Deconstructing Organizational Taboos: The Suppression of Gender Conflict in Organizations


Martin, Joanne. 1990. “Deconstructing Organizational Taboos: The Suppression of Gender Conflict in Organizations.” Organization Science 1 (4): 339–59.

Author: Joanne Martin


This paper begins with a story told by a corporation president to illustrate what his organization was doing to "help" women employees balance the demands of work and home. The paper deconstructs and reconstructs this story text from a feminist perspective, examining what it says, what it does not say, and what it might have said. This analysis reveals how organizational efforts to "help women" have suppressed gender conflict and reified false dichotomies between public and private realms of endeavor, suggesting why it has proven so difficult to eradicate gender discrimination in organizations. Implications of a feminist perspective for organizational theory are discussed.

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Multi-National Corporations

Year: 1990

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