The Gendered Corporation: The Role of Masculinities in Shaping Corporate Culture
In Creating Corporate Sustainability. Gender as an Agent for Change, Beate Sjåfjell and Irene Lynch Fannon (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2018
Posted: 16 May 2018
Date Written: May 16, 2018
This chapter acknowledges the dominance of men in corporations but challenges the simplistic proposition that the cure for corporate ills is to add more women to corporate governance structures. Instead it argues that it is not the sex of those involved in corporate governance that matters in preventing unethical and unsustainable corporate practice but what gender performances are valourised within the specific corporate environment(s) that the corporate actor finds him/herself and the degree to which those performances accord with societal gender expectations. In other words, corporate culture needs to be changed. It will first introduce the sociological concept of hegemonic masculinities and then consider how gendered hierarchies within corporations foster an environment conducive to unethical, unsustainable, and sometimes criminal conduct. It will draw from criminological research to demonstrate that corporate offenders enact masculinities and femininities concordant with broader cultural understandings of appropriate gendered ways of behaving. It will conclude by arguing that creating true corporate sustainability requires making visible the gendered nature of the problematic practices and reshaping them, with the ultimate result of more women in meaningfully reformed corporate governance structures.
Keywords: hegemonic masculinities, gender roles, business culture, neutralisation techniques
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