Mauthner, Natasha and Edwards, Rosalind
Feminist research management in higher education in Britain: possibilities and practices
Gender, Work and Organization, 17, (5), .
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This article aims to explore the possibilities and ambivalent practices of feminist management in the context of research management in higher education in Britain. Drawing on a reflexive and critical analysis of our experiences of contract research and research management over the past 15 years, we discuss the challenges of putting feminist management principles into practice in team-based and collaborative research projects. By rendering academic cultures increasingly competitive, individualist and managerial, we argue, new managerialist reforms in higher education over the past two decades have intensified those very aspects of academic life that feminists have long struggled with. In particular, in creating the new subject position of research manager, with concomitant institutional expectations and obligations, new managerialism has exacerbated tensions between our identities as feminists, scholars and managers and between collective, individual and institutional needs and aspirations. We illustrate these tensions through a discussion of four related aspects of team research which, we suggest, undermine attempts at implementing the feminist ideals of intellectual equity and political equality: divisions of labour in research teams; divisions of intellectual status and the differential valuation of researchers and research labour; divisions of formal power and the management structure of research teams; and exertions of informal power and the micropolitics of research teams. We suggest that feminist research management and feminist management, more generally, need to recognize and accept differences and inequalities among feminists and work with these issues in reflexive, ethical and caring ways.
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