Gender and organisational restructuring in the National Health Service: performance, identity and politics
Antipode, 35, (2), . (doi:10.1111/1467-8330.00324).
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Over the past decade, debates within economic geography and organizational sociology have shown that gender is embedded within economic discourses, organisational relations and processes of restructuring. The argument has been widely illustrated through reference to "identity", with examples offered of the ways in which organizations and organisational change draw on specific performances of masculine and feminine identities. However, whilst we now know a great deal about organisational expectations of gendered performance at work, we actually know little of how these required performances impact individual constructions of identity. This paper aims to explore this gap between organisational discourses of gender, on the one hand, and the construction of individual identities, on the other. The paper uses narrative analysis of interviews with five nurses working in two hospitals in the British National Health Service (NHS) to trace the place and articulations of organisation, profession and gender in the construction and presentation of self. The paper reveals complex processes of negotiation and resistance and both stable and shifting identifications as individuals actively construct gendered identities inter alia through their interpretations of organisational and professional change. This emphasis on agency, resistance and personal politics has important implications for thinking about the nature and form of workplace politics and may offer a missing piece of the puzzle in recent bids to build new forms of labour organisation.
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