Appraisal in the Gendered Organisation
: The Experience of Women Academics

  • Robyn Thomas

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis investigates women academics' experiences of the gendered university culture, during a period of rapid change in the management of higher education and the academic profession. The research draws on a Foucauldian feminist methodology to understand how, and in what ways, the dominant discourses of the university culture constitute women academics' identities. In particular, the research questions the nature of the gender relations emerging as a result of the introduction of the discourses of 'new public management'. The research examines the ways in which these new discourses are promoted through a range of disciplinary technologies, including academic appraisal, and the impact this has on women academics' professional roles and identities. The empirical work is based on three university case studies, from both the 'old' and 'new' university sectors. In each case study, the women academics tell of their experiences of the gendered university culture, and their perceptions of the appraisal process. The findings suggest that the recent changes in the management of universities have reinforced and strengthened the masculine discourses of the gendered academy. The opportunities for women to exploit the discursive spaces arising from the recent unseating of the traditional discourses of the academy have been marginal. Through the adoption of a Foucauldian feminist methodology, this research has enabled women academics to have a voice in the shaping of knowledge about university organisations and management. In doing so, the research contributes to the understanding of gendered university cultures and the constitution of individual subjectivities, as well as, in the wider context, the gendered nature of organisations and organisational theory.
    Date of AwardFeb 1997
    Original languageEnglish

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