pilots

Questions?

Credits

Tools