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Deadline: 30 May 2019
Gender Hegemony and its Impact on HRD Research and Practice
In her keynote to the June 2018 European HRD conference, hosted by Northumbria University, Dr Laura L. Bierema called upon the Human Resource Development field to become bolder in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Social media campaigns such as #MeToo have drawn attention to the hostile environment faced by women and minorities in the workplace and in society. HRD scholars however, have yet to commit collectively to the scrutinization of the influence of gender on workplace roles and relationships. This seems a curious omission given HRD’s humanistic roots, and its identity as a “field founded on employee advocacy” (Bierema, 2009, p. 68). HRD’s unwillingness to undertake critical examinations of managerialist structures founded upon sexism and racism risks damaging HRD claims to fulfil one of its key goals, the facilitation of development and change for all.
The emergence of Critical HRD (CHRD) has been a response to the dominance of the performance paradigm within HRD, which overwhelmingly privileges masculinist work cultures and employment practices. Theory and practice underpinned by a masculinist rationality adheres to a value base that identifies with attributes traditionally defined as masculine, including being strong, assertive, mechanical, objective and controlled (Bierema, 2009). CHRD scholars have been consistent in their calls to diversify HRD scholarship (Williams & Mavin, 2014), and learn from wider movements in management and organisation studies that demand greater voice for all organisational stakeholders (Callahan, 2007; 2013a, 2013b, 2013c). Bierema and Cseh (2003) noted that studies focussing on gender as an analytic category were mostly absent from HRD research. Seven years later, Bierema’s 2010 study, which examined where diversity as an analytic category had been applied in HRD research, noted that studies linking HRD and diversity, equity and inclusion are rare. Studies on power and positionality meanwhile are negligible. In the 2008-2018 period, across the four major HRD journals, there were only 29 articles that used a feminist lens, two which addressed issues of implicit bias, one that examined microaggression, 18 which studied gender identity and intersectionality, and 19 that considered transgender issues (Bierema, 2018). While HRDI published the most articles on these topics, this call for papers demonstrates we do not see this as a reason for complacency. HRDI is proud of its multidisciplinary roots and has consistently sought to encourage papers that challenge performative epistemologies and artificial disciplinary boundaries (Elliott, 2016). This call for papers is an extension of this plurality, but one which is focussed on challenging gender hegemony in HRD.
A focus on gender hegemony opens up spaces that allow for challenges to traditional gender binary distinctions, and the reductionism of femininity = women, masculinity = male. According to Connell (2000), gender hegemony operates not only through the subordination of femininity by hegemonic masculinity, but also through the subordination of other masculinities (Schippers, 2007; Collins & Callahan, 2012). Connell (1995) defines hegemonic masculinity as “the configuration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women” (p. 77).
While there are hegemonic and marginalized masculinities, there are no forms of femininity that are hegemonic (Connell, 1987). This does not discount the possibility of negative intra-gender relations between women at work, which can limit women’s progress (Mavin, 2006a, 2006b, 2008) and contribute to the maintenance of the gendered status quo and hegemonic masculinity (Mavin, Williams and Grandy, 2016). This privileging of one end of a presumed spectrum of a gendered continuum constrains our understanding not just of women, but also those who do not identify within a rigidly normative binary (O’Shea, 2018). It also fails to address intersections between gender and race, and the experiences of marginalized individuals and the injustices they face (Byrd, 2017). All this, despite the evidence which shows the extent of anti-black racism in workplaces and throughout society (Ashburn-Nado, Thomas and Robinson, 2017).
Awareness of the complexity of gender and gender hegemony places an onus on HRD to recognise the significance of gender and diversity in organizations, and to question HRD’s role in perpetuating or misrecognising gendered power relations in theory and practice.
We welcome contributions to this special issue that adopt a variety of perspectives and which are located in a diversity of empirical locations or theoretical genres. Potential topics include:
- Explorations of how has HRD contributed to and sustained structures that are rooted in gender inequity
- Analyses of the ways in which HRD professionals are resisting gender hegemony through their work
- Examinations of intersectional identity work encompassing the hegemonic manifestation of gender in relation to other marginalized identities (e.g., race, sexual orientation, elderly, differently abled)
- Considerations of non-binary gender identities
- Critiques of the weaponized subversion of feminism (e.g., ‘toxic’ feminism, as opposed to toxic femininity; Fourth Wave feminism; neo-feminism)
- Theoretical reconceptualizations of hegemonic gender constructions (e.g., can we negate the categorization that accompanies ‘gender’? Are there ways to consider ‘being’, instead of ‘doing’ or ‘performing’?)
- Methodologies for studying the complexities of gender and gender hegemony
- Reflections on the ways in which mechanisms of popular culture can be applied toward challenging gender hegemony and resisting its reproduction
Evaluations of HRD’s role in reproducing or resisting gender hegemony in total institutions (e.g., military, prisons, higher education institutions, nursing homes, oil platforms, temples) and in different organizational sectors (e.g. high tech organizations, financial firms, fashion and beauty).
Deadline for submission of full papers:
- Paper submission: 30 May 2019 (submit via journal’s web site by following all format requirements and clearly mentioning/selecting this SI)
- Reviews to be completed by: 15 July 2019
- Resubmissions: 15 September 2019
- Paper Selection: 15 January 2020
For further instructions, please review the Instructions for Authors.
Professor Carole Elliott, University of Roehampton, UK
Professor Jamie L. Callahan, Northumbria University, UK
Explore Author Services
Ashburn-Nado, L., Thomas, K. and Robinson, A.J. (2017) Broadening the conversation: Why black lives matter. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 36, 720-735
Bierema, L.L. (2009) Critiquing Human Resource Development’s dominant masculine rationality. Human Resource Development Review, 8, 68-96
Bierema, L.L. (2010) Resisting HRD’s resistance to diversity. Journal of European Industrial Training, 34, 565-576
Bierema, L.L. & Cseh, M. (2003) Evaluating AHRD research through a feminist research framework. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 14, 5-26
Byrd, M.Y. (2017) Does HRD have a moral duty to respond to matters of social injustice?. Human Resource Development International, 21, 3-11
Callahan, J. L. (2007). Gazing into the crystal ball: Critical HRD as a future of research in the
field. Human Resource Development International, 10, 77-82.
Callahan, J. L. (2013a). Creating a critical constructionist HRD: From creativity to ethics.
Human Resource Development Review, 12, 387-389.
Callahan, J. L. (2013b). Reaching outside the box. Human Resource Development Review, 12,
Callahan, J. L. (2013c). ‘Space, the final frontier’? Social movements as organizing spaces for applying HRD. Human Resource Development International, 16(3), 298-312.
Collins, J. C. & Callahan, J. L. (2012). Risky business: Gay identity disclosure in a masculinized industry. Human Resource Development International, 15(4), 455-470.
Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Connell, R. W. (2000). The men and the boys. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Connell, R. W., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005). Hegemonic masculinity: Rethinking the concept. Gender and Society, 19, 829–859.
Elliott, C. (2016) HRDI: Reflecting on our boundaries. Human Resource Development International. 19 (1), 1-3
Mavin, S. (2006a) Venus Envy: Problematizing Solidarity Behaviour and Queen Bees. Women in Management Review. 21 (4): 264-276
Mavin, S. (2006b) Venus Envy 2: Sisterhood, Queen Bee and Female Misogyny in Management. Women in Management Review. 21 (5): 349-364
Mavin, S. (2008) ‘Queen Bees, Wannabees, and Afraid to Bees: No More Best Enemies for Women in Management. British Journal of Management. 75-84
Mavin, S., Williams, J. and Grandy, G. (2016) Negative intra-Gender Relations Between Women. Friendship, Competition and Female Misogyny. In S. Kumra, R. Simpson and R.J. Burke (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Gender in Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press
O’Shea, S. C. (2018). This girl’s life: An autoethnography. Organization, 25(1), 3-20.
Schippers, M. (2007) Recovering the feminine other: masculinity, femininity and gender hegemony. Theory and Society. 36: 85-102
Williams, J. and Mavin, S. (2014) Guest Editorial: Progressing Diversity in HRD Theory and Practice, Human Resource Development Review. 13 (2): 1270132