Management and gender in higher education 9781526103093

A definitive examination of higher education in Ireland

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Management and gender in higher education

Table of contents :
Front matter
Series editor’s foreword
Prologue: my own journey
The big picture: universities in a changing society
Finding a compass and mapping the terrain
Policy priorities: instrumentality, scientization, degendering
Gentleman’s club or medieval court?
There is no problem; or, if there is, the problem is women
‘Think manager–think male’?
An attractive job, but no place for a woman?
Summary and conclusions
Appendix: socio-economic realities in contemporary Irish society

Citation preview

I r i s h Soci e t y

Pat O’Connor This book provides a definitive examination of higher education, locating it in a wider neo-liberal context involving the state and the market, with a specific focus on recent higher policy and on the elite group of senior managers in universities. Written in a clear, accessible style, and drawing on policy analysis and interviews with those at the top three levels of university management, it provides an in-depth analysis of university structures, cultures and practices at senior management level and locates these in a cross-national context. Despite the managerialist rhetoric of accountability, we see structures where access to power is effectively granted through the Presidents’ ‘blessing’, very much as in a medieval court. We see a culture that is less than comfortable with the presence of women and which, in its narratives, stereotypes and interactions, exemplifies a rather nineteenth-century view of women. Sites and agents of change are also identified, both in the universities and in the wider international policy context. Essential for both students and lecturers in education, management, sociology, policy and gender studies, this book challenges us to critically reflect on management and on higher education in a global context where diversity is crucial to innovation.

Management and gender in higher education


Pat O’Connor is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick, Ireland

Management and gender in higher education

Management and gender in higher education

I r i s h Soci e t y

ISBN 978-0-7190-8358-7

9 780719 083587

Pat O’Connor

Management and gender in higher education

IRISH SOCIETY The Irish Society series provides a ­ critical, interdisciplinary and in-depth analysis of Ireland that reveals the processes and forces shaping social, economic, cultural and political life, and their outcomes for communities and social groups. The books seek to understand the evolution of social, economic and spatial ­relations from a broad range of perspectives, and explore the challenges facing Irish society in the future given present conditions and policy instruments.


Public private partnerships in Ireland: Failed experiment or the way forward for the state?   Rory Hearne Migrations: Ireland in a global world Edited by Mary Gilmartin and Allen White The domestic, moral and political economies of post-Celtic tiger Ireland: What rough beast?  Kieran Keohane and Carmen Kuhling Challenging times, challenging administration: The role of public administration in producing social justice in Ireland Chris McInerney

Management and gender in higher education Pat O’Connor

MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY PRESS Manchester and New York distributed in the United States exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan

Copyright © Pat O’Connor 2014 The right of Pat O’Connor to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Published by Manchester University Press Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9NR, UK and Room 400, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA Distributed in the United States exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA Distributed in Canada exclusively by UBC Press, University of British Columbia, 2029 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data applied for

ISBN 978 07190 8358 7 hardback First published 2014 The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for any external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Typeset in Minion by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire

To Stella with gratitude, To Emma, Suz, Mags, Claire and Lizzie in admiration, To Eoin, Conor, Harry, Ciara, Isabel, Leo and Jeff in hope


Series editor’s foreword page viii Acknowledgementsx

Prologue: my own journey1

1 The big picture: universities in a changing society 2 Finding a compass and mapping the terrain 3 Policy priorities: instrumentality, scientization, degendering 4 Gentleman’s club or medieval court? 5 There is no problem; or, if there is, the problem is women 6 ‘Think manager–think male’? 7 An attractive job, but no place for a woman? 8 Summary and conclusions

4 29 46 67 88 109 128 146

Appendix: socio-­economic realities in contemporary Irish society165 References169 Index203

Series editor’s foreword

Over the past twenty years Ireland has undergone enormous social, cultural and economic change. From a poor, peripheral country on the edge of Europe with a conservative culture dominated by tradition and Church, Ireland transformed into a global, cosmopolitan country with a dynamic economy. At the heart of the processes of change was a new kind of political economic model of development that ushered in the so-­called Celtic Tiger years, accompanied by renewed optimism in the wake of the ceasefires in Northern Ireland and the peace dividend of the Good Friday Agreement. As Ireland emerged from decades of economic stagnation and the Troubles came to a peaceful end, the island became the focus of attention for countries seeking to emulate its economic and political miracles. Every other country, it seemed, wanted to be the next Tiger, modelled on Ireland’s successes. And then came the financial collapse of 2008, the bursting of the property bubble, bank bailouts, austerity plans, rising unemployment and a return to emigration. From being the paradigm case of successful economic transformation, Ireland has become an internationally important case study of what happens when an economic model goes disastrously wrong. The Irish Society series provides a critical, interdisciplinary and in-­depth analysis of Ireland that reveals the processes and forces shaping social, economic, cultural and political life, and their outcomes for communities and social groups. The books seek to understand the evolution of social, economic and spatial relations from a broad range of perspectives, and explore the challenges facing Irish society in the future given present conditions and policy instruments. The series examines all aspects of Irish society including, but not limited to: social exclusion, identity, health, welfare, lifecycle, family life and structures, labour and work cultures, spatial and sectoral economy, local and regional development, politics and the political system, government and governance, environment, migration and spatial planning. The series is supported by the Irish Social Sciences Platform (ISSP), an all-­island platform of integrated

Series editor’s foreword


social science research and graduate education focusing on the social, cultural and economic transformations shaping Ireland in the twenty-­first century. Funded by the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, the ISSP brings together leading social science academics from all of Ireland’s universities and other third-­level institutions. Given the marked changes in Ireland’s fortunes over the past two decades it is important that rigorous scholarship is applied to understand the forces at work, how they have affected different people and places in uneven and unequal ways, and what needs to happen to create a fairer and prosperous society. The Irish Society series provides such scholarship. Rob Kitchin


I would like to thank Professor Barbara Bagilhole who invited me to be part of the Women in Higher Education Management (WHEM) Network. Through WHEM I have benefited from many stimulating conversations and productive collaborations particularly with Teresa Carvalho, Kate White, Anita Goransson and Barbara Bagilhole and I am deeply appreciative of this. The University of Limerick facilitated my sabbatical at the Universities of London, Aveiro, Linkoping, Deakin and Melbourne and this enabled me to work in a sustained way with these and other colleagues, and I very much appreciated this. My interest in gender and higher education dates back to the early 1990s, when equality in the university emerged from Dr Ita Richardson’s work as a key concern among Women’s Studies faculty and students. Dr Edward Walsh, the founding President of the University of Limerick, prompted me to think about how change in the position of women in universities might be achieved. My interest in management in higher education was heightened by my appointment and re-appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, by three Presidents at the University of Limerick over a ten year period. I am particularly grateful to Professor Roger Downer for his courage in initially appointing me, and to John O’Connor and Professor Don Barry who renewed that appointment, and from whom I learned a great deal about power and organisations. Human Resources, particularly the late Dermot Foley, and the current Director of Human Resources, Tommy Foy, kindly facilitated my access to data over the years. Thanks also to Mark Kirwan from the Higher Educational Authority and Lia O’Sullivan from the Irish Universities Association for access to unpublished data. I would like to thank Professor Tom Lodge and Dr Eoin Devereux for facilitating my reintegration into the Department of Sociology. My thanks to my colleagues in that Department; in Women’s Studies; to those at faculty and Executive level in the University of Limerick; in Gender ARC; INTEGER and GENOVATE for their support. I am particularly pleased to be concerned with organisational



transformation through the EU funded cross national FESTA project (2012–2017). My sincere thanks to Ann Ryan for her invaluable help in setting up the interviews for this study and to Pattie Punch, the faculty librarian for unfailing helpfulness in facilitating access to literature. I would like to thank Clare O’Hagan, Thamar Heijstra, Kate White and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. I am indebted to the series editor, Rob Kitchin and to Tony Mason and his colleagues at Manchester University Press, particularly Lianne Slavin and Katie Hemmings. I would also like to thank Martin Barr and Stella Reeves for their patience and skill in copy editing and proof reading (respectively) and Tommy Reeves for help with the index. I have enjoyed stimulating conversations with Patricia Kelleher, Julia Brannen and Deirdre O’Toole over many years. Stella Reeves, Marian Mc Namara, Peggy and Patrick Caffrey, Linda Mc Kie, Fionnuala MacMahon, Gobnait O’Riordan, Clare O’Connor, Carmel Hannan and Helen Mc Cabe, all in their different ways, helped me to keep things in perspective at critical moments. My debts of gratitude are greatest to the interviewees, who made time in their busy schedules to talk to me: without them this project simply could not have happened. Finally, my love and thanks for the joy they have added to my life: to Emma, Suz, Mags, Claire, Lizzie and to the next generation: Eoin, Conor, Harry, Ciara, Isabel, Leo and Jeff.

Prologue: my own journey

Academic knowledge is only one kind of knowledge. It has been suggested that it can be usefully supplemented by experiential knowledge: ‘knowing the world in a direct face-­to-­face encounter’ (Lynch, 1999: 61). In this context, my own experience of ten years in an academic senior management position was a useful source of knowledge as a senior manager and as a woman, and was an important element in my decision to undertake this study. Sociologists are increasingly called upon to make explicit their own beliefs and experiences as part of a reflective process (Alasuutari et al., 2008). I have identified (O’Connor, 2013) the critical moments on this journey. In essence, for a sizeable proportion of my academic career my research interests avoided the public arena in general, and issues related to public power in particular. My M.Soc. Science in the 1970s focused on gendered subjectivity within a structural context, looking at middle-­class married women’s attitudes to being housewives and mothers in urban Ireland. My Ph.D. in the 1980s was also firmly focused on subjectivity in a particularly ‘feminine’ area, namely married women’s close relationships with friends and kin. It was not until the 1990s that responsibility for a women’s studies programme, and research on the position of women in two semi-­state bureaucracies, raised my conscious awareness of gendered structural power. These led to a number of publications exploring the general position of women in Irish society, and specifically in semi-­state structures (O’Connor, 1995a, 1996, 1998, 2000a). This marked the beginning of my positioning as a ‘tempered radical’ (Meyerson and Scully, 2011) committed to the objectives of (male dominated) academic structures and yet as a feminist, in an ambivalent position in such structures. Much has been made of the disadvantages of such a position, with its risks of isolation, and pressures as regards co-­optation, but it is also a position of visibility and personal authenticity. In my own case, it culminated (paradoxically) in my appointment as the first woman at full professorial level in the University of Limerick, and three years later (in 2000), in an invitation



from the then president of the university to undertake the responsibility of dean of the faculty for a three year period. The process of appointment at that time involved a series of stages including a vision statement; the taking of ‘soundings’ from colleagues as to my suitability for the assignment; as well as a private interview with the president. I had been supporting a colleague, who, for personal reasons did not go forward. In that context, since I was nominated, I decided to go forward as a voice for change. I was quite sure that I would not be appointed, but thought that continuing would enable me to influence the successful candidate’s agenda. At the last stage, during the interview with the president, I realized that his understanding of other (non-­gendered) inequality regimes meant that he identified with me. I was appointed as the first woman faculty dean, despite concern being expressed at the time about my being ‘a single issue candidate’ (i.e. only concerned with gender). I was at that time one of six faculty deans and the only woman. I was subsequently reappointed by two other presidents, following competitive calls for expressions of interest in the assignment. Presidential power in shaping the process became increasingly visible, reflecting the increasing managerialism of the system. For the first seven years of my deanship, I reported to the deputy president. To my own and others’ surprise I enjoyed being dean and was, I believe, a strong and effective one. My own experiences reflected Alvesson and Sveningsson’s (2011) conclusion that the value of characteristics is related to the power of the person enacting or endorsing behaviour, rather than to the content of those characteristics or behaviours. Thus being seen to have power enabled me to redefine the gendered characteristics required of those in positions of authority within the faculty which was my specific area of managerial responsibility (i.e. the faculty of arts, humanities and social sciences). I also found that it was possible to effect change through ‘small wins’ and through ‘authentic action’ at faculty level and (symbolically) at university level (Meyerson and Scully, 2011: 193–6). Following a restructuring of the faculties in 2008, I was reappointed as one of four executive deans (two of whom were women), reporting directly to the then president. As such I was a member of the most senior nine person senior management committee in the university, chaired by the president. During this period my research interests again moved into the private area, focusing on children and young people’s narratives, albeit from a gendered perspective. However, a chance meeting, at a conference, with colleagues interested in looking at senior management cross-­nationally, led to an invitation to participate in research on senior management, with responsibility for the Irish study. Thus it was during my third assignment of responsibilities as executive dean that I undertook the fieldwork for this study, with the initial analysis being undertaken while still in that position. In 2011, having spent ten years at senior management level I did not to go forward for a further period and



took a sabbatical. Thus in undertaking the study my position was that of a long-­serving, committed and successful dean, who also had a longstanding interest in gender issues. I was aware of both the structural and cultural reality of gender, and yet also of the possibility of agency. Indeed the impact of such agency (combined with structural opportunities arising from the development of areas where female academic staff were likely to be), was vividly reflected in the fact that the proportion of women at professorial level in my own university had increased from zero in 1997 to 34 per cent by 2012 (HEA, 2012). The inevitably of such changes was challenged by the fact that the proportion of women at this level in a university 100 kilometres away was only 12 per cent in 2012. Thus, in coming to the study of senior management in Irish universities, I was an outsider/insider. It was a happy chance that my experiential interest coincided with the opportunity to participate in the cross-­national study, so enabling me to locate these experiences not only in the context of an academic study of senior management in Irish universities but in a wider cross-­national context (involving Portugal, Australia and Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK: Bagilhole and White, 2011).

1 The big picture: universities in a changing society

Introduction This book is concerned with higher education, and particularly with the gendered world of senior management in public universities. Higher education in general and universities in particular can be seen as the site of a power struggle ‘since it is power that ultimately determines whose values gain priority and who pays the costs’ (Clark, 1983: 264). The outcome of such power struggles determines the shape and purpose of higher education, nationally and internationally. There are limits to the power of those in senior management. These limits partly reflect the complex relationship between higher education and the state in contemporary society. Even more fundamentally, their power is limited by the changing relationship between the state and the market, both nationally and internationally. Those in senior management have little or no impact on the convulsions of national or international capitalism. Thus their positioning is complex: they are simultaneously at the top of their own organizations and in a less than powerful position in relation to the external structures of the state and the market. In Ireland, with a small number of notable exceptions, social scientific research has tended to focus on the powerless. This has heightened a tendency to use their characteristics, lifestyles or choices as explanatory factors, rather than looking at elites and their priorities and experiences. This study was seen as a useful counterbalance in providing insights into the nature and transmission of privilege, by focusing on career paths leading to senior management positions; on support in accessing them; on gendered cultures, practices, stereotypes and narratives; and on the experience of being in such positions. It thus provides an important insight into a specific Irish elite, from the vantage point of an academic and practitioner who was part of that elite for ten years. The focus on the most senior managerial group in Irish public universities senior management can be seen to include those at the top three levels (i.e. at presidential, vice-­presidential, dean or executive director level, although the

The big picture


titles vary between institutions). Some of these positions are held by academics, who undertake managerial responsibilities for a limited period of time and who become ‘manager-­academics’ (Deem, 2006). However, other professional managers at vice presidential or executive director level (for example, in finance or human resources) are also included. The balance between academics and other professional managers in this senior management group varies between universities, as do its specific composition and size, although the president and vice presidents are always included. In focusing on those at the highest level of senior management, attention is concentrated on a privileged group in terms of income, although their societal status is somewhat more problematic in a society where the university management system is opaque. Those in senior management in higher education can, at least potentially, shape the internal culture of their organisations and influence that of the wider higher educational context. Within their own organizations they play a critical role in defining and implementing recruitment procedures; overseeing curricula and prioritizing expenditures. They are also involved in ‘the creation of knowledge, both in the local sense of organizational and managerial knowledge, and in the broader, more pervasive, sense of knowledge in and of society, indeed, of what counts as knowledge’ (Hearn, 1999: 125). In all sorts of ways, their actions affect the life chances of those employed in these organizations and of the students who attend them. In so far as education is seen as relevant to economic growth, their decisions have wider societal, economic and cultural implications. This chapter is concerned with the wider institutional and societal context, since this is seen as essential for understanding the challenges facing higher education in the twenty-­first century. Thus it will look at the nature of the university as an institution; the relationships between the university, the state and the market; it will explore ideas about excellence and merit. Historically universities have been gendered institutions. Even now, they tend to be hierarchically male dominated, with the overwhelming majority of those in senior management positions being men. It will be argued that definitions of excellence and merit are typically constructed by those in power to legitimate and perpetuate their own position and privileges (Blackmore, 2002; van den Brink and Benschop, 2012). Indeed, Maher and Tetreault (2007) concluded that the term excellence is used, not so much as a mark of quality, but as a mark of privilege. As one moves up the career hierarchy in most organizations, merit frequently appears to be less defined by human capital (i.e. ability, education and experience) than social capital (i.e. social ties and political behaviour) (Sealy, 2010). Gendered processes effectively limit the available talent. Yet any kind of positive action for women typically generates references to meritocracy, the assumption being that the appointments of all men are unaffected by anything other than merit. Thus, in a context where women constitute roughly


Management and gender in higher education

six out of ten university graduates in Europe, and more than half the labour force, ignoring them means that the pool of talent is artificially reduced so that less competent men will end up being selected (Eagly, 2011; genSET, 2009 and 2010). Typically, however, the choice is presented as between excellence and diversity, the implication being that the former can only be achieved at the expense of the latter. It will be shown later in this chapter that this is increasingly seen as a problematic assumption. In Ireland, there has been a tendency, particularly since the 2000s, to see gender inequality as an irrelevant concern. However, there is increasing evidence that such inequality is related to a variety of indicators of national well-­being, including economic growth, social cohesion as well as personal happiness and well-­being (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010). The United Nations (UNDP, 1997: 39) concluded that ‘no society in the world treats its women as well as its men’, while the OECD (2012c: 18 and 13 respectively) refers to ‘[p]ersistent discriminatory social institutions and cultural norms’ and concluded that: ‘[g]ender equality is not just about economic empowerment. It is a moral imperative’. With a small number of notable exceptions, little research attention in Ireland has been paid to gendered processes in university senior management. The positive consequences of real diversity in management groups has been documented internationally, with particular attention being paid to its impact on ‘groupthink’ (Janis, 2011), and on the emergence of more innovative and creative solutions (Davies, 2011). ‘Groupthink’ was seen as contributing to the very unsatisfactory governance arrangements that were partly responsible for the recent economic crisis in Ireland (Clancy et al., 2010; Murphy, 2012). Diversity is important in providing young people with role models: same-­sex role models being important in women’s career orientation, confidence and success (Mannion, 2011; Sealy and Singh, 2010). Of course gender diversity does not always guarantee the existence of diversity of thought. However, it is symbolically important in challenging the equation between masculinity and authority and in affirming women’s existential value (Therborn, 2005). In summary, this book is concerned with higher education and with the elite and the gendered world of senior management.

The university as an institution Universities are one of the most enduring institutions historically and cross-­ nationally dating back to the late middle ages (Scott, 2006). In different countries and at different times universities have been established to transmit professional skills; to progress nationalism; to promote democratization; to create a professional elite; to legitimate access to power; to train young people for employment; to enhance economic growth; to promote internationaliza-

The big picture


tion; to enhance individual or collective social and cultural life, etc. The Irish Universities Act (1997) identifies an extensive range of objectives including advancing knowledge; contributing to the social and cultural life of society; encouraging critical thinking; fostering the Irish language and culture; facilitating the attainment of national economic and social goals; training professional and managerial elites; acting as a societal resource in terms of knowledge and research; facilitating life-­long learning and promoting gender equality. Clark (1983) suggests that, beyond saying that universities are concerned with knowledge (its creation, use, application and conservation) it is impossible to adequately describe what their purpose is. This fluidity in terms of purpose can be seen as a strength and a weakness since, although it has ensured their survival, at any one point in time, their essence can be lost. Yet universities internationally appear to have a taken-­for-­granted institutional legitimacy, deriving from ‘wider environmental meanings, definitions, rules, and models’ (Meyer et al., 2007: 188). The lack of clarity about their purpose has enabled universities to become part of wider social projects, which have legitimated their activities and provided funding for those involved in them. Wider social projects have also influenced the kinds of people who have had access to higher education in particular societal contexts. Thus, for example, traditionally, universities were concerned with the education of a (male) elite and were ‘linked to the reproduction of gender and class privilege’ (Morley, 2005a: 111). In an Irish context, women’s access to university education occurred in the context of institutional and nationalistic ambitions and tensions, as well as feminist actions, and emerged despite reservations by the catholic hierarchy about undermining women’s traditional roles (Harford, 2010). Thus the shape of knowledge-­based institutions, and the definition of those who can legitimately access them, has been intimately linked with the strength of different interest groups, at particular times and places. A definition of the purpose of universities as concerned with teaching, research and community service obscures such issues, although in a sense it can be seen as capturing much of what universities actually do in practice. However, at different times and places these activities have been differentially valued. Thus Newman (1996) in his classic work saw teaching students as the defining characteristic of a university, albeit that the curriculum was very much narrower than would be normal today. His perception of teaching as a core activity is still a taken-­for-­granted assumption by students and their parents. On the other hand, the Humboltian dream of a university in nineteenth-­ century Germany was concerned with the production of original scholarship. In that context the focus was on appointing the best researchers in arts and science; providing them with academic freedom, and building curricula around their areas of expertise. This concept is still very powerful (and if restricted to applied research, is attractive to industry). However, the hegemonic position


Management and gender in higher education

frequently accorded to (limited areas of) science and technology in this perspective, has implications as regards the marginalization and financial neglect of subjects (such as the humanities and the social sciences) that evoke high levels of student demand, although they are seen as of little relevance to industry. The public/private good deriving from a university education has also generated a good deal of interest, albeit that the definition of that public good has varied. Thus for example, in the United States, the role of the university in creating a viable democracy and an active citizenry, based on the all-­round development of the student, emerged as a key theme in the nineteenth century and continues to exist in part of that higher educational system (Giroux, 2011; Harkavy, 2006). In this context, the assumption has been that the more educated individuals and societies are, the greater the possibility of ‘social progress, and with it a more just and equitable order’ (Meyer et al., 2007: 202). The importance of the university as a provider of services to the nation state has also been stressed in the United States, and is part of a public-­good argument. The democratization of education includes assumptions about the equality of status between fields of study (Scott, 2006; Webber and Jones, 2011) with the university being seen as a place for ‘public intellectuals’ (Burawoy, 2004; Corcoran and Lawlor, 2012; O’Connor, 2012) who bridge the gap between the academy and the wider society. For Marginson (2007b: 311 and 315), public goods are those that can be ‘consumed by any number of people without being depleted’ and ‘the benefits cannot be confined to individual buyers’, in a context where they ‘are made broadly available across populations’. There has been an increasing tendency not to value the public goods provided by public higher educational institutions, nationally and globally: such public goods including ‘knowledge, collective literacy and common culture’ as well as ‘a structure of social opportunity’, publicly accessible research infrastructure and access to cultural objects (Marginson, 2007b: 318). There is no global policy space to discuss education as a public good. The main global forum for higher education is the World Trade Organization/GATS negotiating framework, which commodifies education and sees it as similar to private goods. Internationally, higher education is increasingly seen as a private good in the sense of increasing individual cultural, social or economic capital. This is part of what lies behind the international pressure to ensure that students make a financial contribution to the cost of their higher education (Brown, 2011). However, as levels of education increase in the society as a whole, the economic and social advantages conferred on an individual by higher education decreases, within that particular society (although it does provide them with a global competitive advantage). In Ireland, the state’s support for universities ultimately reflects a perception of higher education as contributing to the creation of ‘knowledge

The big picture


economy’ and hence to economic growth (although the president of Ireland has a much broader view: Higgins, 2012). It was the former perception of higher education that facilitated the state’s ongoing investment in it, as a time when expenditure on it was being curtailed elsewhere (White, 2001). However, evidence that higher education always creates economic growth is increasingly contested, and has been dismissed by Meyer et al. (2007: 204) as a powerful myth. Nevertheless educational attainment accounted for 50 per cent of the increase in economic growth in thirty OECD countries (1960–2008), with over half of that growth being due to increases in female educational attainment; and with additional positive effects arising from greater gender equality in educational attainment (OECD, 2012c). However, although under particular conditions, higher education can increase economic growth (Fitzgerald, 2012), it is not clear to what extent it will continue to do so, other than through its impact on women’s participation in paid employment. Hence the OECD’s (2012c) stress on the importance of women’s paid employment and on ways of increasing and facilitating this. Higher education has also been seen as one of the few public spaces where students can learn to question authority and develop a capacity for critical thinking (Giroux, 2002). For Lynch (2006: 11 and 2), the ultimate purpose of public universities is ‘to promote independence of intellectual thought, to enable scholars to work outside the control of powerful vested interests’. From this concept of a university comes the idea of ‘academic freedom’ and ‘constitutional autonomy’, with the opportunity to pursue a search for truth (Carvalho and Machado, 2011: 91). However, this ignores the ability of power structures (external and internal) to dictate agendas. It also ignores academics’ career ambitions and the possibility of self-­ censorship. Furthermore, although ideas of autonomy are frequently seen as central to the definition of a university, the Napoleonic university was not self-­governing, and in effect was ‘a department of state … subject to political control’ (Graham, 2008: 159). Indeed, the question of the extent to which universities are currently part of the state structure (Limond, 2012; White, 2001) has become increasingly topical. They have become part of a state legitimated ‘knowledge processing system, a system that legitimates categories of ideas worthy of teaching in curriculum, worthy of credentials in degree programs, and worthy of expertise to be valued in society’ (Gumport 2007a: 350). Public universities also play an important role in legitimating gender and socio-­political ideologies, although this is less frequently recognized. The idea of a multiversity, which is responsive to money-­generating opportunities, raises questions about the limits of what can be defined as a university. Furthermore, in the twenty-­first century, in ‘knowledge economies’ universities are no longer the sole repositories of knowledge. They are valued for their expertise, and are potentially vulnerable because of their non-­exclusive


Management and gender in higher education

ownership of it. International and national structures which privatize and commercialize knowledge could threaten the very survival of public universities, particularly public support for them (Lynch et al., 2012). Until recently, the stages in the development of higher education identified in one society did not map easily on to other societies. However the ‘Era of Transformation’ (1995 onwards) in Peterson’s (2007) United States’ model appears to do so. This era is seen as involving very rapid societal and cultural change; high expectations as regards the contribution of higher education to national economic performance; increases in student diversity; changes in the mode of academic delivery; increased pressures as regards quality and accountability; increased competition for students; decreased willingness by the state to fund higher education and an attempt to access wider sources of funding. In this context, radical institutional change is seen as necessary to redefine the role and external relationships of higher education; to reorganize its internal functions; to redefine its organizational culture and transform a closed, stable, autonomous higher education system into an increasingly open, interactive, entrepreneurial one. The challenges outlined in that model are all currently being faced by Irish higher education institutions, raising interesting questions about global convergence and about the factors driving such convergence internationally. In Ireland these developments have been seen as reflecting an ‘international subculture of educational bureaucrats’; a preoccupation with science and technology in the context of a commitment to an ‘enterprise culture’; ‘a managerialist culture concerned with auditing … a limited educational paradigm which is preoccupied with a positivistic concern with ‘facts’; and a wider populist and anti-­intellectual culture within Irish society which implicitly favours a utilitarian market driven approach’ (O’Carroll, 2008: 50 and 53, respectively). Global convergence suggests that such characteristics are not peculiar to Ireland. The twenty-­ first century can be seen as: ‘an existential moment for ­universities … universities have to decide how they are to be in the world’ (Barnett, 2011: 16). Are they to be ‘ivory towers’ producing knowledge they see as important but which may be of no interest or relevance to the rest of the world? Or are they to be concerned with producing knowledge for the benefit of the world? Are they to be concerned with meeting the needs of students, industry, or with serving the wider public good? The whole purpose of universities, their appropriate relationship with the state and with private for-­profit organizations is very much in a state of flux, nationally and globally.

The relationship between the universities, the state and the market In Ireland, during what became known as the Celtic Tiger period (1997–2007 approximately), a neo-­liberal discourse became dominant, not only in the

The big picture


higher educational system, but also within the representational and administrative arms of the state, in the economy, and in the media (Cronin et al., 2009; Phelan, 2009; Lynch et al., 2012). Implicit in neo-­liberalism is a valorization of the market; a hostility to state intervention, an endorsement of ‘light regulation’ in a context where a ‘handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximise their personal profit’ (Giroux, 2002: 425). It takes for granted that the only motivation for any activity is private greed and individual self-­interest. It is indifferent to social justice, equality or the rights of citizens. Although claiming ideological neutrality, neo-­liberalism ‘depoliticises debates about education by hiding its ideological underpinnings in the language of economic efficiency’ (Lynch, 2006: 7). In Ireland as elsewhere under the influence of neo-­liberalism, the purpose of higher education has effectively been redefined as serving the needs of the market, with a stress on the transmission of employment related skills and the undertaking of commercially useful research. Those disciplines that are seen as having the greatest use value in this context (for example, particular areas of science and technology) are prioritized. Areas such as humanities, and those parts of the social sciences that are seen as having little relationship to the market, are devalued, except in so far as they provide ‘transferrable skills’. Internationally the dominance of neo-­liberal perspectives is associated with a changing relationship between higher educational institutions, the market and the state (Barnett, 2011). Clark (2008: 490) suggests that in the United States and the United Kingdom, from relatively autonomous positions, ‘higher education is becoming more governmental. It moves inside government, becomes a constituent part of government’. Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 31) highlighted the shift from ‘government, where the state takes responsibility for the daily administration and universal provision of services; to that of governance, where the state steers indirectly from a distance’. There is a ‘hollowing out’ of the state which theoretically, ‘holds the ring between many different actors as the ultimate guardian of the public interest’ (Ferlie et al., 2008: 328). In practice however in a neo-­liberal context, the state is effectively subordinate to the market, which directly and indirectly dictates the shape and purpose of higher education. In an Irish context where politics is seen as non-­ideological, and ultimately driven by clientelism (O’Riain, 2004) and where the word academic is synonymous with useless and irrelevant, the relationship between the state and the academic profession often appears to be one of mutual indifference and incomprehension. Historically, in Ireland, intellectuals (the majority of whom were employed in the universities) were preoccupied with national identity: with ‘constructing or imagining a nation’ (O’Dowd, 1996: 16). In an increasingly consumerist society, they, for the most part, became the producers and distributors of ‘culture’, well paid but politically irrelevant. However collusive


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relationships between the state and particular upper-­middle-­class professions (such as medicine and pharmacy) have been reflected in restricting entry to university courses in these areas, thus increasing remuneration for such graduates. Hence the relationship between the state and academics is complex and contextual. In writing about the state, the relationship between it and class has typically been privileged, and both have been depicted as gender neutral (Daly, 1994; O’Riain and O’Connell, 2000; Peillon, 1995). MacKinnon (1989) and Ferguson (1984) have seen the state as inevitably patriarchal. On the other hand, Connell (1994: 163) sees it as historically patriarchal, and thus invites speculation about the conditions under which it is more or less so. The state has also been seen as one of the dominant sites of public patriarchy (Walby, 1990). Brown (1992) suggested that one of the modalities of state power was its ability to define what policies are in the national interest. For Franzway et al. (1989: 18), state control operates ‘as much through the production of dominant “discourses” … as it does through naked force’. In advanced capitalist countries, the higher echelons of the ideological apparatuses are likely to be under male control (Connell, 1987). The state, of course, is not a monolithic structure, so different elements may act in different ways, and with different priorities, at different times (Daly, 1994; O’Connor 2008a). Universities, like the state, can be seen as bureaucracies in the Weberian (1968) sense (i.e. characterized by a specialized division of labour; a hierarchy of authority; formal rules and procedures and an appointment system that is ostensibly open, transparent and uninfluenced by personal or family considerations, class, gender or ethnicity). For Kanter (1993), operating within a discourse of bureaucratic rationality, the problem of gender inequality is an individual one. However, there is a good deal of evidence that bureaucracies are in fact gendered organizations (Brooks, 2001; Cockburn, 1991; Collinson and Hearn, 1996; Deem et al., 2008) and that once we accept ‘that staff bring their personal interests into organizations and that these shape the way they discharge their functions, we must also accept that gendered perceptions, practices and attitudes will be present too’ (Halford, 1992: 172). However there is no agreement on whether bureaucracies are inevitably or historically gendered (Acker, 1990; Ferguson, 1984; Witz and Savage, 1992). Universities, as bureaucratic structures, like states, have historically been hierarchically male dominated: ‘Academia appears to be one sphere in which men and masculinity are locked into one another in ways that, whether or not by intention, exclude or marginalise women and femininity’ (Knights and Richards, 2003: 229). The practices that are culturally legitimated as ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ are those where male privileging and masculinity is seen as normal, as is women’s subordinate position and lack of ‘recognition’ (Frazer, 2008a). ‘Gender is thus practiced within a power context that amplifies its toxic

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aspects for women’ with the ‘concerted – or joint, practicing of masculinities by men at work’ being particularly harmful to women (Yancey Martin, 2006: 268). Of course some women may be included at the higher organizational levels (not least to increase its perceived legitimacy), and however carefully screened, these may not perpetuate the status quo. Some men may also begin to transform the system by refusing to defend it. However, although Savage (1992: 130) anticipated that women would increasingly occupy positions of expertise (based on their educational level and skills), he was pessimistic about the extent to which women would be allowed access to the most senior management positions, since he saw them as crucial for the reproduction of male power. The relationship between the universities, the state and the market is complex. However, the universities and the state are gendered institutions in which positions of power have, historically, if not inevitably, been held by men. Universities and market processes A number of processes have been identified as having an impact on higher education internationally, many of them reflecting the influence of neo-­liberalism (Allen, 2007; Brooks, 2001; Gallager, 2012; Grummell et al., 2007; Lynch et al., 2012) including corporatization, marketization, commercialization and commodification. The state’s tacit support for these processes has played an important part in affecting the current shape of higher education. Corporatization involves universities being seen as very similar to other large businesses, and as such being expected to earn a greater proportion of their revenue from the market (Bostock, 1999; Giroux, 2002). This process is frequently seen as interrelated with commercialization, marketization and the commodification of knowledge (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007; Slaughter and Rhoades, 2010). These processes have been seen as undermining the meaning and purpose of the university as an institution; weakening the student–teacher relationship; ridiculing the involvement of academic staff and students in the governance of the university; distorting research activity; increasing the levels of casualization among teaching staff and depicting students as customers. They also legitimize the pursuit of economic self-­interest by students and staff (Harkavy, 2006: 14) and foster a narrow instrumental approach to education (Bok, 2003). Global league tables reflect the global marketization and commercialization of higher education (Marginson, 2007b). They have been presented as informing international students, governments, private investors, academic and industrial partners and employers (although this has been challenged: Hazelkorn, 2007). Two of the earliest were the Shanghai Jiao Tong Institute of Higher Education (SJTIHE) and the Times Higher Education–Quacquarelli Symonds (THE–QS) ranking schemas, with the latter separating in 2010 into two ranking schemas (THE and QS). The SJTIHE is one of the most extreme of


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these ranking schemas, in so far as it focuses only on research-­related indicators, so that its rankings are not overall university rankings at all, unless one accepts that research is the only purpose of universities. THE and QS both include (albeit in different formats) a substantial reputational element, thus encouraging a concern ‘with the status of the institution, rather than with what is learned’ (Marginson, 2007a: 140). Both also include teaching related elements (staff/student ratio accounting for 20 per cent of the mark on the QS, but only 4.5 per cent on THE). Both also include a narrow measure of impact, which focuses only on citations in peer-­reviewed journals on the web of science. These schemas are linked to commercial interests (such as the journal publishers, Thomson Reuters) who favour journal research output, and hence underestimate wider societal impacts (Hazelkorn, 2007, 2009; Lynch, 2006; Marginson, 2007a). All of these ranking systems, to varying degrees, operate with a bias towards science and technology, because of their focus on the citation of journal articles in the web of science, exclude all books, and a very substantial proportion of other publications in arts and literature, education and most social sciences. They also privilege articles published in English, relative to other languages. Such ranking schemas implicitly validate a particular concept of higher education and a very narrow definition of knowledge. Furthermore, by implicitly or explicitly validating the importance of peer scientists rather than the general public as stakeholders, they ultimately reduce public support for university funding (Benschop and Brouns, 2003). Such measures also reflect and reinforce the transformation of higher education into a marketable commodity. In the latter context, a focus on choice is illusory, since it is conditional on the availability of resources to access such education. Other effects include restricting the sharing of publicly funded knowledge by confidentiality agreements with industry (Bostok, 1999; Slaughter and Rhoades, 2010) and legitimating the breaching of organizational pay scales so as to attract and retain ‘stars’ in what are seen as strategically significant (and typically male dominated) disciplines, in the context of overall high levels of casualization among teaching staff (for example, 40–50 per cent in Australian universities: Blackmore, 2011: 454; Coates et al., 2009). Where education is commodified and has a narrow instrumental focus, the unique contribution of public universities is harder to identify. New schemas have been developed in response to such critiques, including one exclusively focused on reputation; on new universities; and one which identifies particular areas of strength (QS Stars); as well as those which depict university profiles in a non-­ hierarchical way (U-­Map; van Vught, 2011). These enable individual universities to portray themselves positively but seem unlikely to erode what are seen as the more prestigious global ranking systems. The commercialization of higher education is not new, what is new is

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its ‘pace, intensity and moral legitimacy’ (Blackmore, 2002: 423). O’Sullivan (2005: 170 and 174) suggested that a ‘mercantile’ concept of education (i.e. which had ‘trade/exchange’ at its core) has been characteristic of the Irish educational system since the 1990s (replacing a theocratic paradigm, one ‘that had God at its centre’). A neo-­liberal state may effectively erode public universities’ monopoly over credentials as a way of reducing public expenditure on higher education, through its support of private institutions (O’Carroll, 2008; Carvalho, 2011). Such patterns are beginning to be evident in Ireland. In summary, the corporatization of public universities and the commodification and marketization of knowledge are international processes. In an Irish context they grafted easily on to an existing ‘mercantile’ concept of education (O’Sullivan, 2005), one that is increasingly strongly endorsed by the state. The state and the market: the demand for higher education Universities are involved with ‘consumer markets in which they find students’ (Clark, 2008: 509). However, educational markets are at best ‘quasi’ or ‘hybrid’ markets, since they are ‘both produced by and responded to by the state’ through its educational policies (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007: 40 and 41). This is reflected in the ambiguous position of higher education, as part of the economic and/or political system (Walby, 2009: 235 and 259). Increased access to higher education is a virtually global phenomenon, with roughly 20 per cent of the global cohort in higher education. Within western society, increased access can be seen as reflecting a number of phenomena, such as the development of binary structures of higher education; few restrictions on the numbers admitted to higher education, and increased access by women (Meyer et al., 2007). These processes, and their implications as regards the nature and purpose of higher education, have been little discussed (Shattock, 2006; Trow 2010). The Irish state has effectively facilitated the movement from what, in Trow’s (2010) terms, can be described as an elite system of higher education in 1960s Ireland (when 5 per cent of 18-­year-­olds were admitted) to the beginnings of a mass system in 1980 (when 20 per cent of the cohort were admitted) to a universal system in 2010 (when 65 per cent of the cohort were admitted to higher education: DES, 2011: 31). The state target is for this to rise to 72 per cent by 2020 (HEA, 2004). The emergence of such a universal system is not peculiar to Ireland. Thus, across the EU (as in Ireland), roughly three fifths of young adults are now expected to enter university level programmes. This reflects dramatic changes since 2000: in most EU countries the increase has been 15 per cent, while in Ireland it has been even greater (i.e. 24 per cent: OECD, 2012a: 18). Thus whereas in 1980 there were under 15,000 new entrants to full-­time undergraduate higher education in Ireland, by 2009 this had increased almost threefold, with the increase in the numbers in the universities being even


Management and gender in higher education

greater (HEA, 2011). In Ireland in 2011, 46 per cent of those aged 25–34 years have third level educational qualifications (CSO, 2012a), as compared with 30 per cent in 2000 (CSO, 2011c). This is considerably higher than the EU27 average (34 per cent). In Ireland, as across the EU, there is a gender difference, with women being more likely than men to have a third level qualification (53 per cent versus 38 per cent in the case of women and 39 per cent versus 29 per cent in the case of men: CSO, 2012a) In Ireland, for the overwhelming majority, these qualifications are at least at degree level. As has been the case internationally, the Irish state’s decision to create a binary system has been critical in increasing access. In Ireland, this development reflected a desire to create a different kind of higher educational institution. The institutes of technology (IoTs: then regional technical colleges) were created in the early 1970s with the idea that they would have a more applied and more regional focus, and that in such a context they would be particularly concerned with the provision of short courses, involving technical knowledge, directed towards meeting the employment and economic development needs of their local areas (McCoy and Smyth, 2011; White, 2001). It was anticipated that they would provide terminal courses of two or three year certificates/ diplomas, although the possibility that they might become ‘feeder institutions’ to universities has emerged occasionally since then. However, unlike the United States’ community colleges, the Irish IoTs effectively refused to have their institutional aspirations ‘cooled out’ (Clark, 2008: 33). Support for their development, at the political level, arose from the fact that the presence of such institutions was an important contributor to the local economy. Thus, it was such pragmatic considerations, rather than a concern with the development of active citizenship, that facilitated the emergence of a highly ambitious binary system in Ireland. Broadly similar political pressures led to the creation of two national institutes of higher education (which were subsequently awarded full university status by the state i.e. the University of Limerick and Dublin City University). Thus, Ireland with a population of 4.58 million people now has seven publicly funded universities, as well as fourteen IoTs. This level of provision is not unusual in countries with high levels of participation and scattered populations (such as, for example, New Zealand or even Sweden). In such circumstances it can be seen as a way of making higher education more accessible and affordable and stimulating local economies. In Ireland there has been direct and indirect pressures to encourage regional cooperation if not outright consolidation (such as van Vught, 2012) ostensibly in the interests of improved global rankings and greater economy (although the possibility that such consolidation would facilitate greater state control and more hierarchical structures cannot be eliminated). DiMaggio and Powell (1983) suggest that where goals are unclear, where there is dependence on a single source of support and high levels of uncertainty,

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organizations come to resemble one another, even if there is no evidence that this increases organizational efficiency. Over time, the IoTs have begun to resemble universities in the breadth and level of their programmes. Increased structural homogeneity was also driven by the Bologna Process (Meyer et al., 2007). A particularly important element in this process, in an Irish context, was the conversion of virtually all three year diplomas in IoTs to (pass) degrees. Academic standards achieved by students at admission (as reflected in state examinations) are typically lower on most IoTs courses, than on similar university ones. However, since the IoTs have, traditionally, had better staff/student ratios than the universities, they have been able to provide remedial support. Traditionally, they had a less developed research profile than the universities, but competitive funding through the Higher Educational Authority (HEA) as well as an aggressive entrepreneurial approach to postgraduate recruitment, has begun to transform this in some IoTs. Thus, weak control by the state has facilitated their ‘mission drift’ and they have increasingly modelled themselves on the universities, with the development of a spread of programmes in non-­ technical areas, as well as increasing numbers of postgraduate students, including Ph.D.s (Hazelkorn and Massaro, 2011). Like the universities, IoTs are now predominantly funded by the state and are now, with the universities, under the remit of the HEA. Criteria for awarding IoTs technological university status have been published (Marginson, 2012) and although they are rigorous and sit uneasily with the IoTs’ broad disciplinary focus, it appears that the IoTs, individually and collectively, have an appetite for such recognition. In the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, the sheer size of the higher educational pool, as well as a tradition of ranking has facilitated some degree of diversification among them. In Ireland this process has been strongly resisted to date. Implicit in discussions of this (DES, 2011), is the idea that elite universities will be identified, who are likely to receive the bulk of state funding and who will have a research and teaching brief. In this context the majority of the non-­elite universities, like the IoTs, are likely to be largely teaching-­only institutions. The van Vught (2012) report, made this explicit and recommended that University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin be combined at some level into the only Irish elite university. The second factor that has affected the movement to what, in Trow’s (2010) terms, is a universal system of higher education in Ireland, has been the absence of state restrictions on the total numbers admitted to higher education (although restrictions do exist in particular professional areas, such as medicine and dentistry; while individual organizations may limit admissions in other areas, in an attempt to maintain academic standards). In a context where politics are clientelistic and local, and where unemployment and emigration is a regular feature of life, restricting the numbers accessing higher education would be extremely unpopular politically.


Management and gender in higher education

The third factor which can be seen as associated with the movement from an elite to universal higher educational system is girls’ participation in higher education. Traditionally, in Ireland, in a predominantly rural patriarchal society, where keeping the name on the land was important, boys got the land and girls got an education. However, up to the 1980s, despite girls’ higher rate of retention and better academic performance at second level, they were under-­ represented in higher education. The focus of the IoTs on areas that were predominantly male dominated, could have favoured male students and hence, inadvertently, restricted women’s access. However the IoTs responded to student need by a ‘growing feminisation of courses’ (McCoy and Smyth, 2011: 247). Girls were also the unwitting beneficiaries of the Central Applications Admission system which (with the exception of medicine) has continued to determine access to courses, based on state examination results. Thus, despite the absence of any policies encouraging girls’ participation in higher education, under this system girls account for 54 per cent of the new entrants to universities and 43 per cent of the new entrants to IoTs (CSO, 2011a). In the UK there have been concerns about the effect of increases in student intake on the lowering of academic standards, among worsening staff/student ratios and reductions in funding (Morley, 1999), combined with implicit concerns about the erosion of elite power, in a context where ‘outsiders’ may outperform ‘insiders’. This has been depicted as the ‘feminisation of higher education’, and has been a source of moral panic. In the UK, such anxieties have been linked with concerns about an increasing focus on ‘emotion and feelings’ at the expense of ‘more masculinist rational kinds of experiences’ (Leathwood and Read, 2009: 21). In Ireland, girls’ high educational achievements pose challenges to a society which purports to be meritocratic but where all the main institutional structures remain male dominated (O’Connor, 2000a). This tension was reflected in the failure by the HEA, university management and the university medical schools to consider the gender implications of using a gendered instrument (Health Professions Admission Test-­Ireland: HPAT; and Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test: GAMSAT) to select entrants to medical schools (Lynch, 2009). Indeed, some of the directors of the medical schools publicly stated their hope that its use would ensure that more young men would be admitted. Internationally, boys tend to do better than girls at mathematics, although this varies between countries (the size of this gap favouring boys is not as wide as the gap favouring girls on reading: OECD, 2012c). In this context, the introduction of 25 bonus points for honours mathematics in the Irish final state examination, can be seen as gendered, since boys have traditionally been more likely to take this subject at this level (although this gap has been narrowing over time, as teaching became available and attitudes changed: Cullen, 1987). In 2012, in the final state examination, there was very little gender difference in

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the proportions taking honours mathematics or getting an honours grade (Mc Mahon, 2012). Thus if the introduction of such points reflected an attempt to advantage boys, it failed. In so far as it reflected a valorization of areas where male achievement has traditionally been higher, it can be seen as a reflection of masculinism, an ‘ideology that naturalises and justifies men’s domination over women’ (Kerfoot and Knights, 1993: 661). The proposal that honours science be necessary for admission to primary teacher training, in a context where boys remain more likely than girls to study a range of science subjects, can be seen as reflecting similar attitudes. In Ireland participation in higher education has reached universal level (Trow, 2010). The implications of this have been little discussed. The fact that such participation levels reflect the increased participation of women has also been ignored. The university, the market and individual students: fees The most obvious reflection of a changed relationship between the universities and the state, in an Irish context, is the increased focus on the importance of alternative sources of funding including student contributions, funding from philanthropy and from industrial/commercial sources. Internationally and nationally, there has been increasing pressure for some kind of individual student contribution. This can be located in the context of the depiction of higher education as a ‘private good’. In Ireland, this issue was raised before the current economic recession, but is now occurring more frequently in the context of further substantial increases in student numbers. In Ireland in the university sector, prior to 1996, undergraduate students paid fees, although students from lower income families received grants, and higher income families got a tax refund through a covenant scheme (at the top marginal tax rate: McCoy and Smyth, 2011). In the IoTs (previously regional technical colleges), students who were attending various courses had their fees subsidized by the European Structural Fund (White, 2001). The abolition of fees for undergraduates in 1997 reflected an attempt to increase access to higher education, in a context where higher education was seen as a key element in the creation of a knowledge economy. Fees were, and still are, paid by part-­time students as well as postgraduates (with students and their parents contributing over 13 per cent of total university income in 2010: DES, 2011). The introduction by higher educational institutions of (initially a very modest) student registration fee, was an Irish solution, avoiding the official introduction of undergraduate fees, while still providing a source of revenue. However, the level of undergraduate student contributions currently far exceeds the fee levels in many European countries, and is expected to reach €3, 000 per annum by 2014–15. The proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on higher education


Management and gender in higher education

in Ireland is exactly the same as in the United States. The proportion of higher education funding provided by public sources in Ireland is broadly similar to the EU. However, even in 2004, during the Celtic Tiger era, with a higher education participation rate of 55 per cent, total funding on Irish higher education (including both public and private) was below both the EU and the OECD average: with expenditure per student being almost 16 per cent below the top OECD quartile when research funding was excluded, and 28 per cent below it when it was included (DES, 2011). Over the 2007–11 period, the proportion of total university income provided by the state fell from 70 per cent to 65 per cent, reflecting both a reduction in the state contribution, and an increase in the non-­state element (including an 82 per cent increase in students’ contributions). Assuming that the student contribution continues to rise, there will still be net gap of approximately 20 per cent in funding per student in 2014–15, as compared with 2007–08 (IUA, 2012). Reductions in core state funding, per student, has coincided with rising student numbers. It is impossible to say to what extent such increases are related to the abolition of fees for undergraduate students in 1997. In any case, the number of full-­time students in higher education increased by over one third between 1996/97 and 2005/06, with real expenditure per student increasing by less than 1 per cent (CSO, 2007). Between 2002–11 real expenditure per third level student decreased by 14 per cent, while the number of full-­time undergraduate students increased by twice that amount (i.e. 29 per cent: CSO, 2012a). Furthermore, under the Employment Control Framework (2008–12), overseen by the HEA, the total number of core funded staff in public universities has fallen by just under 10 per cent (IUA, 2012). Thus, the expansion in the numbers of young people accessing higher education has occurred in the context of dramatically reduced resources, including a fall in staff numbers, with its impact only partly mitigated by transferring the cost from the state to the individual student. This combination of increased student numbers and deceased resources has meant that core funding per student by the state even over the period 2007–11, fell by 56 per cent (IUA, 2012). This is not unrelated to the pressure within universities to recruit international students and/or (fee paying) postgraduate students so as to provide additional sources of revenue (Gallagher, 2012). The National Strategy for Higher Education (DES, 2011) recommended adopting the (1992) Australian higher education deferred individual contributions scheme (called the HECS: Blackmore and Sachs, 2007). The Australian experience shows that a very high proportion of student loans have not been repaid for various reasons, with students from working-­class backgrounds being disproportionately represented among those who drop out completely if they have to resit examinations (Willis, 2011). There is evidence that working-­ class young people may be more averse to accumulating debts than their

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middle-­class counterparts (McCoy and Smyth, 2011). Mature students (who are predominantly women) are unlikely to prioritize their own educational needs over those of their children, with implications as regards the impact of such schemes on their participation in higher education. Furthermore, student contributions typically only represent a small percentage of the underlying costs of public higher education (6.5 per cent in the University of California: Gumport and Prosser, 1995). The introduction of tuition fees did not ameliorate the funding crisis in higher education in other countries, although it did increase state control over it (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2010). There is no reason to expect that a different pattern would emerge in Ireland, where, given the current recession, such contributions are highly likely to be used to replace state funding. The changing relationship between the university, the state and the market in Ireland is apparent in the perceived need to access non-­state sources of funding for higher education. These are likely to have little impact in a context where funding from all sources, even in the Celtic Tiger era, was below the EU and OECD average.

Excellence and merit in higher education: unproblematic realities? Increasingly the definition of excellence and merit is seen as gendered. It is sobering to reflect that: ‘conceptions of knowledge and truth, accepted and articulated today, have been shaped throughout history by a male-­dominated majority culture’ (Mavin and Bryans, 2002: 237). Universities, even today, are predominantly male dominated institutions internationally: ‘gender inequalities in academia appear to be persistent and global phenomena’ (Husu, 2001a: 172). Nevertheless, universities are perceived as meritocratic institutions: ‘A central obstacle to cultural change in academia is the belief that knowledge is decontextualized, and constructed and communicated with impartial power and authority’ (Morley, 1997: 232). However, it is now recognized that research that is gender blind ‘may often be bad science or of limited value’ (Mavin and Bryans, 2002: 247; genSET, 2009). The idea that ‘gender equality is good for scientific quality’ (Pollitzer, 2011: 101), is literally unthinkable in many universities, where effectively scientific excellence is sacrificed to ‘the indirect advantages currently being provided to men’ (Rees, 2011: 142). The insidious nature of biases in scientific judgements was demonstrated by Wenneras and Wold’s (1997: 1) Swedish study, where peer reviewers were shown to overestimate men’s achievements, and to underestimate women’s ones. Thus, the most productive women applicants were the only group of women who were judged to be as competent as the least productive men, leading them to conclude that ‘a female applicant had to be 2.5 times more productive than the average male applicant to receive the same [scientific]


Management and gender in higher education

competence score as he’ (Wenneras and Wold, 1997: 3). Even where applicants had similar scientific qualifications and publications, men’s applications were more likely to be labelled excellent. This differential evaluation of men and women was most likely to occur in areas where women were well established. Assessments of competence were also affected by affiliation with a committee member (despite rules that those who had such contacts could not participate in the scoring of these applicants). These trends have been supported by those emerging in experimental studies, which showed that men use double standards in evaluating identical curriculum vitaes with male and female names (Foschi et al., 1994; Foschi, 1996, 2006). Thus in situations where the male candidate was objectively better, the man was chosen more often by other men, than when the woman was objectively the better candidate. In situations when both sexes had achieved the same objective level of performance, double standards continued to be applied by men, with women being held to a higher level of competence than men: reflecting their perceived lower status and its inconsistency with their performance. Bias was heightened where there was little accountability. In addition systematic gender differences emerged in letters of recommendation written for men and women, with a higher percentage of the letters about women being very short and including twice as many ‘doubt raisers’ as similar letters written on behalf of men (Trix and Psenka, 2003: 215). Such studies again highlight, albeit from a different perspective, the extent to which (unconscious) gender bias exists. The relationship between educational achievement and power bases (such as class position and gender) are typically ignored in Ireland, in a context where definitions of excellence and merit have been seen as entirely unproblematic (Drudy and Lynch, 1993; O’Dowd, 1996). Even naming this as the issue is inhibited by consensualism (i.e. the tendency to resist the identification of ideological conflict and hence avoid facing the structural reality of power: Lynch, 1987). It is also inhibited by other legitimating ideologies such as meritocratic individualism (i.e. the idea that individuals who have innate intelligence, and who make the effort, deserve to be rewarded: IQ + effort = merit). Individually and collectively such ideologies reinforce a complacent endorsement of privilege, whether based on class or gender. Changing the gender profile of universities has long been on the agenda of the EU (EU, 2000, 2002, 2004a, 2009a, 2012a); various national and cross-­ national structures (such as the Hansard Society 1990; Universities Australia (UA), 2010; League of University Research Universities, 2012) as well as individual universities (Maher and Tetrault, 2007; MIT, 1999). Evidence about the lack of transparency in recruitment and promotion processes in universities has been an important element in challenging assumptions about meritocracy, in a context where the proportion of women professors across the EU is just

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under 20 per cent (EU, 2009b): the range being from 9 per cent in Luxembourg to 37 per cent in Switzerland (EU, 2012b). Successive EU reports have documented the persistence of gendered patterns: ‘whatever the discipline, whatever the country and whatever the rank, men are selected disproportionately to their number in the base recruitment pool’ (Rees, 2011: 135). The kinds of processes involved have been illustrated by work on the Netherlands, where men hold almost six times more professorships than women, and where almost two thirds of all professorial posts are not recruited through open competition (Benschop and Brouns 2003; van den Brink et al., 2010). Even where such positions are publicly advertised, the definition of the expertise required, and the procedures involved are frequently used to facilitate the appointment of a favoured candidate. Similarly, the United States Association of the Science Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (2007) concluded that women are disadvantaged by evaluation criteria that are biased and contain arbitrary and subjective components. The likelihood of appointing women increased, as processes became more transparent and committees more gender balanced (van den Brink and Benschop 2012). Implicit in the concept of merit and excellence in a university is the idea that individual careers are based on demonstrable qualifications and competencies, rather than on family connections, friendships, networks, class, gender or ethnicity. Criteria of excellence have typically been presented as neutral and objective, with the slowness of women’s career progression, and the fact that they typically earn less than men being attributed to women’s ‘deficiencies’ and priorities. However, whereas academic achievements predict men’s salary history, they do not do so for women, implicitly suggesting that ‘merit, as it has been defined and measured in academe, intertwines aspects of gender and privileges males’ (Krefting, 2003: 272). Gendered practices operating in recruitment boards include a focus on quantity rather than quality of candidates’ research output (although even in terms of quantity, the gap between men and women’s research output is reducing, with the remaining gap being explained by differential access to resources: Xie and Shauman, 1998). It is reflected in the implicit endorsement of (male defined) appropriate age ranges for positions, and the undervaluing of teaching and management skills (van den Brink and Benschop, 2011). Assessments of research excellence are frequently based on citation rates that favour (hard) science, an area of predominantly male employment. Such metrics are not gender neutral. Women are likely to receive a much lower share of citations than their male counterparts. In particular, male authors are less likely to refer to publications by women (Ferber, 1988). Furthermore, although references by both men and women authors to publications by women is increasing, gender differences in the citations of men and women authors is also increasing, leading Hakanson (2005: 321) to conclude that such trends


Management and gender in higher education

could be seen as ‘part of the social stratification system of science and contradict central scientific principles such as objectivity’. Thus there is considerable international evidence that challenges assumptions about apparently objective measures of excellence and merit. This is seen as an important backdrop to understanding universities and senior management’s role in them.

Irish universities: their positioning and gender profile The National Strategy for Higher Education (DES, 2011: 110) concludes that the current higher educational system in Ireland ‘when benchmarked against the OECD, is delivering above average outcomes at funding levels that are slightly below average’. Ireland is ranked second highest of 28 countries (including the EU, Japan and the United States) in the international peer review of graduate quality (DES, 2011: 40 and 41). It is ranked eighth out of 28 countries in terms of research publications per 1,000 inhabitants, and is in the top-­20 list for citations in all fields (DES, 2011: 37). Marginson’s (2007a) formula for calculating a country’s share of the worlds’ economic capacity, taking into account its gross national income (GNI) and its population, showed that Ireland with 0.4 per cent of the world’s economic capacity could be expected to have 1.5 per cent of the top ranked 500 universities. The criteria used in such ranking schemas are reflected in the ranks assigned to Irish universities. However, in 2012–13, five of the seven Irish public universities were in the top 400 on the THE and QS ranking systems (with the other universities being in the top new 100 universities in the world). In Ireland, as elsewhere, the percentage of women academic staff in universities has increased. Thus whereas only 20 per cent of academic staff were women in 1993, this had increased to 41 per cent by 2012 (HEA, 2012). Full professorial status (in European terms) is widely seen as a necessary prerequisite for accessing academic senior management positions. In a cross-­ national study Ireland had the lowest proportion of women at professorial level (Goransson, 2011). More recent data shows that in Ireland, 18 per cent of those at (full) professorial level are women (HEA, 2012), similar to that at European level (EU, 2013: 20 per cent). Explanations at the level of the individual are challenged by the substantial variation on this dimension between Irish universities (see Chapter 4). Within the Irish university system, salaries for the most part operate within publicly defined scales, although there has been pressure within some universities to ‘head hunt’ and appoint ‘stars’, and pay them outside the normal categories. Furthermore, predominantly male academic employment areas (such as parts of science, engineering and technology) typically recruit at a higher level, than areas where more women are employed (such as humanities and the

The big picture


social sciences). This is justified on various grounds including the differential importance of such disciplines to the ‘national interest’. Even in the same field, with equivalent levels of experience and productivity, there is evidence that women were paid 9 per cent less than their male counterparts (Leathwood and Read, 2009). No equivalent work has been undertaken on the Irish university sector, since Ruane and Dobson’s (1990) study, which showed that, controlling for a variety of factors (including academic discipline, qualifications, research output, teaching, administrative experience, career breaks, etc.) women academics were paid 10 per cent less than their male counterparts. However, in Ireland, the pay gap among full-­time employees, is highest at the top of the income distribution (i.e. the gap being 25 per cent in the top 10 per cent of earners, compared with 4 per cent in the bottom 10 per cent: OECD, 2012c). The privileging of male top earners is consistent with the differential treatment of men and women graduates within five years of graduation (Russell et al., 2005). Internationally, the overwhelming majority of those who head up higher educational institutions are men. Across the EU, 16 per cent of those who do so are women with only 10 per cent of those heading up universities across the EU being women (EU, 2013). In the UK, women constitute less than 15 per cent of those in an equivalent position (Burkinshaw, 2012). The proportion of women at this level varies considerably between countries. It is lowest in Ireland and Luxembourg (zero) (EU, 2012a). Indeed in Ireland no public university has ever had a woman president, whereas over the past ten years between one-­fifth and one-­third of those in a similar position in Australian universities have been women, as have over half of those in a similar position in Swedish universities (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). However, in Ireland, women constitute 21 per cent of those in the equivalent position in the IoTs. This reflects a wider EU pattern, where the proportion of women at the very top is lower in the universities than in other institutions of higher education (EU, 2013). This is consistent with a perception of universities as having higher status: perceived status being associated with the greater likelihood of men holding the most senior position (Blackmore, 2002; Leathwood and Read, 2009). In this study, the focus is on those in the senior management group (including those at presidential, vice presidential and dean/executive director level). Drawing on a web-­based study as well as the interview data, it was found that women constitute 19 per cent of those in such management group (20 per cent in 2005–06: Lynch et al., 2012). This proportion varied between Irish universities (from zero in National University of Ireland Maynooth; to 33 per cent in Dublin City University (see Chapter 4)). Such variation implicitly underlines the importance of organizational factors and challenges individual essentialist explanations revolving around women’s caring responsibilities. In summary, universities are male dominated internationally, with


Management and gender in higher education

variation between and within countries challenging individualistic explanations of such phenomena.

Summary This book is concerned with higher education and the gendered world of senior management in universities. The latter are, at least in financial terms, a privileged group. Their decisions and priorities have implications for the organizations they lead, and particularly for their staff and students. They are less powerful in relation to the state and the market, both of which impinge on higher education in increasingly complex ways. Their gender profile (being overwhelmingly male) differs strikingly from that of their students. This book is concerned with the processes through which institutions of higher education reproduce themselves in gendered terms, in a societal context increasingly dominated by neo-­liberal processes. In this chapter senior management was located in a wider context so as to facilitate an understanding of its challenges. First, then the nature of the university as an institution was explored. Thus although universities are typically concerned with teaching, research and community service, these components have been differentially defined and valued in different societal contexts and at different times, as universities ally themselves with different power holders. In Ireland, universities are valued by the state for their perceived ability to contribute to the economy, a perception that preceded the Celtic Tiger, and one that is increasingly common globally, raising interesting questions about the extent and source of global convergence. The Irish state’s main focus has been on the need to diversify funding sources to meet the cost of higher education. The apparent absence of undergraduate fees in Ireland is illusory since student contributions, which although modest initially, are now considerably larger than fees in many other EU countries, and are effectively being used as a substitute for state funding. Second, in a neo-­liberal global context, dominated by corporatization, commodification and marketization, higher education is increasingly seen as a private rather than a public good, effectively a commodity. In that context, there is a particular focus on disciplines that are of short-­term value to the market, with the state increasingly ‘steering from a distance’ (Marginson, 1997) rather than being a provider of higher education. Paradoxically since higher education has never been valued in Ireland as an aspect of citizenship, access is effectively universal (Trow, 2010). This has been facilitated by the development of a binary higher educational system; by the general absence of numerical limits on those participating in it; by the admission of girls, and at least potentially by the absence of undergraduate fees. The majority of student enrolments are at universities, and most of those who enter higher education graduate with at least a degree, potentially reducing the personal return they can expect on

The big picture


that degree. IoTs have come to increasingly resemble universities, in a context where the HEA has tolerated mission drift. Girls’ educational achievements sit uneasily in a traditionally patriarchal society, where educational achievement has been seen as legitimating privilege and as an indicator of merit. Third, the concepts of excellence and merit have been problematized. Both universities and the state are bureaucracies, and as such are historically if not inevitably male dominated. It is suggested that although universities see themselves as meritocratic institutions, the definition of merit reflects and facilitates the continuity of such male dominated structures. There has been relatively little attention paid to the universities as ‘social institutions where gender is “done”’ (Benschop and Brouns, 2003: 195). It would seem highly improbable that patterns that have been documented in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States would not exist here. Fourth, this chapter illustrates the rapidity, the recentness and the sheer extent of change that is occurring in Ireland. From a context where women were very unlikely to access higher education, they now constitute the majority (54 per cent) of those going to universities; with a half of the professionals and one third of the managers in the wider society being women. Women’s higher educational level is related to their participation in paid employment, and this has increased exponentially. Ireland’s rank on gender-­related indices has continuously been below its rank on human development, with both the Celtic Tiger and the current economic collapse being used by the state to justify disinterest in gender. Fifth, women are unrepresented in the most senior management group in Irish universities, reflecting and reinforcing the equation of power with masculinity and the gendered nature of such institutions. There are a number of ‘master narratives’ about the key issues facing higher education, including those presented by marketization, corporatization and commodification (Gumport, 2007a). However, more fundamental questions need to be asked about universities as gendered institutions and about the implications of universal higher education for the individual, the society and the state.

Structure of the book In Chapter 2 the core concepts and the methodology are outlined – with a particular focus on two interpretative frames: a (multilevel) concept of gender including structural concerns related to access to power as well as a cultural focus on organizational narratives, interactional perceptions and stereotypes in the context of gendered selves; and collegiality/managerialism, reflecting the wider impact of neo-­liberal forces, with a focus on the centralization of power, access to it and the bases for its legitimacy. Chapter 3 locates the study in a wider policy context: focusing on a number of key issues including


Management and gender in higher education

i­nstrumentality; (narrow) scientization and degendering. Chapter 4 explores the centralization of power and access to that power, the similarities and differences between collegial and managerial structures being reflected in the metaphors of gentleman’s club and medieval court. Chapter 5 explores gendered organizational culture, particularly focusing on narratives explaining women’s under-­representation in managerial positions. Chapter 6 focuses on stereotypes as reflected in management characteristics and styles, while Chapter 7 looks at the experience of being in senior management, with a particular focus on interactional perceptions as well as the advantages, disadvantages and acceptable/ unacceptable costs. Chapter 8 contains the summary and conclusions.

2 Finding a compass and mapping the terrain

Introduction In Ireland, with the exception of work by a small number of authors (such as Devine, Grummell, Hazelkorn, Linehan, Lynch, O’Sullivan) relatively little research has been undertaken on higher education. This is surprising, given the recent dramatic increase in access to it. It is also surprising given the state’s perception of the importance of higher education and its assumed relationship to economic growth. It is unclear to what extent this neglect reflects its uneasy position in the academy, straddling as it does the fields of sociology, education and business (Gumport, 2007a). Indeed, Deem (2004) questioned whether there was a field called the sociology of higher education at all, although there is well established tradition of cross-­national research in the area, with Clark (1983) early identifying some of the key issues. However, gender appears not to have been institutionalized as ‘a worthwhile research topic’ in large areas of higher education research (Gumport 2007a: 336). Thus, for example, Scott (2011), in outlining the long revolution in higher education, made no reference at all to gender, despite the fact that the explanation for at least part of its transformation from an elite to a universal system reflects the presence of women students, with similar processes being evident at faculty level. In this book, in contrast, gender is seen as a potentially key framework, with collegiality/managerialism being an alternative framework for understanding the lives and experiences of senior managers. Concepts related to these frameworks are outlined in this chapter. The methodology used, the sample and the data analysis are also described.

Gender-­related concepts Building on Wharton’s (2012) and Risman’s (2004) integrative approaches, gender is seen as potentially operating at multiple levels. Within an o ­ rganizational context, in structural terms, it is explored by looking at gender differences in


Management and gender in higher education

access to power; while at a cultural level, it can be seen as reflected in gendered narratives explaining the absence of women in senior positions. However, a key element in the perspective adopted in this book is that gender has a reality at other levels. Thus, at an individual level, gendered selves are constructed within a particular society and these may be reflected in gendered organizational narratives depicting women as ‘the problem’. Gender also has a potential reality at the interactional perceptual level, being reflected in a process of ‘Othering’. In addition, cultural beliefs or stereotypes about men and women, and their relationship with organizational power exist, and these are reflected in and reinforced by the wider societal allocation of power and resources. This multilayered nature of gender can at first glance underline the difficulty of initiating change. However, that very complexity also offers possibilities in that change may occur at any one of these levels. This multilevel approach to gender is located in a wider conceptual context. Thus at a structural level, the concept of patriarchy is briefly explored, recognizing its limitations and strengths, relating it to the gender order, inequality regimes and intersectionality. At the cultural level, key concepts related to gendered selves, narratives, stereotyping and othering are then explored. Patriarchy, gender orders, inequality regimes and intersectionality Patriarchy has been variously defined: a key element being the structural reality of male power and its use to marginalize, oppress or exploit women. Thus Walby (1990: 20) saw patriarchy ‘as a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate, oppress and exploit women’. For Hartmann (1981), women’s position is one of inequality and subordination: a material phenomenon, produced by two social systems, patriarchy and capitalism, operating as analytically distinct but interrelated systems, which make accommodations with each other. Capitalism creates a hierarchy of workers but it is gender blind as a system. As it assumes a shape within a patriarchal racist culture, it becomes patriarchal, capitalist and white. Ireland has been described by Mahon (1994) as moving from private patriarchy (i.e. male control within the family) to public patriarchy (i.e. male control through the state and paid employment), reflecting Walby’s (1990) identification of these as main sites of patriarchal control. Implicit in Hartmann’s (1981: 14) concept of patriarchy is the idea that men’s control over women, and hence their ability to exploit them, is rooted in men’s relationships with other men: ‘We can usefully define patriarchy as a set of social relations between men, which have a material base, and which, though hierarchical, establish or create independence and solidarity among men that enable them to dominate women’. It thus recognizes that all men are not equally privileged, and that they are dependent on each other to maintain their control over women. However, as men, they can hope to benefit, at least

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


to some extent, from the status quo. Thus like Walby (1990, 2009), Hartmann’s approach is a structural one. The concept of patriarchy has come under a good deal of criticism. It is sometimes seen as tendentious or as purporting to explain an aspect of social reality by simply describing it (Bottero, 1998; Gottfried, 1998; Pollert, 1996). It is popularly seen as implying hostility to individual men; as suggesting that all men are ‘bad’ or that all men consciously want to exploit or oppress women. It is criticized for obscuring the existence of other divisions between women (for example, class, age, and race: Connell, 1987). It is seen as inadequate in terms of understanding micro processes. Nevertheless it is a useful way of briefly highlighting male structural dominance. The perspective used here sees gender relations as present in all institutions, and ‘certainly a major structure in most institutions’, including the capitalist system, where gender is ‘arguably as fundamental as class divisions’ (Connell, 1987: 120 and 104). Sayer (2000b: 978) suggests that ‘gender produces stratification, but through different kinds of process from the stratification produced by class’. It draws on a structural perspective in which social arrangements and practices appear to be ‘natural’ or ‘inevitable’, but have been constructed to serve the interests of the dominant group. Structure is seen as providing the context and condition for action, and such actions both maintain and change that structure. Implicit in this is the idea that although gendered structures exist they may be resisted or eroded by men and women, individually or collectively, so that it is possible for change to occur. Walby (2009: 250) suggested that it is necessary to empirically explore the extent, cohesion and intersection of inequality regimes at various levels in four institutional patriarchal domains: economy, polity, civil society and violence. Using concepts such as path dependency, critical turning points; tipping points and a multifactorial explanatory framework called complexity theory, Walby attempts to understand gender inequality in various national contexts (including Ireland). In the latter context she stresses the importance of the EU; the role of the institutional catholic church, and the decline in its credibility; the increase in women’s employment during the Celtic Tiger era, with the decimation of the public sector being seen as a key issue for the future (given its importance as an employer of women and a main source of union membership). This schema is both insightful and ambitious. However, basic elements of patriarchy, such as the differential valuing of men and women’s activities and priorities become lost in the complexity and ambition of the project. Furthermore, it is not clear where higher education fits in this schema, since, depending on how one defines the purpose of higher education, it could be either included within the economy or the polity. Acker’s (2006: 443) focus on inequality regimes in organizations is particularly useful in so far as she identifies a specific range of dimensions for exploring inequality (the latter being defined as ‘systematic disparities between


Management and gender in higher education

participants in power and control over goals, resources and outcomes … opportunities for promotion and interesting work … pay and other monetary rewards; respect and pleasures in work and work relations’). While recognizing that inequality regimes are fluid and related to the wider societal and cultural context, she puts forward a framework for mapping variation in them, including the bases of inequality (such as gender, class, ethnicity); its shape and degree (including the strength of stereotypes); the practices that reproduce it as well as the visibility and the legitimacy of such inequalities – and these are a particular focus in the present study. Implicit in Walby’s perspective is a recognition that points of tension or contradiction in inequality regimes exist in all societies. Such ‘crisis tendencies’ (Connell, 1987: 158) may, for example, arise from women outperforming men educationally, in a context where this sits uneasily with assumptions about male entitlement. Furthermore, people occupy multiple positions and gender, ethnicity and occupation may position them in different ways, and this too can generate challenges to taken-­for-­granted assumptions and definitions. The concept of intersectionality was introduced by Crenshaw in the late 1980s to highlight the intersection of multiple forms of discrimination (Ali et al., 2010; Verloo, 2006 and 2009; Healy et al., 2011) but ‘the question of whether to interpret the intersectionality of social divisions as an additive or as a constitutive process is still central’ (Yuval-­Davies, 2006: 195). An additive model has been widely criticized, as has the idea of a hierarchy of oppression. However, it has also been recognized that in terms of gender (as well as race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and class) ‘outsiders’ ‘are confronted with the same dominant and privileged norm citizen, with slight differences in accent’ (Verloo, 2006: 218). Intersectionality has typically focused on individuals’ experiencing multiple disadvantages, although Ferree (2006: 10) has suggested that: ‘individuals hold multiple positions in regard to social relations of power and injustice and typically enjoy privilege on some dimensions even while they struggle with oppression on another’. Risman (2004: 444) also argues that, although the individual’s experience of inequality or oppression involves intersectionality, the mechanisms involved in the perpetuation of gender inequality may differ from those involved in, for example, class or racial inequality, and thus it is important to analyse each of these structures separately. Hill Collins’s (2006) suggestion that gender, race and class ‘mutually construct one another’ or ‘work together to constitute subjects’ is helpful in a context which recognizes the differential situational salience of such elements (Ali et al., 2010: 650). Thus, Yuval-­Davies (2006: 203) has argued that, in particular contexts, at particular times: ‘there are some social divisions that are more important than others in constructing specific positionings’. In the present study, the focus on a particular context (i.e. male dominated senior management structures in universities) offers the possibility

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


of exploring the salience of gender and the ways in which it is played out in that context. In the case of women in university senior management, in occupational terms, their status is high, although in terms of gender, it may be low: ‘Even within the elite location of the academy, academic women, who constitute part of that elite, can be subordinate, although not necessarily subservient’ (Blackmore, 2002: 421). Thus the minority of women in such positions are privileged relative to other women, and yet potentially disadvantaged relative to their male counterparts, in so far as they are seen as ‘outsiders on the inside’ (Moore, 1988, in Davies-­Netzley, 1998). Thus the focus on gender in university senior management is a kind of litmus test of the relevance of gender positioning as a marker of ‘outsider’ status in the ‘saturated site’ (Hill Collins, 2006) that is higher education. Gendered selves, narratives, stereotypes and othering The approach adopted here sees gender operating at multiple levels and converting ideas about difference into a legitimation of hierarchical arrangements. Thus gender is seen as an ‘institutionalized system of social practices for constituting people as two significantly different categories, males and females, and organising relations of inequality around that difference’ (Ridgeway and Correll, 2000: 29). It is recognized that societies vary in the degree to which they are ‘mapped’ by gender, with gender orders in different countries differing in force (i.e. the degree of importance assigned to a man being very ‘masculine’ or a woman very ‘feminine’); in scope (i.e. the areas of society that are affected by the division of humanity into gender categories); and in hierarchy (i.e. the extent to which they involve access to important resources: Thurén 2000). Thus, although the evidence is tenuous, it was suggested that the gender order in Ireland, as compared with Sweden (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014) is much greater in scope and stronger in force and hierarchy. In that context one would expect wider institutional support for gender stereotypes and weaker state support for equality initiatives in Ireland than in Sweden. Although there are differences between theorists in terms of their concept of identity, there is an increasing recognition that gender involves performance (Butler, 1990). Thus, in so far as societies stress differences between men and women, ‘doing gender is unavoidable’ and ‘if in doing gender men are also doing dominance and women are doing deference … the resultant social order, which supposedly reflects “natural differences”, is a powerful reinforcer and legitimator of hierarchical arrangements’ (West and Zimmerman, 1987: 137 and 146 respectively). Narratives which explain women’s absence from management positions by focusing on women as ‘the problem’ reflect and reinforce a focus on the gendering of individual selves. They ultimately reflect


Management and gender in higher education

and reinforce the legitimacy of inequality regimes (Acker, 1990; Connell, 1987; Ferree, 2003). Thus male privileging is maintained, not simply by individual or group attempts to intimidate, oppress or exclude, but by women and men’s ‘realistic expectations’, and their beliefs that such patterns are ‘natural’, ‘inevitable’ ‘what women want’ (Connell, 2005), ultimately rooted in the construction of gendered selves. Thus ‘a gender order where men dominate women cannot avoid constituting men as an interest group concerned with defence, and women as an interest group concerned with change. This is a structural fact, independent of whether men as individuals love or hate women, or believe in equality or abjection’ (Connell, 1995: 82). In these terms it is possible to understand the part played by men who see themselves as unwitting beneficiaries rather than oppressors. Furthermore, it implicitly recognizes that at an interactional level, men’s ‘affiliative’ behaviours (for example, protecting and supporting each other; ‘sucking up’ to men in authority), are as important in perpetuating the system as their ‘contesting’ behaviours (such as marginalizing, dominating women or exploiting their work: Yancey Martin, 2001). The focus on gendering practices is seen by Ferree (2003: 373) as a movement towards a ‘relational theory of gender’. Women have frequently been identified as ‘Other’, not only in the academy (Acker, 1980) but in general cultural terms (de Beauvoir, 1972). Stereotypes are defined as ‘beliefs about the characteristics, attributes and behaviours of members of certain groups’ (Hilton and von Hippel, 1996: 240). They can be seen as part of the symbolic structure (Acker, 1990) and are crucial in defining the categories of men/ women, in justifying differential cultural valuations and resources as well as in generating a differential gendered sense of entitlement. They play an important part in legitimating the absence of women in senior positions in male dominated organizations and in creating potential difficulties for women in envisioning themselves in academic management (Powell et al., 2002). For Ely and Meyerson (2000: 131), gendered narratives portray as ‘“truth” beliefs that might otherwise be open to question’. Thus, stereotypical models of leadership remain male, with a certain ‘incongruity’ being identified ‘between leadership roles and female gender roles’ (Eagly et al., 2003: 572). Yancey Martin’s (2006: 257) work usefully differentiated between the culturally available repertoires of gendering practices ‘that society makes available to its members for doing gender’ (i.e. gender stereotypes); and the ways in which gender is performed in specific social and cultural contexts, often unreflectively (such performance including interactional practices of ‘Othering’). In this way we see how patriarchal power is reflected in ‘the micro politics of everyday interaction’ (Morley, 1999: 80), including ‘subtle sexism; undermining; micro inequities; or micro politics’ (Krefting, 2003: 265). In a context where it is very unlikely that gender will be abandoned as

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


a basis for classification, undermining assumptions about men’s superior competence can challenge their cultural value and the legitimacy of their differential access to resources (Ridgeway and Correll, 2000; Deutch, 2007). In a late modern world, the possibility of resistance is increased as individuals come to reflect on disjunctions between ‘practical’ and ‘discursive consciousness’ (Haugaard, 1997). However, the challenge of change is considerable not least because we are often consciously unaware of gendered practices (Bird, 2003; Lukes, 2005). But power ‘is never, except in fictional dystopias, more than partially effective’ (Lukes, 2005: 150). Naming gendered patterns (O’Connor, 2001) can undermine their inevitability and legitimacy. In the present study, there is a particular focus on the visibility and legitimacy of inequality regimes at multiple levels. In summary, gender was seen as exemplifying a particular kind of inequality regime: one operating at multiple levels, including not only the organizational, but also the individual, the interactional and the institutional. Thus although the conceptual framework was rooted in structural concerns (reflected in a concern with access to power), it moves beyond this to an exploration of the cultural processes through which such a regime is legitimated, i.e. through gendered organizational narratives, interactional practices, stereotypes and gendered selves.

Management in universities Traditionally, the term professional was ‘confined to an elite body of white middle class men working in fields such as medicine or law’ (Leathwood and Read, 2009: 119). They maintained their position through exclusionary and demarcatory strategies (Witz, 1992) in gendered power structures, including universities. Technical expertise has been seen as the basis for such professionals’ legitimate authority; the interests of clients being protected by controlling and credentializing access to such expertise (Friedson, 2001). Stereotypical images of a professional fit with constructs of masculinity. Thus to be a professional is ‘to do’ gender: to comply with often implicit norms surrounding masculinity (Bolton and Munzio, 2008: 283). Academic work can be regarded as a profession on the basis of its high level of educational qualifications; commitment to standards and rules set by the discipline; and freedom to determine work practice through peer governance (Cheng, 2009). Teaching and research are both elements in the concept of such a professional, although neither is arguably as strong a basis for identification as a specific academic discipline. The title lecturer is typically used in the university sector to refer to academic staff: arguably a distancing technique from the more feminized connotations of teacher (Bolton and Munzio, 2008). At national and university level, an attempt is being made through teaching and


Management and gender in higher education

learning initiatives to reclaim the word ‘teacher’. Paradoxically this may reflect the prioritization of the universities’ research mandate: one that is potentially more amenable to centralized organization and direction (particularly in a scientific or technological context where the researcher is dependent on the organization for research-­related resources). Universities traditionally were seen as professional bureaucracies in which there was ‘a trade-­off between managerial control and professional autonomy’ (Deem, 2004: 108). In such structures, democratic representational processes existed for academics but not for the support (administrative and technical) staff, with academics holding the most powerful positions (Blackmore, 2011; Carvalho and Santiago 2010). Higher educational organizations in general, and universities in particular, have similarities with other public sector organizations (such as those in the health area) in so far as they ‘contain a mix of professional and bureaucratic elements’, ‘operate within strongly institutionalised fields’ and ‘influence citizens’ life chances’ (Ferlie et al., 2008: 326). However, Bargh et al. (2000) argue that academic organizations have unique characteristics. These include the opaqueness of their purposes; the very wide range of disciplines they encompass, with their varying relationships to the state and the market; a context where their key contribution, in terms of the creation of knowledge, arises from the activities of front-­line individuals and cannot be produced ‘on demand’. Thus Bargh et al. (2000: 160) conclude that ‘an adequate theory of management and/or leadership in academic institutions has yet to be developed’. Academic senior management continues to embrace two domains, the academic and the managerial (Bargh et al., 2000). There has traditionally been reluctance by academics to overtly embrace the concept of themselves as managers, with its implicit stress on positional authority. Many continue to value their academic identity highly even in a managerialist higher educational context such as Australia (O’Connor and White, 2011). Under the influence of managerialism, in higher educational organizations, as in for example, health-­related ones, other professional managers (from areas such as finance or human resources) are increasingly important. The similarities/differences between their experiences and that of manager-­academics is a key issue in this study. There has been an extensive literature concerned with the difference between leadership and management (see Grint, 2011). Good leadership is increasingly seen as including ‘the qualities of a good coach or teacher’ (Eagly, 2011: 255). It is seen as concerned with asking questions to illuminate complicated and often intractable problems, whereas management is seen as identifying solutions to more soluble problems. Leadership, it has been suggested, involves inspiration and is particularly focused on change while management is concerned with stability. Thus leadership is typically characterized as ‘visionary

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


as opposed to rational, passionate versus consulting, creative versus persistent, inspiring versus tough minded, innovative versus analytical, courageous versus structured’ (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2011: 360). In this study since the focus is on those holding senior management positions, all of the respondents are described as senior managers, while recognizing that leadership might be exercised by some/all in particular situations. Much attention has focused on two contrasting management styles: transformational and transactional (Burns, 1978). The key element in a transformational style is on innovation for the future, in a context characterized by mentoring, empowering and motivating group members (Eagly et al., 2003; Eagly and Carli, 2007). The key element in transactional leadership is seen as lying in appeals to self-­interest; spelling out subordinates’ responsibilities and correcting their failures (Eagly et al., 2003: 571). Eagly’s work (2011) shows that there are small gender differences, with male leaders being more likely to use the less effective transactional behaviours, more likely to avoid problems and to be more laissez-­faire. Other work has found that successful leadership by women in a corporate male dominated world involves a very masculine (‘tough’) management style and a very feminine appearance (Muhr, 2011; see also Lewis and Simpson, 2011). Garavan (2009) found that men were more likely to report that they were transactional leaders (i.e. task oriented, instrumental and dominant) while women were more likely to describe themselves as transformational (i.e. co-­operative and focusing on relationships rather than on authority), suggesting that these reporting patterns reflected underlying gender stereotypes which needed to be explored. In summary, there is an increased centralization of power in managerialist contexts. There is no agreement about whether in such contexts higher educational institutions are similar to/different from other organizations. Collegiality and managerialism and their impact on women Much of the focus on universities internationally has revolved around a discussion of the nature and impact of organizational models, with most attention being paid to collegiality and managerialism and (to a lesser extent), their differential impact on women. Collegiality, the traditional model in universities, has been described as governance ‘by a community of scholars, as opposed to central managerial authority’ (Meek, 2002: 254). In the collegial model, the leader facilitates the process of decision making, with formal decision making being through a committee structure in which academics are strongly represented and which preserves their professional autonomy, while their authority is exercised ‘through expertise, peer equality and consensus decision making, all operating through white middle class male academics’ (Hearn 2001: 76). There has been a tendency to idealize collegial structures and to see them as the unique embodiment of the essence of a university. This has been challenged by


Management and gender in higher education

Clark (2008: 479), who noted that in many cases, these structures were dominated by professorial oligarchs. The non-­inclusivity of collegiality is also clear from the overwhelmingly male character of the structures it created, and from the ways in which it effectively and universally sustained gender inequality in universities (Bensimon, 1995). ‘New managerialism’ reflects the influence of neo-­liberalism and has been seen by Deem (1998: 47) as characterized by ‘the adoption by public sector organisations of organisational forms, technologies, management practices and values more commonly found in the private business sector’. It has been seen as resting on three fundamental assumptions: first, that institutional competition and consumer preferences are more efficient resource allocation mechanisms than government interventions and regulatory frameworks; second, that explicit standards and measures of performance focused on outcomes are appropriate for all types of organizations; and, third, that senior management can solve almost any problem it faces, if it adopts strong executive leadership principles and private sector business techniques (Winter et al., 2000). Managerialist processes were identified in the UK from the early 1980s (Deem et al., 2008) and in Australia from the early 1990s (Hearn, 1999; Meek, 2002; Thompson, 2007). Similar processes began to be evident in Irish universities in the early 1990s (O’Sullivan, 2005) but have become particularly obvious in the twenty-­first century (Grummell et al., 2007; Lynch et al., 2012) and can be seen as the emerging model in Irish universities, just as they are internationally (Shattock, 1999). Such processes can be located in the context of state pressure for greater accountability and ‘the desire of Western politicians to be seen to be tough on higher education as a major consumer of public funds’ (Deem, 1998: 55). Managerialism reflects wider neo-­liberal pressures and is characterized by a changing perception of the nature and purpose of universities; a differential evaluation of various kinds of knowledge; a commodification of teaching and research; a focus on commercialization; an audit culture characterized by an increased stress on accountability procedures and budgetary control; a decline in the perceived trustworthiness of professionals; a strengthening of executive decision making and a reliance on appointment rather than election of decision makers (Ferlie et al., 2008). Whatever its form, it ‘gnaws away’ at ‘the power, status and role of academics in university governance and management’ (Deem et al., 2008: 22). Internationally there has been an ongoing debate about the impact of managerialism on academic autonomy and on university management structures (Blackmore and Sachs, 2001; Marginson and Considine, 2000; Meek, 2002; Morley, 2009; Winter et al., 2000). Hartley (1997) sees new managerialism as particularly unsuited to an age of uncertainty when the whole nature of knowledge itself is problematic; where risk seems ubiquitous and where nation states seem powerless to deal with international markets. On the

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


other hand, Clark (2004) is enthusiastic about the possibilities for entrepreneurial universities with strong executive capacity, diverse sources of income and an entrepreneurial culture. In Ireland, there have been criticisms of the move away from democratic structures; of increases in the number of senior managerial posts, increased stress on managerial objectives and the increasing importance of the state and industry as key stakeholders (Barrett, 2006; Grummell et al., 2007). There has been a good deal of discussion about the extent to which collegial or managerialist models are helpful for women. For Lafferty and Fleming (2000: 265) the shift from collegial to managerial structures ‘entrenched the gendered character of university power relations’. Managerialism may appear attractive to women, not least because collegial models legitimated practices based on gender stereotypes (Deem, 1998). Managerialism makes explicit the low profile, administrative and caring roles which have typically been carried by women (Brooks, 1997). In that context there is potentially greater transparency (Prichard, 1996). Thomas and Davies (2002: 390) found that some academic women were ‘co-­opting into the dominant masculinist discourses’. Kerfoot and Knights (1996) suggested that managerialism was an important site for the reproduction of masculine discourses and practices in a context where difference is evaluated against a male norm and involves a ‘masculine culture project that represses, oppresses and subordinates the feminine’ (Bolton and Munzio, 2008: 295; Acker and Armenti, 2004). Deem (1998: 66) and Ozga and Walker (1999: 107) also suggest that managerialist structures are imbued with ‘the characteristics of heterosexual masculinity … competitive, ritualistic, unreflective’ and that in particular, managerialism is incompatible with concerns about ‘equity and feminist values’. Thus the potentialities of managerialism can be frustrated by a failure to challenge a masculinist culture that valorizes predominantly male areas and disciplines. Indeed, despite managerialism’s concern with performance indicators and auditing, there is little evidence of a systematic focus on gender outcomes. Saunderson (2002: 400) found that managerialism had mixed outcomes for women. In the UK, it appears that academic restructuring in a managerialist context reduced the number of women in senior positions, at least up to the early 1990s. Currie and Thiele (2001: 108) concluded that although certain aspects could facilitate the inclusion of some women in senior positions ‘most women, like most men, are likely to be proletarianised’ by managerialism. This raises the question of whether universities, regardless of whether they are collegial, managerialist or some kind of hybrid, can create an organizational culture that is friendly to women (Knights and Richards, 2003; Maher and Tetreault, 2007; O’Connor and Carvalho, 2012; Walby, 2011). In this study, collegiality/managerialism is used as an alternative interpretative framework. Underlying this is a structural focus on the centralization


Management and gender in higher education

of power and the ways in which such power is accessed. In addition there is a concern with the legitimacy of different kinds of power bases. Furthermore, since collegiality and managerialism are associated with differential power balances between manager-­academics and other professional managers, their similarities/differences will also be explored.

Methodology The perspective in this study draws on a critical realist tradition (Scambler, 2001) with its recognition of the reality of both structure and agency. The objectives of the study were: first, to document gender representation in university senior management in quantitative terms; second, to undertake an in-­ depth qualitative study of senior management in such contexts, looking at the structure and processes through which such institutions reproduce and legitimate themselves in gendered terms, in a gendered societal context, increasingly dominated by neo-­liberal processes and an organizational context increasingly dominated by managerialist ones; and, third, to undertake a content analysis of recent key policy documents related to higher education so as to provide an indication of the policy context within which university senior management operates. The first two of these objectives were shared with the wider cross-­ national study (Neale and Ozkanli, 2011). It was decided to focus on universities as the oldest, most prestigious and most autonomous form of higher education. They are seen as important institutions in their own right as well as potentially playing a key role in the definition of national priorities; in shaping those individuals who will occupy elite positions, and in having an impact in various ways on civic society and on the professions, through their role in credentializing knowledge on behalf of the state. The public university system in Ireland consists of seven universities. In ways it can be seen as a bounded, relatively undifferentiated system, although Trinity College Dublin is the most prestigious and most long established university and the one whose structure contrasts most strongly with the rest (see Harford, 2010, for a history of the Irish universities). However, the small size and relatively low level of differentiation among the total pool enables them to be analysed collectively to a far greater extent than might be possible in a more structurally differentiated system (such as Australia or the UK). The focus on senior management in Irish public universities reflected a perception of their potentially powerful and yet powerless position, combined with their elite status. In a global context where universities are undergoing rapid change, and a national context characterized by a changing relationship with the state and the market, those in senior management have potentially a particularly important role. As managers they are ultimately responsible for the shape and direction of their organizations, although they ‘are also subordinate

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


to powerful corporate interest groups in the business and industrial sector’ (Lynch, 1999: 53). Thus in these terms they occupy a contradictory position. Hence, by focusing on them, an insight may potentially be gained into the ways in which these conflicting pressures play out and in particular into the ways in which gender is reproduced and legitimated in and through such structures and processes. An ethnographical study of senior management in one or all of these Irish universities was one possibility. However, given their elite character, access was likely to pose considerable difficulties. Furthermore, in a context where the author had almost forty years’ experience of working in higher educational institutions, almost twenty years in a university context and almost ten years at senior management level in one Irish university, it seemed more useful to gain access to a wider range of participants in senior management. Hence the decision was made to use semi-­structured qualitative interviews as the method of data collection. Such data can be regarded as constituting an edited story (Nilsen, 2008), although unlike more typical narrative studies (Hyvarinen, 2008), the priorities and interests of the researcher were reflected in the method of data collection. Within a context where the theoretical perspective was broadly a critical realist one, the methodological approach was an interpretative one concerned with senior managers’ experiences of getting into, doing and being in senior management. Critical realism has been seen as compatible with a relatively wide range of research methods, including ethnographic and quantitative ones (Williams, 2003). Although the dominant perspective was a structural one, the possibility of agency was recognized in a context where, through increasing the visibility of inequality regimes, it was possible to convert private troubles into public issues (Wright Mills, 1970) and thus potentially create new structures that more adequately reflect the gender profile of the student body and the wider society. Collection and analysis of data The Higher Educational Authority (HEA) has equality obligations under the Universities Act (1997) and reporting obligations to the EU as regards the gender profile of academic staff. After a gap of seven years (2004–11), it began to make data available on the gender and level of such staff (HEA, 2012). There is still no HEA data available on the gender profile of university senior management. In Sweden such figures are publicly available (Sveriges Statskalender, 2007). Hence quantitative data on senior management comes from a university web-­based study, supplemented by the interview data (and by HEA data on academic staff). In the qualitative study, senior management was defined as those at dean level or above who had been in a senior management position in an Irish public university within the previous five years. This


Management and gender in higher education

definition reflected the fact that, under the influence of managerialism, executive deans were beginning to be included in senior management group (see also Marginson, 1997). Such groups varied in size and composition, although they all included a mix of academics and other professional managers (as in Australia and the UK, and in contrast to Portugal and Sweden). The semi-­structured interview schedule was devised by the eight-­country Women in Higher Education Management Network (WHEM: Bagilhole and White, 2011) and was also used in the cross-­national study. Approval for each study was obtained from the university ethics committee in each country. The sample interviewed in each case was a purposive rather than a representative one. In the Irish study, contact was made initially with those at the very top of the management hierarchy in each of public universities. Interviewing such an elite group typically raises issues of access. Anticipating such difficulties, the respondents were initially contacted by email with follow up contact being made at secretarial level. All interviews were done by the author, who signed the introductory letter formally as dean. Reference was also made in the initial letter to the fact that the Irish research formed part of an international study and this was also seen as important by the interviewees, since they valued international research consortia. Interviews are opportunities for the enactment of power relations and this may affect the data. Thus male elites may try to control the interview, reproducing expected patterns of dominance; the gender of the interviewer can have an effect, generating a desire to please or to elicit politically correct responses; while some questions are likely to be more salient than others to particular respondents. It has been found that both men and women express more egalitarian attitudes when interviewed by women than by men (Neale and Ozkanli, 2011). Hence it seems possible to suggest that if anything the trends emerging in the present study are likely to overestimate rather than underestimate egalitarian views. The issue of how much interviewers should reveal about themselves has been extensively debated (Doucet and Mauthner, 2008). In the context of interviewing what are effectively an elite group, the fact that I was in an (executive) dean position was made explicit. Furthermore, in response to questions probing that status, I made clear that I had been appointed by three presidents and was then in my third assignment of duties. It was apparent from the interviewees’ responses that such clarification increased my credibility as an ‘insider’. The majority of these interviewees were not known to me prior to the interview. Some might have been aware of my interest in gender issues. It is impossible to explore the extent of this influence or the extent to which their responses were rhetorical. However, I had the impression that the majority of both the men and the women identified with me and that this facilitated their active participation in the interview. The tone of the interviews was very positive and typically very open. It was clear that

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


for many of the respondents it was an enjoyable opportunity to reflect on their lives and the organizations they led. A total of 40 people were identified, involving those at presidential, vice-­ presidential and dean levels; including manager-­academics and other professional managers; men and women; and including a range of disciplines across all seven universities. Of the 40 people (15 women and 25 men) contacted, interviews were completed with 34 (13 women and 21 men), an 85 per cent response rate. All of the interviews took place in the interviewees’ own office. All were tape-­recorded. They varied in length from 40 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, with the majority being over an hour. Detailed verbatim notes were made during the interview. Following the interviews, the tapes were replayed by me and the verbatim notes amended and developed. Because of the small size of Ireland (4.6 million population), in general, and of the university sector in particular, to ensure that individuals were not identifiable, it was decided not to disaggregate the sample by level. However, given the importance of anonymity, this seemed a necessary strategy. Pseudonyms are also used to conceal the identity of the participants, although in view of the face-­to-­face character of Irish society, fictitious names rather than numbers are used, with manager-­academics being differentiated from other professional managers by the use of the designation professor. Broadly similar studies were undertaken in seven other countries (UK, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey: Bagilhole and White, 2011) and these constitute a useful international backdrop to the Irish study. The method of analysis of the national and cross-­national qualitative data was thematic, with themes being influenced by the national and cross-­ national data as well as by the literature. Some themes were identified before the interviews (including career paths, organizational culture and stereotypical gendered management styles) while others (such as collegiality/managerialism) emerged later. My ‘insider’ status was useful in providing cultural competence in interpreting the data as well as accessing it. This can be seen to raise issues as regards the validity of the data collected, in what was essentially an interpretative study. It has been recognized that ‘validity in interpretative social science is complicated by subjectivity’ (Mabry, 2008: 221). However, issues related to validity also arise in quantitative research, with Hammersley (2008: 51) noting that in assessing the validity of research findings, regardless of the method of data collection: ‘Judgement is always involved and this necessarily depends upon background knowledge and practical understanding’. Mabry (2008) suggests various strategies to increase the reader’s assessment of the validity of the findings, including the presentation of reports to participating subjects, as well as to other similar audiences, and theoretical triangulation (involving the use of alternative frameworks that might explain the data). Both of these strategies were used in the present study. First, in addition


Management and gender in higher education

to making presentations on various aspects of the study to over twenty national and international academic conferences and seminars, invited presentations were made at four of the seven public universities, with the overwhelming response being one of recognition. This experience also ensured that ‘knowledge does not become redundant and divorced from action’ (Lynch, 1999: 62). In addition drafts of two of the early publications emerging from the study were circulated to all participants: an article focusing specifically on the Irish data (O’Connor, 2010a) and a draft of the international chapter on organizational culture (O’Connor, 2011). An update on the progress of this book was also sent to all participants, in addition to a list of the publications and papers emanating from the research in 2011. These emails elicited a number of acknowledgements, but none raising any issues about the data or the trends emerging. Second, in the data analysis, a collegial/managerial interpretative framework was used in addition to a gendered one. As a further check on the validity of the interpretations, the Irish data in this book is frequently located in the wider context of the trends emerging in university systems in the other countries, with Australia being identified as the managerialist end of the continuum, and Turkey and Portugal at the collegial end (Bagilhole and White, 2011). Cross-­national studies are fraught with difficulties (de Vaus, 2008). However, participation in a cross-­national network provides an important challenge to premature conclusions concerning the inevitability of particular patterns or their exclusively Irish character (O’Dowd, 2012). In addition the process of working on a cross-­national project, and co-­operating on a number of comparative papers provided an opportunity to explore the reasons for similarities/differences in each country’s wider societal context, informed by the expertise of those who had collected the data in their own national context. The Irish study also included a content analysis of recent key policy documents related to education, particularly focusing on the OECD report (2004) and the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (DES, 2011). In this context, attention was focused on three issues in these documents which were seen as illustrating the differential strength of stakeholders impacting on the higher educational system: first instrumentality; second (narrow) scientization and, third, degendering. Content analysis of these documents was undertaken using an electronic search facility (Prior, 2008). This analysis was used as a resource for understanding the wider context within which senior management had operated.

Summary This study set out to describe and explain the under-­representation of women in senior management positions in universities, using a gendered framework as well as one involving collegiality/managerialism. Key concepts at the structural

Finding a compass and mapping the terrain


level include the centralization of power, access to it and the legitimacy of different kinds of power; while at the cultural level they include organizational narratives, stereotyping, interactional perceptions and gendered selves. This chapter also outlined the critical realist methodology used in the study, in a context where its objectives were: first, to analyse gender representation in university senior management in quantitative terms; second, to provide an in-­depth qualitative analysis of senior managements’ experiences of getting into and doing senior management as well as the broader management culture; third, to undertake a content analysis of recent policy documents related to higher education. The first two of these objectives were shared with the wider cross-­national study, with data from this study providing a useful challenge to ‘Irish exceptionalism’ (O’Dowd, 1996). The qualitative data draws on a purposive sample of forty of those in senior management positions in Irish public universities, with a response rate of 85 per cent. For reasons of confidentiality, pseudonyms are used and the sample is not disaggregated by level. The method of analysis in the case of the qualitative data was thematic, with themes being influenced both by the national and cross-­national data as well as by the literature. Some themes such as career paths, organizational culture and gender stereotypes were identified before the analysis, while a focus on collegiality/managerialism emerged later. The study is located in the wider context of a content analysis of recent key policy documents related to education: the topic discussed in the next chapter.

3 Policy priorities: instrumentality, scientization, degendering

Introduction Since educational policy implicitly involves the definition of what constitutes valuable knowledge, as well as decisions about who will have access to that knowledge, and to what end, it is not surprising that the structure, current priorities and beliefs surrounding higher education reflect the balance of power between key stakeholders within a society at a particular moment in time. Higher educational systems reflect beliefs about the nature and purpose of higher education; about the relationship between education and employment; and about the balance between teaching and research (Clark, 1983). Some of these beliefs are so taken for granted that alternative priorities or directions are unthinkable, while others are seen as problematic. Thus, despite a good deal of rhetoric about evidence-­based policy making, it is suggested that the balance of power between key stakeholders is critical in shaping higher educational policy. In Ireland ultimate responsibility for the development and implementation of higher educational policy rests with the government as a whole and particularly with the Minister for Education and Skills and his/her Department. The Higher Educational Authority (HEA) has statutory responsibility for policy development in higher education in Ireland. It also has wide advisory and monitoring powers and is the funding authority for the universities and other designated higher education institutions. In this chapter the influence of these state structures on policies related to education will be explored. The chapter will also look at related structures, such as Science Foundation Ireland, Forfas and the EU; in addition to the ‘global web’ (Meyer et al., 2007: 205) of university senior managers, consultants, professional associations, unions and more broadly based equality related structures. The outcome of any new initiative or the success of a policy direction will ultimately reflect the differential strength of these stakeholders in a particular location at a particular time, in the context of the balance between the state and the market. In this chapter attention is focused on three aspects of policy making

Policy priorities


related to higher education: first, those related to instrumentality, with a focus on process and procedures; second, those related to scientization, or the prioritization of research in (limited areas of) science and technology; and, third, those related to degendering i.e. focusing on the extent and nature of a concern with gender. The first focus reflects an increasing tendency towards instrumentality in the context of procedural accountability, particularly in the quality assurance area. The second focus reflects a concern with economic growth in a context where (particular areas) of science and technology are seen as the sources of that growth. Finally attention is focused on gender: an area that has attracted some attention in the past but which was largely neglected in the 2000s. These areas have been chosen because they represent key elements in the context within which university senior management now operates.

Instrumentality: at what price? Governance is seen as ‘comprising the systems and procedures under which organizations are directed and controlled’ (HEA and IUA, 2007: 3). It is seen as increasingly important in public universities so as to ensure that such structures are accountable, both to the state (particularly in terms of quality) and to the wider communities that they serve (particularly in terms of governance). As outlined in Chapter 2, managerialism in universities is characterized by a distrust of academics, and ‘the assumed right’ to monitor and control academics’ activities through a ‘battery of mechanisms of audit and control generated by the state and instituted by senior and middle academic-­managers’ (Kolsaker, 2008: 515). It reflects ideas about the appropriate balance between autonomy and control in the relationship between the universities and the state (Murphy, 2009); one in which ‘“quality” is equated with process…the conduct of conduct’ (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007: 105). A similar concern has been evident not only in the UK, but also in other countries including Portugal (Carvalho and Santiago, 2010) and Australia (Blackmore, 2002; Blackmore and Sachs, 2007; Meek, 2002). The mechanisms used in these countries are very similar to those used in Ireland and have included the creation of quality assurance structures and processes; competitive research processes; legal and budgetary constraints, typically legitimated by national or international reports. Adshead and Wall (2003) traced the origins of a concern with quality assurance processes back to 1991 when the Dutch Presidency of the European Council put forward a plan for looking at ways to facilitate a trans-­European model for quality assurance, in the context of increasing educational co-­ operation and a desire to improve economic competitiveness. This culminated in the Bologna Declaration in 1999, whose avowed purpose was to facilitate cross-­national educational mobility, by facilitating the comparability of educational results. At a minimal level, this involved the creation of European credit


Management and gender in higher education

weighting for all undergraduate and postgraduate modules and courses. In fact, ‘new structures of control and regulation’ (O’Sullivan, 2005: 178) emerged in a move reflective of what Clark (1983: 146) called ‘bureaucratic layering’. Thus in Ireland, as elsewhere, national quality assurance structures were created (CHIU, 2003; Graham, 2008). This led to the commissioning of institutional quality reviews of publicly funded Irish universities and the putting in place of cycles of institutional reviews, looking at processes and procedures. These developments ignored the fact that measures to monitor quality related to teaching have long existed in universities, including external examining; assessments by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies; an approval system for new and revised programmes; ongoing programme review mechanisms; student course evaluation and peer observation. The acceptability of the new processes and structures in Irish universities was enhanced by their legitimation in a series of fora involving senior management (i.e. Conference of the Heads of Irish Universities (CHIU, later the Irish University Association), now a corporate structure and a member of the Irish Business and Employers Federation (IBEC) headed by its own CEO, with responsibility for public relations and communications. The implicit legitimacy of these developments was also echoed by other national and supranational state bureaucracies including the HEA; the Conference of Rectors in Europe (later the European University Association), and the European Commission, as well as by specialist bureaucratic structures such as the European Network for Quality Assurance (ENQA, established 2001). The weakness and multiplicity of trade unions in the universities indirectly facilitated such developments, in contrast to the resistance from such sources at primary and second levels (Lynch et al., 2012). Allocated funding by the Higher Educational Authority (HEA) for quality assurance processes has been very much on a targeted funding basis, with the expectation of mainstreaming by the universities. Hence such processes ultimately impose a net cost on the universities, and effectively reduce resources for front-­line teaching. Nevertheless they were put in place by university senior management (individually and collectively) without demur. The fact that, typically, this responsibility was assigned at vice-­presidential level, and that the cross-­institutional remit could be seen as strengthening the power base of such positions, contributed to its acceptance. At the level of the individual academic in Irish universities, accountability measures are now multiple and typically include not only evaluation by extern examiners, participation in departmental quality reviews; teaching quality evaluations; assessments of research output; an individual workload model; an academic activity profile; and an annual performance and development review. The performance of those in the administrative area is assessed only through the latter mechanism (now required of all staff by the department of education: May 2011). Internationally, even among those who are not opposed to accountability,

Policy priorities


the new quality assurance structures and processes have been described as ineffective and wasteful of resources that could be more effectively used in front-­line activity (Morley, 2003). There is no evidence that they achieve accountability in a market-­driven context since: ‘[t]o signal that an institution has a problem is dangerous’ (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007: 117). Morley (2001: 473) concluded that the costs involved in having 10,000 people involved in such processes over a seven year period in the UK was the equivalent of funding 8,500 lecturing posts. That figure did not include the costs incurred by institutions themselves or the opportunity costs for staff involved in that process. Only a tiny number (i.e. six) courses were failed (and four of these were franchised) the added value of this ‘ever expanding quality bureaucracy’ (Blackmore, 2004: 390) is highly questionable. In Australia, because of senior management disquiet at the costs of ‘an escalating’ quality assurance process the process has been simplified (Ferlie et al., 2008: 341). However in Ireland it has appeared to be both legitimate and inevitable. It can be seen as an example of an ‘indirect coercive transfer in response to European-­wide developments’ (Adshead and Wall, 2003: 171), facilitated by the HEA, and with the support of a global web of professionals, and university senior management in Ireland. Internationally, quality processes have resulted in disproportionate increases in administrative staff as compared with front-­line teaching staff, reflecting ‘bureaucratic accredition’ (Gumport and Prosser, 1995: 495) and ‘the creeping fog of managerialist bureaucracy’ (Gallagher, 2012: 141). In the UK, academic staff now make up less than half (47 per cent) of the total higher education workforce (Whitchurch, 2011). Gumport and Prosser (1995) found that over a period of twenty-­five years, the University of California increased the proportion of funds it spent on administration relative to teaching, from 6:1 to 3:1. Over that period the number of positions in administration increased nearly two and a half times faster than the number in front-­line teaching. In Ireland core academic staff constitute only 31 per cent of those employed in public universities: the remainder consisting of non-­academic staff; research staff and other project based posts (Kirwan, 2013). Traditionally, in public universities, influenced by British and American models, governing authorities have been used to provide public oversight: ‘They are the long-­run caretakers finally responsible for the fate of the organisation’ (Clark, 1983: 117). As trustees, they have traditionally been part-­time, and generally unpaid, representing the wider public interest. The influence of such bodies has varied widely over time and space, as has the balance between internal and external members. Under the Universities Act (1997), they determine the financial context within which the university can operate; appoint the president, and can call him/her to account on the basis either of specific policies or more broadly in terms of the overall management of the university. The Universities (Amendment) Bill (2012) eliminates the power of Governing


Management and gender in higher education

Authorities to approve staffing numbers and gives the Minister for Education and skills the power to require universities to comply with government guidelines in these areas. The 1997 Irish University legislation allowed individual universities to determine the size of their governing authority within a range of 20–40 members, and certain broad membership categories. Governing authorities have typically consisted of approximately 40 members, of which roughly 50 per cent are external (Kelleher, 2006), with Trinity College Dublin being an exception in having a tiny proportion of such external members. Under the influence of neo-­liberalism, the composition of such bodies has become a particular focus of attention, with pressure to see business people as representing the entire community, in an attempt to change ‘the institutional culture’ of higher education (Gleeson and Shain, 1999: 554). The HEA, in collaboration with the Irish Universities Association (HEA, 2007) failed to prioritize gender in its guidelines for such governing authorities. Overall state guidelines (1991 and subsequently reiterated) require ministers to ensure that at least 40 per cent of all nominations to state boards are women. These have been largely ignored (O’Connor, 2008a). Indeed in all but one Irish university (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) the composition of governing authority breached the 40 per cent guideline in 2008 (the proportion of women ranging from 23 per cent to 42 per cent: O’Connor 2010b). In summary, a focus on accountability has been particularly driven by European forces supported by the state (and particularly the HEA) and university senior management, with no attempt to assess its costs and benefits. Internationally, there is evidence that such processes are consuming increasing levels of resources which could be used to fund front-­line activities (with core academic staff in public universities now constituting less than one third of those employed in public universities). Recent policy documents relating to instrumentality Discussions of accountability implicitly reflect ideas about the nature and purpose of universities and have to be located in the context of a concern with their effectiveness in that context. Such objectives have not been clearly delineated in recent Irish policy documents (Shattock, 2003) so that such measures are particularly problematic. Thus, for example, if universities are seen as places where individuals are challenged intellectually and personally transformed, the kind of accountability indicators that can capture this simply do not exist (Marginson, 2007a). Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 31) suggested that the OECD’s focus on education as a ‘public good in the 1960s, had been transformed by the 1990s to a new instrumentalism’. In the Review of Higher Education in Ireland (subsequently referred to as OECD, 2004) and the National Strategy for Higher Education (subsequently referred to as DES, 2011), there is a particular focus on quality assurance processes and structures.

Policy priorities


The OECD (2004) report implicitly saw the purpose of a university as contributing to economic growth, and virtually ignored humanities and social sciences. Thus although its terms of reference included identifying strategies for economic and social development, it restricted its attention to the development of a skilled workforce, rather than to a socially or politically aware citizenship or to the universities role in serving civil society: ‘It is written as if we had an economy but no society in Ireland’ (Lynch, 2004: 8). The DES (2011) report does not define the purpose of a university, although it does identify its mission as teaching and learning; research and engagement with the wider society, while also stressing internationalization. However, in view of the frequent references to ‘national policy and goals’, ‘national priorities articulated by government’ (DES, 2011: 88, 89), it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that higher education is simply seen as facilitating the attainment of the government’s short-­term economic objectives. Indeed Hazelkorn and Massaro (2011: 18) suggest that it ‘was driven by an anti-­intellectualism that sees higher education as an arm of economic strategy’. In this context it is difficult not to see the establishment of the National Forum for Teaching and Learning (DES, 2012) as largely a public relations exercise. The DES (2011: 94) praises the development of quality assurance processes and systems in the teaching area, and suggests that this should be complemented by a focus on ‘subject guidelines’ and ‘reviews of specific disciplines’ to be coordinated by Qualifications and Quality Assurance Ireland. It recognizes the importance of ensuring that this does not create ‘an excessively bureaucratic and costly system’ (DES, 2011: 58) but makes no recommendations for a cost– benefit analysis of this or other quality assurance measures. Internationally, there are well-­recognized difficulties assessing quality in research (Rees, 2012). The DES (2011) report avoids dealing with the issue of competing and differentially valued research objectives: i.e. generating applied knowledge (which can be useful to local industry) and increasing academically valued peer-­reviewed research output (which affects university rankings and ultimately national prestige). Van Vught (2012) recommended that these different types of research be part of different kinds of organizational missions and that they be equally valued, a recommendation that sits uneasily with its endorsement of an elite component within the Irish university system (to be created by amalgamating Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin). Social engagement is widely seen as a core activity in higher education. However in DES (2011) it is defined in terms of the commercialization of research, rather than in terms of equity, equality or social justice, reflecting the absence of a societal vision for education (Lynch, 1999). At a more limited level, Whitchurch and Gordon (2010: 140) stress the need for universities to accommodate ‘public service activities’ such as outreach, but even this has been largely ignored. Equally, although a concern with quality could easily have


Management and gender in higher education

included a concern with equality, this has not even been on the quality assurance agenda, and DES (2011) completely ignores it. Reflecting a broader agenda ultimately concerned with the penetration of academia by the market (Slaughter and Rhoades, 1997), both the OECD report (2004) and DES (2011) make much of the need for change in the governance structures in higher education. Thus although DES (2011) is very complimentary as regards the achievements of the current higher educational system, it recommends increased strategic control by the state (particularly through a cabinet committee chaired by the Minister for Education and Skills, as well as through increased control by a reconstituted HEA). It also recommends ‘service level agreements’ between the state and individual universities (DES, 2011). Although the DES (2011) ‘affirms institutional autonomy’, it understands that as ‘freedom of managerial action rather than strategic decision making’ (von Prondzynski, 2011: 2). Thus, no recommendations are made about putting in place structures to protect that autonomy. There is no costing of the administrative resources needed in the universities or in the HEA to facilitate these increased control mechanisms. Indeed, although there are exhortations about the appropriate use of administrative and support staff, no formula is proposed for the appropriate ratio of such posts to front-­line teaching posts. Furthermore, possible overlap with existing structures is not even considered. Thus although the HEA is allocated the responsibility ‘of forecasting demand for higher education, taking particular account of the labour market and evolving skills needs’ (DES, 2011: 90), the relationship between that role and that of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs is not considered. Both reports (OECD, 2004 and DES, 2011) strongly recommend reductions in the size of university governing authorities and a majority of ‘lay’ external members. In the OECD report (2004) these recommendations are couched in terms of a business case, implicitly endorsing an attempt by business interests to represent the general public. There is no evidence presented to support claims about poor governance (Lynch, 2004). In fact, there is no universally successful governance model (Shattock, 1999). The OECD (2004) report recognized that world-­class universities such as Oxford and Cambridge do not have a majority of ‘lay’ members’. DES (2011: 93) is more subtle, and recommends that governing authorities have no more than eighteen members and that the majority ‘should be lay people with expertise relevant to the governance of higher education’. No attempt has been made by the state to implement these recommendations. This may not be unrelated to the opposition by Trinity College Dublin (the oldest, most prestigious and most highly ranked of the Irish universities) to this proposal. In so far as this explanation is accepted, it suggests the importance of (at least some) university senior managements in opposing changes. The neglect of the issue on gender on supervisory boards is increasingly

Policy priorities


at odds with thinking within the OECD and the EU. However the under-­ representation of women on university governing authorities/boards mirrors practices within the Irish private sector. Thus the proportion of women on the boards of the largest listed companies in Ireland (at 9 per cent) is considerably below the EU27 average (14 per cent: EU, 2012c). Internationally, there has been considerable international disquiet over the under-­representation of women on such boards (EU, 2012c; OECD, 2012c; Davies, 2011). It has been seen as a loss in business terms at both a microeconomic and macroeconomic level: with a wide range of evidence showing that women increase the range of experiences and competencies available; have better understanding of consumer needs, since they control 70 per cent of global consumer spending; with the share price performance of companies with at least 15–20 per cent gender representation on boards being significantly higher, and average operating profits being almost double the industry average; having better decision making; being more responsive to front-­line needs; less likely to engage in ‘groupthink’; having improved corporate governance, risk management and lower bankruptcy. Furthermore, where specific action has been taken to encourage the inclusion of women on boards, whether by the introduction of legal quotas or by more voluntary measures, the proportion of women has risen dramatically, thus undermining arguments that women are not available (OECD, 2012c). Furthermore, the lack of transparency in the selection procedures and in the qualification criteria for such board memberships have been seen as entirely unsatisfactory and likely to reflect gender stereotypes and to promote ‘groupthink’. In this context, since non-­binding measures have had limited success, a directive to increase the proportion of non-­executive directors in large publicly listed companies is being considered (EU, 2012d). This has evoked almost no public discussion in Ireland. In summary, then, recent reports have focused on instrumentality, and particularly on procedures and processes in teaching and learning, and with no attempt to undertake a cost–benefit analysis of the redeployment of resources necessitated by this focus.

The (narrow) scientization of the research agenda The Irish state (both the civil service and political leadership) the EU, various corporate interests, as well as state-­created structures, such as Forfas and Science Foundation Ireland, have stressed that the allocation of state monies to research in (limited areas of) science and technology is essential for economic growth (for example National Development Plan, 2007–13). This kind of argument is not peculiar to Ireland. In an Irish context, this policy has been directed primarily towards research and development in multinational companies, a strategy that maximizes our exposure to external developments; prioritizes


Management and gender in higher education

exports over employment; ignores the geographically mobile nature of international research ‘stars’, and one whose sustainability has been questioned (Barry, 2005; Sheehan, 2005). At a national level its sustainability is potentially undermined by the disinterest of many high academic achievers, particularly women, in such areas (Power and Richardson, 2005: 9; Wajcman, 1998). In a context where the OECD (2012c) sees women’s employment as a particularly important contributor to economic growth, the fall in the proportion of female graduates in mathematics, science and technology fell by over 40 per cent between 2000–09 has potential implications for the prioritization of these areas. In the context of neo-­ liberalism, academia cross-­ nationally is valued because of its perceived ability to ‘create national wealth by increasing global market shares through the discovery of new products and processes in order to increase the number of high paying, high technology jobs’ (Slaughter and Leslie, 1999: 13). In this context, research activities with a potential commercialization focus, particularly in the areas of biosciences and information technology have been prioritized globally, with technology transfer offices, patenting concerns and relationships with commercial organizations being increasingly common in all universities. Academic interests have joined with the state and the market to drive this agenda. Thus, universities that are publicly funded are in effect using some of these resources to generate private profits, while at the same time reducing expenditure in front-­line teaching, and restricting public access to research generated knowledge (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2010). Traditionally Irish universities prioritized teaching over research (White, 2001). However, in the late 1990s, driven by global commercialization, and in a context where the state’s perception of higher education had consistently focused on its economic contribution (Sullivan, 2005), the state proceeded to invest very substantial levels of funding in research in (limited areas of) science and technology. Senior management in Irish universities, particularly at presidential and vice-­presidential research level colluded with this agenda (perhaps not surprisingly since typically their own research backgrounds were in these areas). Thus, from 1997 onwards, almost €3 billion was invested in research in higher education (most of it in the universities: Hazelkorn and Massaro, 2011). Between 2000 and 2007 alone, there was a threefold increase in the state’s allocation to research (McCarthy, 2009), the overwhelming majority of this going to a small number of areas in science and technology which were also being targeted internationally. Indeed, in 2006, less than 5 per cent of direct, and 15 per cent of indirect, state research and development funding went to arts, humanities and social sciences (Lynch et al., 2012). The identification of areas of national interest frequently map very closely on to areas of male employment (Ferguson, 1984; Franzway et al., 1989). At national and institutional levels, expenditure on research in (limited areas) of science and technology has been at the expense of investment in undergraduate

Policy priorities


teaching (Barrett, 2006). Thus between 1995 and 2008, at a time when funding for research was increasing exponentially, core funding to Irish universities for teaching was being cut by one third (Brady and Hegarty, quoted in Kirby, 2010). The situation was exacerbated by the economic recession (from 2008) when, in an attempt to reduce public expenditure, employment levels in universities were cut by roughly 10 per cent (IUA, 2012). In 2009–10 in the context of persistent cuts in core funding for higher education, the state reduced research funding by 30 per cent. However, it increased research funding again in 2011, albeit with a greater focus on applied research in fourteen specific areas ‘that are most likely to give demonstrable results in the medium term’ (DJEI, 2012: 8). The focus on (limited areas) of science and technology has been driven by a number of forces including the United States’ corporate interests (particularly in information and communication technology and pharmaceuticals: Allen, 2007) mediated through a number of state-­sponsored structures specifically concerned with the promotion of science and technology. Science Foundation Ireland is the most visible semi-­state funded driver of this agenda. It was established by the state (in 2000) to develop research in information and communications technology and biotechnology, largely by attracting international scientists into the university system for limited periods of time. In the first eight years of its existence it allocated more than €1 billion to (limited areas) of science and technology, funding nearly 1,000 postdoctoral researchers and more than 1,000 postgraduate researchers in these areas (van Kampen, 2012). It was modelled on research agencies in the United States, and its board members had strong ties with the United States’ science–industry complex. It has shaped higher education by effectively bypassing the HEA and the department of education and skills. For example, through the Stokes Programme it offered five year initial funding for 67 posts (half of them at professorial level) in information communications technology, biosciences and engineering in the universities. These were filled without public advertisement, for an initial five year period, with the universities effectively having to identify permanent posts to underpin these appointments after that. Given the areas this programme was targeted at, the majority of these posts were likely to go to men. Their creation and the deviation from normal recruitment procedures (including ignoring existing salary scales) was seen as entirely unproblematic in terms of an (undefined) national interest, driven by Science Foundation Ireland, with the tacit support of the HEA and the department of education and science, and the active support of a range of other government departments, as well as university senior management. There are other state funded national advocacy structures for a (limited) science and technology-­related agenda. Forfas (established in 1994) defines its role as a policy adviser, with three of its five areas being science, technology


Management and gender in higher education

and innovation, and with links to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the National Competitiveness Council, and the Advisory Council on Science, Technology and Innovation; and the Chief Scientific Officer (in 2012, the latter’s responsibilities were transferred to Science Foundation Ireland). Forfas itself created several of these advocacy structures. The state’s enthusiasm for such (male dominated) areas of employment contrasts with its disinterest in skills deficits in areas where women are more likely to be found (such as languages). This disinterest has persisted despite the eventual recognition by such bodies (reinforced by IBEC) of very substantial numbers of jobs requiring such skills (Forfas and Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, 2012). This indicates the strength of unconscious institutionalized sexism in the state. Ireland’s rapid economic growth from the 1990s (facilitated by a reserve labour force of women: O’Connell, 1999) was achieved through annual productivity growth and employment growth (Mc Loughlin, 2004), the latter involving the building industry, the retail industry, health, education and financial services. It is by no means clear how such areas created a demand for university educated graduates in biosciences, information communications technology or engineering. The proportion of graduates in mathematics, science and technology per 1,000 aged 20–29 years fell between 2000–09 (particularly the women), but the overall proportion of such graduates awarded Ph.D.s in Ireland was still higher than the EU average (Ireland, with Portugal, had the seventh highest in EU27 in 2009: CSO, 2012a). At an individual organizational level, the overheads included in most research funding applications (although they have increased) are not sufficient to cover their infrastructural costs. Thus (limited) areas of science and technology which are depicted as commercially viable, have long been subsidized by resources from undergraduate teaching in high demand areas outside science and technology (Barrett, 2006). Such patterns implicitly reflect a broader tendency to neglect students (particularly undergraduates in areas that are perceived as having no market value: Blackmore and Sachs, 2007; Lynch, 2006). This effective transfer of resources has disciplinary and gendered implications since the areas that are seen as most amenable to commercialization are areas of predominantly male academic employment (for example, biotechnology and information technology: Slaughter and Rhoades 2010); while the areas that are effectively subsidizing them, include the humanities and parts of the social sciences and business, areas where women academic staff are most likely to be employed (genSET, 2009; Hazelkorn and Massaro, 2011). Such patterns can be seen as the outcome of unconscious institutionalized sexism. In summary, the state’s prioritization of research in (limited areas) of science and technology has been particularly driven by overlapping, state funded advocacy structures outside higher education, with no attempt to undertake a cost–benefit analysis of alternative sources of investment.

Policy priorities


Recent policy documents related to its (narrow) scientization In the 2000s, there was a series of reports which extolled the importance of increasing research and development in (limited areas) of science and technology in higher education so as to increase economic growth. Typically, the links between research investment and economic growth were asserted rather than proven to exist. This mantra was repeated in other documents (for example, HEA and Forfas, 2006), and became accepted as a fact, although based on unproven assumptions regarding the contribution of such disciplines to economic growth (Barrett, 2006; Turner and d’Art, 2005). Lynch et al. (2012: 196) described the prioritization of such areas as a ‘highly political act’. O’Leary (2011: 85) also concluded that: ‘Irish governments have been seen as subject to capture by special interests’. Thus in a national context where the basis for women’s subordination is being challenged (by the erosion of ‘tradition’ and of beliefs about the ‘naturalness’ of women’s intellectual/educational inferiority), a focus on technical, high status (male dominated) disciplines is obviously attractive. Carney’s (2006) respondents explicitly refer to this discourse among policy makers. Such disciplines appeared to build on the success of Ireland as a high technology centre driven by a ‘new technical middle class…­combining entrepreneurs and technical professionals’ (O’Riain and O’Connell, 2000: 324). In this context the fact that expenditure on (limited) areas of science and technology ‘may have disappointingly limited effects on business innovation’ (O’Leary, 2011: 87) was ignored by the state. The strength of the support by the (then) department of education and science for this agenda was shown by its pre-­emptive action in restricting the role of the chief scientific officer and that of the cabinet committee to science and technology prior to publication of the OECD report (2004: 39) which recommended a more widely based disciplinary role for these structures. Questions about the relationship between state expenditure on research and national economic outcomes are raised in the OECD report (2004). It shows that, despite the relatively high levels of graduates being produced, at very considerable cost, in these areas, their employment levels as researchers is low, compared to the OECD average (OECD, 2004: 2.2.3). No evidence is presented that investment in information communications technology, electronic engineering or material science will generate sustainable jobs in the private sector, and no attempt is made to do a cost–benefit analysis of such expenditure. Nevertheless it recommended its continuation. DES (2011: 63) explicitly recognizes the fragility of the relationship between investment in research and economic impact, describing it as ‘complex and often indirect’ and suggested that that it may ‘give rise to an overestimate of the return in the short-­term’. The number of Ph.D.s employed in industry almost trebled between 2001 and 2007; and in 2008, Ireland was in the top 20 most cited countries in the world. However, neither of these metrics actually


Management and gender in higher education

indicates the economic impact of investment in research. The assumption that investment in high quality research is vital for economic development is simply restated. McCarthy (2009) challenged this, while van Vught (2011) noted that the link between the two was indirect. Subsequent evidence has shown that less than two fifths of those with degrees in science, computing, mathematics, engineering, manufacturing or construction were employed in science, research or technology-­related occupations (CSO, 2012c). DES (2011) differs from OECD (2004) in making repeated references to the importance of funding research in a range of disciplines, particularly in the universities, and particularly in areas that are seen as relevant to research partnerships with science and technology. However, the recommended development of a ‘research careers framework’ (DES, 2011: 119), in (limited areas) in science and technology, does not explore the impact on such an initiative on the resourcing of teaching activities outside these areas. Furthermore, the structural arrangements that it endorses as regards research funding (for example, transferring the programme for research in third level institutions (PRTLI) to the department of enterprise, trade and innovation) makes it clear that a very minor role for disciplines outside these areas is envisaged. Thus although references are made to the importance of research in contributing to students’ formation, it implicitly envisages that only elite universities will be research led (DES, 2011: 54), with the others focusing, to varying degrees, on teaching. Indeed, DES (2011: 107) suggests that programmes in humanities and social science might be delivered by private commercial providers. The recommendation of the van Vught (2012) report that seven public universities be reduced to four (with two other potential technological universities) reflects an acceptance of the broad priorities of DES (2011) although it also stresses the importance of a strong research base across all disciplines, and the production of graduates that are flexible so as to ‘create an export driven knowledge economy’ (van Vught, 2012: 7). However it is possible that this broad research base may only exist in the elite university emerging from the combination of University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin. O’Sullivan (2005: 461) suggested that in Ireland ‘contrarians’ with sufficient conservative social and political capital could impact on higher education. Equality Studies at University College Dublin is a striking example of the institutionalization of such contrarian tendencies (Lynch, 1999), funded through the generosity of the philanthropist, Chuck Feeney. This area, like women’s studies and gender studies, have at their core a recognition that institutions are involved in the reproduction of inequalities of various kinds. However, although they have impacted on their students, and even occasionally on their faculties, and the wider university, their impact on higher education policy has been limited, in a context where national institutional structures concerned with social justice and gender equality (including the Equality Authority and

Policy priorities


the National Women’s Council) were systematically weakened by the state in the 2000s. Slaughter and Rhoades (2010) stressed that universities are not simply affected by external actors. Senior management in Irish universities have seen industry collaboration as more prestigious than other ways of generating income (such as attracting international students). Industry is very comfortable with universities providing students with a narrow range of skills related to their immediate needs. A focus on more broadly based skills requires that employers be willing to invest in training employees, something that Irish companies have been particularly unwilling to do (OECD, 2004; Brereton et al., 2005; Allen, 2007). Thus, although the OECD report (2004) and DES (2011) indicate considerable reservations about the ability of research in (limited areas) of science and technology to deliver economic growth, they still recommended its continuance. The undermining by the state of structures endorsing a concern with equality, and its simultaneous funding of advocacy structures for science and technology, has made it difficult to problematize such recommendations.

Degendering: the elephant in the room It is widely accepted that equality at a national level is positively associated with a variety of positive national indicators, including economic growth (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010). The OECD (2012c) specifically highlights the important role played by gender equality in contributing to economic growth, and the negative impact of stereotypical gender constructions and inadequate child care support, on the ability of a society to utilize the educational resources of all its citizens. It noted that public institutions had a particular responsibility to model good practices for other organizations. However, at national level little attention has been paid to the promotion of gender equality as a way of generating such growth. At a national level, legislation was introduced to conform to European directives in the 1970 and 1980s as regards ending gender discrimination in employment (including the removal of the ban on married women’s participation in paid employment in a variety of occupations, and the ending of differential pay rates for men and women after Ireland joined the then European Community in 1973: O’Connor, 1998). Such legislation was later extended to nine grounds (including marital status, parental status and sexual orientation); the duration of paid maternity leave (introduced in 1981) was extended and (unpaid) parental leave introduced. Much of the legislative framework since then has been concerned with prohibiting discrimination, although the Equality Act (2004) allowed, but did not require, certain kinds of positive action. However, the Irish state has at times demonstrated a total inability to


Management and gender in higher education

understand the nature of discrimination, particularly indirect discrimination. Thus, for example, it introduced ‘compensatory payments’ solely for married men between 1986 and 1992, as part of its attempt to implement the European Directive on Equal Treatment for men and women These were judged discriminatory by the European Court in 1995 (O’Connor, 1998). However the state is not a monolith. In 1999 legislation was passed which established the Equality Authority on a statutory basis with a brief to ‘combat discrimination and promote equality of opportunity’ (Crowley, 2010: 7). In the 1990s the existence of a separate department of equality and law reform legitimated a focus on gender equality, and initiated regular reviews of progress in implementing the recommendations of the Second Commission on the Status of Women (1993). Most state and semi-­state structures, under pressure from the EU published reports, outlining their gender equality performance in the 1990s. The absorption of the department of equality into the larger and more conservative department of justice in 1997 was a critical setback. Nevertheless, a report, commissioned by the civil service, recommended affirmative action to tackle ‘the gender stereotyped attitudes of management’ (Humphreys et al., 1999: 191), with the Irish state (DET, 2002: 29) agreeing to implement ‘a structured programme to address imbalances in gender representation in management positions’. Meanwhile, the EU moved beyond legislative and positive action approaches to an ‘examination of the gendering of the institution itself’ (Gander, 2010: 125). In the late 1990s, it placed a legal obligation on member states to gender mainstream policies and programmes receiving structural funds: first, by analysing their implications for women and men and, second, by checking that the gender dimension had been taken into account at every level of decision making, with gender mainstreaming being defined as the incorporation of a gender equality perspective into ‘all policies at all levels and all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-­making’ (Council of Europe, 1998: 28). Under pressure from the EU, gender mainstreaming was adopted in Ireland’s National Development Plan, 2000–06 (DF, 2002). There were no incentives/ sanctions to ensure implementation and the gender equality unit monitoring this was peripheral to the central policy making processes in the civil service (Crowley and McGauran, 2005). Resistance to such mainstreaming was identified, so that although male ‘champions’ of gender equality were identified, ‘collectively, men seem to be better than women at defending their interests, particularly in relation to employment’ (McGauran, 2005: 84). Nevertheless, a commitment as regards equality proofing was included in the national agreement between social partners (2003). No attempt was made to implement it. Under ongoing pressure from Europe, the National Development Plan 2007–13 (DF, 2007) indicated that gender mainstreaming continued to be a

Policy priorities


government priority. It expressed concern that women still earned less than men; that they were less likely to move up to the most senior level of decision making in business or in the wider civil society, and although, like the National Women’s Strategy 2007–16 (DJE, 2007: 269), it recognized the usefulness of equality proofing, neither it nor any of these other documents identify mechanisms to monitor or reverse discriminatory processes. Indeed the OECD (2012c) report recognized that insufficient accountability mechanisms as regards gender inequality were a particular problem in Ireland. The weakening of the equality infrastructure, at national level, was reflected in the imposition of a cut of 42 per cent in the Equality Authority’s budget in 2008, at a time when cuts of 2–9 per cent were being imposed in broadly similar structures (Crowley, 2010). This reduced its ability to take action in a context where roughly half of the cases related to allegations of discrimination in public sector bodies, and prompted the retirement of the chief executive. Subsequently major cuts in the National Women’s Council budget provoked the retirement of its chief executive. The equality unit, established to address mainstreaming issues in the department of justice, equality and law reform, and the gender equality unit in the department of education were also disbanded. A gender equality division has remained within the department of justice and equality and although its responsibilities include ‘fostering the achievement of true equality between men and women in Ireland’ and ‘monitoring national and international commitments on gender equality’ as well as reporting on those issues for which ‘other Government departments and state agencies are responsible’ its activities are limited and omit any concern with higher education (DJE, 2013). A wide range of other structures promoting or supporting equality have been subsequently closed or otherwise rendered powerless (Lynch et al., 2012). This was facilitated by the absence of any tradition of a concern with social rights which did not derive from women’s relationship with an individual man (O’Connor, 2008a): rights that are taken for granted in social democracies such as Sweden, and which underpin the EU concept of social cohesion and citizenship. The weakening of EU leadership in the gender area at this time was not helpful (Cullen, 2012; Rees, 2012). Thus although member states were exhorted to eliminate gender stereotypes and to increase the participation of women in decision making (EU, 2011), there were no penalties for not doing so. With the exception of a proposed directive to ensure 40 per cent representation of women in non-­executive positions in publicly listed companies (EU, 2012d: see first section) this approach has persisted. Indeed a gender dimension is absent from Europe 2020, although the 75 per cent employment target arguably cannot be achieved without a focus on increasing women’s employment (Gustafsson, 2013). Furthermore, the reliance on negotiating agreed recommendations with national governments, and the exclusion of Ireland (and other countries in receipt of programme funding:


Management and gender in higher education

see the Appendix) from this process does not augur well for the strengthening of national gender priorities. Gender imbalance has implications for political priorities and policy outcomes. Thus, in the United States, those states with the highest representation of women introduce and pass more priority bills dealing with issues about women, children and families (Walby, 2009). It also has an effect on the definition of the ‘national interest’ and ultimately on the kind of knowledge that is valued. The gender equality division indicates that ‘[g]ender equality is achieved when men and women enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured’ (DJE, 2013). This has not been achieved in an Irish context. Women have consistently constituted only 15 per cent of the TDs, a pattern that is considerably below the EU27 average of 24 per cent (CSO, 2011b). The fact that almost half of those in the Swedish parliament are women challenges assumptions that such patterns are inevitable. Ireland is now ranked 79 in the world in terms of such representation (Inter-­Parliamentary Union, 2011). Only roughly one fifth of government ministers; of local authority representatives and of members of Seanad Eireann (CSO, 2011b) are women. Similarly, less than one fifth of those at secretary general level in the civil service are women; as are one third of the members of state boards; one quarter of those on county enterprise and county development boards and one fifth of those on regional authorities (CSO, 2011b). Thus men still strongly outnumber women in all national and regional decision-­making structures. Nevertheless, arising from its inclusion in the programme for government, the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012, Section 42, c (4B a–c) proposes that unless 30 per cent of the electoral candidates put forward by a political party in the general election are women, funding from the state will be reduced by 50 per cent (the expected proportion to rise to 40 per cent within a seven year period). It remains to be seen what the impact of this measure will be. Pressure from the EU ensured that legislative change occurred in the gender area in the 1970s and 1980s. A reasonably positive attitude by parts of the Irish state in the 1990s to gender equality gave way to widespread indifference over the next fifteen years. Recent policy documents: degendering The Universities Act (1997: 12(k)) includes among the functions of a university ‘to promote gender balance and equality of opportunity among students and employees of the university’. It requires the chief officer to prepare a university policy on ‘equality, including gender equality, in all activities of the university’ and to implement such a policy (1997: 36(1)(b)). One of the functions of governing authorities under the Act is to ‘have regard to the attainment of gender

Policy priorities


balance and equality of opportunity among the … employees of the university’ (1997: 18(6)(b)). Under Section 49 of the Act the HEA has an advisory and review role in relation to obligations to promote gender balance among university staff, and to prepare and monitor gender equality policies. These obligations have been largely ignored. Paradoxically there was greater concern with the underrepresentation of women in management positions in universities from the 1970s to the 1990s than today. Thus the First Commission on the Status of Women (1972) referred to women’s low participation in the universities. A green paper on education (DE, 1992) stressed the importance of a greater participation by women at management level in the department of education; while a white paper (DE, 1995) made the HEA responsible for encouraging and facilitating women’s application for senior academic positions. This culminated in the establishment, in the early 1990s, of the access and equality unit by the HEA in University College Cork, with a mandate to promote gender equality in higher education (Hayden, 1995; see also HEA, 1987; Smyth, 1984, 1996). This unit was closed by the HEA in 2002, and the responsibility for gender equality remained unallocated until 2012. This disinterest in gender was reinforced by the OECD report (2004). The only reference in it (2004: 12) to gender is that women are more likely than men to have attained those tertiary education programmes which it describes as ‘largely theoretically based and designed to provide qualifications for entry to advanced research programmes and professions with high skill requirements’. It did not attempt to interpret this trend or to explore its implications nor did it refer to the possibilities implicit in women’s high levels of education for the future economic development of the country. Occasionally (as in Programme for Research in Third Level, Cycle 4, 2007: 23, 25) data was required on the gender composition of assessment boards, but there was no reference to gender in the marking framework. In so far as any reference was made to gender in other policy documents, it has largely involved encouraging women to become involved in (limited areas of) science and technology (see for example, Building Ireland’s Knowledge Economy, 2004; National Development Plan, 2007–13; Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, 2006). This reflects a valorization of particular ‘masculine’ areas of knowledge, which are assumed to be the only kinds of knowledge to have economic value, ultimately reflecting a utilitarian and ‘masculinist basis for policy making’ (Carney, 2006: 4); ‘the norms being those of male subject choice, career aspiration and life-­course experience’ (O’Sullivan, 2005: 369). No attention has been paid to the ‘gender mainstreaming’ of policies related to higher education ‘as these are developed, implemented and evaluated’ (McGauran, 2005: 1). DES (2011) made no reference whatsoever to gender, men/women or gender equality. There was also no recognition of the fact that


Management and gender in higher education

the recommended focusing by the IoTs entirely on technology, will have gendered staffing implications, or that the vision for research-­oriented universities remains very narrowly focused, in disciplinary and hence in gendered terms. The HEA (2004: 59) recommended that universities develop equality action plans ‘which set out explicit and challenging targets and timetables as well as the names of those responsible for delivery’. It has failed to create structures to monitor this or to ensure that governing authorities or presidents deliver on their responsibilities under the Universities Act (1997). Its failure to publish data on the gender profile of academic staff in public universities (2004–11) further reinforced a lack of concern with gender. This is to change, and it is anticipated that gender will be part of the strategic dialogue between the HEA and the universities (Meehan, 2012). The effect of this remains to be seen. The OECD provides unequivocal support for gender equality, defined as ‘the absence of obvious or hidden disparities among individuals based on gender… [Including] discrimination in terms of opportunities, resources, services, benefits, decision-­making power and influence’ poses challenges for a neo-­liberal, masculinist state (2012c: 38). The task of mainstreaming gender is difficult (Benschop and Verloo, 2006; Carney, 2005). However there are a variety of useful international resources and precedents. GenSET (2010: 13–25) identified key elements, including leadership commitment; measures to foster and value diversity; transparency in recruitment and in the definition of research excellence; the identification of targets and the avoidance of narrowly defined job specifications. Several of these were reflected in the MIT initiative (Bailyn, 2003) where the president publicly admitted the ‘reality’ of ‘contemporary gender discrimination’ (MIT, 1999: 2), and, with eight other top university presidents in the United States agreed to work towards the goals of ensuring that the gender profile of academic staff would mirror that of the student group and that women in these universities would have just as positive experiences as men (see also Danowitz Sagaria and van Horn 2007 re Ohio State University). The performance of the Irish university sector to date has been much less impressive. Thus, gendered staffing patterns have been largely ignored by the Irish University Association. There has been mounting pressure by academic staff for the implementation of a cross-­institutional action plan to promote gender equality (Ni Laoire and O’Grada, 2012), reinforced by EU funding for various gender equality projects (at University of Limerick, University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin). These have been reinforced by concern by the OECD (2012c) about the importance of gender equality in generating economic growth. The impact of this pincer movement remains to be seen. Gender budgeting is a key element in implementing gender mainstreaming, providing as it does the opportunity to look at ‘how expenditure in each policy area is broken down between women and men’ (Barry and Pillinger,

Policy priorities


2005: 74; see also Stotsky, 2006). This approach has been used in a variety of countries since the mid-­1980s, including Canada and Australia. It has been researched by the United Nations and the World Bank, with the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Commission supportive of it. Neither the Irish state, nor the HEA has evinced any interest in it. Similarly, contract compliance, which has been widely used in Northern Ireland, and which constitutes one of the most effective ways of combating discrimination (and one which is compatible with EU law: Lester, 1997) has generated no interest in Ireland. Indeed, there is no requirement for public bodies in Ireland to have ‘due regard to equality in carrying out their functions’ and no obligation on them to even produce plans for promoting equality (Crowley, 2010: 6). In Northern Ireland quotas above a certain level of competence have been very successful in changing the catholic/protestant profile of the Northern Irish police force. In addition more voluntary affirmative action strategies, supported by senior management and involving regular monitoring and voluntary compliance with agreed numerical goals as regards the under-­represented groups (McCrudden et al., 2009) have been very successful in changing the catholic/protestant composition of senior management. They have provoked almost no discussion in Ireland, although logically they could be used to change the predominantly male profile of senior management. In summary, a wide variety of international policy instruments for the promotion of gender equality have not even been considered by (male dominated) Irish state and university structures. Since the closure by the HEA of the access and equality unit in 2002, there has been a striking level of disinterest in the issue, although there are some indications that this may be about to change, not least because of the increased recognition of the contribution of gender equality to economic growth pressure (OECD, 2012c).

Summary In this chapter the focus has been on policy related to higher education, focusing on instrumentality, in terms of processes and procedures; the prioritization of (limited areas) of science and technology; and degendering. These contexts were chosen since their differential success/failure illustrates the strength of the various stakeholders engaged in higher educational policy making in Ireland. In each case the topic is located in the context of a broader discussion of this aspect, prior to an examination of recent policy documents, particularly the OECD (2004) and DES (2011) reports. In the context of instrumentality, both of these reports focused on quality processes and structures and the composition of governing authorities. Supported by the state, by senior management in the universities, by a national and international network of bureaucrats and the EU, quality assurance


Management and gender in higher education

structures and processes, mainly in the teaching related area have been institutionalized in the universities. All the main stakeholders have clung to rhetorical statements about the contribution of research expenditure in these areas to economic growth, an assertion that is only now beginning to be challenged (McCarthy, 2009; DJEI, 2012). There has been little interest in non-­commercial forms of social engagement, reflecting a perception of the universities’ key stakeholder as industry. Furthermore, equality has not even been on this agenda. The failure to implement the recommendations as regards the composition of governing authorities indicates the extent of potential power that exists, albeit that it is infrequently exercised, by university senior management. The state’s prioritization of research in (limited areas) of science and technology, although legitimated by the Minister for Education and Skills, has in fact been driven by state funded structures such as Science Foundation Ireland and Forfas, whose mandate is to be advocates for science and technology. No attempt has been made to undertake a cost–benefit analysis of investment in research in these (limited areas) as compared with alternative investments. Furthermore, although the OECD report (2004) and DES (2011) have, to varying degrees had reservations about the impact of research in these areas on economic growth, they have nevertheless endorsed continuing state expenditure in these areas. This policy has now begun to be challenged (McCarthy, 2009). In the area of gender what emerges is a striking lack of interest in the topic from the late 1990s until 2012. Over that period, a reasonably positive attitude to the promotion of gender equality, under pressure from the EU, was replaced by disinterest at national level. Thus despite rhetorical references to gender mainstreaming; despite the HEA’s (2004) recommendation that the universities identify ‘explicit and challenging targets and timetables’; despite the state’s interest in economic growth and the recognized contribution of equality to it (OECD, 2012c); despite the OECD’s (2004) recognition of women’s superior educational achievements, it has been effectively ignored, other than in terms of encouraging the participation of women in limited (male dominated) areas of knowledge. In DES (2011) a concern with gender disappears altogether.

4 Gentleman’s club or medieval court?

Introduction Power is an extremely complex concept. Halford and Leonard (2001: 26) suggest that ‘the concept of “power” is rarely, if ever, made explicit in accounts of gender and organisation’. All of the respondents in this study are in senior management positions, so that they have, at some level, successfully accessed positional power. They include manager-­academics at presidential, vice-­presidential and dean levels, as well as other professional managers (for example, from finance or human resources), who are at vice-­presidential or executive director level. This senior management group varies in size, composition and name in different universities, but it is the most senior executive decision-­making structure. It is not however referred to in the Irish Universities Act (1997) and is not part of the university’s formal legal structures (Skillbeck, 2001). Kvande (2011: 2) suggests that ‘knowledge work is defined as work with a large degree of problem solving and a high level of qualifications’. Universities are widely seen as knowledge organizations in which knowledge workers are the key personnel. In such organizations, for maximum effectiveness, employees need considerable autonomy. However, internationally, universities, under the influence of managerialism, have become characterized by ‘centralised decentralisation’ (Henkel, 1997: 137) with decisions about the strategic direction of the university, in so far as they exist at university level, being centralized at presidential level (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007). The traditional collegial structure can be depicted as a gentleman’s club, with access being dependent on the nomination of existing members. Although theoretically non-­hierarchical, traditionally the (key) members were men at professorial level. At the heart of the managerial university is a (largely gendered) non-­meritocratic relationship. The power relationship between the president and the senior management group in that context has been referred to as academic feudalism (Saunders, 2006). However, given the importance


Management and gender in higher education

of personal relationships in accessing that power, the metaphor of a medieval court is seen as appropriate. In this chapter the concern is with the university’s power structure, and in particular with the centralization of power in the president; the ways through which positional power at senior management level is accessed and with the bases of power that are seen as legitimate.

Gender profile of those in senior positions As previously mentioned (Chapter 1) across the EU, only 10 per cent of those heading up universities are women (EU, 2013). The proportion of women at this level varies considerably between countries, with Ireland (with zero) being joint lowest and Sweden being highest: with over half of those in a similar position in Swedish universities being women (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). The absence of any woman in this position is striking, even by comparison with other public and private institutions in Ireland. Thus for example, in the civil service the proportion of women at the top (i.e. at Secretary General level) is 18 per cent; while the proportion of women at CEO level in private companies is 14 per cent (doubling between 2001 and 2010: CSO, 2012b). Thus it is clear that senior management in universities has remained, even by Irish standards, usually male dominated. In the present study, the focus is on those in the senior management group (including those at presidential, vice presidential and dean/executive director levels). Women constitute 19 per cent of those in such management group (20 per cent in 2005–06: Lynch et al., 2012). They constitute only 14–18 per cent of those at deputy/other vice presidential level (see Table 1). The proportion of women at dean level in Irish universities (at 25 per cent) is above the EU average, although it remains to be seen whether that will translate into a more balanced gender profile at the most senior levels. In the present study, such senior management structures typically consisted of six to eleven members, and there was no relationship between size and the proportion of women in them. That proportion varied between universities, from zero in the National University of Ireland Maynooth (previously a pontifical university); to 22 per cent in the University of Limerick and 33 per cent in Dublin City University (DCU), all of these being relatively new universities. However, there was also variation among the older universities: University College Cork having only 9 per cent, compared with 22 per cent in National University of Ireland Galway, and 24 per cent in University College Dublin (UCD). Such variation challenges simplistic individualistic explanations. In Ireland, access to academic senior management is assumed to necessitate a (full in European terms) professorial position. This latter position is at


Gentleman’s club or medieval court? Table 1  Percentage of women in university senior management positions cross-­nationally Country

President or equivalent position

Deputy president or equivalent position

Other vice presidents or equivalent position

Dean or equivalent position

Executive director or equivalent

Sweden Australia Ireland New Zealand South Africa Portugal Turkey UK EU27

41 18  0  0 22  7 10  8  9

35 36 14 17 30 27  7  6 –

55 40 18 17  0 16  4 21 –

30 38 25 17 28 23 13 20 19

48 32 24 35 – 60 – – –

Source: Goransson (2011: 54).

the top of an Irish academic career ladder. In Ireland the proportion of women at the bottom of that hierarchy (lecturer level) is now gender balanced, but women disappear as one moves up constituting 34 per cent of those at senior lecturer level; 27 per cent of those at associate professorial level; and 18 per cent at (full) professorial level as compared with 20 per cent in the EU (EU, 2013). Size, Dublin location, new/old or disciplinary profile shows no relationship with the proportion of women at full professorial level with the oldest, Trinity College Dublin (at 14 per cent) being little different to one of the newest, DCU (at 16 per cent); and UCD (at 21 per cent) being little different from University College Cork (at 16 per cent) or indeed the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (at 23 per cent: HEA, 2012a). The biggest difference in the proportion of women at professorial level is between the University of Limerick (at 34 per cent) and the National University of Ireland Galway (at 12 per cent). The fact that these two universities are within 100 kilometres of each other, and are broadly similar in size and profile, illustrate the importance of organizational factors in affecting such trends. Thus, for example, senior management in the University of Limerick identified targets for senior positions in 2005 which it exceeded (O’Connor, 2013). However, despite such variation at professorial level, both of these universities had a similar proportion of women in their senior management group. In summary, just under one fifth of those in senior management in Irish public universities are women, with no women at all at presidential level. Essentialist individualistic explanations for this are challenged by variation in the proportion of women in such senior management positions in Irish public universities. Professorial position is frequently seen as necessary for accessing


Management and gender in higher education

academic senior management. However the proportion of women at this level was broadly similar in Ireland and Sweden, although the proportion of women in senior management positions in the two countries was very different.

Centralization of power: scope and visibility Defining power as capacity, Lukes (2005) suggested that it was reflected in wide scope, in the sense that its exercise had unintended consequences and that its effects did not require any activity on the part of the power holder. The scope of presidential power is considerably wider than the organization, and includes a (potentially) influential relationship with key stakeholders, such as the state and wider societal elites. Furthermore, the greater the control of the president over senior appointments within the university, the greater the likelihood that power outcomes which reflect his/her wishes, will result without any activity, on his/her part. Traditionally universities in Ireland (and in the UK) have had a ‘bicameral structure’ (Whitchurch, 2010), with governing authorities being responsible for governance of the university on behalf of the wider community and with the legitimacy of their power ultimately stemming from their status as trustees of public institutions. In the Irish system, that power is reflected in their definition of the criteria to be met by the presidential appointee, and ultimately in the formal making of that appointment. Although in theory a recommendation can be turned down by governing authority, this has very rarely occurred in Irish universities (and the once or twice it did occur, it was considered an extraordinary event many years later). Until the Universities Act (1997) the presidential role was fused with that of the chair of governing authority (in Trinity College Dublin, this anomaly still persists). The Irish Universities Act (1997: 25 (2)) while separating these two functions, indicates that the balance of power between the governing authority and the president could be entirely tilted in favour of the president, since governing authority could ‘delegate to the chief officer (i.e. the president) any of the functions of the governing authority or the university relating to the appointment of employees of the university and the determination of selection procedures’. This was adverted to by the respondents in the present study: ‘If you think of governance at senior management level being checks and balances … In the university the preponderance of power rests very heavily with the president vis-­à-­vis governing body’ (Professor Andrew Murphy). Respondents noted that the president had virtually total power over the appointment of his senior managers; and that the extent of his power in Irish universities was unusual internationally: ‘In the Irish system, presidents are still very powerful, more so than in other countries … such as the US, UK and Europe’ (Professor Denis Tobin).

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


This centralization of power was reflected in the power of the president to create ‘new roles at the centre’ (Henkel, 1997: 137), thereby expanding the senior management group. In UK universities, up to the late 1970s, management structures were very lean (Deem, 2003). Anecdotally, similarly lean structures (including the president; registrar/deputy president and the bursar/ finance person only) persisted in most Irish universities until the 1990s. Under the influence of managerialism, additional posts at vice-­presidential level were created. Thus, the size of the management group increased dramatically in Irish universities from the late 1990s onwards and now typically consists of seven to nine people, although there are examples of both bigger and smaller structures. It is typically ‘unaccountable to other members of the university’ (Deem et al., 2008: 94) apart from the president. Such proliferation of senior management posts has distanced management from the core activities of the university (i.e. teaching and research): ‘As the periphery is cheapened, the core becomes more costly, in terms of salary and more lavish capital and operating costs, and the development of a corporate image’ (Lafferty and Fleming, 2000: 261). No attempt has been made to do a cost–benefit evaluation of the increased size of such senior management groups (Graham, 2008). Typically, in most Irish universities, all of the vice-­presidents and an increasing number of executive deans are appointed directly by the president, who is seen as the line manager in the ‘classical business sense, if you report to someone they have a role in your appointment’ (Professor Niall Phelan). The president is seen as legitimately having the ‘final call’ on who will occupy these positions, so that they ‘are no longer primarily representatives of the disciplines but of senior management’ (Moodie, 2002: 20). Effectively, then, they can be seen to reflect the president’s political choices (Sealy, 2010: 195) a pattern that can be seen as similar to commercial organizations. However, in a university context, the checks and balances arising from commercial viability are absent, and there is considerable room for prejudice to operate against particular individuals or groups. A managerialist discourse which sees universities as similar to private industry has implicitly legitimated this, although a degree of discomfort with it may be indicated by the existence of some kind of pro-­forma selection procedure which seeks to obscure the extent of the presidential power. High degrees of uncertainty continue to exist around managerial decisions in public universities, with implications as regards the perceived usefulness of homosociability as a way of reducing uncertainty (i.e. selecting leaders ‘with familiar qualities and characteristics to one’s self’: Grummell et al., 2009: 335). Kanter’s (1993) optimism that this ‘bureaucratic kinship system’ would wane as technology reduced uncertainty now appears rather naïve. Witz and Savage (1992: 16) suggest that such a process is often gendered as men (and other dominant groups) ‘effectively “clone” themselves in their own image’. Such patterns are not peculiar to Ireland (Gronn and Lacey, 2006; Thornton,


Management and gender in higher education

1989; Kanter, 1993; Marshall, 1995) and are exacerbated by the centralization of presidential power under managerialism. In the Irish study there were occasional suggestions that presidents seemed to frequently appoint people who were like themselves. Thus, even where a competitive process existed, the outcome was seen as reflecting the president’s preferences: ‘it is largely the president’s call’ (Professor Denis Tobin): ‘The procedure looks transparent but in fact the ­outcome … reflects power plays at that level … the critical thing is the president’ (Professor Anne McCarthy). Bargh et al. (2000: 118) found that before making appointments, senior management took ‘soundings’ from members of the ‘in group’. In that context gatekeeping has a ‘dual nature’; it ‘can function as exclusion and control, on the one hand, and as inclusion and facilitation on the other’ (Husu, 2006: 5). In Ireland, senior gatekeepers were perceived as playing an important, but still advisory role, in deciding which candidates would be appointed to senior management positions: ‘Other people…can have key advisory roles and can sometimes persuade the president that they have got someone wrong … I’m not sure if this is the right person for the job they will say and you will see an initial enthusiasm going … maybe you are right’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). However the limitations of this advocacy emerged very clearly: ‘if around the table eight people are saying yeah, I think so, and the president felt that style etc. was an issue, given that he would be a direct report, ultimately line management [i.e. the president] would have to be comfortable’ (Thomas Hennessy). There were occasional comments by the other professional managers, who saw their own appointments as more transparent, that manager-­academic appointments were not always through ‘proper open competition’, which ‘would give greater transparency and more confidence to people applying for the post’ (Peter Delaney), reflecting their greater awareness of power and their willingness to name it. On those limited occasions when other professional managers were appointed from the outside and for a limited period, that also potentially increased the power of the president, since they took some time to understand the system, particularly its strategic aspects. The centralization of presidential power in Irish universities was associated with an apparent vagueness, particularly among the manager-­academics, about power structures in the university. Thus when they were asked what they saw as senior management, their responses were frequently very inclusive or opaque, arguably reflecting the perceived illegitimacy of hierarchical power structures (Deem et al., 2008) reflecting the fact that collegiality ‘retains a powerful symbolic role in the internal governance of the institution’ (Bargh et al., 2000: 125). Some of the respondents in the present study, defined senior management very broadly indeed as: ‘any officer who has direct responsibility for implementing the strategic goals of the university and ensuring that there is movement towards those goals, goals that are enabled and understood by the academic

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


community at large and by staff’ (Professor Michael McGrath); ‘anyone who has responsibility for a section or budget’ (Professor Ann Joyce). The opaqueness of power was also reflected in the general absence of organograms outlining line management structures on most of the universities’ web pages, reflecting and reinforcing the illusion of non-­hierarchical relationships implicit in the idea of a gentleman’s club. In some cases, there seemed to be an attempt to obscure the power structure by describing the university as ‘a flat organization’ (Professor Brendan Connolly), with only a minority of manager-­ academics making a distinction between ‘two levels’ of senior management: ‘narrowly defined it is the president, vice-­presidents and deans … looser definition would include wider academic leadership … about seventy’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). There was a generally sharper awareness of power among the other professional managers. Thus, Thomas Hennessy suggested that senior management only included those in four positions: the president, deputy president, vice-­president administration and vice-­president finance. Others noted that: ‘We have never defined senior management. It is a loose term that can be applied by different people to different situations’ (Claire Hartigan). There was variation in the extent to which presidential power was seen as affecting the faculty. Some suggested that the power of the president at that level was limited, because an industrial type of ‘command and control’ line management structure was not appropriate in a university where ‘the value has to be understood as coming from the ability of the individual to do their own thing’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). Others suggested that the crucial factor was the extent to which the president wished to be powerful at that level. Very occasionally it was suggested that the existence of democratic structures obscured the real centralization of power: ‘I would not quite say pretence of democracy. That is not fair. But at the end of the day it is quite a small group of people who make decisions [although] people have the right to go to faculty/ speak/sit on committees, etc.’ (Professor Tina McClelland). Thus, as she saw it, internal power had become centralized in the president, and although democratic processes and structures persisted, they were largely ‘window dressing’. Such patterns are not peculiar to Ireland and reflect wider global trends in higher education (Blackmore and Sachs, 2007; O’Connor and White, 2011). In summary, in the Irish university system, power is centralized in the president. This power is reflected in his ability to create new roles at the centre and to choose his own appointees, very much as one might expect in a medieval court.

Accessing positional power in collegial/managerialist models By defining power at its broadest as an intervention that has a significant (that is, substantial and/or symbolic) impact on people’s lives, it is possible to


Management and gender in higher education

i­dentify a number of analytically distinct sources of power such as position, physical strength, economic resources, tradition, rules and regulations, expertise and charisma (Handy, 1985). Collegial and managerial models have some similar but also different power bases. The one that is of particular concern here is positional power. Positional power is considerable even in a collegial model, and despite the rhetoric of equality implicit in collegiality, is differentially available to those at different levels of the organizational hierarchy. It gives the occupant of a position control over a variety of other resources, including invisible assets such as information, and the right of access to a variety of networks. In a managerialist context, with its stress on line management, positional power is greater and more overt. The basis for accessing positional power differs in the collegial/managerial models. In the collegial one, election is the main way to access positional power whereas, in the managerial one, access is through appointment or nomination by the president (exemplifying a wider societal tension between these two sources: Walby, 2011). Positional power: access at presidential level Under the Universities Act (1997) appointments at presidential level are for a period of ten years, further reflecting the structural tendencies towards stability or inertia in the system. This compares with an initial appointment of four years in Portugal and Turkey; five years in South Africa and six years in Sweden (Carvalho and Machado, 2011). Renewal of an appointment at presidential level is possible, although in Ireland, it is unusual. This partly reflects the length of the initial appointment, and partly the age at which this position is accessed, combined with a compulsory retirement age of 65 years for all university personnel (the latter is atypical internationally: being seen as discriminatory in the UK and Australia, and with higher age limits existing in Portugal and Sweden). Bargh et al. (2000: 41) found that appointment at the equivalent of presidential level was a prestigious ‘end of career’ post in an academic career trajectory in the UK, with those appointed to these positions being slightly older there than in the United States. The way in which those at (the equivalent of) presidential level, access this position varies across Europe, with election (as in the collegial model) being characteristic of Portugal; while the use of consultants, external advertising, search committees and interview boards are typical of managerialist systems in Australia and the UK (Carvalho and Machado, 2011). In Irish universities, both types of processes are evident. The most common one (reflecting a more managerialist approach), is for the post to be publicly advertised, with search committees, sometimes involving external consultants, and/or internal members of the university identifying a list of possible candidates. Some vetting or shortlisting may be done at this stage. Frequently, in this model, an interview board also exists which includes the chair of governing

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


authority, internal members of the university as well as external experts, and this group is involved in the final shortlisting and interview process. The interview board typically ranks the candidates who are deemed to be appointable, and makes a recommendation to governing authority, which makes the appointment. This process is very different in many ways to the traditional collegial method involving an election, although there are political elements in both processes. In only a minority of Irish universities is the president and/or the deputy president/registrar elected, so the collegial basis of most Irish universities is structurally weak. In these situations, academic ‘movers and shakers’ are seen, particularly by the other professional managers, to play a major role in shaping the outcome, through political lobbying. The key players were seen as ‘people who would be regarded as old heads with institutional understanding and memory who have been around for a long time, people who are politically savvy’ (Jane Morrison); ‘the king makers are the academic community and the sections within the academic community who are willing to wield that power’ (Clare Hartigan). Hence at a structural level, a gentleman’s club was not the dominant structural model in Irish university senior management (although as will be shown in Chapter 5, the organizational culture still reflected that model). In Irish universities, a president is typically someone who has some prior knowledge of the organization, as deputy/vice-­president or simply as a former employee. Furthermore in Ireland, unlike Finland (Husu, 2001b) and Australia (O’Meara and Petzall, 2005) where the focus is on ‘up and out’ (i.e. recruiting senior appointees from outside their own university), there is little mobility between universities at presidential level or in other senior management positions (O’Connor and White, 2011). The absence of such mobility was seen as reflecting organizational economy: ‘It is cheaper for them not to go out’ (Professor Sheila Furlong), although it can also be seen as reflecting ‘a culture of sameness’, the tendency towards cultural continuity being exacerbated by this practice. There is some evidence that this is beginning to change, with a very small number of manager-­academics moving between Irish universities in 2011. Nevertheless, cultural continuity is still the norm. Expertise is arguably the most acceptable form of power within a knowledge-­generating organization, such as a university. In managerial structures there is a potential source of conflict between managerial and academic expertise (Henkel, 2000; Carvalho and Santiago, 2010). The perceived importance of academic expertise is arguably what lies behind the (often unstated) norm that senior manager-­academics should be at professorial level. However in Irish universities the senior management group also typically includes non-­academics. In such universities, regardless of their collegial/­managerialist ethos, the president is an academic. There has been one exception to this: when


Management and gender in higher education

a non-­academic was appointed as Acting President for a short period in a care-­taking capacity in the University of Limerick. In the present study, only a minority (both men and women; manager-­academics and other professional managers) referred to the importance of such academic expertise: ‘being credible in intellectual strength and scholarship and in educational experience and track record’ (Professor Marie Walsh); ‘the first priority is scholarship, high academic credentials, otherwise they would have no academic credibility with academic colleagues’ (Gerard Donnelly). The tension between academic excellence and the possession of political skills was occasionally referred to. It was also occasionally suggested that ‘senior management [was] as a route for those who were not going to make it on the research track’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire): the implicit suggestion being that political expertise was, in practice, more important than academic expertise. Of course, mentors and social networks are also important in the definition of academic expertise (see Chapter 1), so that the distinction between the two kinds of expertise is less clear-­cut than might appear initially. In summary, access to the presidential position in Irish higher education is largely through a managerial process, with a ten year appointment. It is historically gendered with little mobility between Irish universities. Positional power: access below presidential level There are sharp differences between the ways in which manager-­academics and other professional managers access senior management positions. For manager-­academics below the level of president, typically management is not a permanent post but a temporary assignment of responsibilities, for an initial period of three to five years, albeit that there is the possibility of a second assignment. Other professional managers typically have a permanent appointment in their functional area, and access senior management as part of their career trajectory. Their access route to senior management is much more similar to that in commercial organizations. In the present study, these other professional managers were typically younger than their manager-­academic counterparts, with roughly a fifth of them, but a third of the manager-­academics, being of an age when they would be obliged to retire, because of reaching the compulsory retirement age, within the next five years. The career routes to academic university senior management internationally have been depicted as a ‘vertical trajectory, climbing the corporate pyramid’ (O’Neil et al., 2008). There was a strong sense in many of the Irish interviews that, ideally, the typical path for manager-­academics involved such a progression, from minor positions of administrative responsibility, to head of department, assistant dean, dean, vice-­president: the ‘demonstrated effectiveness’ model (Professor Gerard Anderson). However, the current situation was that appointments of manager-­academics were seen as much more haphazard:

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


‘it’s a bit random really’ (Professor Tommy Ryan): ‘there is not one at the moment, the whole thing is in a process of change’ (Professor Joan Geraghty): ‘it’s a bit hit and miss … plucking people … who, for whatever reason, have been identified by the president as people with talent or potential’ (Professor Anne McCarthy). As one might expect in a medieval court, manager-­academic positions below the level of president were thus explicitly or implicitly being filled ‘not by application, promotion, selection or election, but by the blessing of the president’ (Jane Morrison). The president tapped potential appointees on the shoulder; and (if necessary) created new portfolios for them: ‘the reality is that senior management is appointed by the president whatever we might say. Nobody will get appointed to a senior management role unless the president is comfortable [with them]’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). The effect of this is to increase the likelihood that sycophancy, politicking and ‘upward management behaviour’ (Mooney, 2013) will be facilitated and any kind of critical perspective will be seen as problematic. This undermines the depiction of universities as bureaucracies characterized by the elimination from ‘official business, [of] love, hatred, and all purely personal, irrational and emotional elements which escape calculation’ (Gerth and Mills, 1958: 215–16). An element of deference and self-­censorship is also likely in such contexts and was also referred to: ‘The president is very powerful, very hard for people to go against the president … It does not seem easy for a part of university in Ireland to thwart the head of the university’ (Professor Niall Phelan). Mackenzie Davey (2008: 667) recognized that networking, as part of organizational politics, was linked ‘to the processes by which any elite group maintains power’, with men tending ‘to help their own sex in an unintentional “matter-­of-­fact” way’ (van den Brink and Benschop, 2011: 14). However, ‘men in senior management are not expected to support women in management, nor are they blamed when they fail to do so’ (Mavin, 2008: S80). Doherty and Manfredi (2010) found that while women stressed the ways in which their mentors had helped them build up their confidence, the men focused on ‘instrumental help’ such as helping them to get a grant or to get on to an editorial board. Thus ‘[a]cademic men focused on a game of reputation where insiders strategize to help each other win’ whereas women were involved in ‘continual efforts to prove skill’ (Krefting, 2003: 266). Implicit in this is the idea that women lack crucial cultural capital and hence that they effectively start at a lower base than their male counterparts. It was occasionally recognized that all of the access routes to university senior management were in fact male dominated: ‘It is about signals and the signal at the moment is that Senior Management is male’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). When the manager-­academics were asked what factors or people were most supportive in getting them into their current management position,


Management and gender in higher education

the majority referred to the president. The fact that women constituted less than one fifth of those in these positions implicitly suggests that such support was less available to women, whether on the basis of their gender and/or their disciplinary backgrounds. Across the EU, women are most likely to be in professorial positions in the humanities, followed by the social sciences, precisely those areas that are seen as of less priority by the Irish state (RIA, 2007a and b), and which are least likely to be represented in senior management structures. Typically in the present study the word mentor was not used by male manager-­academics. This led John Keane to wryly reflect that: ‘I’m beginning to wonder if the only people who don’t need mentoring are the male academics’. It can be seen as reflecting a greater sense of entitlement to support or unwillingness to acknowledge indebtedness. Thus, some of the men normalized presidential support: ‘the relationship with the chief executive officer/president is a critical one for any senior manager’ (Professor Garry Burke); ‘an opportunity came up unexpectedly. It came through an approach from the president at that time’ (Professor Denis Tobin). Various (male dominated) collegial constituencies were also referred to by manager-­academics, as encouraging them to go forward. It was striking that the word mentor was disproportionately referred to by women (both academic and other professional), strongly suggesting that they felt a greater need for what Ibarra (1997: 99) called ties that ‘may help women to counteract the effects of bias, gender typed expectations, and contested legitimacy’. This was occasionally recognized by the women themselves: ‘You need to have people who will push you and position you … a male mentor who was in at the top … he gave me opportunities … he gave me responsibilities … career support, role modelling, social support … he knew the politics, the people in there’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire). Other professional managers were particularly likely to suggest that they achieved their position simply and solely through their own efforts. This may reflect the fact that they were more likely than their manager-­academic counterparts to be recruited in a relatively transparent way, albeit that the president’s approval was also critical. In any event, some of them stressed their own ability and motivation ‘I was very self-­motivated. I had no great friendships in the educational sector ahead of applying … I never actually made contact with anyone here to get an insight or a leg up. I did it off my own bat’ (Peter Delaney); ‘I thought this looks like a good job. I was fortunate enough to get shortlisted. I prepared as hard as I could and I was fortunate enough to be appointed’ (Tony Noonan). However, some respondents such as Timmy Collins, who said that they had ‘no particular grooming from anyone’ later indicated that consultancy, as well as personal contacts with academics ‘through the normal social processes’ enabled him to position himself for his subsequent appointment, so that ‘it was not a total accident’. Similarly, a minority of male manager-­academics who claimed individual success also

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


frequently indicated that it was not quite so straightforward in that a number of ostensibly chance events meant that they were well positioned: ‘I would not say it was serendipity, in some sense you make your luck, but I did get some important breaks’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). Hence it seemed plausible to suggest that, at least in the case of some of these men, an individualistic narrative was not the total explanation for their success, reflecting Bagilhole and Goode’s (2001: 162) conclusion that ‘individualism is the myth while male support systems are the reality’. Manager-­academics and other professional managers identified a range of people as being supportive in their current tasks as senior managers. For the most part such support was explicitly or implicitly seen as enabling them to get the job done. These included their colleagues, the person to whom they reported as well as the people who reported to them. The nature of that support varied from advice, to enabling them to delegate particular tasks with confidence to those who reported to them, to a more general feeling of collegiality or loyalty. It was striking that women were more likely than men to see no one in the senior management group, other than the president, as supportive: thus underlining the fragility of their position. Occasional references were also made, particularly by the men, to the importance of a personal assistant: a relationship that has been seen as a bureaucratic anomaly (Kanter, 1993) because of its personal character. References to support from family was even rarer and was only made by women, arguably also reflecting a gendered culture of (male) entitlement to such support. That support only very occasionally appeared to be of a practical nature: ‘my husband was willing to take a different role and willing to be the person around when the kids came home from school’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). It was also striking that, for the other professional managers, subordinates, by undertaking the routine aspects of the job, were often seen as enabling them to become in effect cross-­functional professionals (Whitchurch, 2008) ‘there were very good people in finance that allowed me to get out of the finance office’ (Paul Meaney). The majority of the manager-­academics also referred to the support provided by those people who reported to them, but with somewhat different nuances: ‘we would talk quite openly about challenges that I face as senior management, partly to help them to talk about challenges they face, but honestly there are some problems that they help me fix’ (Professor Gerard Anderson); ‘academics are reputed to be difficult to manage, but I think they are easy to motivate because they are very self-­motivated, if you have a good atmosphere in terms of collegiality, which is the way in which the academic world works best’ (Professor Eileen Greene). Thus the manager-­academics’ relationship with power was much less overt than that of the other professional managers. In summary, although the manager-­academics saw the ideal typical path to


Management and gender in higher education

career management as involving a ‘demonstrated effectiveness’ model, the current situation was more haphazard, relying to a considerable extent on a personal relationship with and visibility to the president: the model of a medieval court. The position of female manager-­academics was particularly fragile, in the absence of support from other colleagues on the senior management group. Career paths and attitudes to accessing power below presidential level In their UK study, Deem et al. (2008: 104) referred to what they called ‘the good citizen managers who take on management positions out of loyalty to their institution, often towards the end of their career’. For them such responsibilities are taken on with a feeling of ‘reluctant obligation’, in ‘an attempt to secure the welfare of their area’ (Deem and Johnson, 2003: 8). The majority of the manager-­academics in the present study exemplified this pattern, although they were responsive to opportunities to advance in the academic management hierarchy. There was an acceptance that such responsibilities were inevitable at a particular stage in a senior academic’s career. Thus, for various reasons, they felt obliged at a particular stage to undertake managerial responsibilities: indicating that others ‘needed someone to take over’ (Professor Ann Joyce) or that their university ‘desperately needed to be served’ (Professor Anthony O’Donoghue). Some referred to their desire to ‘put something back’, but stressed that such management activities were: ‘not the reason any of us became academics’ (Professor Eileen Green). In other cases, very much in a collegial tradition, they were approached by colleagues and ‘stepped up to the plate’ (Professor Jim Flanagan). In Chapter 7, it will be shown that although both male and female manager-­academics took on managerial responsibilities somewhat reluctantly, there were gender differences in the kinds of rewards they derived from such positions. A minority of the male manager-­academics in the present study could be described as late career managers, who, for various reasons, had chosen a management route. Thus for example, for Professor Sean Murphy, a career in management was planned over a short period of time when he had a mid-­life crisis: ‘I needed to become something different and … got … interested in how universities were managed’. For Professor Andrew Murphy, it was simply that: ‘I had reached a stage in my career when I was attracted by the scope of running an organization; by the kind of challenge and opportunities it represented’. Others had previously been involved in some kind of leadership activities and saw university management as a logical development from this; with occasional examples of academics who felt that dealing with people was the biggest challenge, and hence who got involved in management. However the dominant pattern among the manager-­academics was that of the ‘reluctant manager’. The system of seconding academics to management positions raised problems, particularly if such responsibilities were assumed for long periods or at

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


an early age: ‘we are seconded from academic life for a short period. But … we are becoming more professional, more business-­like, some people would call it more managerial … If we want academic oversight over administration, academics need to be longer in those positions’ (Professor Niall Phelan). They saw this as creating difficulties in reintegrating those who had spent time in management positions: ‘what kind of career structure can you offer … I don’t know the answer. Maybe we should insist that it should be a maximum of four years, and even that is a long time to be out of your subject, but absolutely no more than that’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). That small minority of male manager-­ academics, who accessed senior management positions in their forties, illustrated these difficulties. Thus if they served two terms of three years: ‘if you do that at 48, you are 54 [when the assignment ends] and then you would have to stay on a management track’ (Professor Anthony O’Donoghue). However, the option of staying on a management track may not be available to them, since it depends on the will of the president (and a new appointee at this level may now be in place). A number of respondents referred to the absence of planning: ‘people don’t think what they are going to do after they step down’ (Professor Tommy Ryan). Nevertheless, typically manager-­academics approved of this system, because of the perceived unique contribution of academics to university management: ‘There is a value to having individuals who are taken out and have the expectation of returning … One of the things the academic community values is a concern with academic values’ (Professor Marie Walsh). As in Doherty and Manfredi’s (2010) study, the possibility of remaining in senior management after their current assignment was more likely to be entertained by men than by women, with the former occasionally referring to their desire for a higher position in the future in academia or an equivalent managerial position outside it. Others left open that possibility, saying that in five years’ time: ‘I guess I might be still in senior management’ (Professor Niall Phelan); ‘who knows?’ (Professor Michael McGrath). Female manager-­ academics had greater difficulty articulating such a possibility, although they did so occasionally: ‘that is quite difficult … There are two obvious routes: I look for the president post or I go back to my first love, in a corner somewhere, reading and writing’, with the attraction of these options ‘changing on a daily basis’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). A minority of manager-­academics anticipated that the end of their assignment of responsibilities would coincide with their age at (compulsory) retirement: ‘I like what I do and I expect to see it through to retirement’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). Of those who did not anticipate this, the majority intended going back to research and/or teaching, often using a sabbatical as a way of re-­ engaging with academic developments. It was striking that academic women were more likely than academic men to say that they were actually looking forward to a movement out of management in five years’ time. Thus, Professor


Management and gender in higher education

Tina McClelland said that it will be ‘no big deal’ for her to resume her teaching and research role. Such attitudes were common among the women and were presented positively: ‘hopefully I will return to being one of those privileged people who have quiet time for research, writing in my office or in the library somewhere’ (Professor Eileen Greene). The women also had more positive attitudes to making the transition to retirement: ‘I have done lots of things, happy to draw it to a close’ (Professor Ann Joyce). In contrast, for the male manager-­ academics, the thought of retirement was very daunting: ‘I am old and done now’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). However, since the women manager-­ academics were frequently at a lower level than their male counterparts, it is impossible to know to what extent such attitudes reflect level rather than gender. The other professional managers who were due to retire in the next five years envisaged that they would gradually ease themselves into retirement: ‘it will be an easing out instead of a sudden stop’ (Paul Meaney), with consultancy being mentioned as a possibility: ‘project jobs of six months, three day weeks that people may want old guys for’ (Gerard Donnelly). This transition was less traumatic than for their male manager-­academic counterparts. In contrast to the academic managers, for many of the other professional senior managers, senior management was a long-­term ambition: ‘Always been planned’ (Timmy Collins); ‘very definitely a long term career path, from very early on’ (Katherine Mc Elligott). When Paul Meaney was a third year undergraduate student, he decided that he ‘wanted to be involved at senior level in decision making, to have responsibility rather than to be one of the crowd’. For others, having assumed a position of informal leadership in a technical area, they began ‘to prepare for management’ (Peter Delaney). In some cases there was a ‘critical moment’ (Thomson et al., 2002) when they recognized this, and undertook a master’s in business administration to facilitate the transition. Although their responsibilities were managerial, some of these other professional managers still continued to see themselves as ‘bounded professionals’ concerned with ‘the performance of roles that were relatively prescribed’ such as in finance (Whitchurch, 2008: 3): ‘I wouldn’t like to be a generalist, I would never have seen myself in a role like that, I wouldn’t enjoy it’ (Thomas Hennessy). The majority of them saw themselves as cross-­boundary professionals, so that, although aware of the significance of boundaries, by transcending them they carved out a strategically important management role for themselves. Those in a finance function were particularly likely to do this, their oversight of the whole organization in financial terms and the strategic importance of their own area, facilitating their development as cross-­boundary professionals who were ‘very involved in everything’ (Paul Meaney). The other professional managers typically saw themselves as career managers. In that context they were interested in managerial challenges: ‘if I thought for a minute that I am not making any impact or that people are not

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


satisfied with my performance or I was not being challenged in the role, I would definitely look for a new challenge’ (Peter Delaney). Similarly Claire Hartigan looks forward to new challenges emerging ‘with the changing climate within universities and changes in the economy, and competitive research activity … and the increasing importance of intellectual property’. Such challenges were largely unrelated to the student as a stakeholder, reflecting and reinforcing managerial concerns. For that very small minority of other professional managers who are not in permanent managerial positions, the future was much less clear-­cut: ‘if only I could tell you that’ (Jane Morrison). Thus some of the differences between the career paths of the manager-­academics and other professional managers may simply reflect the fact that for the former these are temporary assignments of responsibilities, whereas for the latter they are typically permanent career posts. The complexities (O’Neil et al., 2008) of women’s careers was particularly evident in the early careers of a minority of women who were dramatically affected by an earlier legislative and cultural context. Professor Cathy O’Riordan’s career was typical of an earlier generation in some respects. Thus she had ‘ambitions to move upwards’ right from her first administrative job when she was 17 years old: ‘I never thought I would marry’. But she did marry and the marriage bar meant that she had to resign her post (O’Connor, 1998). She re-­entered paid employment, after fifteen years full-­time in the home, and ‘at that time I was grateful to be back in work’. Similarly when Professor Geraldine Maguire qualified in the 1970s, ‘the marriage bar was in existence, I left Ireland to escape the marriage bar … I did not want to be a full-­time mother in the home’. When she returned to Ireland ten years later, she got an academic job and sums up the culture at that time by saying that you were seen ‘as keeping a job from a man’. In summary, for the manager-­academics, management was largely if not entirely unplanned, largely undertaken out of a feeling of reluctant obligation. The other professional managers typically had permanent appointments in functional areas and saw management as a career path. Key contribution of the president Kekale (2003: 286 and 287) argues that academic leaders operate within a complex, changing and historically developing ‘field of possibilities’ arising from the simultaneous interaction of ‘legislation, economic resources, human competence and resources, the cultural sphere and the sphere of power and interests’. Changes in the president’s role over time have been depicted in various ways. Thus it has been suggested that it had been redefined from that of a ‘powerful public intellectual’ who provoked societal debates and influenced public policy, to ‘fundraisers and ribbon cutters and coat holders, filling a slot rather than changing the world’ exemplifying ‘the creeping vocationalization


Management and gender in higher education

and subordination of learning to the dictates of the market’ (Giroux, 2002: 439). A more common way of describing the change has been a movement from being ‘first among equals’ (primus inter pares) in a collegial system with an internal focus, to being the chief executive officer in a managerialist system with an external focus. Carvalho and Machado’s schema (2011) suggested that university presidents in Ireland had an internal orientation, albeit that the Irish president was seen as being more of a chief executive officer than, for example, those in similar positions in Portugal or Turkey. By focusing on the perception of the key contribution of the president, it is possible to see which of these elements are most valued by university senior management. In Ireland strategic planning, under the influence of managerialism, became a key requirement of university presidents under the Universities Act (1997). Hence all universities now have strategic plans. Strategic planning is ‘part of the new managerialist culture’ (Bargh et al., 2000: 72; see also Marginson, 1997). In the UK, vice-­chancellors define their role by referring to strategy and vision; to leadership and mapping a direction for the university in the medium to long term. However, defining the purpose of the organization is a key element in strategic planning, and this poses difficulties in the case of universities (see Chapter 1). The ‘combination of academic and symbolic leadership with managerial expertise’ has been seen as a particular, and distinctive, feature of senior management in universities as knowledge-­intensive organizations (Bargh et al., 2000: 66). Other studies noted that senior managers in such a context typically focused on mundane activities such as listening to subordinates (Alvesson and Sveningsson, 2011). In the UK, despite the stress on developing strategy and long term vision, in practice, the vice-­chancellors spent a great deal of their time on operational issues (sitting on appointment boards; being involved in routine informal and formal meetings) and generally paying ‘great attention to the hearts and minds of academic collectivities’ (Bargh et al., 2000: 125). In the present study, although the president’s strategic role was referred to, as well as his role in generating funding and enhancing the university’s profile, it was the routine internal oriented aspects of his activities that were seen as providing the biggest challenge and their most important contribution: the president’s key contribution is to map out the strategy for the university; to represent the university with the source of funding … to give the university standing through his contribution in the public media; to put in place as strong a team as he can to implement the strategy, but the single biggest challenge he faces is to communicate with the membership … particularly academic staff, to gain acceptance of strategy, to get the people to come with him. (Timmy Collins)

Thus although in the present study, the key contribution of the president frequently included references to ‘leadership and vision’ these were seen as involving a mixture of activities, with an internal focus being prioritized. This focus is characteristic of the collegial model where the president is primus inter

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


pares with: ‘the ability to deliver and maintain the moral commitment of the academic community’ (Professor Andrew Murphy); ‘setting the vision, the tone, the direction, listening to and articulating it back to the community, a vision that is sufficiently challenging to stretch them but not so challenging that it becomes unreal … leading people from a safe distance, being in touch’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). Hence although the centralization of power in the president is very much in a managerialist chief executive mode, these senior managers drew on a collegial discourse in identifying the key contribution of the president, implicitly suggesting that this was a legitimate basis for his power, a power that was, in fact, increasingly managerialist. Thus, whereas in a commercial organization profit levels would be seen as a key concern of the CEO, in this study, although funding was included in a range of valued activities: for example, ‘they should be the external face of the organization, accessing money for us, a fundraiser, delegate down, [have an] external presence’ (Professor Ann Joyce), there were only a small number of exclusive references to this as his key contribution. Thus, although the increasing power of the president was seen as related among other things to the managerialist expectations of government, meeting those expectations was not seen as the key contribution of the president, since it was not seen as a legitimate basis for his power. Personal charisma can exist in both managerial and collegial models (Handy, 1985; Hearn, 2001; Weber, 1947). However, there has been increasing criticism and discomfort with the charismatic heroic model of leadership (Alimo-­Metcalfe and Alban-­Metcalfe, 2005). In part, this has been fuelled by concerns about its ‘dark’ side; by an increasing stress on distributed leadership and an increasing disenchantment with heroic grand narratives that imply dependency among followers, and where what are really collective achievements can be presented as heroic individualistic ones (Gronn, 2003). In the present study, references to a heroic element only emerged in the case of those referring to a particular situational context (for example, the establishment of the university or other critical moments), and there was ambivalence about them even in these situations. Thus there were references to the president at such critical moments as ‘a start-­up entrepreneur’ (Professor Larry Mc Donald); ‘an inspirational leader but not to any women’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire); ‘a revolutionary pioneer. The best revolutionaries are dead ones … they are great for starting off but they outlive their usefulness’ (Paul Meaney). Thus personal charisma or heroic leadership was clearly not valued. In summary, although public universities were characterized by a managerialist centralization of power, the legitimacy of that power structure was problematic. Hence it was ultimately the president’s internal contribution that was valued, with a collegial discourse being drawn on to legitimate managerialist power.


Management and gender in higher education

Summary In this chapter senior management in Irish universities was described in detail. The metaphor of the gentleman’s club was used to depict the collegial structure and the medieval court to depict the managerialist one. The members include both manager-­academics and other professional managers. Overall, women constitute just under one in five of such members. Explanations at the level of the individual are challenged by the gender variation that exists both within Irish universities and cross-­nationally. Traditionally, in Ireland (and the UK), universities have a ‘bicameral structure’ (Whitchurch, 2010) with governing authorities responsible for governance. However the balance of power, particularly as regards the appointment of staff and other internal matters, was seen as having been tilted in favour of the president. In a context where there has been little tradition of mobility between Irish universities at senior management level, frequently internal candidates are appointed, even under a managerialist process. Under the Universities Act (1997), the appointment of a university president is typically for ten years, reflecting and reinforcing a tendency towards inertia in the system which is unusual internationally. In that context, power was effectively centralized in the president’s hands, and he was overwhelmingly seen as a CEO in terms of his untrammelled control over the appointments of those reporting directly to him (and particularly at academic vice-­presidential and dean level, since these were temporary assignments of responsibilities). Paradoxically, the twenty-­first century doxa of managerialism can be seen as a façade for a centralization of positional power, illustrated by the metaphor of the medieval court. Irish universities vary in their method of presidential appointment, although the majority follow a managerialist path involving a public appointment process rather than collegial election. Below the level of president, the respondents saw the ‘demonstrated effectiveness’ model involving a graduated movement through a series of academic management posts as the ideal. However, as they saw it, this had been replaced by ‘presidential blessing’ involving appointment to a structure that is accountable to no one other than him and where it is all too possible that a culture of sameness (‘homosociability’) and ‘upward management behaviour’ (Mooney, 2013) might prevail. Since less than one fifth of those in senior management positions are women, this can be seen as reflecting women’s difficulties in accessing presidential support, with the fragility of their position being underlined by the paucity of support from other people in the senior management group. There was a big difference in the career paths of manager-­academics and other professional managers. For the former these were temporary assignments of responsibilities whereas for the latter they were permanent posts.

Gentleman’s club or medieval court?


Although the former saw career difficulties arising from undertaking managerial responsibilities, they still saw manager-­academics as important in the management of a university. Such manager-­academics were particularly likely to obscure the hierarchical nature of senior management, possibly because it lacked legitimacy in a collegial model. This concern with collegial legitimacy was also reflected in the perception of the key contribution of the president as an internal one. Thus a collegial discourse was effectively used to legitimate a managerialist centralization of power. Other professional managers appeared more aware of power structures; more willing to name them; and more likely to adopt strategies to enhance their own power base, reflecting their greater comfort with a managerialist system, and their attempt to distance themselves from relational routes to access power: routes that resonated with the metaphor of the ­medieval court.

5 There is no problem; or, if there is, the problem is women The problem is women

Introduction Power operates through taken-­for-­granted arrangements and the belief systems underpinning them. Despite the fact that an interest in organizational culture goes back to the 1980s, there is relatively little research that ‘specifically illustrates in what ways gender relations and organisational culture are connected’ (Wicks and Bradshaw, 2002: 3). In this chapter the focus is on one aspect of organizational culture, namely gendered narratives explaining the absence of women in senior management. The concept of ‘organizational culture’ is not new (see Peterson, 2007; Tierney, 1998). It has been variously defined, although there is a common core to such definitions. Drawing on Wicks and Bradshaw (2002: 137), it is defined as those ‘attitudes, values and assumptions … which become entrenched in the minds and practices of organisational participants’, which play an important part in concealing and legitimating gendered inequalities. Smircich (1983) distinguishes between culture as something an organization ‘has’; and culture as something an organization ‘is’, with the former implicitly suggesting that managers can change the organizational culture, whereas the latter focuses particularly on day-­to-­day interactions which can maintain or challenge it. In this chapter, the concern is with organizational culture in the former sense; while Chapter 7 includes a focus on organizational culture in the latter sense. In this chapter there is a particular focus on the visibility and legitimacy of gendered inequalities (Acker, 2006), particularly as revealed in narratives explaining the absence of women in senior positions in the university (Ely and Meyerson, 2000), and the possibilities as well as the limits of change. In the context of gendered management, the concept of organizational culture has been used to refer to a complicated fabric of management myths, values and practices that legitimize women’s positions at the lower levels of the hierarchy and portray managerial jobs as primarily masculine (Bagilhole, 2002; Benschop and Brouns, 2003; Deem, 2003; O’Connor, 1996). Leathwood

The problem is women


and Read (2009: 176) concluded that: ‘higher education remains solidly masculinised’. Morley (2006: 6) has argued that women’s under-­representation in senior decision-­making roles is ‘a form of status injury’ involving both ‘cultural misrecognition and material and intellectual oppression’. It has also been suggested that ‘Organisational culture is a function of leadership’ (Parry, 1998: 93). Thus, changing women’s position in universities requires changes to the gendered culture as well as other kinds of change. Indeed for Hearn (2001: 70) the most important aspect of this is ‘changing men and men’s position in universities and their cultures’. In this situation ‘women’s place’ is defined by men and it is a subordinate one. Men as he sees it are ‘a social category associated with hierarchy and power…Management is a social activity that is also clearly based on hierarchy and power…Academia is a social institution that is also intimately associated with hierarchy and power’. Thus: ‘in simply going along with institutionalised features of the gender order, men perpetuate masculinism, a bias in favour of men’ (Yancey Martin, 2003: 360). This kind of perspective helps us to understand men’s hostile bewilderment when they are challenged on their practices: practices that in their eyes are socially appropriate, indeed ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’. However, individual men and women may, because of their own experiences or positioning, highlight the existence or undermine the legitimacy, of gendered inequalities. A variety of metaphors have been used to describe the position of women in organizations, the most well-­known of these being the ‘glass ceiling’. Implicit in such metaphors are suggestions as to whether ‘the problem’ lies in women or in academia; whether it is static or dynamic; whether it allows for agency and resistance or presents women as victims (Husu, 2001a). Metaphors such as the glass ceiling; the glass cliff; the black hole; the leaky pipeline have been seen as ‘passive, deterministic and disempowering’; more agentic metaphors include ‘storming the tower’ (Lie and O’Leary, 1990); the labyrinth (Eagly and Carli, 2007) and cutting a path through the maze. It has been suggested that time will ultimately erode organizational gender inequalities as more women become available, the implicit assumption being that it is the absence of suitable women which causes gender inequality (the pipeline model: Allen and Castleman, 2001). This explanation provides a convenient rationale for those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and has been widely critiqued (Heijstra et al., 2013a). Underlying those explanations which focus on women as ‘the problem’ is a construction of a gendered self: one that is seen as ‘natural’ and inevitable. Such a depiction however ignores cross-­national variation which challenges such inevitability. The reality of gendered cultural barriers in universities has been widely accepted by national bodies (such as the Hansard Society, 1990); the EU (2000, 2002, 2008, 2012a, 2012b); OECD (2012c); individual universities (for example, MIT, 1999) and groups of universities (such as Universities Australia – UA,


Management and gender in higher education

2010). A wide range of academic work concluded that the barriers women face in universities include those related to a ‘chilly’ organizational culture premised on male lifestyles and priorities; a culture where senior positions are seen as ‘posts of confidence’ (Bond, quoted by Brooks, 2001: 24) and are premised on ‘the way masculinity is constructed as a care-­less identity’ (Lynch and Lyons, 2008: 181). In such contexts women can only move upwards by ‘ignoring difference, acting as equal’ (Davies, 1995: 37), a fragile strategy since women’s status as honorary males may be withdrawn at any time: ‘You may find a place as long as you simulate the norm and hide your difference. We will know you are different, and continue ultimately to treat you as different, but if you yourself specify your difference, your claim to equality will be nil’ (Cockburn, 1991: 219). Such barriers are not peculiar to universities but exist in the wider educational system (Lynch et al., 2012); and in a wide range of public and private organizations: including the civil service (Mahon, 1991); the health service (O’Connor, 1996); accountancy firms (Barker and Monks, 1994), etc. Furthermore, these patterns are not peculiar to Ireland, with respondents from senior management studies in the UK, New Zealand, and even Sweden, Australia and South Africa also referring to such explanations (O’Connor, 2011). Indeed, the OECD (2012c) referred specifically to ‘discriminatory social institutions’ and attitudes. In this chapter we focus first on the perceived visibility/invisibility as well as the legitimacy of gendered inequalities, and then at the possibilities for change.

Visibility/invisibility of gender inequalities Within organizations there are typically formal hierarchies of positional power predominantly occupied by men. Gender is thus highly conflated with organizational power (Halford and Leonard, 2001; Yancey Martin, 2006). Typically, men are more likely to deny the existence of gender inequalities reflecting wider patterns of the invisibility of privileges to those who are privileged (Acker, 2006; Connell, 1987). Thus the practice of gender and the creation and maintenance of gender inequalities may be unintentional, with men mobilizing ‘masculinities without being conscious of doing so’ (Yancey Martin, 2006: 261). Indeed, Thornton (1989: 126) suggested that it is essentially unrealistic to ‘expect men, as the predominant institutional decision makers, to effect this revolution magnanimously on behalf of women’. However, in the Turkish and Portuguese studies of university senior management, gender inequalities in these largely collegial systems were not visible to either men or women (O’Connor, 2011), thus underlining the importance of national contexts. Nevertheless, making gender visible is not peculiar to Ireland, and in Ireland as elsewhere, it is more likely to be done by women than men. Thus American, Australian, Icelandic and Irish studies found that men were more

The problem is women


likely to deny, and women more likely to identify gendered organizational cultures in academic environments as a systemic problem (Currie and Thiele, 2001; Grummell et al., 2008; Heijstra et al., 2013a; Kloot, 2004; Linehan et al., 2011; Maher and Tetreault, 2007). Harris et al. (1998: 259) also found that the system is depicted as gender neutral by those who see it as ‘reasonable’: with male professors in particular stressing that ‘there is no sex discrimination in university or academic life’. Such attitudes reflect a taken-­for-­granted acceptance of the status quo by those in a hegemonic position. Similar trends emerged in the present study, among both manager-­ academics and other professional managers. Thus, for example, Paul Meaney says that he has ‘never believed there is a glass ceiling … because I have not come across it’. The invisibility of gender to their academic male counterparts was referred to by women in the current study: ‘It would be nice to think that there is some consciousness of it, I’m not so sure that there is’ (Professor Joan Geraghty); ‘in relation to gender, I just wonder are they gender blind? They don’t see it as an issue’ (Professor Tina McCleland); ‘You think are we in the twenty-­first century or in the eighteenth. There is chauvinism to the Irish psyche’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). Naming a gendered organizational culture as such can be seen as a form of resistance (O’Connor 2001) and has similarities with what Whitchurch (2008) calls the process of contestation, i.e. verbally challenging the existing rules and resources. Those who are not in a hegemonic position, and/or those who see the organizational culture as flawed were critical of what were perceived as institutional traditions that favour middle aged men and ‘people in the know’. Evans (2006: 398) suggested that those in gender atypical occupations (such as women in male dominated areas such as senior management) were more able to name gendered attitudes and behaviours than those in a gender congruent position. Heijstra et al. (2013a) found that women below full professorial level were more likely to do this than those at professorial level. However, a number of Irish studies have found that women who were successful in moving up the career hierarchy in male dominated occupations still reported discrimination and prejudice (Humphreys et al., 1999; O’Connor, 1996). Indeed, among the senior managers in the present study, the majority of the women (both manager-­academics and other professional managers) identified ‘systematic biases’ within their universities, characterizing them as having ‘an unsupportive culture for women to inhabit’: ‘Women are conscious that men are unconsciously misogynistic but men aren’t conscious of this’ (Pauline Hanratty). The differential value attached to activities undertaken predominantly by men/women has been seen as a core element in a gendered organizational culture (Ely and Meyerson, 2000; Lynch et al., 2012). The women in the present study were aware of these processes and suggested that in such a context the crucial questions are:


Management and gender in higher education

What is the workload; how is it measured; what do we value; what do we assign and how do we assign it … Women are given welfare and minding the student type roles, advisees and counselling. The dynamic, high profile, getting funding, creating buildings is seen as male and is given to the male so [they] build up their own profile … Women are left with the nice ones. They are critically important but are not valued … not that important really, not sexy, not going to get you ahead. (Jane Morrisson)

In a university context, there was a tendency for women to be seen as particularly suited to undergraduate teaching, low profile pastoral or service roles: ‘you seldom get evidence of a woman who will neglect undergraduate teaching, some men are very attentive to undergraduate teaching also, but where you get a case of neglect or indifference, it tends to be more male’ (Professor Anthony O’Donoghue). Kloot (2004: 475) also highlighted the devaluing of women’s work in ‘people and nurturing’ roles as well as in routine administration, both of which are essential to the functioning of a university. Krefting (2003: 271) identified similar gendered patterns in the United States ‘with women disproportionately engaged in undervalued relational activities, teaching rather than research, informal counselling of students and colleagues, and committees in need of “the woman’s view”’. This issue was raised by both female manager-­academics and other professional managers: ‘women tend to be dumped with stuff that the men don’t want to do … We are the ones who will tend to pick up stuff because the others are not doing it and because we know it needs to be done. So we end up with less time for research or profile-­ building again’ (Pauline Hanratty). Thus, the gendered organizational culture transcended possible divisions between manager-­academics and other professional managers. For the most part references to discrimination by the men only occurred in the context of positive discrimination, which was depicted as ‘making allowances’ ‘the suspension of academic standards’ (John Keane). Thus the implicit suggestion is that no male privileging exists and that gender equality initiatives constituted a differential favouring of women as compared with their male counterparts (Sinclair, 2000). Indeed occasionally there was surprise and a certain wariness when women were candidates at senior academic level: ‘If a woman candidate was a rising star it may well surprise us and that sort of woman may be shortlisted or if a woman was a chair holder in another ­university … you would get very careful … and the woman would have to make the shortlist the same as the men’ (Gerard Donnelly). Men’s relationships with other men are a key factor in creating/­maintaining a culture of privilege and entitlement. For Hartmann (1981), men as men can hope to benefit, at least to some extent, from the status quo, so they have a vested interest in perpetuating practices related to male bonding as well as those involving the marginalization or subordination of women. Kloot’s (2004) Australian respondents referred to ‘the male “clubbiness” of the culture’. As

The problem is women


Deem’s (1999: 76) UK respondents saw it, senior management was ‘a boys’ club’, ‘men still prefer to work with men’, collegiality being ‘a convenient cloak for forms of male sociability and patriarchal exclusion’. Similar patterns emerged in the present study, where women depicted senior management as: ‘a male club at the top level … very hard as a woman … It is a very male domain’ (Professor Ann Joyce). Pro-­male attitudes of varying degrees of intensity were perceived by academic and other professional women in senior management: ‘the biggest thing really is that men are generally more comfortable working with men, communicating with men, being with men, understanding men’ (Claire Hartigan): Most of the men that I work with, the bottom line is that they would be much more comfortable to be working with men. They vaguely put up with you, accept that you have a right to be there, but if it was up to themselves, they are more comfortable around men. This is not a generational thing. Those most uncomfortable are seriously younger. (Professor Tina McCleland)

Currie and Thiele (2001) found that the proportion of men who denied gender inequality varied in different countries, with one third of the Australian men and more than four fifths of the American men being in the denial category, suggesting that the prevalence of such attitudes was affected by the wider societal gender regime. In the present study, a small number of male manager-­ academics referred to particular aspects of the organizational culture (albeit not those related to management) as reflecting underlying attitudes that they saw as essentially unfair to women. Thus, for example, although Professor Gerard Anderson said that he did not see any evidence of discrimination in the sense that he ‘heard no one saying we are not going to have another women around or there or too many women around here’, he had noticed that women were disproportionately involved with the administration of teaching: ‘Teaching is the new housework’. He also suggested that the importance placed on research in promotions had negative implications for academic staff in areas where the main focus was on the needs of the profession (for example, in predominantly female areas such as nursing, teacher education and social work). In the present study, some men, particularly those who had formative experiences outside the Irish academic system saw the continued existence of a male dominated organizational culture as legally and morally unacceptable or as an embarrassing anachronism. Thus, Professor Larry Mc Donald thought that having women in senior management in universities: ‘is right because it is right’. ‘[We] should want to see appropriate distributions in terms of gender and race’; ‘[not to have this] is inappropriate and unacceptable’. For others, the importance was rather limited and arguably rhetorical: ‘one can point to the fact that one has lots of women in senior management’ (Professor Michael Mc Grath). Other professional managers who had entered the university sector recently, and who had worked in mixed gender teams in the private sector,


Management and gender in higher education

appeared to be benignly but initially unreflective about gender. Thus, for example, Mark Noonan said that, although he had read an article about ‘glass ceilings’, which said that women needed supports to avail of opportunities: ‘I don’t know what these supports are, maybe I should know’. Some of them went on to ask refreshingly ‘unthinkable’ (Lukes, 2005) questions. Thus for example those who had come from the private sector and who retained a concern with profit noted: If there is a profit motive you will make sure that if there is a constituency to be appealed to that will gain you more profit, you will address it. You don’t have the same rigour around your consumer [in universities]. Where have you ever heard one of the universities come out and say a women’s university as an angle on student recruitment. (Timmy Collins)

Thus, in this case, a managerialist approach led to the endorsement of a perspective that ignored the differential value typically attached to men and women’s activities/arenas. In summary gender inequalities were visible to the majority of female senior managers. Male academics who had worked in educational institutions outside Ireland, and other professional managers who had worked in the private sector, were more aware of the existence of gender inequalities than those who had not had such experiences. Other indicators of visibility of gender: sources and implications In the present study it was striking that the majority of male managers (both manager-­academics and other professional managers) did not see gendered patterns in their organizations. Thus when asked about areas/disciplines where academic women were to be found, their responses suggested that such women were invisible, and their location of purely esoteric interest, and irrelevant to them as senior managers: ‘I’m sure there is a statistical answer but I don’t have it’ (John Keane); ‘I don’t have a statistical answer’ (Professor Niall Phelan). Some of the men saw women as more visible, but rejected gender inequalities as an issue: ‘The difference is not huge anymore’ (Professor Larry Mc Donald); ‘women are right across the board’ (Professor Rory Hogan). Women were much more likely to be aware of gendered patterns, although a minority echoed their male counterparts’ denial of gender inequalities, or, in so far as they saw gender as visible, focused on horizontal rather than vertical patterns: ‘women are likely to be found in all disciplines … I don’t have the breakdown of the statistics of the university, the stereotype is that there are fewer in engineering but I don’t have the empirical evidence’ (Professor Marie Walsh). Such responses were in striking contrast with those in Sweden, where the visibility and unacceptability of gender at a vertical level was part of a taken-­for-­granted reality (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014) thus indicating the importance of the wider social context in which particular organizations are located.

The problem is women


Bolton and Munzio (2007) referred to the process of sedimentation, where women dominated areas draw on the symbolic resources of femininity. In universities across the EU, there is a tendency for female academic staff to be congregated into a narrow range of ‘female’ specialisms (including the humanities, followed by the social sciences) and to be least likely to be in engineering and technology (EU, 2013). In the present study, among those who identified areas/ disciplines where academic women were most likely to be found, the most common references were to humanities/arts (especially modern languages and English), nursing, social sciences (particularly sociology and education), music, business, law and biology. In the present study it was suggested that women were likely to be found in areas characterized by care, education and what could loosely be described as culture/social cohesion: areas ‘that have a social or cultural dimension’ (Professor Denis Tobin); that ‘have a softer style, they are non-­confrontational’; that are ‘people oriented … You tend to find women’s roles in society tend to be more cohesive, involved with keeping the system running – you could translate that by saying that women are less likely to challenge authority or social norms’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). Barone (2011: 173) focusing on student subject choice across eight European countries found similar patterns and concluded that they ultimately reflected gender stereotypes, reinforced by the existence of occupational opportunities that were ‘functionally or symbolically similar to women’s traditional roles’. In the present study tradition was also seen as an important in explaining such patterns: the ‘traditional female role in the workplace’ (Peter Delaney); ‘almost on traditional lines, education and caring, areas where women are most likely to be represented’ (Professor Andrew Murphy). This valorization of an essentialist view of women reinforces gender stereotypes (Chapter 6), while leaving the gendered devaluation of such characteristics, in the wider organizational culture, effectively unchanged (Ely and Meyerson, 2000). Occasionally there were suggestions that the areas/disciplines where women were most likely to be found were those that were compatible with their partner’s lifestyles and careers or women’s own work–life balance. Thus, for example, law and medicine were seen as ‘family friendly’ since some specialities were seen as offering the possibility of a ‘nine to five’ working day, reflecting and reinforcing assumptions about women’s disproportionate participation in unpaid work in the home (EIGE, 2011). Professor Tommy Ryan, saw languages as an area where women were most likely to be found: ‘maybe kind of more in a teaching than research role’. He thinks that ‘the medical end of science would be more female, maybe the care part of it’. Such attitudes reflect very much a nineteenth-­century view of women, as traditional, caring, submissive and cultured. Furthermore, the kinds of assumptions that were made (that business was non-­confrontational or law family friendly) were counter-­intuitive at the very least. Areas that deviated from the general trend were occasionally


Management and gender in higher education

recognized. Thus, for example, for Professor Joan Geraghty ‘why there are more women in English than history is a mystery’. Similarly Professor Denis Tobin is puzzled as to why so many women should be in biology: ‘maybe because it’s the way it’s presented in schools’. They also referred to women ‘ending up’ in these areas, implicitly suggesting a certain passivity. Under the influence of neo-­liberalism, universities (and the state) tend to favour (limited areas of) science and technology at the expense of others (such as arts and humanities, and parts of the social sciences: see Chapter 3). A close relationship has been identified between masculinity and science partly reflecting the link between these disciplines and rationality: ‘the cultural stereotype of science as tough, rigorous, rational, impersonal, competitive and unemotional’ (Knights and Richards, 2003: 227). Not unsurprisingly perhaps then areas where women are not likely to be found include the sciences and engineering because ‘you are dealing with things that are nice, tidy, and rational’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). There were occasional references to wider patriarchal forces in the state: ‘there is more research money in one rather than the other. [There is] a sense of arts and humanities areas feeling themselves undervalued in this great new agenda research driven university’ (John Keane); ‘the areas that women are in, are less resourced. It is particularly pronounced in Ireland, with the focus of the state on the science and technology area’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Jane Morrison noted that, in the past, medicine used to be predominantly male and now that it is becoming predominantly female ‘there is a whole raft of discussions about how to bring males in to medicine’ (whereas when it was predominantly male the gender profile was ignored). Professor Andrew Murphy reflected that even in nursing, where the overwhelmingly majority of the professionals are women, those who are in senior academic positions are predominantly men, thus implicitly raising the question of the factors that affect career trajectories even in areas where women predominate. Occasionally female manager-­academics noted the scarcity of women in hierarchical positions across the university: ‘there is a pyramid again’ (Professor Tina McClelland). A number of the respondents also referred to the apparent decline in the presence of women in senior university positions since the 1960s when there were: ‘quite a number of women who were heads of departments, women professors in the institution … they were all spinsters, women, ladies who had become academics, it is quite remarkable when you think back on it compared to now’ (Professor Jim Flanagan). Implicit in this is the idea that there is no inevitability about the ending of gendered inequalities, and that assumptions that these patterns will change inevitably, are problematic. Overall, then, men were more likely to deny the existence of gendered disciplinary patterns. Among those who did recognize such patterns, explanations were framed in terms of tradition, or drew on rather nineteenth-­century ideas of femininity revolving around care, cohesion and culture. A minority

The problem is women


of the respondents (both men and women) implicitly referred to patriarchal privileging by suggesting that men were most likely to be in areas that were characterized by resources (whether money or prestige).

The legitimacy of gender inequalities: ‘the problem is women…’ Acker (2006: 454) concluded that ‘beliefs in the legitimacy of bureaucratic structures and rules, as well as beliefs in the legitimacy of male … privilege’ play an important part in maintaining existing patterns of gender inequality. Numerous EU reports (see Chapter 1) have stressed the importance of academic institutions addressing ‘the underlying structures and systems which disadvantage women’. However, as Morley (2006: 544–5) has noted, women’s under-­representation in senior positions has typically been explained more in terms of ‘agency i.e. the capacity of individuals or groups to make and impose choices and take purposive action, rather than structures i.e. those aspects of society or organizations which place constraints on the exercise of agency, including bureaucracies, rules, laws and policies’. Morley (1994: 194) early identified the danger of constructing women ‘as a remedial group with the emphasis on getting them into better shape in order to engage more effectively with existing structures’, suggesting that ‘We need a theory of male privilege rather than female disadvantage’ (Morley, 2005a: 115). Typically, however, the approach is to ‘fix the women’ (Ely and Meyerson, 2000). This focus on gendered selves as the explanation for the under-­representation of women implicitly obviates any need to look at the gendered nature of the organization. In Ireland these ideas are underpinned by biological essentialism and meritocratic individualism (Drudy and Lynch, 1993). These patterns are also not peculiar to Irish universities, but have emerged in a variety of studies in the public and private sector nationally and cross-­ nationally, including studies of university senior management in Australia, Sweden and South Africa. Thus, for example, Ainsworth et al. (2010: 670) found that Australian equality reports initially constructed women as the problem, because they were seen as ‘compliant, lacking initiative, non-­ambitious and family oriented’. However, as women became more career oriented, and occupied white collar, professional and managerial jobs, their capacity for maternity was depicted as the ‘problem’. This kind of organizational narrative has been widely documented, and obviates any need for real organizational change (Ely and Meyerson, 2000). In the present study there is widespread evidence of depicting women’s own attitudes, lifestyles and priorities as ‘the problem’, thus implicitly legitimating their under-­representation in senior management positions. Such explanations have an element of validity, reflecting as they do ‘the psychological effects of living in a sexist society’ (Husu, 2001b: 38). To some extent they can be seen as effectively ‘blaming the victim’.


Management and gender in higher education

However in so far as such attitudes reflect deeper constructions of femininity, and/or gendered selves, they can be seen as constituting cultural limits to the possibilities for change. It is widely recognized that women are poor at marketing themselves and taking credit for their achievements, such patterns reflecting gendered cross-­cultural norms surrounding modesty concerning individual achievements and a reluctance to ‘self-­promote’ (Bagilhole, 1993, 2002; Bagilhole and Goode, 2001; Davies-­Netzley, 1998; Doherty and Manfredi, 2006; Eagly and Carli, 2007; Leathwood and Read, 2009; Yancey Martin, 1996). A lack of confidence among women was also referred to by Grummell et al. (2008) in their Irish study. Other studies have also shown that women are less likely to apply for senior positions, although when they do apply, they are more likely to be successful (Blackmore, 2002). Such patterns contrast with what Collinson and Hearn (1996) call the practical enactment of careerist masculinity. Very occasionally this was recognized by the women themselves: ‘When you kick a goal, what do you do? You dance around and hug everyone. You make sure that everyone recognizes that you scored a goal… Those that weren’t at the match you say I will buy you a drink. They [women] weren’t comfortable playing those games … They did not market it’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire). However such attitudes can change. Thus although they appeared in Currie and Thiele’s (2001) Australian study they did not emerge in the more recent study of women in university senior management in Australia. This can be seen as reflecting the impact of women in vice-­chancellor and other senior management positions, and their importance in implicitly and explicitly undermining beliefs that ‘the problem is women’ in an Australian national context that was supportive of gender equality (O’Connor and White, 2011). Some men in the present study stressed women’s greater passivity in terms of career planning and their ‘lack of awareness of what is needed to get promoted’ (see also Thomas and Davies, 2002). They also referred to a kind of timidity or a certain lack of ambition (see also Kloot, 2004), without considering that the lowering of individual expectations may have occurred in the face of societal discrimination (Cornelius and Skinner, 2008): ‘Males had planned  … What they would need to do, how much funding, Ph.D.s, ­publications … where females seemed to just keep doing these things, [and thought that] I will at some point put it together, and I will be promoted, much more passive’ (Professor Garry Burke). Both men and women in the present study referred to women’s feeling of not ‘being valued’: ‘Women don’t think they are good enough. Maybe we need more validation of our work’ (Pauline Hanratty). It has been suggested that the feeling that one did not deserve success (Sealy, 2010: 191) may be experienced by those ‘ascending in hierarchies in which by societal definition they do not belong at the top of the pyramid’ (Mc Intosh, 1985: 3). A felt lack of entitlement to such positions was also

The problem is women


implicitly referred to in the present study of senior management: ‘an awful lot of women decide that it would not be good for the university if they got the job … There are only two questions to ask: do you want it? And can you cope with not getting it. But women have a third. Are they suitable or not?’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Such a question reflects gendered cultural uncertainty about the appropriateness of women’s occupancy of such positions, and can be seen as reflecting underlying gender order, which implicitly and explicitly reflects taken-­for-­granted assumptions about their ‘proper’ role in that society (Lewis and Smithson, 2001). Bagilhole and Goode (2001: 169) found that women have a ‘misguided faith in the idea that high quality work and demonstrated commitment would be recognised and rewarded’, they wanted ‘to achieve in their own right and through their ability’. They suggest that this reflects a rejection of academic politics and a desire to see the organization as meritocratic. Mackenzie Davey (2008: 667) also found that women in male dominated areas rejected a masculine organizational culture involving ‘intrigue, subterfuge and a rackety underworld of scams and plots’. Similar patterns emerged among the women senior directors in Sealy’s (2010: 193) study who saw the exercise of such political skills ‘as disingenuous and as contravening the meritocratic ideology’. In the present study (and in other Irish studies: Barker and Monks, 1994; Lynch et al., 2012; Mahon, 1991; O’Connor 1995a) women demonstrated a kind of organizational naïveté which failed to see power plays at work or saw them as ‘unfair’. As Clegg (1994: 290) put it: ‘It is not that they do not know the rules of the game so much as that they might not recognize the game, let alone know the rules’. Very occasionally this was recognized by the women themselves: ‘women played dolls where there are no rules … Promotion is a game … They [women] did not see it as a game and they thought the rules were unfair’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire). Similar trends emerged in Marshall’s (1995) study of women in male dominated organizations. In the present study, other professional managers (both men and women) were most likely to refer negatively to what they saw as the political character of university. This suggests that they felt in some way outside the dominant taken-­for-­granted legitimate power structures, with its aspirations to meritocracy: ‘it [the university] is a fairly political environment, political both in the sense of external influences and internal ones, there is a lot of agendas: big P small p and that doesn’t help’ (Thomas Hennessy). This political character sits uneasily with the depiction of universities as meritocratic institutions and implicitly challenges the depiction of women as ‘the problem’. In some cases, essentialist definitions of femininity, and the gendered division of domestic labour were seen as the root cause of lower levels of involvement by women in such micro-­politics: ‘there is a certain kind of person who likes the rough and tumble of this stuff, the politics of this stuff … Other people suffer from not being in the loop … women haven’t time


Management and gender in higher education

to hang out. They are going picking up the kids’ (Professor Jim Flanagan). All of these explanations obviate any need for organizational change. For Acker (1998: 199) the gendered subculture in organizations ultimately rests on what she calls their ‘privileging and non-­responsibility’. This is reflected in the fact that ultimately society accepts that economic structures have priority over all other aspects of life in society. Lynch and Lyons (2008: 164) highlighted ‘the highly gendered moral code [that] impels women to do the greater part of primary caring, with most believing they have no choice in the matter’: with 40 per cent of Irish women but only 16 per cent of Irish men involved in caring responsibilities. The allocation of paid maternity leave in Ireland entirely to women reinforces a gendered construction of self, revolving around caring. This contrasts with, for example, Iceland where three months are designated for the mother, three months for the father and the remaining three months to be agreed by the couple (with this to be gradually changed to five months for the mother; five months for the father and two months to be agreed by the couple by 2016). In the Irish context, in so far as state support for child care is inadequate, pressure comes on women, from themselves and from others, to limit their involvement in paid employment. Since women are more highly educated than men, the effect of this on the national economy is problematic (O’Hagan, 2011; Russell et al., 2005), something that has been ignored by the Irish state, although of considerable concern to the EU (2012a, 2012b, 2013) and to the OECD (2012c). As a society, Ireland is not particularly helpful in terms of facilitating child care, although there have been improvements, such as increases in paid maternity leave (parental leave is still unpaid). Ireland has been ranked in fifteenth place (out of twenty-­seven EU member states) in terms of the length of maternity and parental leave, and the level of payment. In Ireland only 20 per cent of children are in formal child care (considerably below the EU Barcelona target of 33 per cent), and in stark contrast to, for example, Sweden where 63 per cent of children are in this situation (EIGE, 2011). In Ireland financial responsibility for child care is overwhelmingly seen as lying with the couple, indeed anecdotally with the mother. There has never been tax relief on payments for child care (although tax relief has long been available for farmers to cover substitute care for farm animals during their holidays). Child benefit payments cover only a very small proportion of the cost of child care. Thus during the Celtic Tiger, parents in Ireland were spending roughly 20 per cent of their incomes on child care (Lynch and Lyons 2008), as compared with an average of 8 per cent in other EU countries (McGinnity and Russell, 2008). By 2008, the net cost of child care in Ireland, as a percentage of the average wage in a dual earner family, was extremely high (i.e. 45 per cent) as compared, for example, with 5 per cent in Portugal and 14 per cent in Germany (OECD, 2012c). In effect parents in Ireland pay up to 90 per cent of their child care costs in comparison

The problem is women


to 20 per cent in Sweden (NWCI, 2010). Despite this, Ireland’s birth rate is the highest in Europe (CSO, 2011a) with child care reaching ‘deep into the gender politics of the household’ (O’Riain 2005: 185), with the negative effect of children on women’s employment and on the gender pay gap being particularly strong in Ireland (OECD, 2012c). Bailyn (2003) concluded that a career path where the establishment of professional expertise coincided with a period where child bearing was most likely to occur was not helpful. However, data from the United States has shown that parenthood did not affect women’s research productivity, and that controlling for such productivity, women were promoted more slowly than men and less likely to reach (full) professorship (Krefting, 2003). This implicitly suggested that it was organizational factors that were key. Doherty and Manfredi (2010) also found that women in woman-­friendly universities were able to progress in their careers, without the kinds of sacrifices as regards child care that are sometimes depicted as inevitable. Interestingly child care was hardly mentioned at all as a problem in a Finnish study of academics (where a subsidized universal child care system for all pre-­school children exists: Husu, 2001b). Similarly in Iceland, where extensive state provided facilities for pre-­school children exist, and where women in academia are overwhelmingly mothers, family responsibilities did not explain gender differences in the under-­representation of women in professorial positions (Heijstra et al., 2013b). In Ireland an explanation that focuses simply on caring responsibilities also sits uneasily with the fact that the proportion of women directors in IOTs is much higher than in the equivalent position in universities (O’Connor, 2007). It was also striking that in the present study it was the men who for the most part thought family must be a barrier for women and who depicted it in terms of women’s choice: ‘This is what is the barrier for women … career choice, lifestyle, family is a huge issue’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). Occasionally women referred to these tensions but in the majority of cases they were not seen as the ultimate factor in explaining women’s under-­representation in senior management: ‘there are tensions, there’s no doubt about that. But women are coping with it pretty well … My view is that it may take them a bit longer to get there but they [women] can see what they have to do’ (Professor Joan Geraghty). A very small number of women rejected the idea that there were any barriers: ‘other than those that are self-­inflicted. Anything that I have chosen to do, anything that I was qualified for and worked for, I have always achieved. A lot of that has been driven by the fact that I am a single person’ (Katherine Mc Elligott). The use of the word ‘single person’ implicitly suggests that it is difficult for women who are not single (see also Linehan et al., 2011). In contrast, individual ‘private troubles’ were frequently presented as ‘public issues’ by South African respondents (Wright Mills, 1970). In Australia and Sweden there were also occasionally references to a wider societal and situational context (O’Connor, 2011).


Management and gender in higher education

Overall, then, much was made, particularly but not exclusively by men of women’s lack of career planning and ambition, low self-­esteem, poor political skills, poor ability to market themselves and lifestyle choices. Such explanations implicitly or explicitly define the problem as women and their gendered selves, and obviate the need to look at the wider organizational culture and systemic issues. Such patterns are not peculiar to universities nor indeed to Ireland.

Possibilities for change: incremental or fundamental In looking at the possibility of change, it is necessary to differentiate between incremental change and fundamental change. The existence of role models for the future constitutes incremental change, and although important, its effect is limited. A commitment to fundamental change and the putting in place of mechanisms to achieve this is very different. It will be shown that a commitment to do this is lacking in the Irish university senior management context, with the nature of the organizational culture itself (in particular its conformist, homosocial character) inhibiting fundamental change. The absence of female role models, has been seen as a key barrier to women’s career success, with such role models changing ‘the cognitive schema of what is possible’ (Sealy and Singh, 2010: 296). Some of the respondents, particularly those who saw students as key stakeholders, and those who spontaneously referred to having daughters, stressed the importance of women in senior positions as role models for young academics, especially young women: ‘if you don’t have within the university a very obvious and visible presence of women at senior level … [It] is bound to have an influence on younger academics. They have to see people in these positions for them to think “I might do that”’ (Professor Eileen Greene); ‘There is no doubt that there are [glass] ceilings all over the place. They have to be corrected, [and to do this we] need role models’ (Professor Garry Burke). The scarcity of women in senior positions in male dominated organizations has been found to undermine women’s future plans and their self-­confidence (Sealy, 2010). Respondents occasionally referred to the effect of the absence of such role models in their own personal situation: ‘I have all daughters and at their conferring, if they see all men up there they would be saying what are my chances … there would be a doubt in their minds’ (Thomas Hennessy). Implicit in this view is the idea that changes will occur in the next generation, where it will not represent a threat to those currently in power. The characteristics of the organizational culture were seen as inhibiting more fundamental change. Conformity has been widely seen as characterizing senior management in universities (Goode and Bagilhole, 1998; Parker and Jary, 1995). Saunders (2006: 11) saw it as characteristic of managerialism, a system that rewards ‘obedience, conformity and quiescence and punishes

The problem is women


non-­compliance, eccentricity and dissent’. Such pressures are not peculiar to universities. Thus, for example, Enron rewarded conformity in a corporate culture that also discouraged dissent or outspokenness, and expected a ‘blind acceptance of senior decisions’ (Callanan, 2003: 129). It is eminently possible that a conformist culture is also valued in a collegial model. Indeed it is not clear to what extent such conformity reflects the affiliative characteristics of male dominated structures (Yancey Martin, 2001). Harris et al. (1998: 142) found that the organizational attributes of success include those who ‘don’t rock the boat’ and who show ‘a certain deference pattern’, whereas ‘if you speak up and you do things … that are seen to be threatening, you don’t get ahead’. Madden (2005: 6) notes that even greater conformity was expected from women than from men: ‘Direct language, disagreement … were less well received from women’. The respondents in the present study also thought that being outspoken was problematic: ‘you are supposed … not to be outspoken on things you feel very strongly about. It is a very male domain’ (Professor Ann Joyce). Some identified (male) strategies, such as setting up the outcome of meetings in advance; siding with the (male) power holder, and not disagreeing with (male) power holders in public. Such patterns reflect a conformist deferential organizational culture, one which is highly problematic in a rapidly changing economy and society. Lack of a commitment to change in gender inequality regimes can also be located in the context of the view that organizations are ‘social constructions that arise from a masculine view of the world’ (Davies, 1995: 44). They reflect underlying constructions of masculinity and femininity: ‘Women’s “emotionality” and “physicality” are placed in binary opposition to men’s “rationality”’ with a great deal of effort being expended in the maintenance of ‘a veneer of rationality’ (Morley, 1999: 82; see also Acker, 1990). There was a suggestion that a similar attitude to emotion existed at senior management in some universities. Thus, for example, Professor Cathy O’Riordan noted that it was important ‘not to be too emotional, to be really hard-­nosed’. However, the expected inhibition of emotion did not appear to extend to (male) aggression. The organizational culture in the academy has been depicted as aggressive (Leathwood and Read 2009; Morley, 1999). Occasionally in descriptions of that culture in the present study, references were made to it as ‘decisive, authoritative’, ‘male dominated’, ‘authoritarian’. Morley (1999: 4 and 88) suggests that it seems improbable that the academy is ‘a violent place’ although in her study there were ‘many accounts of spite and bullying’. In only one case, in the present study, was the possibility of physical violence so real that it was officially recognized by the university: ‘I was personally threatened … I was experiencing bullying by people who had been on senior management  … I was shouted at, screamed at, threatened’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan). Some organizational cultures valorize aggression and ruthlessness, and so to the


Management and gender in higher education

degree to which men’s identities are based in work, they ‘may be more susceptible to such influences, even when they personally disapprove of them’ (Yancey Martin, 2006: 268). Such cultures pose considerable challenges for women and for men whose identities are less based in work: ‘You could not survive … if you really were a gentle soft person in that environment’ (Professor Tina McClelland). It has long been recognized that admitting a small number of ‘acceptable’ women serves to legitimize the system. In that context, women remain as ‘guests’ within a male world (Gherardi, 1996), ‘even when intentional gender bias is absent’ (Bagilhole and Goode, 2001: 171). Some of the male manager-­ academics present themselves as well intentioned and frustrated by the absence of ‘suitable women’ for senior management positions, saying of the absence of women: ‘It’s more through lack of opportunity and lack of potential candidates within the system than any design’ (Professor Denis Tobin). There was also a suggestion that being in senior management is ultimately not in women’s interests (Connell, 2005) We have a number of good women doing a great job … but I wouldn’t want to pull them out of what they are doing … to pull them into the management area, even from their own career path point of view they are better off … doing their own research, publishing papers, getting money in, getting very well known in their own area. (Professor Kieran Naughton)

This reflects a kind of paternalistic ‘heroic masculinity’ (Kerfoot and Whitehead 1998: 451) in so far as it purports to protect women, while at the same time reflects and maintains men’s own positional power. It presents women as ‘in need of special favours, such as protection’ (Risman, 2004: 438). It implicitly envisages a limited and conditional inclusion for women in these male dominated structures. In the present study there was a good deal of agreement that the presence of women in senior management had many beneficial consequences, including producing better decision making: ‘the combination [of men and women] is much more likely to lead to successful management practice than either by themselves … with the tendency for women to be more team oriented and men more pushy, the combination is the perfect way’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Very few respondents were opposed to attempts to include women in senior management. Thus, John Keane was exceptional in asking ‘have we seen any verifiable consequences’ of women’s access to management positions. In the absence of such proof he felt comfortable dismissing the need for any action on it, implicitly suggesting that moves in this direction were not in women’s interest anyway: ‘Who can be the hardest task master? It can be other women’. The positive consequences of real diversity were earlier outlined (Chapter 1). In the present study underlying some of these concerns with diversity was a very definite view of the university as involving collegial representational structures:

The problem is women


If you are a team player why would you not have women in the team? Senior and junior? make sure to have academic and non-­academic colleagues … if we did not have any women then we would only have a male perspective … it is a bit strange when people don’t think [that] 50 per cent of the people are men 50 per cent are women. (Professor Niall Phelan)

For some respondents a collegial discourse legitimated, and indeed created, the expectation that women would be in senior management: ‘if it was entirely male I would say women academics would see it as hostile to them in some way, and unsympathetic to them. They would feel that there was no one there to represent our point of view’ (Professor Anthony O’Donoghue). However, collegial structures in the past were not facilitative of the inclusion of women in senior management. Nevertheless a collegial discourse was used to mobilize opposition to a managerialist system, one which was occasionally depicted as not supportive of equality: ‘There can be a kind of almost corporate type language that can creep into the discussions in higher education … it wouldn’t be informed by principles of equality or equity’ (Professor Eileen Greene). The majority of the Irish respondents (both men and women, academic and other professional managers) thought that the president could change the gender profile of senior management and they thought that it was important for him to do this. However, there was a good deal of ambivalence about him using that power to create gender balance in the senior management team, with gender being presented as a residual issue, and proactivity in this area appearing to have little legitimacy: ‘It is important, all things being equal, decisions that are at the margins should go in the direction of gender balance’ (Professor Brendan Connolly); ‘I think he [the president] is interested in equality issues … [but] I don’t think he would say to the Director of HR “we need to get another woman on senior management”’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). Caveats were implied by other suggestions: ‘If you are looking for gender balance, I think you need bigger groups’ (Professor Niall Phelan). There was little evidence of any willingness to tackle the issue, prompting one respondent to conclude that: ‘There is no point trying to say that we want gender balance throughout all layers of the university if it is not reflected in senior ­management … Action in these types of things is much more important than words’ (Professor Garry Burke). A small number of men suggested ways in which it might be done: for example, identifying the areas where vice-­presidents were going to be located and to say that ‘at least one of these has to be female, if only … to represent the institution … Strategically it [the university] needs … to represent itself publicly as having a concern with these matters’ (Professor Andrew Murphy). Positive attitudes to fundamental change in the gender profile of senior management were much more apparent among senior managers in other higher educational systems. Thus, the South African respondents saw the


Management and gender in higher education

university as ‘a highly political space’, albeit one in which race superseded gender. It was stressed that senior management should provide active leadership in improving gender profiles, with targets being part of key performance indicators, and with consequences for non-­performance. Thus presidents/ rectors said that they would reject shortlists if they were ‘demographically unacceptable’ and selection committees which ‘remain in their comfort zone of appointing people like themselves’ (i.e. white males: O’Connor, 2011). Among the Australian and Swedish university senior managers what was most striking was the taken-­for-­granted acceptance of the legitimacy of attempts to change the organizational culture (for example, adding positions to the most senior management committee with the express purpose of including women; giving women the chance to act in senior management roles so that they would be better placed to apply for top positions; implementing a policy to have a woman as vice-­president/vice-­rector if the president/rector is a man). There were suggestions that, although that the ‘push’ in Australia in the 1990s regarding gender equity had eased off, the proportion of women in senior management was still seen as ‘a corporate indicator’. Moreover among the Australian, and some of the Swedish and South African university senior managers, such changes were seen as reflecting the presence of women in senior management, and their role in changing the organizational culture. Such activities are part of a wider societal culture supportive of gender initiatives. Thus in launching the Australian Universities National Strategy for Women 2011–14 (UA, 2010: 2), it was recognized that: ‘There are compelling productivity, governance and social justice reasons for Universities Australia to continue to pursue its focus on achieving gender equality at all levels and addressing persistent patterns of gender inequality’. No similar statement has ever emerged from the Irish Universities Association (an equivalent national organization for university senior managers). At an individual organizational level there is clear evidence of transforming gendered organizational cultures in the private sector in an Irish (Vodafone: Mooney, 2013); Irish and the UK (Procter & Gamble: Huse, 2013); and wider international context (Dell: Hegarty, 2013). Such transformations have been driven by senior management in the interest of greater organizational effectiveness (and in particular increased profits) and have included strategies to increase the visibility and legitimacy of challenging gender bias and institutionalized sexism. They illustrate the extent to which the gender profile of senior management can be transformed over a relatively short period (i.e. three to ten years) if there is a will to do so. In summary there was a striking level of agreement that having women in senior management was important. However, a kind of tentativeness was identified, reflecting an unwillingness to commit to fundamental change. This contrasted with the proactivity evident in examples of successful interventions

The problem is women


by university senior management cross-­ nationally (O’Connor and White, 2011) and in the private sector.

Summary The most effective exercise of power is in situations where beliefs and practices are such that the exercise of that power is seen as ‘natural’ ‘inevitable’ (Lukes, 1974). ‘what women want’. For Connell (1995: 82) male privilege is maintained ‘not simply by individual or group attempts to intimidate, oppress and exclude’ but by an acceptance of the status quo. Changing women’s position in universities requires changes to the gendered culture. However, at an even more basic level, it requires a perception of such cultures as gendered and a recognition that such change is legitimate. Building on Acker’s (2006) model, the focus in this chapter was on the visibility and legitimacy of gender inequalities and the possibilities and limits of change. As in a range of other studies in the public and private sector, in Ireland and internationally, men were more likely to deny the existence of gender while women were more likely to name it. In the present study, men’s lack of awareness of gender was replicated when they were asked about areas/disciplines where academic women were most likely to be found. Overwhelmingly they did not see gendered patterns. Among those who did recognize such patterns, explanations were framed in terms of tradition and/or drew of ideas of femininity revolving around care, cohesion and culture. A minority of the respondents appeared to be aware of patriarchal privileging and suggested that men were most likely to be in areas that were characterized by resources (whether money or prestige). However, some male manager-­academics in the Irish study, particularly those who had formative experiences outside the Irish university system, saw the continued existence of a male dominated organizational culture as legally and morally unacceptable or as an embarrassing anachronism (see also Husu, 2001b). In addition, other professional managers who had entered the university sector recently, and who had worked in mixed gender teams in the private sector, appeared to be benignly but initially unreflective about gender and went on to ask refreshingly ‘unthinkable’ (Lukes, 2005) questions. Hence, moving beyond binary models is useful in explaining the visibility of gender inequalities. Such trends can be located in an international context where variation in the visibility and legitimacy of gender inequalities has been shown to exist. The second theme, drawing on Acker’s (2006) framework, was the legitimacy of gender inequalities as reflected in the depiction of women and their lifestyles and priorities as ‘the problem’, reflecting ideas about reality as well as the inadequacies of women’s gendered selves. Thus, much was made, particularly but not exclusively by men, of women’s lack of career planning, low


Management and gender in higher education

self-­esteem, lack of career ambition, poor political skills, poor ability to market themselves and lifestyle choices. This can be seen to reflect the continuance of an essentialist gendered model, one that is characteristic of albeit not peculiar to Ireland. By defining the problem as women, the need to look at gendered organizational cultures and wider systemic issues is effectively avoided and the existing patterns of gender inequalities are depicted as inevitable and ‘natural’, and hence as a legitimate reflection of gendered selves. The third theme looked at possibilities for change, differentiating between incremental change and fundamental change. As seen particularly by the women, it was a gendered organizational culture where men were, for the most part, most comfortable working with other men and which was conformist and homosocial. There was evidence of a kind of paternalistic ‘heroic masculinity’ (Kerfoot and Whitehead, 1998: 451) which purported to protect women by not involving them in management, while at the same time reflecting and maintaining men’s own positional power. There was a general perception that having women in senior management was important for various reasons, including the creation of role models and better decision making, but there was ambivalence about the president actually using his power to improve gender imbalances in senior management. There was no real commitment to fundamental change among senior managers in the present study.

6 ‘Think manager–think male’?

Introduction Gender stereotypes are part of the symbolic structure that legitimates the occupancy of managerial power structures (Acker, 1990; Halford and Leonard, 2001; Powell et al., 2002; Sealy and Singh, 2010). Stereotypes are underlying cultural beliefs that can be presented as natural or inevitable (Ridgeway and Correll, 2004). They include behaviours, attitudes and interests that are ‘normatively or stereotypically associated with one or the other gender’ (Yancey Martin, 2006: 257–8). A gendered organizational culture involves ‘disparaging stereotypic public cultural representations’ (Frazer, 2008a: 14). This is reflected in gendered management stereotypes. ‘Think manager – think male’ has been seen as a universal phenomenon, especially among men, and is not peculiar to universities nor indeed to Ireland (Schein et al., 1996). Such stereotypes play an important part in affecting and legitimating the absence of women in senior positions in male dominated organizations and create potential difficulties for women in envisioning themselves in academic management roles (Powell et al., 2002). The existence of male gender stereotypes encourages the definition of women as Other and constitutes another barrier to the utilization of women’s leadership potential: ‘When leadership is defined in masculine terms, the leaders who emerge are disproportionately men, regardless of the sex composition of the community of followers’ (Eagly, 2005: 463). Equally when leaders are predominantly men, leadership will tend to be defined in masculine terms. However, it is possible that certain organizational and societal contexts can undermine gender stereotypes (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). Despite over sixty years of research on leadership, few attempts have been made to ensure that the models of leadership developed are inclusive of women or other ‘outsiders’ (Alimo-­Metcalfe and Alban-­Metcalf, 2005; Blackmore and Sachs, 2007; Eagly, 2011; Madden, 2005;). Such stereotypes has been seen by the OECD (2012c) as a key factor in perpetuating gender inequality. Variation


Management and gender in higher education

in the endorsement of such gender stereotypes can provide an insight into the scope, force and hierarchical character of the gender order (Thurén, 2000). In Ireland, as in many other countries, men have managed to retain their dominance of key institutions (including the state, higher education, the media and the institutional roman catholic church). This has enabled them ‘to get a stranglehold on meaning. What it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman’ (Edley and Wetherell, 1996: 107). Implicit in such definitions is ‘an institutionalised pattern of cultural value that constitutes some categories of social actors as normative and others as deficient or inferior’ (Frazer, 2008b: 135). Reflecting their higher educational qualifications, women in Ireland have been very successful in acquiring what Savage (1992) called positions of ‘expertise’: constituting just over half of those in professional occupations. They have been somewhat less successful in acquiring positional authority, although during the Celtic Tiger there was an almost 50 per cent increase in the proportion of women in such positions. Thus women now constitute just over one third of those in managerial and administrative positions (CSO, 2011b). However, the sustainability of these trends is problematic, since the proportion of women at the lowest management level fell in that period (IBEC, 2011), a trend that is not peculiar to Ireland (Hausmann et al., 2011). Nevertheless, in Irish society, think manager–think male could potentially have been undermined by the rapidity of the changes in the gender profile of managers during the Celtic Tiger. In this chapter the focus is on exploring two different potential manifestations of ‘think manager–think male’: first, asking respondents to describe a typical president in their university and to identify the characteristics that are valued in senior management in their university; and second asking them about the perceived existence of male/female gendered management styles. In the first case, the focus is on a stereotype, albeit one which is contextualized, whether descriptively or prescriptively: ‘Descriptive stereotypes tell a story about how people with certain characteristics behave, what they prefer and where their competencies lie’ (Ely and Padavic, 2007: 1136; also Eagly and Sczesny, 2009). In asking respondents to identify the characteristics valued in senior management, the focus moves towards more prescriptive characteristics and competencies. Both of these potentially draw on gender stereotypes, since task requirements are frequently ‘conflated with sex linked traits … This conflation preserves the gender order because occupations imbued with power and authority tend to be seen as requiring the skills associated with men’ (Ely and Padavic, 2007: 1129). However, in so far as such contextual characteristics make no reference to gender, it is difficult to know to what extent this suggests that gender is really irrelevant or whether, like all markers of privilege, it is simply invisible. In that context the importance of a collegial/managerialist interpretative frame, and the extent to which its content is framed in gendered

‘Think manager–think male’?


terms will also be explored. In addition the existence and content of gender management styles will be examined.

Characteristics and competencies of senior management: gendered? In this section the focus in on the perceived characteristics and competencies of senior management in their own university. A president can be said to reflect a university’s core identity and aspirations. Although all presidents of Irish public universities to date have been male, this was taken for granted by the majority of the respondents. Internationally, very little attention has been paid to leadership embodiment, with male bodies being effectively so taken for granted and normalized that they are invisible, in a context where women’s bodies are ‘consistently socially constituted as a highly visible (dis)qualification to their leadership’ (Sinclair, 2011b: 123). Similar processes seemed to be operating in the present study, with only a tiny minority of respondents referring to male embodiment in referring to a typical president in their university: ‘male, relatively tall’ (Claire Hartigan): ‘they have all been male of course … The typical president must embody a vision … and part of embodying is to do with the gender issue’ (Professor Andrew Murphy). Thus in a context where maleness is the norm, it is typically invisible, other than to those for whom structural or personal reasons are sensitized to gender (Deem, 1999; Sinclair, 2011a). Presidents can also be seen as embodying cultural expectations as regards the nature and purpose of a university, this being reflected in the backgrounds seen as characteristic of a typical president. Such disciplinary backgrounds have changed over time and vary geographically, arguably reflecting the differential strength of various stakeholders, and ultimately the perceived purpose of a university in a particular societal context. Thus whereas the majority of those at the equivalent of a presidential level in the UK had backgrounds in arts in the 1950s, by the 1990s the majority were from science, engineering and technology (Bagilhole and White, 2005). However, the majority of those in similar positions in the United States came from an arts background, while Swedish rectors were equally likely to be qualified in science or the arts (Bargh et al., 2000). Anecdotally, in the 1990s, the majority of Irish university presidents had an engineering or technology background. However the current Irish pattern is more differentiated, with three of the seven university presidents having a medical background, a pattern that may not be unrelated to the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland (O’Donovan and Glavanis-­Grantham, 2008; Gallagher, 2012), with the remainder being in the broad area of science, technology and mathematics. It is striking that the majority of these university presidents are still drawn from areas where the majority of students are male (in marked contrast to the overall student gender profile). Hence discipline


Management and gender in higher education

can be seen as an implicit male marker. Indeed in the past ten years, only one of the university presidents has been from the social sciences (i.e. law). Only occasionally was this link between gender and discipline made explicit by the respondents: ‘always a scientist, always a man, scientist or a medic but always from that side of the house … nearly always had engineering/science/medicine as a background’ (Professor Eileen Greene); ‘All scientists … The majority … in more recent experience tend to come from science, engineering and medicine. That is true equally of the registrars [deputy presidents] nationally’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). In summary, overwhelmingly the characteristics of a typical president were not overtly defined in terms of gender, although a minority did refer to male embodiment and (male dominated) disciplinary backgrounds. Collegial characteristics Leadership is socially constructed. It has been suggested that it is not the characteristics as such that are valued, but their link to positions of power (which remains predominantly male). Indeed, Fletcher (2011: 405) suggested that in such a context, it would be difficult to identify characteristics as feminine (or for women to claim their ‘natural advantage’) since to do would be to implicitly devalue them. There was a suggestion however that this possibility increased when women were in such positions (as in for example, the study of university senior managers in Portugal: O’Connor and Carvalho, 2012). Post-­heroic leadership has been seen as an emerging phenomenon. It is characterized by a shift from an individual to a shared model of leadership; from control to learning; and from a focus on individual traits to a leadership process. Potentially, implicit in it is a move from an idealized image of male leadership concerned with ‘how to produce things in the work sphere of life’ to an idealized image of women’s leadership, characterized by a concern with ‘how to “grow people”’ (Fletcher, 2011: 399). A collegial model could be seen as legitimating post-­ heroic feminine leadership. Hughes (2012), himself a former president of an Irish university, stressed the importance of collegiality and depicted university leadership as fundamentally different to that in business. In a context where many aspects of managerialism are present in Irish universities (Chapter 4), the strength of the endorsement of collegial qualities was striking: with references being made to the importance of a typical president being responsive, accessible and listening. There were references in the present study which indicated a valuing of people management skills: ‘The higher management skills are people management skills, strategic thinking, creative thinking. These are what I see as the primary skills’ (Professor Denis Tobin). Stereotypically female characteristics (such as listening) were referred to. Thus, they referred to ‘being expected to listen above anything’ (Professor Andrew Murphy); ‘people who are good

‘Think manager–think male’?


listeners, people want senior management to listen to try and understand what is going on’ (Professor Tommy Ryan); ‘communication is really important in management, internal communication is more important than external communication, listening … listening to and articulating it back to the community’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). In an Irish context, listening appeared to be a way of increasing the status of subordinates. It offered implicit possibilities as regards future access to power, in a context where such access was political, arbitrary and dependent on visibility to the power holders, particularly the president (Chapter 4). Alvesson and Sveningsson (2003: 374) highlighted the importance of mundane activities such as listening and suggested that they were ‘given a particular aura and appear to be significant and remarkable’ only when undertaken by those in management positions. They saw this as the ‘extraordinization of the mundane’. They suggested that rather than the powerful being seen as having special characteristics, such characteristics are special if they are embodied or enacted by those with power. However there was no reference to the gendered nature of such characteristics; nor any suggestion of a fit between such feminine leadership characteristics and women’s access to such positions. Ramsden (1998: 31) suggested that the distinguishing characteristic of a collegiate model is consensual decision making. Reflecting this kind of focus, some of the respondents stressed that a typical president in their university ‘would be responsive to the college’s concerns and would be consultative in terms of getting decisions made’ (Professor Niall Phelan); ‘if we were to have a benevolent dictator it still wouldn’t be valued, what is valued is the sense of collegiality…[to] create a common vision, common purpose … around ­collegiality … creating a community around it without creating division’ (Jane Morrisson). There were references to the importance of ‘good consensus building skills’ (Professor Marie Walsh). Manager-­academics and other professional managers were equally likely to refer to such collegial characteristics. In effect then these respondents were endorsing a particular construct of masculinity, one that was gentler than that endorsed by managerialism, but which was not seen as reflecting femininity and which did not legitimate women’s access to these positions. Harris et al. (1998: 137) concluded that the main characteristics of good managers were ‘a capacity to get on with others and to have a university wide perspective’, in the sense that they had to be able to transcend what were seen as sectional or personal interests. This was often located in the wider context of being a team player; what is valued in senior management is being ‘pretty decent team players in the best sense … decent in what they do and how they treat people’ (Timmy Collins). Although at first glance, this may not appear to exclude women, in so far as women are ‘outsiders on the inside’ (Gherardi, 1996) they may not be seen as team players in an organizational context where an inclusive culture does not exist (Callanan, 2003: 128).


Management and gender in higher education

Bargh et al. (2000: 158 and 161) noted that, in their UK study of vice chancellors, the managerial style most frequently mentioned was ‘management by wandering around’, with much of this activity being of a routine/low level quality leading them to conclude that the role of the vice chancellor in the UK was ‘highly political and is not, therefore, most effectively conceived as chief executive tout court’. In the present study, both academic and other professional managers referred to accessibility as being valued in senior management: ‘availability in a very pragmatic sense’ (Gerard Donnelly); ‘to go down to the levels below them on the pyramid, to be approachable’ (Professor Kieran Naughton); ‘If senior management was inaccessible, if people were not prepared to sit down with staff, particularly senior academics, then they would get irritated and rightly so’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). This accessibility was valued precisely because it was done by those in power, again reflecting Alvesson and Sveningsson’s (2003: 374) ideas that the crucial factor was not particular characteristics or behaviour, but their enactment by those in power. Resistance is always a possibility in organizations, not least through challenging taken-­for-­granted attitudes and perspectives. Thus a minority of senior managers were uncomfortable with those characteristics that they saw as being valued in senior management in their own universities. Thus for example, consultation was sometimes perceived as indecisiveness, and flexibility as ad-­ hockery: ‘If you deliver all those ways around the problem, you are valued very highly and you will create a monster. Everybody wants everything tailored to themselves. That is what is valued’ (Timmy Collins); ‘Part of our tradition is to communicate, to consult, and to consult, and talk things through … maybe that is part of our problem that we spend too much time talking to people’ (Professor Brendan Connolly). Thus, just as women resisted by naming gender inequality, some of the male manager-­academics were critical of the characteristics they saw as valued by senior management in their own university. Hence they can be seen as possible allies in creating cultural change at the organizational level. In summary, overwhelmingly the characteristics that were valued in senior management reflected a collegial framework, with references to consensual decision making, accessibility and listening. These could be seen as reflecting an underlying feminine gendered stereotype. This was not adverted to, implying that it is not characteristics as such that are valued, but their link to power (Alvesson and Sveningsson 2003). Managerial characteristics Managerialism has been seen as very outcome oriented, with an emphasis on ‘targets, performance and measurement’ (Morley, 2005b: 419) with a focus on ‘deliverables’ (Ramsden, 1998: 32). Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 59) suggested that managerialism: ‘privileged a particular managerialist discourse, leaning

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towards proven management and financial skills and more “macho” styles of leadership’ (Morley, 2005b: 419). In such a context the importance of relationships with colleagues was limited, and occasionally non-­existent, with women being more likely than men to note that management in this context was ‘not concerned about how you did it as long as the task got done … a direct and impolitic form of management … human element was not seen’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordain). In this managerial perspective a culture of hard work, quick decision making in line with the president’s priorities was valued. Such a focus was evident in the present study: ‘an ability to get things done’ (Tony Noonan); ‘deliverables, energy, dynamism’ (Professor Joan Geraghty); ‘a person who can get an issue off my desk [is valued]. I value greatly the delegating of a decision and having confidence that it won’t come back to haunt me’ (Professor Sean Murphy); ‘What is valued is to be on top of your brief; to be able to deliver and to have good judgement … In theory people skills are valued but in practise [the question is] have you delivered’ (Professor Tina McClelland). Bargh et al. (2000: 161) noted that even in this context the key skills are ‘those of networking, lobbying and persuasion’. Such skills were also referred to in the present study: ‘clear thinking influencer/leader … people who understand where they want the organization to go and … pull every lever and influence that they can to make it go there’ (Tony Noonan); ‘[having] the vision, strategy and political nuances to ensure that the university meets its own objectives’ (Professor Rory Hogan). Thus, although managerialism involved a very different kind of internal dynamics, it was similar to collegiality in so far as some of the characteristics that were valued were political. However, among these senior managers, a managerialist focus was frequently seen more or less as the antithesis of personal skills: ‘I don’t think that [personal qualities] get a lot of air time in this university from the senior management team’ (Professor Gerard Anderson); ‘personal qualities and skills such as sociability or outgoingness, or even empathy, would not be valued much at all’ (Professor Anne McCarthy). Thus, a harder and more aggressive construct of masculinity is implicitly legitimated by managerialism, one which offers very little as regards legitimating women’s suitability for senior management. A managerialist perspective also typically involves an acceptance of the legitimacy of the state and industry as external stakeholders. John Keane suggests that in the past there was more arrogance in the academic community: ‘I would not say it was gone but there is more of an appreciation that the learning curve of those in the civil service is not entirely flat’. Whitchurch and Gordon (2010: 131) suggest that universities are increasingly moving to an enterprise focus (see also McNay, 1995; Ramsden, 1998). Reflecting the latter, the characteristics that were valued at senior management level were: ‘the skills … that allow the university to be innovative … To have an open mind rather than


Management and gender in higher education

a dead hand’ (Paul Meaney); ‘a can-­do attitude and a willingness to sort out problems … making sure stuff happens even if it hurts’ (Pauline Hanratty); ‘can-­do attitude, quick decision making, avoidance of bureaucracy’ (Professor Larry Mc Donald). Innovative structures, with their frequent implicit lack of transparency can in some circumstances exclude women and other ‘outsiders’, particularly if they are based on informal understandings and croneyistic relationships. Thus, Paul Meaney, in referring to his relationships with male colleagues notes that these are ‘private relationships that allow things to be done without bothering the bureaucracy too much’. Such non-­transparent arrangements facilitate patriarchal privileging (Padavic, 2012). Other professional managers were particularly likely to refer to the value attached to ‘not being precious about your own particular area’ (Paul Meaney). However although apparently indifferent to disciplinary boundaries, their stress on the importance of ‘allowing the university to be innovative’ in some cases reflected an unselfconscious privileging of their own discipline. Nevertheless, some of them suggested that a ‘professional bureaucracy’ still existed, in which academics had a good deal of power and autonomy (Deem et al., 2008). Others, however, saw the remit of their own authority as extending well beyond their functional area, implicitly legitimating a managerialist perspective. There was again evidence of contestation. Thus, some respondents had reservations about managerialism and referred to a lack of acceptability of a managerial discourse or the depiction of it as ‘abrasive’: ‘there would be a very strong reaction here against managerialism, the corporatization of the university; the language that goes with that, such as referring to students as clients does not go down well here’ (Professor Denis Tobin). Occasionally the characteristics that were valued at senior management level were located in the context of a wider vision of the university: for example, involving the ‘place of arts, cultural dimension to a university; its higher values … about education in the broader sense … a place of further learning’ (Professor Denis Tobin). Such views implicitly challenged the lack of priority attached to these kinds of subjects within a managerialist perspective. There were occasional explicit references to the tension between collegiality and managerialism: [the challenge is] ‘to create a structure which values the traditional values of the university and at the same time you provide a mechanism so the funding agent can feel comfortable that money is not being frittered away’ (Professor Brendan Connolly); ‘The key to successful management in a democratic institution is to make decisions for people but to inform them of what is going on … you have got to be able to talk, to empathize, but you also have to be decisive’ (Professor Niall Phelan). In summary, a collegial/managerial discourse was much more apparent than a gendered one, with a collegial one being particularly evident. Hence, one might conclude that ‘think manager–think male’ was no longer relevant.

‘Think manager–think male’?


However, the implicitly gendered nature of the characteristics endorsed was not identified as such; nor were these seen as legitimating the presence of women.

Gendered management styles There has been a good deal of argument about whether gendered styles exist at all. Although the evidence is not conclusive, a number of studies have identified small but significant gender differences in such styles (Burke and Collins, 2001; Eagly et al., 2003). However, Madden (2005: 6) highlighted the risk of ‘essentializing female and male differences’ and suggested that ‘there is a great deal of overlap in women’s and men’s behaviour and much more variability within each gender than between them’. Essentializing such differences implicitly removes the need for systemic or organizational change (Hall Taylor, 1997). Garavan et al. (2009: 133), based on an extensive review of the literature, concluded that men and women had ‘the same aptitude for leadership, motivation for leadership, commitment and job satisfaction’. However, they described their leadership styles somewhat differently, reflecting underlying gender stereotypes and a desire to present themselves in gender congruent terms. In organizations where women were in authority positions, definitions of appropriate behaviour were less stereotyped, and femininity was perceived as more compatible with authority (Sealy and Singh, 2010). In summary, most of the respondents thought that gender differences in management styles existed. The content of such styles was described in rather old-­fashioned stereotypical terms, which were implicitly seen as sufficient to explain the absence of women in senior management positions in universities. Legitimacy of current situation: content of male gender stereotypes Eagly (2005: 463) suggested that ‘When leadership is defined in masculine terms, the leaders who emerge are disproportionately men, regardless of the sex composition of the community of followers’. Thus women as ‘outsiders’ who have not traditionally had access to leadership positions may have difficulty inspiring confidence or identification. ‘Management itself has traditionally implied maleness and maleness has carried with it managerial and leadership qualities’ (Mavin and Bryans, 2002: 236), qualities that men are assumed to have ‘naturally’ and women are assumed to lack: ‘People’s beliefs about leadership are thus more similar to their beliefs about men than women’ (Ely and Padavic, 2007: 52). Internationally, ‘think manager–think male’ has been most likely to be endorsed by men (Schein et al., 1996). In the present study, men, when they reflected on a male management style, particularly focused on aggression: ‘the male approach … an aggressive approach’ (Professor Tommy Ryan) ‘more


Management and gender in higher education

aggressive … coming across as tough’ (John Keane). The focus on being aggressive or tough implicitly suggests that men, who are encouraged to develop these attributes, are suitable for senior positions in hierarchical bureaucratic structures, whereas women are not. Madden (2005: 7) suggested that the ‘masculinised context’ in higher education ‘includes the assumption that effective leadership depends on status and power manifested through autocratic behaviour’. There was some suggestion in the present study that universities were seen as that kind of context (see Chapter 5): ‘Academic institutions often have an aggressive style that easily crosses the line from assertiveness to bullying: you don’t just defend your position, you assert yourself over someone’ (Professor Larry Mc Donald). Women in male dominated areas such as senior management are part of a predominantly male management group, where the ultimate authority is male and the organizational culture is gendered. In that context they are often given the message that they have to develop a ‘male’ management style (Eveline, 2004): ‘Going into an all-­male group you have to adopt male aggressive characteristics … you might have to go that extra mile to be seen to be macho, to get what needs to be done, done’ (Thomas Hennessy). This focus on aggression reflects a particular definition of hegemonic masculinity (Connell, 1995), with aggression also being included in Schein et al.’s schema (1996). However, aggressive behaviour was rarely mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Swedish study of university senior managers (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014), underlining the contextual nature of male stereotypes and constructions of masculinity. In the present study both men and women adverted to the stereotypical aggressivity of male management styles. Women, as a minority, were seen as needing to adopt that style: ‘I suppose if in a university or unit they are all pushy, then you can only survive as a woman by being pushy as well or they essentially beat you down’ (Professor Niall Phelan). Sinclair (1998: 153) found that, as in Kanter’s (1993) classic study, the proportion of women in the groups was critical, so that where women were below a critical level ‘women’s strategy is typically one of camouflage’: ‘they [women] spoke the language of the guys; they adopted male styles’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire). Paradoxically however (as Kanter, 1993 noted in her classic work) women remained highly visible, and continued to be seen as representatives of their gender. Ely and Padavic (2007) suggested that in the United States, women who have gained access to senior positions have learned ‘male’ styles or may have been selected because of a perceived similarity to the dominant style. Thus, for some in the present study, women’s adoption of male management styles was seen as a regrettable reflection of the absence of women as role models, or the existence of role models who were ‘more masculine than the men’: ‘I think

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it’s unfortunate but maybe it’s inevitable because there are so few role models around. So many women in senior management … [are] following in the footsteps of men’ (Professor Eileen Greene). Women who adopted male management styles were sometimes seen as more likely to have ‘come up the hard way in an extremely male environment’ (Professor Sheila Furlong) this pattern being more marked in predominantly male environments ‘such as engineering or science’ (Gerard Donnelly). ‘Becoming more male than men’ has been recognized as being an issue for women senior academics (Mavin, 2006: 80). In these contexts ‘to act ‘masculine’ at work raises questions about their status as women; but to act ‘feminine’ raises questions about their status as leaders (Ely and Padavic, 2007). Thus their position as women in senior management involves culturally generated tension. For Connell (1995: 82) the majority of men benefit from ‘the patriarchal dividend’ in terms of honour, prestige and the power to command. They also gain a material dividend. Implicit in this is a higher cultural valuation of men and their activities and a gendered culture of entitlement. Lewis et al. (2002: 141) suggested that ‘entitlement is a concept used to denote a set of beliefs and feelings about rights and entitlements, or legitimate expectations based on what is perceived to be fair and equitable’. As long-­standing holders of power positions, men may have developed a confidence in their colleagues’ willingness and ability to cover for them, and they may be able to access the resources to facilitate a delegation of their responsibilities, thus reflecting and reinforcing patriarchal entitlement. Indeed Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 142) suggested that this influenced men’s attitude to promotion, since they saw it ‘as leading to more opportunities to delegate and hence more freedom and autonomy [whereas women] … more often saw promotion as leading to an intensification of labour’. This could be seen as reflecting an ability to leverage resources to facilitate delegation of responsibilities, and ultimately an underlying sense of entitlement: a sense of entitlement to progression … is not as palpable in my engagement with women female senior managers … if I’m dealing with male colleagues I’m dealing with the fact that we are here to do a job and I’m dealing with the fact of that individual’s status, future and rank. If I’m dealing with women, it’s much more likely to be dealing with the job in hand. (Professor Gerard Anderson)

The Irish respondents, suggested that men were stereotypically less committed to delivering job outputs than they were on enjoying the power or status related to that role: ‘A lot of men are not so interested in doing the job, just being it, they want to be in it but not doing the job’ (Professor Tina McClelland). Similar observations were made by the Swedish university senior managers (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). Thus as in Mackenzie Davey’s (2008: 658) study, men were seen as much more invested in their image, concerned with prestige and ‘looking good’ in the organization:


Management and gender in higher education

if they [men] come up with an idea, they have the ownership of it, they have to defend it at all costs, if it is changed or rejected, it is a personal slight on them. Women are more open to criticism of their ideas and amendment of them in order to turn them into ideas that might work. They don’t call it ‘my idea’ as men do … Males are interested in looking good, in how they are perceived in the university. (Professor Sean Murphy)

This culture of entitlement generated an expectation, by men in senior management, that they were entitled to take their time in making their points in a meeting: [a man] ‘says what he is going to say in the manner he has decided on saying it. Women are made to feel nervous, that leads them to rushing their contribution … and lose credibility, whereas a man … will always retain gravitas’ (Claire Hartigan). Whitehead (1998: 209) drew attention to the priority still attached to ‘the man/manager as the rational, controlled and logical agent’, with a male management style in such contexts being depicted as highly rational, ‘in a predominantly masculine way, here is what I want done, here is what I propose should be done’ (Gerard Donnelly). A key element in the maintenance of patriarchy is the ‘interdependence and solidarity among men’ (Hartmann, 1981: 14). In that context there was a suggestion, particularly by the women, that men handled their relationships with other men carefully so as to avoid confrontation (such a picture contrasting vividly with the stereotypical stress on male aggression). This was reflected in male deference to power holders: ‘there will be no bowing at all to the woman, there will be bowing by one man to another’ (Claire Hartigan); ‘there’s a lot more care in terms of not offending other male colleagues’ (Professor Anne McCarthy). Thus although a male management style was overwhelmingly depicted as involving aggression, there were suggestions that the picture was more complex than this, infused as it was by men’s accommodations with each other (Yancey Martin, 2001). In summary, these senior managers for the most part assumed that male gendered management styles existed and that their key defining characteristic was aggression. This legitimated men’s occupancy of such positions, with ideas about entitlement and male accommodations broadening, but reinforcing, ‘think manager–think male’. Legitimacy of current situation: content of female gender stereotypes In western societies, there is a tension between leadership roles and female gender roles (Eagly et al., 2003: 572). Generally men are seen as agentic, the ‘doers’, and are most highly valued, while women are seen as ‘communal’ and strongly people oriented but are less valued (Eagly and Sczesny, 2009: 23). Women who adopt an agentic mode of leadership run the risk of being criticized for being too masculine (i.e. dominant, highly competent or self-­ promoting) and not feminine enough (i.e. not warm, selfless or supportive enough: Eagly and Carli, 2007: 187). Thus, the choice for women is between

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being respected for their competence (and losing likeability) or being liked and not taken seriously. Wolfram et al. (2007) found that gender role discrepant women leaders (for example, those exhibiting autocratic styles) got less respect than gender role discrepant male leaders (for example, those exhibiting democratic styles): ‘if men deploy aspects of femininity to make them more caring managers, they are rewarded, if women employ femininity in the same way, they are just seen to be doing what they are expected to do’ (Skeggs, 2004: 55). A variety of studies have shown that women typically report more indirect persuasion strategies than men, such as ‘agreement, sociability and warmth’ with women being likely to be ‘ineffective if they choose more authoritarian leadership tactics’ (see Madden, 2005: 10–11). Eagly et al. (2003: 573) found that women can be disliked and regarded as untrustworthy, especially when they exert authority over men, show high levels of competence or use a direct style of communication. However this negative reaction was reduced when women leaders showed warmth, lack of self-­interest, expressed agreement and explicitly stated an interest in helping others achieve their goals (Leathwood and Read, 2009). In other words, when they acted in what were seen as gender appropriate ways. In the present study, there were occasional positive references to a kind of persuasive management style: [she used] ‘almost a kind of love bombing approach, why it would be good to try things in a different way … wouldn’t it be good if we could get X area to collaborate with Y, and are there opportunities there that we could work with Z. She opens up prospects for people to think about’ (Gerard Donnelly). It has been widely noted that women are continually evaluated against a feminine stereotype: ‘her subject position is seen as feminine, thus soft, weak and emotional’ (Priola, 2007: 29). Mihelich and Storrs (2003: 404) suggested that in so far as women ‘practice femininity according to femininity stereotypes that define women as subordinate … [they] may gain approval from men, but they do not gain equal status’ (Yancey Martin, 2003: 360). For Connell (1987: 187) the construction of femininity is reflected in a ‘display of sociability rather than technical competence’; ‘oriented to accommodating the interests and desires of men and therefore emphasises dependency, nurturance, and compliance’ (Ely and Padavic, 2007: 1129). It is fuelled by ‘cultural sexism: the pervasive devaluation and disparagement of things coded as “feminine”’ (Frazer 2008a: 24). However (2010: 562) suggested that ‘femininity may empower women and provide them with agency’. They (2010: 556) were particularly concerned with ‘the gender advantage that is derived from a skill set that is associated with femininity’. Such stereotypical feminine skills included being accessible and ‘a people person’ (Ross-­Smith and Huppatz: 558; see also Kloot, 2004; Ferguson, 1984). However they also stressed that femininity was ‘double-­ edged … operating within boundaries … [it] may only manipulate constraints rather than overturn power’.


Management and gender in higher education

It has been widely noted (Chesterman, 2004; Madden, 2005; Sinclair, 1998) that women tend to report that they adopt more inclusive, collaborative, consultative styles, with a greater focus on organizational outcomes and less on self-­interest. In the present study women’s stereotypical management styles were seen as relational: ‘females typically would be more people centric and would know the people in their departments and be also much more adept at understanding personalities’ (Professor Denis Tobin). Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 130) suggested that in a managerialist context women’s stereotypical qualities could be seen as assets ‘complementing not challenging the male norm, “adding value” through an “essential” connectedness’. Some of the respondents in the present study referred to a kind of emotional intelligence that women were assumed to have, partly drawing on essentialist views of women and partly reflecting women’s greater likelihood of being outside the established power hierarchy: ‘women are more discerning … see more than one side I would always like to have some women with me when assessing because of how easily men can be hoodwinked by other men’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan). Much was made of women’s tendency to adopt a holistic approach: ‘I think it is always important with women to look at the wider issues’ (Professor Gary Burke); [women] ‘are a lot more lateral thinking. They can look at the consequences. They see the big picture’ (Pauline Hanratty). However there was other evidence that a feminine management style was seen as weak in a context that saw aggression as a sign of ‘strong’ leadership. One woman at the early stage of her career recounted how she had adopted a facilitative style, but it was not effective, so that later: ‘I did adopt male approaches; I was decisive and authoritative’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan). A similar pattern was also referred to by Blackmore et al. (2006). Powell et al. (2002) noted that in their study, a positive valuation of female stereotypes did not exist (see also Lewis and Simpson, 2011; Bjerrum Nielsen, 2004). In that context women often feel the need to avoid any nurturing or caring behaviour for fear of being criticized as too ‘soft’ (Priola, 2007). Sealy and Singh (2010: 294) noted that particularly where there were few women in senior positions, women struggle with ‘finding the right balance of “toughness” and “softness”’. The nuanced line that women were required to tread as senior managers occasionally emerged in criticism: ‘they brought an internal element that was a bit too caring and the external element was too male or macho’ (Paul Meaney). Other stereotypical elements, not directly related to management, were also referred to. Thus, for some of those in the present study, the most important stereotypical difference was women’s greater ease in talking about their feelings: ‘women are more prepared to talk about how to they feel as opposed to facts … men find it more difficult’ (Jane Morrison); ‘you can have different conversations … there is a certain shorthand … with some men you can get to the same place, but with women you can get there much quicker’ (Professor

‘Think manager–think male’?


Joan Geraghty). It has been shown that although men are equally capable of intimate interaction, they are less likely to do it (O’Connor, 2002). Women’s comfort with expressing feelings was seen by the men as somewhat problematic: ‘female colleagues tend to get more emotional and to show their emotions more than male colleagues’ (Peter Delaney); ‘female colleagues tend to personalize it more if we have a disagreement’ (Professor Tommy Ryan), reflecting the idea that their emotionality would ‘make them unsuitable for these high pressure, competitive jobs’ (Wicks and Bradshaw, 2002: 7). Included in the female stereotype was women’s greater attention to detail. This was not peculiar to Ireland (Ross-­Smith and Huppatz, 2010). This may reflect the fact that women are less used to being in power and less able to access resources to enable them to delegate effectively. It can also be seen as reflecting women managers’ typically highly visible, minority status and/or their greater tendency to be hired as managers in a crisis or ‘glass cliff’ situation: ‘the women will be a little more pernickety, the small print, details, exceptions to the rule, men will mutter about it but will wave it away and move on, but women are a little more particular about the detail’ (Professor Jim Flanagan). This stereotypical characteristic was not valued by men in this Irish study. In contrast, Sinclair (1998) found that in studies of Australian executives, an eye for detail was valued, being seen as more important than international experience, underlining how the content and evaluation of stereotypical characteristics varies cross-­nationally. Nevertheless (and complementing the trends emerging in the last section) women are seen, by both men and women, as more focused on the task, ‘working with women, there is a much greater focus on the job in hand’ (Professor Anne McCarty). They are seen as less likely to engage in status related formulaic conversations; more likely to be concerned with outcomes and less likely to be bounded by convention in their search for solutions: They have a different perspective, a low toleration of bullshit; cutting straight to the chase … women are less tolerant of everyone having five minutes of their say so they can say what everyone might expect them to say. There is not so much posturing … More of a willingness to embrace new ideas, to push the boat out, to do something different. (Professor Eileen Greene)

In summary, the respondents identified a female stereotype (one that was people oriented, holistic and that did not disrupt the established power structure). Irish men were most likely to refer to negative aspects of the stereotype. Both men and women saw women as more focused on the job in hand, raising interesting questions about the popular Irish perception of women as less committed to paid work. Absence of gendered management styles, stereotypes and experiences In this section the focus is first on that minority in this study who did not think stereotypical gendered management styles existed, and, second, on references


Management and gender in higher education

to their own experiences and the extent to which such experiences confirmed or challenged these stereotypes. It seems plausible to suggest that the perceived absence of gendered management styles reflects the absence of stereotypes. Structural changes may be one of the factors that undermine stereotypes. However there is no inevitable relationship between increases in the proportion of women in senior management and the absence of such stereotypes. Thus Powell et al. (2002: 190) found that despite a substantial increase in the proportion of women managers in the United States between the mid-­1970s and the late 1990s, where a preference was expressed, in the majority of cases good managers were still described in stereotypically male terms. However, in Sweden, women hold roughly half of the top positions in university management (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014), and there is a widespread societal acceptance of feminist goals, so that if you want to survive in politics you have to be pro-­feminist. In that context in Sweden, university senior managers had difficulties defining a gendered style. They had an idea about stereotypes, but they did not think they had any reality in their own experiences. In Ireland, on the other hand, there was a much greater belief in the credibility of gender ­stereotypes, reinforced by the minority of women in such positions and the wider societal and cultural context (O’Connor, 1998 and 2000a). Thus, in the present study only a minority of respondents rejected the idea that stereotypical gender management styles existed. Some of these suggested that variation reflected other characteristics, such as personality: ‘It is all down to people and personal styles’ (Timmy Collins). Occasionally too it was suggested that variation existed but that it reflected factors other than gender: ‘The assumption is that there is a male management style, I don’t think I agree with that assumption, there are different ones but it is not appropriate to consider them gendered, those management styles are related to other dimensions’ (Professor Marie Walsh), including for example, being an external appointee as opposed to being recruited internally. Stereotypical views about men’s ‘bigger egos’ were based on and legitimated by their own experience of working with men in senior management, reflecting wider patterns of patriarchal privileging (Connell, 1995: O’Connor, 2000a): ‘I have always found that women don’t have such big egos as men so they tend to get on with the workload’ (Professor Niall Phelan): ‘My experience of males in senior management is that they are territorial and it’s not only about space. There is a kind of jockeying for position that is more a male thing although obviously not all men … men like to build little kingdoms. I don’t say that women don’t do it, but it’s less pervasive’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). Those who believe that a good leader possesses mainly masculine attributes, see women in senior management as a direct challenge (Mavin, 2006; Eagly and Carli, 2007) because they ‘violate gender stereotypes’ (Sealy and Singh, 2010: 294). In the present study, very few of the respondents had experienced a

‘Think manager–think male’?


woman boss. Among those who had, the men particularly were likely to suggest that other people saw it as problematic, arguably reflecting an unwillingness to own these feelings themselves. Thus although Professor Michael Mc Grath says that he did not see any difficulty himself, a lot of people had asked him ‘what is it like having a woman [in that position]’. Men’s perceived discomfort with having women in senior positions was also highlighted by the women: ‘there is still that attitude to women there … While they would think of themselves as thoroughly modern men they … are not as happy working with a woman at the same level or higher’ (Claire Hartigan). Similar patterns emerged in the United States, although they were changing. Thus by the middle of the twentieth century, almost twice as many respondents preferred having a male than a female boss, although the most popular response, given by under half of the respondents was that they had no preference or that it did not matter (Eagly, 2011). Oshagbemi and Gill (2003: 294) found that men were less satisfied than women when their boss adopted ‘a directive leadership role’. This may make it difficult for women to exert power other than in a consensus situation: ‘what women bring is a slightly more diplomatic presentation of issues with perhaps more diplomatic language … we may recommend, it could be considered; we will reflect, rather than we will do’ (Katherine Mc Elligott). Interestingly in the present study even where specific women were seen as excellent managers, they were perceived as overzealous or not seen as ‘natural managers’: ‘Even when the proving time was over, the same attention to detail continued. I thought it was a waste of time. Having said that [she was] very good’ (Timmy Collins); ‘she was head and shoulders the best boss I ever worked for … she did the same kind of things but did them better, she was supportive, very clear, you knew where you stood, [but] she was not a natural manager herself’ (John Keane). Thus stereotypes were seen as more credible than their own experiences. In a context where a weak personality and an inability to fight for resources were part of a female stereotype, individuals referred to named individual(s) in their present context or in the past who deviated from such a female stereotype and who were: ‘generally quite strong people, able to fight their corner, in some way better than their male counterparts, able to make their case for whatever they are arguing for’ (Professor Brendan Connolly); ‘very formidable, terrified men around the college, what she wanted she got … if you worked hard for her she would find scholarships for you; she would go and tell the president that she needed an office for you. She was one of the blue stocking generations. She protected you and she minded you’ (Professor Tina McClelland). In contrast to their Swedish counterparts in university senior management, these experiences did not undermine the Irish respondents’ endorsement of gender stereotypes, arguably because of the usefulness of such stereotypes in legitimating the existing male structures in Irish university senior management (a legitimation which was unnecessary in Sweden given the gender profile of senior management there).


Management and gender in higher education

In summary, only a minority of the respondents did not refer to gendered management styles. The majority had little actual experience of working for a woman boss, and even where this was positive, it did not affect their stereotypical views.

Summary In this chapter the characteristics of a typical president and those that are valued in senior management groups were explored in addition to the perceived existence and content of gendered management styles. Paradoxically, although gendered management styles were strongly endorsed, only a minority of these senior managers saw male embodiment or disciplinary background as characteristic of a typical president in their university. This can be interpreted as indicating that gender was irrelevant to these positions. Alternatively it can be suggested that in a context where a woman has never been president of an Irish public university, the lack of gendering of this position reflects its unthinkability. On the other hand, ways of differentiating between men, such as in terms of their collegial/managerial characteristics were seen as significant. Thus, some respondents, reflecting collegial concerns, stressed the importance of consensual decision making, accessibility, listening etc. There were also references to being able to create a ‘common vision’; to political skills including networking and persuasion, and soft skills including listening. None of these were seen as gendered, or as legitimating the presence of women in these positions. Some men and women suggested that a macho version of managerialism was valued, one which stressed outcomes and deliverables rather than any kind of personal relationships or skills. It is suggested that gender stereotypes are implicit in these descriptions of the characteristics that they saw as valued in senior management, but they are not recognized as such. The majority of the respondents identified gendered management styles, and there was no difference in the responses of the manager-­academics and the other professional managers. Both men and women noted that men had a greater sense of entitlement and that they were sensitive to the implications of directly challenging power. Men’s stereotypical gendered management styles were seen as aggressive; while women’s were seen as more people centred; more holistic; and more concerned about the work itself than their own status. There was also a suggestion that women were more emotional and likely to pay more attention to detail, and these characteristics were not valued by some of the men. The respondents had little experience of women bosses, but there were suggestions that some men saw these as in some way problematic. However the existence of rather different trends among senior managers in Sweden highlights the possibility that stereotypes can lose their meaning when

‘Think manager–think male’?


the social context no longer confirms them. This is an argument for introducing targets and quotas in order to undermine such stereotypical ideas. Indeed the importance of this kind of ‘structural stuff that gives women confidence’ was recognized in an earlier study on gender inequalities in access to senior positions in the health service (O’Connor, 1996). It is suggested that underlying these apparently contradictory patterns lies the persistence of ‘think–manager, think male’ (Schein et al., 1996). In a context where women are a minority of those in senior management, their management styles come into focus, reflecting and reinforcing gender stereotypes. However, in the more prescriptive context when respondents are asked to identify valued characteristics in senior management, gender largely disappears from the frame, since it is literally unthinkable that it would be relevant in these contexts. These different patterns highlight the ways in which interpretative frameworks are differentially used to implicitly legitimate existing patterns Thus gender stereotypes are invoked where they were seen as useful to legitimate gendered occupancy of senior management positions in universities. On the other hand in referring to the characteristics that are valued in senior management, gender is largely invisible and a collegial/managerial interpretative framework is used. The fact that those characteristics that are seen as collegial are stereotypically feminine, while those which are seen as managerial are stereotypically masculine, is ignored. This may be seen as another aspect of the complex construction gender relations in higher education institutions and their opaqueness.

7 An attractive job, but no place for a woman?

Introduction Universities internationally are under pressure from neo-­liberalism and other global processes and are undergoing considerable change, as they move from collegial to managerialist structures (see Chapters 1 and 2). The centralization of power internally, which is a feature of managerialism (see Chapter 4) is associated with a changed perception of the identity of the key stakeholder (i.e. from student and/or academic staff member to industry and/or the state). Thus, in a managerialist context, even in situations where, as senior managers, they are powerful in relation to their own organization, they are, at times, powerless in relation to wider social processes and their key external stakeholders. Furthermore, the centralization of power in a managerialist context may effectively be largely in the president, so that those in other senior management positions may be in an ambiguous position: perceived as having power, but at an overall university level effectively being little more than advisers to the president, and serving at his/her pleasure. In a managerialist structure, they typically lack a sense of being rooted in their own constituency and have little real access to power outside their own narrow sphere other than through a personal and effectively dependent relationship with the president. As senior managers they face challenges, arising from the nature of the university as a knowledge-­generating organization, that are unlikely to arise in many commercial organizations (other than perhaps in the most creative areas, where the degree of organizational complexity is likely to be much less: see Kenny and Euchler, 2012). It is not surprising then that complex evaluative feelings have been found to coexist about academic life (Watson, 2010), and this may be heightened for manager-­academics, in so far as they also attempt to remain active as academics. Furthermore, universities remain hierarchically male dominated, with consequences for their organizational culture (as reflected in gendered narratives and stereotypes: Chapters 5 and 6) and at the level of day-­to-­day interactions and perceptions (Smircich, 1983). Nevertheless, the

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


positions they hold are elite ones, with many attractive characteristics, not least in terms of salary. In this chapter the focus is on these senior managers’ experiences of being in senior management. Thus first attention is focused on the perceived ­advantages/disadvantages of being in university senior management: and in particular, on the extent to which it is a source of meaning or pleasure; frustration or disappointment; and an assessment of its acceptable/unacceptable costs. Second, the focus is on day-­to-­day interactional contexts, and particularly on their colleagues’ perceptions and their attitude to these: particularly concern as to their positive/negative tone; the visibility of gender and the use of a collegial/managerial frame.

Experience of senior management: positives, negatives and costs Overall when these senior managers were asked about the advantages and disadvantages of being in senior management, positive feelings were more common than negative ones and varied from a sense of personal fulfilment, to sheer enjoyment, to satisfaction arising from doing their duty or meeting challenges, to relief from boredom. Substantively the main themes that emerged revolved around the perception of their job as a source of meaning or pleasure; a source of frustration or regret and its acceptable/unacceptable costs. Issues related to the wider organizational culture or their interactional experiences, which could be seen as part of their experience of senior management were not referred to in this context. Senior management: source of meaning and/or pleasure Among these senior managers, the university as a source of meaning featured prominently among the advantages of being in senior management. They also stressed the attractiveness of working in a stimulating intellectual environment. These trends were not peculiar to Irish university senior managers, but also emerged among those in Australia and Portugal. They were unrelated to collegiality/managerialism: with the former being located at the managerial end of the continuum and the latter at the collegial end (O’Connor, 2013). Universities in Ireland are becoming increasingly managerialist and this has implications for the perceived purpose of the university as well as for its internal structures and processes (see Chapter 1). The majority of these senior managers saw senior management as a meaningful activity. In that context it was striking that many of them (both academic and other professional managers) ignored such changes and referred to rather collegial ideas about the value of the university. Thus they referred to the university’s ‘noble purpose’ (Professor Gerard Anderson); ‘You are dealing with things of national importance, institutional


Management and gender in higher education

importance … a chance to think of the greater good’ (Tony Noonan). Similar patterns emerged among the Australian and Portuguese senior managers and raise questions about the extent of the penetration of managerialist discourses. Similarly, and resonating with a concept of civic engagement, the importance of the university’s engagement with the local community was occasionally mentioned by respondents (see Bargh et al., 2000): ‘Universities are coming out of ivory towers, coming into wider communities’ (Professor Joan Geraghty). Other references were more overtly managerialist: ‘I look on the university as a state asset, as something that influences a huge number of different areas of ordinary life, as part of the apparatus of the state; great to get that type of opportunity’ (Timmy Collins). There were also occasional references to its direct or indirect role in relation to the economy: ‘The higher education sector is vital to the national economy; lifelong learning and all those issues; making a contribution to the country and the future well-­being of the country’ (Thomas Hennessy). It was striking that there were no references to the development of a sense of citizenship; to the promotion of social equality or gender awareness as a source of meaning or pleasure. Such references did occasionally occur among female Australian university managers, reflecting that country’s greater tradition of commitment to equal opportunity policies and practices: O’Connor and White (2011). Gender differences occasionally emerged. Deem (1999: 71) in her study of feminist manager-­academics, found references to management as ‘a way of shaping higher education in particular directions’ (see also Lindholm, 2004). In the present study, male manager-­academics were particularly likely to make such references: ‘It allowed you to dream dreams and to enact them’ (Professor Andrew Murphy): ‘it gives you the opportunity to shape things … to shape the direction of an institution’ (Professor Denis Tobin); ‘working with the best minds our nation produces, the ability to work with them, to harness their energies, to shape and direct their thinking in a forward direction. It’s a huge opportunity and gift’ (Professor Garry Burke). Such statements can be seen as reflecting male manager academics’ sense of ownership of the institution. They also occurred among male university senior managers in Australia and Portugal – underlining the cross-­national nature of such a sense of gendered ownership (O’Connor et al., 2013). In the present study there were occasional suggestions that women (like men) enjoyed such power as these positions afforded them: ‘I had power … in the sense that 99 per cent of the time if I asked someone to do it, they did it. It was power through position’ (Professor Ann Joyce). Similar patterns emerged in Deem’s (1999) study, and there was no evidence to support Blackmore’s (1999) suggestion that women were ambivalent about positional power: ‘power, whether we like it or not, the capacity to make decisions and to effect change was a challenge, a challenge that I enjoyed’ (Professor Geraldine

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


Maguire). For her ‘power was always a useful thing to have’ and like Kloot’s (2004) respondents it was not too much but too little of it that was frustrating: ‘Things I wanted to do, I couldn’t do’. It has been suggested that women in senior positions may be unsupportive of more junior women (the ‘Queen Bee’ syndrome: Mavin, 2008). In this study, it was striking that the women manager-­academics were particularly likely to focus on the possibility of using positional power to open up opportunities for other people, reflecting a gendered orientation to power (Baker-­Miller, 1986): ‘you identify good people, relatively junior, who are buzzing with ideas, and find a niche and give them small incentives to implement those ideas’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan); ‘the opportunity and the task to try to access resources, to allow the really good people around the system to make their mark’ (Professor Sheila Furlong). This may reflect a construction of femininity in Ireland that is strongly relational (O’Connor, 1998), with nurturing being important in legitimating women’s occupancy of positions of power. It can be seen as a way of resolving the tension between leadership and gender roles (see Chapter 6). Interestingly however there were occasional references by male Australian university senior managers to the personal satisfaction they derived from helping people: implicitly suggesting that nurturance is culturally constructed (O’Connor et al., 2011). The power structures in the university are increasingly managerialist, with problematic legitimacy (see Chapters 4 and 6). This complicated the affiliative strategies between men which are part of the dynamics through which patriarchy is maintained. In the present study, whereas senior management seemed to draw most female manager-­academics into wider actual or potential nurturing networks, their male counterparts were more likely to refer to the negative impact of senior management on their social relationships at work, with their position perceived as distancing them from their colleagues, as they came to be perceived as part of the established power structure: ‘You do become a bit isolated from the rank and file … other people won’t be as forthcoming because of the position you hold’ (Professor Tommy Ryan); ‘There is the loneliness, if you like, of senior management. The change in the attitudes of friends and colleagues was significant. I was no longer Garry Burke. I was [positional title]’ (Professor Garry Burke). One of the recognized characteristics of a university is the intellectual calibre of the people who work there. Lindholm (2004: 612) noted that ‘being around different, interesting people’ was widely seen as one of the highly appealing characteristics of working in a university as a knowledge-­based institution. The intellectual calibre of the people with whom they worked was very frequently noted as an advantage, by men and women, manager-­academics and other professional managers: ‘The university is a fabulous community to work in, in terms of how much it enriches your intellectual life. There are so many


Management and gender in higher education

different, very bright, people that you get to meet and deal with’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). The other professional managers were particularly likely to value the stimulation and challenge provided by a university context: ‘It is something to do with the challenging intellectual environment … you have to have your ideas thought through pretty clearly … working with clever people is exciting’ (Gerard Donnelly); ‘In academia [you are] dealing with very bright people, people that will challenge, push you to do better, more than elsewhere’ (Thomas Hennessy). The importance of this aspect also emerged in the Portuguese and Australian studies of senior managers: reflecting a cross-­ national appreciation of the university as a knowledge based institution with an intellectually stimulating environment (O’Connor et al., 2013). Very occasionally female other professional managers in the present study referred to the instrumental aspects of these elite positions: ‘job security and pension’ (Pauline Hanratty); ‘we are reasonably well-­paid; we are in secure jobs with pensions’ (Jane Morrisson). (It will be shown that occasionally too their male counterparts saw these very same aspects as disadvantages: such differences arguably reflecting the relatively recent penetration of such echelons by women, and hence their lower levels of felt entitlement to them.) In summary, similarities between genders and types of position were more important than differences. Among the Irish as among the Australian and Portuguese university senior managers the perceived purpose of the university and the intellectual calibre of the people they worked with were important sources of meaning and pleasure. Such gender differences as existed were related to the meaning of power, with a male sense of institutional ownership occurring cross-­nationally. Senior management: sources of frustration and disappointment The university as an institution has survived by alliances with other powerful institutional structures which have funded it (see Chapter 1). In an Irish context the main source of such funding is still the state, reflecting a perception of education as a public rather than a private good (a perception that has been eroded in many other western societies: White, 2001). Pressure to change this (and to overtly charge student fees) has been mounting, with state funding to Irish universities, as in most western countries, falling over a number of years. In this context senior managers saw the difficulties of accessing sufficient resources for their own university, as one of the main disadvantages of being in senior management: ‘Attempting to manage on reduced resources…is difficult’ (Professor Marie Walsh); ‘Having lots of good ideas that I can’t implement because of lack of resources [is a disadvantage]’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Indeed, some referred to very extensive ‘underfunding by the state’ (Pauline Hanratty). Such attitudes are not peculiar to Ireland, with similar kinds of feelings also emerging among Australian and Portuguese university senior managers (O’Connor

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


et al., 2011). In the present study others referred to the contradiction implicit in a concept of the university as a business, but one in which freedom to act as a business was limited by the state. Thus any individual university’s attempt to increase its funding, by increasing the level or mix of undergraduate students numbers, could be nullified by similar increases in other universities: ‘You can increase your student numbers but that does not necessarily lead to an increase in your funding because the funding model works on a proportionate basis’ (Tony Noonan). Thus in the absence of concerted action by the universities, there was no pressure on the state to either reduce access or to increase funding per student. A second type of disadvantage was seen as arising from the structures in which universities were embedded externally, as well as those which existed internally. At the external level, frustration was expressed with what was seen as, the increasingly managerialist and frequently inconsistent, micro-­ management by the HEA and central government: ‘one is circumscribed by micro-­management through budget allocation, more under the sway of policy initiatives by the HEA and central government … not always consistent with what went before’ (Professor Michael Mc Grath). Thus, for example, time-­limited, targeted funding was made available to universities, often on a competitive basis, but the universities were then expected to maintain these activities after the funding had ended, in a context where overall state funding was decreasing and where it was clear that the state’s priorities were ultimately outside these areas. There was also frustration by both the manager-­academics and the other professional managers with the internal organizational structures and what was seen as slow decision-­making processes in the university: with ‘the way the university is managed; how meetings are conducted; how the implementation of decisions is carried out’ (Timmy Collins). These kinds of processes are typical of collegial structures, with their strong emphasis on collective decision making, and, for some, these were extremely frustrating: ‘an almost Japanese management concept, it takes a long time to reach a decision’ (Gerard Donnelly). Their implications in terms of speed of decision making or a failure to take any decisions at all were seen as disadvantages: ‘the disadvantages are the slowness of change, the numbers and tediousness of the meetings, and just the difficulty of moving things forward quickly’ (Professor Anne McCarthy); ‘it tends to be a bit bureaucratic at times. We are forever looking for consensus and end up not making decisions’ (Peter Delaney). Such concerns about internal decision-­making structures were not peculiar to Irish universities, and also occurred in the much more managerialist Australian university context (O’Connor et al., 2011). Others referred to the absence of what they understood as modern management practices: ‘ordinary management practices are very surprisingly,


Management and gender in higher education

very unsophisticated and very underdeveloped’ (John Keane). There were occasional references by some of the other professional managers to what they saw as continued lack of acceptance of managerial line management. Thus Paul Meaney wryly noted that ‘everyone in the university has an opinion and the university believes that they are entitled to that opinion and the only people who aren’t entitled to opinions that can be voiced are senior management’. The other professional managers were also particularly likely to see the political culture of the university, which they saw as inhibiting rational efficient procedures and decisions, as a disadvantage: ‘It can be personally upsetting and demotivational’ (Clare Hartigan). However their implicit depiction of their own position as objective is problematic, reflecting as it does the de-­politicization of their own, frequently economic objectives and practices. Universities as professional bureaucracies involve academics undertaking administrative activities (Becher and Trowler, 2001; Carvalho, 2011) and the tension between these and academic ones has long been recognized (Henkel, 2000). Lindholm (2004) noted that the ability to structure time was one of the key attractions of academic work. However, much of this autonomy is lost when academics assume senior management roles and they themselves become part of a ‘Panoptical surveillance system’ (Foucault, 1978: 201). That very system corrodes their control over their own time, and hence erodes their autonomy. Manager-­academics (both men and women) in the present study frequently mentioned this loss of autonomy, reflected in the absence of discretionary time: ‘Now I have lost that, 95 per cent of it anyway’ (Professor Joan Geraghty); ‘I have to function outside normal working hours more so than when I was an academic’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Some noted that the higher you went, the less freedom in this sense you had, until ‘you have no freedom at all … you are committed every minute. Your life is not your own, utterly and completely’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). In Ireland since the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in 2008 there has been an increasingly strident criticism of those working in the public sector by certain parts of the media. For a minority of those in senior management, it was disappointing to find the depiction of the public sector by the media as slow and inefficient: ‘being seen as public sector and hence very slow and part of the public sector bureaucracy’ (Pauline Hanratty); ‘the perception that it is an easy job … [Whereas] there is huge complexity not only on the financial side but also on the personnel side’ (Paul Meaney). Salary level was also occasionally mentioned by male other professional managers as a disadvantage: ‘the money … I suspect a person in a similar position to myself in an industry, in a company with two thousand plus employees … would be earning a hell of a lot more than I am’ (Paul Meaney). This suggested a sense of entitlement among a minority of male other professional managers: one which was very different to their female counterparts.

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


In summary, similarities rather than differences emerged in references to the disadvantages of being in senior management. The most common references were to the difficulties of getting funding and to the internal and external management structures, difficulties that were echoed by their counterparts in the Australian and Portuguese studies of senior management. Among the Irish manager-­academics, the impact of senior management on their autonomy was also seen as a disadvantage. Senior management: acceptable or unacceptable costs? In this section attention is focused on those aspects of being in senior management that are seen as acceptable/unacceptable costs. They include the perceived impact of being in senior management on work–life balance and on their personal well-­being, including their sense of themselves. The picture that emerges is one where again similarities are more apparent than differences. A long-­hours culture had been identified in the universities (Acker and Armenti, 2004; Grummell et al., 2007; Rafnsdottir and Heijstra, 2011). Heijstra et al. (2013a) found that in their Icelandic national study, roughly two thirds of the senior academics worked more than fifty hours a week. Similar patterns emerged in Australian universities (Coates et al., 2009); while Davies and Holloway (1995) found that the average working week of professors in the UK was even longer. The hours worked by manager-­academics may be even longer if they continue their academic activities, in addition to management ones. In any event, there was a sense in the present study that a long-­hours culture existed: ‘twelve hours a day and in at weekends’ (Professor Geraldine Maguire); ‘There is always something that needs to be done, fixed, improved, changed, corrected … [In senior management roles] you could just keep going’ (Thomas Hennessy). However most of the respondents in the present study did not see this as a disadvantage. Some had experienced a similar kind of culture in previous jobs, while others felt that at this stage in their life it was not an issue. Thus for the majority of both men and women, manager-­academics and other professionals, the long-­hours culture was not seen as a problem. In Ireland, senior management positions are most likely to be accessed by those in their fifties when the impact on child-­rearing activities is less acute than at earlier periods: ‘The balance at present, this is something I am happy with. It does not impinge too much on the other things that I would want to achieve in my life outside of work’ (Peter Delaney); ‘if I was younger, a disadvantage would be that I would not see my family growing up. I would have missed out. But … my children have grown up’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). Thus only a minority saw the impact on family life as a disadvantage. In Hewlett and Buck Luce’s (2006) study, twice as many men as women saw their jobs interfering with their ability to have strong relationships with their children. Similarly, in the present study, it was the men who referred to the negative effect of being


Management and gender in higher education

in senior management on their work–life balance: ‘if you are talking about work–life balance it has been almost entirely negative’ (Professor Garry Burke). Occasionally women also referred to this impact, but located it in the context of a wider range of work related pressures, or else saw it as an acceptable cost: ‘those kinds of pressures are part of the deal you sign up to’ (Jane Morrison); ‘increasing pressure on academics to do everything, publish, administer, Ph.D.s … to do certificates in qualifications for teaching and learning, and then on top of that juggling home responsibility’ (Professor Eileen Greene). Thus whereas a minority of the men saw the impact on their family as negative (one that the organization had no responsibility to facilitate), most women simply saw it as one other area to be juggled. In Rafnsdottir and Heijstra’s (2011) Icelandic study, and in the Australian study of university senior management (Bagilhole and White, 2011) academic women were most likely to refer to the impact of paid work on their leisure time. In the present study a social life outside work and family was also seen as important by women manager-­academics, and they regretted that they had difficulty sustaining it: ‘I had no social life at all … fifteen years later I knew no one except my work colleagues’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan). This is an aspect of work–life balance that is typically ignored in policy contexts where the main focus is on meeting the caring and dependency needs of nuclear families (O’Connor, 2002), reflecting masculinist views of priorities and pressures. Paradoxically, organizations are presented as flexible but such flexibility is often more advantageous from the employer’s perspective than that of the employee. It has been recognized that flexibility as regards the location and hours of work not only impacts on employees’ health (in the sense of reducing stress, cholesterol, obesity and risk of heart disease), but also substantially increases the number of hours employees are willing to work (Deloitte, 2011). Kvande (2011: 17) refers to the duality of knowledge work which can be ‘both seductive and greedy at the same time’. Almost two thirds of those in Hewlett and Buck Luce’s study (2006) said that the pressure was self-­inflicted and that they did not feel victimized or exploited. Deem (1999: 77) suggested that one response to pressures ‘to conform to male norms was to seek subjectivities that were not based just on academic management’. Doherty and Manfredi (2010) also noted that in their study, whereas male manager-­academics focused on either research or management, women were trying to do both. In the present study both men and women prioritized management, albeit sometimes regretfully. Thus, there were references by both men and women to their perceived inability to enact what they saw as key functions of the university because of their managerial responsibilities: ‘you sacrifice your own academic career’ (Professor Anthony O’Donoghue); ‘management does steal time from your own research’ (Professor Eileen Greene); ‘Teaching is bought out, not the same level of engagement with students, not the same level of time for research

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


or involvement with my discipline in the school here or internationally’ (Professor Marie Walsh). This is a major source of tension among academic senior managers in Australia (Bagilhole and White, 2011; O’Connor and White, 2011). In the present study it was simply seen as an inevitable part of senior management, and although for some this was a source of regret, it was not a major source of stress: ‘this job and this university must take precedence over my research activities’ (Professor Joan Geraghty). In Pritchard and Willmott’s (1997: 306) study one of the most pervasive issues was whether or not senior post holders had ‘come to know themselves through an imperialising discourse of management’. Blackmore and Sachs (2007: 145) noted that moving into a leadership position often involved a significant redefinition of self. Lynch et al. (2012: 120) found that in their study those who were in senior management positions in third level in Ireland experienced less internal tension in these roles, than their counterparts at first and second levels. They suggested that this was because they had prepared themselves, before applying for these positions, by ‘an internalisation of managerialism’. The present study suggested that the female manager-­academics also avoided such pressures by seeing a managerial identity as a temporary phenomenon, while the female other professional managers felt comfortable with a managerial identity, because it was part of their career trajectory (see Chapter 4). Thus although the majority of the women were aware of the lack of congruity between the stereotypical expectations of them in these positions and their gender, only a minority of them experienced a threat to their sense of personal authenticity: ‘if I wanted to go further I would have to change. I did not feel like I should change me to get to the top’ (Pauline Hanratty). The majority continued to endorse and value a feminine style, regardless of its perceived inappropriateness, in the context of male stereotypical definitions of management (Chapter 6). At one level they can be seen as accepting gender stereotypes, but at another level they are resisting the assumptions that such positions require a stereotypical male style. Interesting, there was evidence of occasional regret among the men that such pressures might be perceived to exist by women: ‘to me they should just be themselves. They have that role based on merit’ (Thomas Hennessy). Thus, only a minority of Irish respondents reported personal costs: ‘There is a thing called stress – I did not know it as an academic’ (Professor Sean Murphy). Others had adopted what they saw as effective strategies to limit the personal cost, including ‘being disciplined’ about it intruding on their home life; keeping time for ‘things that were very important for me personally’ (Professor Kieran Naughton); and scheduling family time at weekends: ‘I am less available to my family during the week, I travel a lot more, but I am more available at weekends’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). Drawing on data


Management and gender in higher education

from senior management studies in Portugal, Australia and Ireland, country appeared to be more important than gender in affecting the experience of stress in such positions (O’Connor et al., 2011). Since stress was highest and occurred most frequently among the Australian respondents, and since managerialism is most embedded in that university system, as Irish universities become more managerialist, stress levels may increase. In summary, for the most part the costs involved in being in these positions were seen as acceptable: with similarities being more apparent than differences.

Interactional context: perceptions by colleagues and their response to this In a context where individuals have multiple identities, the question arises as to which of these are activated in a particular context. Thus, in a bureaucratic context, where ascriptive characteristics such as gender are theoretically irrelevant, whether gender is visible/invisible provides an indication of its (differential) significance and positive/negative valence in the interactional context of senior management. Awareness of others’ perception of ourselves is an important part of early socialization and subsequent social interaction. However others’ perceptions can be complicated by stereotypes: ‘People act with an awareness that they will be judged according to what is deemed appropriate feminine or masculine behaviour’ (Deutsch, 2007: 106). Mihelich and Storrs (2003: 404) concluded that: ‘As individuals “do” and “accomplish” gender … they are assisted, directed and constrained by the ideology and practice of gendered institutions … that define forms of behaviour as gender appropriate or inappropriate’. Gendered stereotypes, as ‘idealised images’, ‘exert subtle but very real pressure on women and men to “do gender” by defining themselves in relation to these stereotypes’ (Fletcher, 2011: 399). In this context, women in senior positions can find themselves in an impossible situation: as they ascend the hierarchy, the weight of expectation on them from other women increases; yet simultaneously the hierarchy, having promoted them, expects conformity and loyalty: ‘To disrupt or challenge the system that has validated you seems like an act of bad faith and ingratitude’ (Morley, 1999: 79). Women choosing to enter male dominated areas of employment are implicitly resisting a stereotypical occupational path. In that context they ‘may perform femininity or resist such a performance’ (Mackenzie Davey, 2008: 655) but in any case have to deal with this challenge. In such a context women’s positioning is always relative to men, i.e. as ‘supportive/submissive’ or posing ‘resistance and … disruptive of hegemonic masculinities’ (Bird, 2003: 367). Kanter (1993: 236) in her classic work suggested that such pressures were particularly acute in a context where women were in severely under-­represented (i.e. 15 per cent or less), and that in these contexts women were effectively

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


confined within inappropriate or trivializing roles such as mother, seductress or pet, or if they ‘insisted on full rights in the group … displayed competence in a forthright manner’ they were depicted as ‘iron maidens’ and were seen as dangerous. These roles were identified in her classic work in the 1970s and some of them would be seen as very problematic today, although it will be suggested that the latter continues to have contemporary resonances. In looking at the perceptions of their colleagues, the focus is on the ­visibility/invisibility of gender and on the use of a collegial/managerialist frame. Visibility: gendered perceptions of women The existence of a status hierarchy among the men has been seen as characteristic of patriarchy (Hartmann, 1981). Women, despite their senior position, have no place in it because of their gender. Wacjman (1998: 2) noted that ‘management incorporates a male standard that positions women as out of place’. Implicit in this is a stereotype of women’s place in organizations, and that place is not one related to power. In Marshall’s (1995) study some women felt they were being judged against gender stereotypes and found wanting, with a number of women in that study feeling that it was impossible for them to transcend gender stereotypes or to be themselves. Similarly, many of the female manager-­academics in the present study thought that they were seen in problematic terms by their male counterparts because of their gender: thus Professor Geraldine Maguire reflected that she was seen by her male colleagues as ‘too questioning; too challenging, asking uncomfortable questions’ describing her male colleagues as ‘quite frightened of me, scared of me in some senses’. Others referred to male colleagues’ perception of them as ‘Somebody who is opinionated, talkative, radical … slightly scary’ (Professor Anne McCarthy); ‘to my surprise, I was seen as quite formidable’ (Professor Cathy O’Riordan); ‘awkward … that irritating person down the hall’ (Professor Eileen Greene); ‘as one seriously intimidating individual who knows how to get her own way’ (Katherine Mc Elligott). These comments indicate their perception by male colleagues as disruptive, confrontational, dissenting, and that, as such, these women frightened them. They have resonances with Kanter’s (1993) description of the iron maiden archetype into which women in predominantly male organizations in the 1970s were thrust if they were not willing to seek acceptability as mother, seductress or pet. Other studies have shown that when women do seek and gain leadership roles, and push aside the stereotypical gendered nurturing role, they are often perceived as being ‘bossy’ and ‘domineering’ reflecting an underlying cultural tension between gender and leadership roles. Professor Joan Geraghty made explicit the perceived source of such perceptions, describing her relationship with her male colleagues arising from her position as their boss, as ‘a potentially difficult relationship … there are some people who are very uncomfortable with having a woman in a senior role’. The


Management and gender in higher education

word ‘frightening’ was also used by Husu’s Finnish respondents (2001b: 144; see also Ozga and Walker, 1999; Deem, 1999; Marshall, 1995). It is evocative of both women’s perceived power and yet their unacceptability as equal players in what purport to be degendered organizations. In the present study most of women (both academic managers and other professionals) could be seen as ‘tempered radicals’ (Meyerson and Scully, 2011), in the sense that they were committed to the organization, but highly critical of some aspects of its culture. The positioning of such ‘tempered radicals’ has been seen as ambivalent, emotionally exhausting and involving considerable organizational pressure as regards co-­option. However they have also been seen as representing ‘a unique source of vitality, learning and transformation’, attributes that are particularly important in an increasingly globalized, multicultural world (Meyerson and Scully, 2011: 200). There was evidence that although some of these women had paid a price for their attitudes (in terms of not being reappointed or not moving further up the hierarchy), they valued the opportunities these positions offered to make changes in the organization, and enjoyed the authenticity and the challenges that stemmed from the complexity of their position. It is of course possible that many of these senior men may have misperceived their women colleagues’ degree of organizational acceptance. This in itself can be seen as reflecting the invisibility of privileging to the privileged, and hence a lack of reflection on the processes of exclusion which support it (Connell, 2005; Yancey Martin, 2001). Thus, although a small number of women were included in university senior management, as the women perceived it, there was a certain discomfort with having them there (Chapter 5). Their presence reflected presidential support, in an increasingly managerialist system, that relied on presidential nomination (see Chapter 4). But their inclusion was on certain terms, and there were limits to their acceptance because of their gender: ‘One thing you can never be in this job is one of the boys … [there is] a certain place that other male colleagues can go with regard to one another that you won’t go’ (Professor Joan Geraghty). Billing (2011: 306) describes this kind of positioning as characterized by ‘adjustment and resistance’, where those who occupy these positions are aware of the stereotypical expectations of them and do not see them as entirely congruent with their gender. Thomas and Davies (2005: 725) also suggested that: ‘[i]t is these instances of pitching “self as other” against the dominant position offered within discourses that can be understood as moments of micro-­political resistance’. Thus, in a sense, their presence and the recognition of their own otherness is in itself an act of resistance. Those in senior management in Lynch et al.’s study (2012: 143–4), also referred to not being accepted as ‘one of the gang’; being ‘positioned as “other”’: the ‘outsider who … asks embarrassing questions’ (Gherardi, 1996: 194 and

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


196) with some of the women seeing their male colleagues as having a rather paternalistic view of them. Indeed Krefting (2003: 269) suggested that as a group women were likely to evoke ‘patronising benevolent sexism’. Thus, for example, Professor Sheila Furlong described her male colleagues’ view of her as ‘quite efficient, a little misguided. At times I’m told I give people too much air time’ (i.e. she manages a couple of people by talking to them). Similarly, although Pauline Hanratty was very clear that: ‘I am totally equal to them. I would not see any differentiation’, as she saw it, this was not the way that some of her male colleagues perceived her. Only very occasionally did women see their male colleagues as perceiving them positively: ‘in a positive light as a very able skilled … person. I think I am seen as politically astute, being able to manage the political situation … generally seen as supportive but also as challenging’ (Clare Hartigan). The reference to political skills as well as other work related skills is interesting, and echoes an underlying perception of universities as highly political arenas – a perspective that many women see as problematic (Chapter 5). However even in this case there is a reference to somewhat more problematic elements reflected in the word ‘challenging’. The depiction of women’s relationships with each other as uniformly negative can be seen as a key mechanism of patriarchal control (O’Connor, 2002). Many of the women in Morley’s study (1999: 76) resisted ‘forming coalitions on the basis of second sex identity’, because they did not want to become locked into an essentialist caring concept of womanhood, and/or because they wanted to identify with the ‘winners’ (i.e. men). Mavin and Bryans (2002) illustrated the ways in which women dominated support systems provided encouragement, instrumental help and facilitated other women’s career development. Ibarra (1997) also found that high potential women were most likely to include women in their networks, and to identify a higher proportion of women as sources of career related information and strategies. On the other hand, Ely (1994) found that in organizations with few senior women, women were less likely to perceive senior women as role models and less likely to get support from other women. Thus, it appears that the tone and quality of women’s relationships with each other are affected not only by individual characteristics, such as potential, but also by the gender profile of the organization, and the wider cultural context. It was striking that, overwhelmingly, the female senior managers in the present study saw other women’s perception of them as positive: ‘as ambitious, capable, fairly competent to get our point across at the big table if I have to; also seen as supportive of female colleagues’ careers, and supportive of challenging a lot of the structures that have existed for years, and that women might not necessarily agree with’ (Professor Eileen Greene); ‘as a leader, somebody who has managed to get into a senior position and has done it while raising a family, and doing other things, and hence fairly useful as a role model’ (Professor


Management and gender in higher education

Joan Geraghty). For the most part, these women were also very comfortable in all-­women groups, and were strongly identified with other women. This may, paradoxically, reflect the segregated nature and essentialist construction of femininity still persisting in Irish society: one in which the negative evaluation of women by public patriarchy is not quite accepted, and alternative evaluations are created and maintained by women in female dominated contexts (O’Connor, 2001). Alternatively it may be that these women are highly likely to be those who grew to adulthood during the 1960s and 1970s at a time when the second women’s movement was at its height (Connolly, 2003; O’Connor, 1998). In any case, the majority of them stressed the understanding they felt in all women groups where: ‘people automatically and intrinsically understand your female issues. In a predominantly male one, it depends on the man’ (Jane Morrisson). Only a tiny minority saw no difference between their male/female colleagues’ perception of them or saw all women groups as of lower status: ‘why no men? Is this a low status committee?’ (Professor Tina McClelland). In summary, the majority of women saw their gender as visible to both male and female colleagues. For their male colleagues, women’s gender marked them out as problematic, disruptive, frightening, while their women colleagues were seen as having a very positive perception of them. Invisibility: non-­gendered perceptions of men It has been suggested that: ‘It is only those who can take for granted their place in the world, those who are already privileged, who can leave themselves and their identity out of the picture’ (Yates, 2009: 18). The men in this study had far more difficulty than the women in thinking about how they were perceived by their colleagues: ‘I have not given that a lot of thought’ (Tony Noonan); ‘It’s always difficult. I like to deal in the third person in terms of the role’ (Professor Garry Burke); ‘no idea’ (John Keane); ‘It’s hard to know … I have never asked them’ (Professor Tommy Ryan). On reflection, however, they were able to identify such perceptions. For most of them, their gender was invisible to their colleagues; and they saw no difference in the perceptions of male and female colleagues. On the other hand, a collegial/managerialist interpretative frame was widely identified as underpinning how they were seen by colleagues. The tone of these evaluations was typically very positive. The most common references were to collegiality, and within that to approachability: ‘available … I never leave a phone call unreturned’ (Gerard Donnelly); ‘as open, approachable in touch with what is going on’ (Professor Kieran Naughton). The prominence of such a collegial discourse was initially surprising, given the increasingly managerialist nature of senior management. However it also reflects the underlying legitimacy of a collegial discourse (see Chapters 4 and 6). There were however, some who thought in managerialist terms, and they typically saw colleagues

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


as perceiving them in terms of their effectiveness: ‘if I say that I’m going to do something then I will get it done’ (Thomas Hennessy); ‘as successful, as effective and efficient: someone who does the job and does not make a lot of noise about it’ (Professor Tommy Ryan). There were occasional rejections of others’ perceptions, reflecting resistance to what were depicted as simplistic criticisms. Thus Professor Brendan Connolly says that only people who do not know him see him ‘as a driven individual who is intent on turning the university into a corporation’, rejecting what he saw as this simplistic managerialist perception of him. Similarly Professor Niall Phelan sees his colleagues as critical of his assumption of managerial responsibilities, while still positively evaluating his performance: ‘some think that I sold out on research … somebody has to manage the place. I believe I am seen as being very effective: I make things happen’. Similarly Professor Rory Hogan sees his colleagues’ perception of him as ‘somebody who makes decisions. People will say they don’t always like them but they like the fact that I make decisions’. Thus although these men saw their colleagues as critical of aspects of their endorsement of managerialism, they still saw their evaluation as positive. Other professional managers were particularly likely to think that others saw them in terms of their own professional area or in terms of attributes associated with it. Thus, for example, those who were in the financial area saw themselves being perceived in terms of characteristics stereotypically associated with that area. However they were also most likely to see themselves as even handed: ‘very fair in terms of the way that I deal with things’ (Gerard Donnelly); ‘fair and balanced’ (Thomas Hennessy), reflecting their greater awareness of the political nature of the organizational culture, and their concern to distance themselves from it. However, their apparently apolitical stance obscured the wider managerialist agenda, which had effectively increased their own power. In a small number of cases the men referred to what could be regarded as masculine qualities (whether present or desired) drawing on an implicitly tough, aggressive stereotype of masculinity (see Chapter 6): ‘I think they probably see me as quite tough when it comes to taking difficult decisions, particularly in relation to people’ (Professor Denis Tobin); ‘Maybe at times, they would like me to represent what they see as clearly academic interests more forcefully than I am able to do’ (Professor Michael McGrath). However this focus on gendered characteristics was very much a minority phenomenon. Overwhelmingly the men (both the manager-­academics and the other professional managers) thought that there was little or no difference in the way they were seen by men and women: ‘I suspect not that much differently’ (Professor Larry Mc Donald); ‘I cannot imagine them seeing me any differently’ (Tony Noonan). However, a minority of men thought that women saw


Management and gender in higher education

them more positively than their male counterparts: ‘in this environment I am probably seen as a whinger rather than someone who gets things done. [My female colleagues] see me as someone who is trying to get things done, as someone who listens’ (Timmy Collins). The language that is used (‘whinger’) is stereotypically associated with women, and in this case it seems to reflect a discomfort with the wider gendered organizational culture, one which is not seen as valuing stereotypically female qualities such as listening. Similarly, as Professor Gerard Anderson saw it, colleagues’ perceptions of him either reflected an acceptance or a challenging of his position of power: ‘people react to me in one of two ways, a kind of followership thing they row in behind, or a competitive combative one. [In the case of female colleagues] the combative piece is not so obviously there’. Thus for this male minority, their female colleagues’ assessment of them was seen as more complete, less challenging or more positive than that of their male counterparts. Such respondents were also those who indicated some degree of discomfort with all male groups: seeing them as having ‘a slightly laddish feel’ (Professor Gerard Anderson). It seems possible to suggest that some of these men may be potential allies in changing the organizational culture, since, to varying degrees, and for various reasons, they are not entirely comfortable in an all-­male group, nor with their male colleagues perceptions of them. Ireland’s ranking on the overall Gender Equality Index (EIGE, 2013) is very similar to the overall EU27. The lowest Irish scores are in the area of economic power which is below the EU27 average (23 versus 29, respectively), and very much worse than, for example, Sweden, where the score in this area is over 60. In summary, among these male senior managers, collegiality/­managerialism was typically used as an interpretative frame, with the former being more likely to stress approachability and the latter, outcomes. A minority of men saw their female colleagues’ perceptions in more positive terms than their male colleagues, reflecting a wider discomfort with the gendered organizational culture.

Summary In this chapter two aspects of the experience of being in senior management were explored. First, these senior managers’ perception of the advantages and disadvantages of being in senior management were examined, and in this area, although some variation existed, similarities between men/women and manager-­academics/other professionals were more important than differences. Second, their colleagues’ perception of them and their own assent to/dissent from such perceptions were examined, and in this case, gender differences were striking. The levels of meaning or pleasure, that these respondents identified as

An attractive job, but no place for a woman?


advantages of being in university senior management, was striking, partly stemming from the perceived purpose of the university, and partly from the calibre of people working there. In so far as gender differences existed, they were reflected in Irish male manager-­academics’ stress on shaping the institution, while their female counterparts were more likely to focus on the possibility of nurturing junior people. There was general consensus that the difficulties created by limited resources for the university and the external and internal decision-­making structures were disadvantages. Academics were most likely to refer to the change from a relatively unstructured experience to one where their time was literally not their own as a disadvantage. They also regretted but accepted that their own research and teaching activities had to be ‘put on the back burner’. Thus the impact of senior management on academic activity and work–life balance was generally seen as an acceptable cost. Several of these trends (including those related to meaning; a stimulating environment; a gendered (male) focus on shaping the institution and a concern with funding also emerged in Australian and Portuguese studies: implicitly suggesting that such patterns were unrelated to collegiality/managerialism as internal structures). In terms of context (and reinforcing the trends emerging in Chapters 5 and 6), the reality of the organizational culture at the interactional level was underlined. Thus, women saw their gender as visible to their male colleagues and for the most part not in a positive way. On the other hand, the majority of women saw themselves as viewed positively by their women colleagues. Men had greater difficulty in thinking about how they were perceived, and overwhelmingly saw their gender as invisible. They located their colleagues’ perceptions of them in a collegial/managerial framework. A minority of men thought that they were seen more positively by their female than their male colleagues. Such men can be seen as potential allies in challenging hegemonic male discourses and highlight the inadequacy of a binary construction of gender. The chapter highlights the importance of exploring work-­related subjectivities at different levels, since this provides a more multifaceted and contextual understanding of the experience of being in senior management. Overall however for most of these senior managers the advantages of being in these elite positions exceeded the disadvantages. Retaining them as male preserves, and effectively limiting women’s inclusion in these contexts by creating or maintaining interactional contexts which privilege gender in a negative way sits uneasily with a bureaucratic ethos which stresses the irrelevance of such characteristics.

8 Summary and conclusions

Introduction This book is concerned with the changing context of higher education in Ireland and its implications as regards the gendered world of university senior management. Senior management in Irish universities typically includes manager-­academics and other professional managers, at presidential, vice-­ presidential, executive director and dean levels. In terms of their power within their organizations, and their level of remuneration, these are an elite group. Their decisions and priorities have implications for the organizations they lead, and particularly for their staff and students. They are much less powerful in relation to the state and the market, both of which impinge on the organizations they lead in increasingly complex ways. More specifically, it is concerned with understanding the structures and cultural processes and practices through which universities, as higher educational organizations, are reproduced in gendered terms, in a societal context increasingly dominated by neo-­liberalism, and organizational contexts increasingly dominated by managerialism. At a structural level, it is concerned with the centralization of power, the ways of accessing such power and its legitimacy. At a cultural level, it is concerned with organizational cultures, including narratives explaining women’s absence from senior management, management stereotypes, interactional perceptions and practices as well as with the underlying gendered constructions of self which define ‘the problem’ as women themselves. In addition, since these are elite positions, there is also a focus on the occupants’ own evaluation of these positions. Finally, since higher education is located in a wider societal context, it is seen as providing key insights into power in Irish society as well as into the wider societal gender order, which it reflects and reinforces. The focus on Ireland, albeit within a wider context, can at one level be seen as self-­indulgent. However, implicit in this focus is the idea that higher education needs to be contextually located in a societal and policy context.

Summary and conclusions


Ireland is an interesting example of a historically patriarchal society which has undergone very rapid economic and social change: one in which the visibility of power has increased and its legitimacy has been undermined through a series of scandals in the institutional roman catholic church; in the political system; in the banking system and the recent collapse of the economy (see the Appendix). In this highly volatile context fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of institutions such as higher education and the legitimacy of their power structures are more likely to emerge. To date, such concerns have been muted. Yet women now constitute more than half of the professionals and one third of those in management and administrative positions in Ireland. They constitute more than half of the students in the universities, but less than one fifth of those in university senior management positions. In this context the question of the structural and cultural processes and practices which are involved in the selection and reproduction of those in elite positions within such structures is pertinent.

Higher education in Ireland: change and continuity Higher education in Ireland, as elsewhere, is undergoing considerable change (Altbach, 2000; Deem, 2001; Enders, 2001; Henkel, 2000; Musselin, 2008). Universities in very different countries are experiencing similar kinds of processes, reflecting the dominance of neo-­liberalism and the depiction of higher education as a private rather than a public good. Universities are being increasingly affected by corporatization, commodification and marketization, so that their unique contribution as public institutions is being undermined, in a context dominated by instrumental concerns, and the valorization of disciplines that have short-­term value in the market. Thus, if universities are seen as being part of a triangle involving the state, the market and the professoriate (Clark, 1983), it is clear that the Irish university system is increasingly dominated by the state and the market. Internally, in Irish universities, as in other countries, collegial structures are being replaced by managerial ones, with implications for the ways in which power is accessed and (potentially) the changes in the gender of those accessing it, and in the structures which facilitate, and the culture and practices which legitimate that access. Somewhat paradoxically, since higher education has never been valued in Ireland as an aspect of citizenship, access is effectively universal (Trow, 2010), although it is not equally available to those in different class positions. Increased access has been facilitated by the development of a binary higher educational system; by the general absence of numerical limits on those participating in higher education; by the admission of girls and the ending of undergraduate student fees (although the increasing level


Management and gender in higher education

of the student contribution is such that it now effectively constitutes a fee). The extent and recentness of increased access can be illustrated by the fact that in Ireland, in 1960, 5 per cent of 18-­year-­olds went on to higher education, rising to 20 per cent in 1980 and to 65 per cent by 2010 (DES, 2011: 31). The majority of such student enrolments are at universities, but most of those who enter higher education graduate with at least a university degree, paradoxically reducing the personal return they can expect on that degree in Irish society. Thus, even prior to the economic recession, going on to higher education had, for the majority of young Irish people, assumed the status of a rite of passage, an essential step in the movement to adulthood, arguably valued as much for the social and personal development it facilitated, as for its intellectual stimulation. Furthermore, although the HEA target for 2020 is for 72 per cent of the cohort to be in higher education, it is difficult to imagine an economy where that proportion of the jobs will necessitate a university degree. This implicitly raises fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of a university education. Broadly similar increases in access to higher education now exist across the EU, so that the implications of this pattern are considerably broader than the Irish context. Furthermore, although there is evidence that higher education has contributed to economic growth in the past (OECD, 2012c) the extent to which it will continue to do this is contested, other than through its impact on women’s participation in paid employment. This is arguably not unrelated to the emergence of the OECD’s (2012c) strong concern with the structures and culture that perpetuate gender inequality. The European Commission also sees educated women as a resource that the EU can ill afford to ignore, with a steady stream of EU reports underlining this concern. Furthermore, in the context of universities as publicly funded institutions, UNESCO (1998: 4d) recommended that: ‘Efforts should be made to eliminate political and social barriers whereby women are under-­represented and in particular, to enhance their active involvement at policy and decision making levels within higher education’. Universities see themselves as meritocratic institutions. In Ireland, access to higher education varies between different social class groups, and this has been explained in terms of meritocratic individualism. Gender differentiated patterns (in which girls outperform boys academically) in state examinations, and in access to, and graduation from, universities, are less often explained in this way. Thus, if an explanation similar to that in the case of class is used (i.e. one involving individual merit), then girls are brighter, more hard working and hence academically more meritorious than boys, and so more entitled to positions in society that reflect that. Such a conclusion sits very uneasily with the gendered structure and culture of the universities and the state, in a context where Ireland’s rank on gender related indices has continuously been below

Summary and conclusions


its rank on those on human development. Indeed, both the Celtic Tiger and the economic recession have been used to justify state disinterest in gender inequalities. With a small number of notable exceptions (such as Lynch et al., 2012) little attention has been paid to universities as ‘social institutions where gender is “done”’ (Benschop and Brouns, 2003: 195), although there is increasing international evidence that definitions of excellence and constructions of merit are gendered. In that context it would seem highly improbable that patterns that have been documented in Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States would not exist here. Similarly, little attention has been paid to the fact that just under one fifth of those in senior management positions in Irish public universities are women. This gender profile differs strikingly from that of their students (more than half of whom are women). It reflects and reinforces the equation of power with masculinity. This is a pattern that is changing in the wider Irish society, where half of the professionals and one third of the managers overall are now women. Given women’s high educational levels and the proportion of them in the professions, it is difficult to understand why they are so under-­ represented in senior management in the universities. Furthermore, variation between Irish universities in the proportion of women in senior management (and indeed also in the professoriate) suggests that individualistic essentialist explanations and/or those revolving around child bearing and rearing are not sufficient. In summary, higher education in Ireland, as in other western societies, is becoming increasingly managerialist. The student profile is becoming feminized, although senior management positions remain overwhelmingly male.

Policy related to higher education and key stakeholders In order to look more closely at the relative power of the stakeholders in the Irish educational system, recent policy documents related to higher education have been analysed, focusing on three main themes: instrumentality; the prioritization of (limited areas) of science and technology; and rhetorical degendering. In the context of instrumentality, quality assurance structures and processes, mainly in the teaching area, have been effectively institutionalized. This has been supported by the department of education and skills and the HEA, by senior management in the universities, by a national and international network of bureaucrats and professionals and by the EU. Although logically a concern with quality assurance could have included a concern with equality, this has not even been on the agenda. There has also been little interest in the development of quality assurance processes for non-­commercial forms of social engagement, reflecting a perception of industry as the key stakeholder. Quality assurance


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in the research area has been much less systematic, a­ rguably reflecting the ambivalence of the state, the EU and the universities about defining quality in this area, because of the unacknowledged tension between applied research, which is useful to industry, and peer reviewed research, which enhances the status of the university and the state. However the van Vught (2012) report resolved this dilemma by recommending organizational differentiation, with applied research to be undertaken in non-­elite institutions; and research that is valued in international ranking systems, to be undertaken in elite ones. There is no evidence that this organizational differentiation in university missions has been accepted by university senior managements. The state’s prioritization of research in (limited areas) of science and technology, although legitimated by the minister for education and science (now skills), has in fact been driven by state funded structures such as Science Foundation Ireland and Forfas, whose mandate is to be advocates of science and technology. All the main stakeholders have endorsed rhetorical statements about the contribution of research expenditure in these areas to economic growth, an assertion that is only now beginning to be challenged, implicitly or explicitly (McCarthy, 2009; DJEI, 2011). Furthermore, although the OECD report (2004) and DES (2011) have, to varying degrees, had reservations about the impact of research in these areas on economic growth, they nevertheless recommended continuing state expenditure in them. Senior management in Irish universities, particularly at presidential and vice-­presidential research level has effectively colluded with this agenda: the majority of them coming from backgrounds that legitimate it. In the area of gender what emerges is a striking lack of interest by the state in this area from the late 1990s until 2012. At national level, under pressure from the EU, reasonably positive attitudes to the promotion of gender equality existed in the 1990s, although implementation mechanisms were weak. This was replaced by increasing levels of disinterest up to 2012. In DES (2011) a concern with gender disappears altogether. Thus, despite rhetorical references by the state to gender mainstreaming; despite the HEA’s (2004) recommendation that the universities identify ‘explicit and challenging targets and timetables’; despite the state’s interest in economic growth, and the recognized contribution of equality to it (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010; OECD, 2012c); and despite the recognition of women’s superior educational achievements, gender has been largely ignored, other than in terms of encouraging the participation of students in (limited areas) of science and technology. The absorption of the department of equality and law reform into the department of justice in 1997; the closure by the HEA of the access and equality unit in 2002; the HEA’s failure to create any structure to replace it, are critical moments in this trajectory. The decisions, by the HEA, to resume collecting data on the gender profile of academic staff, and to include gender in its

Summary and conclusions


strategic discussions with the universities, offer possibilities (Meehan, 2012). This, combined with increasing interest at EU (2009a, 2011, 2012a, 2012c, 2012d) and OECD (2012c) levels in the economic consequences of the under-­ utilization of educated women; combined with a groundswell of concern at the disjunction between the gender profile of those at senior levels in the universities, and that of the student body, may mark the beginning of a new era. Internationally, however, there is evidence that managerialism is wedded to a masculinist agenda, so that it is not clear to what extent it can create the kind of structural and cultural transformation which is necessary to fundamentally transform the gendering of higher education in general, and the universities in particular. These different policy areas illustrate the relative strength of stakeholders in Irish higher education. The EU and the HEA have effectively driven an instrumentality agenda, with the support of university senior management, other than in the governance area. The prioritization of research in (limited areas) of science and technology illustrates the importance of advocacy structures, outside the universities, created and funded by the state, again with the support of senior management. In the case of gender, there has been an increasing lack of concern by the state, and particularly by the HEA and university management from the late 1990s to 2012, although this may be changing.

Senior management in the universities The objectives of this part of the study were first to map the gender profile of those in university senior management in quantitative terms; and, second, to provide an in-­depth qualitative analysis of senior managers’ access to these positions, their experience of doing senior management and the broader management culture. These objectives were shared with the wider cross-­national study (Bagilhole and White, 2011), with data from that study providing a useful challenge to ‘Irish exceptionalism’. A critical realist methodology was used in the study, with gender and ­collegiality/managerialism being used as alternative interpretative frameworks. The approach to gender was multilevel. Thus, in structural terms, the focus was on gender differences in access to power; while at a cultural level, it was on organizational narratives, interactional perceptions and stereotypes: these being reflected and reinforced by gendered selves. In the context of a collegial/ managerialist model, the main focus was on the centralization of power; on ways of accessing such power; and the bases for its legitimacy. The qualitative data drew on a purposive sample of forty of those in senior management in Irish public universities, with a response rate of 85 per cent. For reasons of confidentiality, pseudonyms are used and the sample is not disaggregated by level. In the qualitative study, the method of analysis was


Management and gender in higher education

thematic, with themes being influenced both by national and cross-­national data, as well as by the literature. Attention is focused first, then, on those areas where gender was the most useful interpretative framework; second, on those areas where a collegial/managerial framework was most useful; and, third, on the sites and agents of change. Gendered structures, cultures, perceptions and practices Women in senior management, like their male counterparts, are overwhelmingly there because of (male) presidential support. In that context, the fact that just under one fifth of those in these positions are women raises questions about the differential availability of such support to men and women. Presidential support in their current job was most likely to be referred to by the women, suggesting a lesser sense of entitlement to and/or a greater dependence on him for such support. A gendered organizational culture has been used to refer to a complicated fabric of management myths, values and practices that legitimize women’s positions at the lower levels of the hierarchy and portray managerial jobs as primarily masculine. Thus, ‘in simply going along with institutionalised features of the gender order, men perpetuate masculinism, a bias in favour of men’ (Yancey Martin, 2003: 360). This helps us to understand men’s hostile bewilderment when they are challenged on their practices: practices that in their eyes are socially appropriate, indeed ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’. Changing women’s position in universities requires changes to this gendered culture. However, at an even more basic level, it requires a perception of such cultures as gendered. Building on Acker’s (2006) model, this study was particularly concerned with the visibility and legitimacy of gender inequalities. In the qualitative study, a gendered organizational culture, including narratives, stereotypes and perceptions were apparent at senior management level, and sit uneasily with a bureaucratic ethos which stresses the irrelevance of gender. In terms of narratives, women were most likely to see the barriers that existed as reflecting wider systematic gendered patterns, while the men were most likely to deny this. There was widespread support for the depiction of women as ‘the problem’ reflecting and reinforcing gendered selves (Wharton, 2012). Thus, much was made, particularly, but not exclusively by men, of women’s lack of career planning, low self-­esteem, lack of career ambition, poor political skills, poor ability to market themselves and lifestyle choices. Such explanations obviate the need for organizational or societal change. They also sit uneasily with variation in gender profiles in senior management across the higher educational sector, nationally and internationally. Strong gender beliefs (Ridgeway and Correll, 2004) or stereotypes underpinned these narratives. Thus the majority of the respondents referred to stereotypically gendered management styles: with the male management style

Summary and conclusions


being depicted as ‘aggressive’ and the female one as ‘more people centred’ and relational, and less concerned with status and image. There was a certain hostile edginess about certain aspects of women’s management styles, such as, for example, being emotional and paying attention to detail. The respondents had little experience of female bosses, but there were suggestions that some of the men saw these as in some way problematic. Very different patterns emerged in the study of university managers in Sweden, where the majority had difficulty identifying gender stereotypes in a context where more than half of those at the equivalent of presidential level are women; where a feminist orientation characterizes all the main political parties and where the presence of women in senior management is seen as having very positive effects by both men and women (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). In the present study, gendered interactional perceptions were again most likely to be referred to by the women, who saw their gender as visible to their male colleagues, and for the most part not in a positive way. Their references to their male colleagues’ perception of them as ‘challenging’ ‘disruptive’ and ‘frightening’ had uncanny echoes of Kanter’s (1993) references to iron maidens in her classic 1970s study in the United States. Thus, for the women in the present study, the gendered context of senior management is one that they are both aware of and uncomfortable with: their position being that of ‘tempered radicals’ (Meyerson and Scully, 2011) committed to the organization, but highly critical of its gendered organizational culture. Overall, however, for most of these senior managers the advantages of being in these elite positions exceeded the disadvantages. Irish male manager-­ academics’ greater sense of ownership was reflected in their stress on shaping the institution, while academic women were more likely to focus on mentoring other women, these attitudes reflecting and reinforcing underlying constructions of gender. Again, family responsibilities were most likely to be referred to by men as a problem for women, with the women themselves seeing them as simply one of a range of issues that they were juggling. The gendered organizational culture, including narratives, stereotypes and perceptions implicitly or explicitly legitimated the under-­representation of women in senior management positions, facilitated by gendered selves. The Swedish context provides a useful counterbalance in indicating that such patterns are neither inevitable nor natural: but reflect complex and multilevel gendering processes, which facilitate the gendered retention of power (and the othering of those who penetrate such echelons). Collegial/managerialist structures, cultures and practices Much has been written about the impact of neo-­liberalism in general, and managerialism in particular, on the shape and purpose of higher education and its internal processes. In this context, attention was focused on the extent to


Management and gender in higher education

which collegial structures, processes and frameworks were being replaced by managerialist ones, focusing particularly on the centralization of power; access to such power and its legitimacy. Furthermore, since one of the recognized characteristics of managerialism is that the power of other professional managers increases, while that of manager-­academics decreases, there was a focus on their similarities and differences. Irish universities are very much in a state of transition between collegiality and managerialism. They varied in their method of presidential appointment, although the majority followed a managerialist route, involving a public appointment process rather than collegial election. The balance of power, particularly as regards the appointment of staff and other internal matters, was tilted in favour of the president rather than the governing authority by the Universities Act (1997). In both the Act and as perceived by these senior managers, power was centralized in the president who was seen, very much in a managerialist context, as a chief executive officer, particularly in terms of the extent of his control over the appointments of those reporting directly to him and in his ability to create portfolios for them. In a context where there has been little tradition of mobility between Irish universities at senior management level, internal candidates were frequently appointed at presidential level, despite the managerialist public appointment process. Below the level of president, the respondents saw the ‘demonstrated effectiveness’ model for the appointment of manager-­academics, involving a graduated movement through a series of academic management posts, as the ideal path for accessing such positions. However, as they saw it, this had been replaced by the presidential ‘blessing’. In this context, it was all too possible for a culture of sameness (‘homosociability’) to prevail in a context effectively encouraging sycophancy, politicking and ‘upward management behaviour’ (Mooney, 2013). This facilitates ‘groupthink’ (Janis, 2011) and encourages a kind of medieval dependence on the president. Such possibilities were heightened by the fact that this most senior executive decision-­making group in the university was structurally accountable to no one other than him. Thus effectively the gentleman’s club of the collegial model had been replaced by what could be seen as a medieval court where those in senior management positions served at the president’s pleasure. This raises issues about the nature of the university as an institution; its similarities/dissimilarities with other organizations and the sources of its legitimacy. A collegial/managerial framework was used in describing the characteristics of a typical president, as well as in referring to those characteristics that were valued in senior management. Such a framework was also apparent in men’s perceptions of how they were seen by colleagues: approachability being stressed in the context of a collegial framework and outcomes in the case of a managerialist one. However, although presidential power was increasingly

Summary and conclusions


managerialist, a collegial framework was typically drawn on to legitimize that power, with the key contribution of the president being defined in internal collegial terms. The most senior decision-­making group in Irish public universities includes both manager-­academics and other professional managers. Typically, in the present study, the other professional managers held permanent posts, while for the manager-­academics these senior management positions were temporary assignments of responsibilities. Overwhelmingly, the other professional managers saw management as a career path. The manager-­academics on the other hand, for the most part saw their entry into management as unplanned, and were, for the most part, reluctant managers (Deem et al., 2008), who were nevertheless responsive to opportunities for advancement. Related to these structural realities, the other professional managers tended to be much more committed to a managerial identity. They also tended to be younger. Thus, a third of the manager-­academics, but only a fifth of the other professional managers anticipated reaching the compulsory retirement age (65 years) within five years. Overwhelmingly, in a university context, the power holders are male, and the gendered content of collegial/managerial characteristics and competences were invisible to them. Thus, these senior managers were unreflective about the gendered character of ‘soft’ collegial skills, such as consensual decision making, accessibility, listening and being able to create a common vision, as well as about more generic political skills, including networking and persuasion. A collegial framework was not seen as validating women’s competencies or legitimating their access to power. Some men and women suggested that a macho version of managerialism was valued, one which stressed outcomes and deliverables, rather than any kind of personal relationships or skills. Once again however this was not seen as gendered. This supports Alvesson and Sveningsson (2003), who concluded that the value of characteristics or competencies is related to the power of the person enacting or endorsing them rather than to their content. There was also little suggestion that they were aware of or valued the characteristics of an inclusive leader (Deloitte, 2011): a pattern that has been seen as extremely important in contributing to innovation. For the most part, there were surprisingly few differences in the responses of manager-­academics and other professional managers, although the latter were more aware of power structures and more willing to name them. Thus they were more overt in referring to the centralization of power in the president. They were critical of the processes involved in the appointment of manager-­academics and of the political nature of the university milieu, in a context where senior management effectively served at the will of the president. Their awareness of power was also reflected in their attempts to consolidate


Management and gender in higher education

their own power base by delegating their functional responsibilities to those reporting to them, thus freeing themselves up to use power effectively as cross-­functional managers. Thus, while decrying the political character of the university, they were effectively preparing themselves for the movement of power from manager-­academics to themselves (one of the characteristics of managerialism). They also ignored the gendered agenda that is implicit in managerialism and its priorities, practices and ‘macho’ constructions of masculinity. Stress was referred to only by a minority of the Irish respondents. However, evidence from the Australian university senior management study (O’Connor et al., 2011) suggested that the movement towards managerialism in Irish universities may heighten rather than reduce such stress. In summary, increasing levels of managerialism in Irish universities has facilitated the increased power of the president and the development of arbitrary career paths by manager-­academics, these largely involving the ‘blessing’ of the president. In the Irish university system, managerialism has not been uniformly accepted, and its legitimacy is widely seen as problematic. Hence, a collegial framework is still prominent and is used to legitimate what is presented as a gender blind, but increasingly managerialist system. Even where these frameworks drew on stereotypically gendered qualities, they were not seen as such.

Conclusions These are at different levels and include: the implications of the current relationship between the university, the state and the market; the similarities/ differences between universities and private commercial organizations; the differential usefulness of gender and collegiality/managerialism as interpretative frames for understanding university senior management; the impact of movement from collegiality to managerialism for the centralization of power and access to it; the usefulness of a multilevel concept of gender in examining the ways through which university senior management, as a male dominated elite, reproduces itself and the identification of possible sites and agents of resistance or contestation. The relationship between the university, the state and the market has become an important issue in the context of neo-­liberal pressures, through which higher education in western societies is increasingly commodified, corporatized and marketized, with the key stakeholder being industry and the relationship between the state and the market becoming increasingly close. In Ireland universities have moved from being theocratic organizations in the 1950s, to being increasingly shaped by a neo-­liberal state, to a substantial degree through market related processes (O’Sullivan, 2005). Furthermore, as in other countries, decreased funding by the state is being combined with

Summary and conclusions


increasing bureaucratic processes and ‘steering from a distance’, with little attempt being made to undertake cost–benefit analyses of the impact of this increased bureaucratization on front-­line activities. Students, particularly undergraduate students in popular areas that are seen as unrelated to the market, are not seen as key stakeholders, and this is very much a feature of a managerialist university system. The introduction of undergraduate student fees/deferred contributions, or an increased focus on undergraduate international education as an alternative source of revenue, could theoretically increase their salience in a market led context. However, neither this nor an increased focus on postgraduate recruitment in general or international postgraduate recruitment in particular, seems likely, in the current neo-­liberal context, to reduce the importance of industry as the key stakeholder. Universal access to higher education, in Trow’s (2010) terms, is an important societal achievement, that could usefully be linked to a legitimating discourse around citizenship and social equality. The absence of such a discourse raises fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of higher education. It also raises questions about the relationship between the universities and the key power brokers in society. Peillon (1995) and Breen et al. (1990) argued that the activity of the Irish state served the interests of the property-­owning classes. During the Celtic Tiger, the state effectively functioned as an agent of particular (male dominated) sections of these classes. It appears that it is now intent on effectively colluding with the marketization of higher education. It is difficult to imagine that an attempt to revert to an overtly elite system of higher education will be considered. In this situation, a more likely outcome appears to be the development of an elite system within an apparently universal one. Indeed that is the vision which is implicit in the recommendation of the van Vught report (2012). However it is by no means clear that that the concept of public universities (whether elite or not) is sustainable in a context dominated by neo-­liberal discourses involving their corporatization and the commodification and privatization of ‘useful’ (i.e. commercially exploitable) knowledge. Quite simply in these terms there is little to differentiate public from private universities: thus further undermining public support for them as public institutions. In a context where the state is subsumed in the market, it exerts its own influence increasingly through ‘the creeping fog of managerialist bureaucracy’ (Gallagher, 2012: 141). The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, now endorsed as departmental policy (DES, 2011), while recognizing the excellent performance of the university system, recommends increasing administrative controls by the state at various levels, without any attempt being made to cost such proposals. In Ireland core academic staff now make up less than one third of those employed in public universities (Kirwan, 2013). This raises


Management and gender in higher education

fundamental questions about the nature of a university. The withdrawal of resources from front-­line activities in the context of dramatic increases in the student population and severe cuts in public funding also raises fundamental questions about the quality of that university education. Although the changing relationship between the state, the market and the professoriate, has altered the locus of power, it has remaindered gendered. It seems probable that elite universities (such as that proposed by van Vught, 2012) will favour ‘male’ dominated disciplines, areas that are staffed overwhelmingly by male academics, although there may also be some scope for more female dominated areas as cultural adornments. The future for critical research in the social sciences and education is unclear, since it is highly probable that only a minority of those in elite organizations will be interested in challenging structural power and privileges. The state, semi-­state structures, educational policy and university senior management implicitly favour a gendered vision for the rest of the higher educational system, one in which the main teaching and research focus is also on masculinist, male dominated disciplines and perspectives. Hence, the future for humanities, education and social sciences, where female faculty are most likely to be located, is problematic; while that for female dominated areas such as primary teaching, nursing and midwifery is even more so. The decision to cut the salaries of new entrants to these areas by roughly one third signals the beginning of a devaluing of professional qualifications in these areas (and raises fundamental questions about the long-­term consequences of such gendered pay differentials). It is not clear whether the state is inevitably or historically patriarchal (Connell, 1994). However Irish state policies in the area of education since the 2000s indicate a strong masculinist bias: one which privileges male priorities and areas of employment while depicting them as gender neutral. There is some evidence that the assumed existence of a relationship between (limited areas) of science and technology and economic growth is at last being questioned. Thus as Lynch et al. (2012: 196) also concluded, such policies related to higher education are highly political, reflecting a narrow masculinist agenda which is inadequate to meeting the very real economic and social challenges faced by the society. What is needed are policies that will embrace diversity as a way of generating innovation, not those which restrict it in the interests of perpetuating the privileges of a narrow conformist elite. Implicit in the concept of managerialism is the idea that universities are just like private commercial organizations. This does not seem to be entirely true. Managerialism has concentrated power in the office of the president, with this role being depicted as a CEO. However it is not seen as an adequate basis for legitimacy in Irish public universities. Thus collegiality as a framework remains important in legitimizing managerialist power. This potentially

Summary and conclusions


legitimates women’s inclusion in senior management, and potentially valorizes greater diversity in gendered management styles. However, collegiality, in the recent past, legitimated a male dominated academic oligarchy, and there is no reason to suppose that its reinvention would be any different. In this context appeals for the reinstatement of collegial structures can be seen as reflecting a nostalgic (and romanticized) view of higher education. It seems possible to conclude that changes in university organizational models, such as from collegiality to managerialism, have little impact on the gendering of universities as reflected either in the proportion of women in senior positions or in the valorization of stereotypically female characteristics. The routes through which power is accessed in such structures changes: but the metaphor of the medieval court suggests an access route which is little better for women than the gentleman’s club. In the present study there was a good deal of similarity between men/ women, and manager-­academics/other professionals as regards the sources of meaning and pleasure, frustration and disappointment and their acceptable costs. A number of these were echoed by those in senior management in Australia and Portugal: countries that are differently positioned on a collegial/ managerial continuum. However, there were suggestions that the experience of stress was highest in the most managerialist system: Australia. Positions in senior management are elite ones, at least in terms of salary. Whether such positions should exist raises issues about the established reality of universities as hierarchical organizations. It has long been recognized that the shape of and the main sites of patriarchy vary across time and space (Walby, 1990). Thurén (2000: 6) has usefully suggested that societies’ gender orders may vary along various dimensions including their force, defined in terms of ‘the degree of importance assigned to a man’s being very “masculine” or a woman being very “feminine”’; scope (i.e. the areas of society that are affected by the division of humanity into gender categories); and hierarchy (i.e. the extent to which they involve access to important resources). It seems possible to suggest that, in contrast to, for example, Sweden, the gender order in Ireland, at least as perceived by these university senior managers, has considerable force, scope and hierarchy and this is part of the context within which higher education operates. This conclusion is tentative however and needs to be more fully tested in other studies. A multilevel approach to gender emerges as very useful in understanding the various levels involved in the reproduction of gendered inequalities. Gendering is apparent in the (typically male) denial of gender as a systemic issue; in organizational narratives depicting women as ‘the problem’, reinforcing a construction of gendered selves. It is also reflected in gendered managerial stereotypes and in interactional contexts where women are seen as disruptive and problematic in predominantly male contexts where ‘doing power’ is


Management and gender in higher education

interwoven with ‘doing gender’. Gender at each of these levels in involved in creating a context where women’s under-­representation in senior management positions is depicted as ‘natural’, inevitable’ and ‘what women want’. Many of these gendered elements are highly resistant to change. However the Swedish study of university senior management underlined the extent to which in a university context where roughly half of those in the rector/presidential position are women, in a wider societal context which is supportive of gender equality, undermined gender management stereotypes (O’Connor and Goransson, 2014). It implicitly suggested that structural time-­limited interventions, such as targets and quotas can be seen as important elements in reframing the taken-­ for-­granted gendered assumptions about the relationship between masculinity and power. In looking at the possibilities for change in university senior management within an Irish context, a distinction was made between incremental change and fundamental change. In terms of incremental change, the majority of both men and women were comfortable endorsing the importance of role models to facilitate change at some future date: change which did not challenge the existing power structures. At a more fundamental level, a kind of tentativeness was identified among these senior managers, reflecting an unwillingness to actually commit to the creation of a new organizational culture. Women in particular saw the organizational culture as one where men were, for the most part, more comfortable working with other men and one which was conformist and homosocial. Both men and women suggested that men had a sense of entitlement which was implicitly legitimated by the system. There was evidence of a kind of paternalistic ‘heroic masculinity’ (Kerfoot and Whitehead, 1998: 451) which purported to protect women by not involving them in management, while at the same time it reflected and maintained men’s own positional power. Thus, although there was a general perception that having women in senior management was important for various reasons, and although there was a consensus that the president had the power to change the gender profile of the senior management group, there was ambivalence about him actually using his power to do this. Thus there was no commitment to fundamental change. This was not peculiar to Ireland, with similar patterns emerging in the study of senior management in New Zealand (Bagilhole and White, 2011). This study of senior management underlines the extent to which the visibility and legitimacy of gender is a socially constructed phenomenon. Thus, men who had experiences outside the Irish academic system (whether in academic contexts outside Ireland or in the private sector) were much more likely to see gender as visible, than those who had not had these experiences. It was difficult to avoid the conclusion that power within the universities is used as a mechanism for internal institutional homosociability (i.e. selecting leaders ‘with familiar qualities and characteristics to one’s self’: Grummell

Summary and conclusions


et al., 2009, 335). This is also not peculiar to Ireland, with similar patterns being noted in other university contexts (Bargh et al., 2000). It is also not peculiar to universities, although ambiguity concerning the key purpose of higher education provides a very fertile ground for its development there. Paradoxically, it may be that innovative structures (whether in the state or in private industry), combined with EU and OECD pressures as regards the importance of gender equality in facilitating economic growth, may ultimately provide the most effective challenge to such practices. Thus the use of gender and collegiality/managerialism as alternative interpretative frameworks in the senior management study enables us to identify sites and agents of resistance (O’Connor, 2001) or contestation (Whitchurch, 2008). Sites and agents of change Roughly one fifth of those in such senior management positions are women, and the majority of these were aware of the stereotypical depiction of such positions as implicitly or explicitly ‘male’ and did not see them as entirely congruent with their own construction of themselves as women. Thus, their own positioning, was characterized by ‘adjustment and resistance’ (Billing, 2011: 306). Thomas and Davies (2005) suggested that these instances of recognizing and embracing ‘othering’ can be seen as resistance. Such contexts involve possibilities and difficulties as regards ‘undoing gender’ (Deutsch, 2007) in the sense of challenging constructions of masculinity and femininity. Ely and Myerson’s (2010) work has shown how organizations, under certain conditions, can change such definitions, even in societal contexts that are not supportive of such change. Indeed, organizations, within such contexts, may still transform their culture, and in doing so dramatically increase the proportion of women in senior positions. There is clear evidence of such transformations within private sector organizations (Mooney, 2013; Huse, 2013; Hegarty, 2013). However, it is not yet clear to what extent these patterns can be transferred to public organizations, such as universities, where the identification of a compelling corporate goal (such as company profit) clearly related to gender diversity is more difficult to identify. However it is at least possible that they may be transferable, with appropriate leadership. Hence, at an organizational level, first, the most obvious of the agents of change are the majority of the women in senior management in so far as they embodied positions of resistance as ‘tempered radicals’ (Meyerson and Scully, 2011). However there were others. Second, men who had worked outside the Irish academic system were much more aware of gender and more willing to name it. Third, other professional managers who had entered the university sector recently, and who had worked in mixed gender groups in the private sector, appeared to be benignly but initially unreflective about gender and


Management and gender in higher education

went on to ask refreshingly ‘unthinkable’ (Lukes, 2005) questions. Fourth, a minority of men saw the interpersonal perceptions of their female colleagues as more accurate and more positive than those of their male colleagues. These men were uncomfortable in all-­male groups, suggesting a discomfort with the dominant male culture, where the stereotypical managerial style was seen as one involving aggression. Such men are potential allies in challenging dominant constructions of masculinity and hence in changing the organizational culture. Fifth, there was evidence of resistance by some men to the collegial/ managerial value systems which they saw endorsed by senior managers in their own universities: again underlining the fact that resistance or contestation occurs among both men and women. Sixth, and reflecting Ridgeway and Correll (2004)’s conclusion there could be sites which were not dominated by hegemonic gender beliefs, there were few difference between men and women’s perception of their job as a senior manager as a source of meaning or pleasure, frustration or disappointment or as an acceptable/unacceptable cost, thus implicitly suggesting the possibility of common ground which might be explored. Seventh, there are similar possibilities implicit in the similarities in the responses of the other professionals and academic managers. In addition the overtness of the former’s recognition of power in the university context and the importance of collegiality as a basis for legitimacy in the university suggests the usefulness of opening up a dialogue between these two groups as regards the extent to which the university can be seen in purely managerialist terms, and the implications of this for the structure of senior management in higher education. Outside the organization there are other possible sites of resistance: the most obvious of these being the state. In an Irish context, gendered processes and practices at university senior management level are supported, implicitly or explicitly, by the state. Thus, the state structures in Ireland that interface with universities (in contrast to those in, for example, Sweden and Australia) provide little support or encouragement for gender equality, although this may be about to change, in a context where the gendering of higher education is being challenged by the EU (2012a, 2012b, 2012c, 2012d) and the OECD (2012c). These latter structures are increasingly aware of the extent to which future economic growth is related to the ability to use the skills and talents of women, the best educated of its citizens. Pressures as regards gendered change are also being supported by forces within the universities themselves at faculty level as some of them dissent either from a hegemonic male culture and/or from a neo-­liberal one. There is also some evidence that the Higher Educational Authority may be beginning to take its responsibilities seriously in this context. It is at least possible that the economic collapse and the increasing awareness of power and its partiality in Irish society may facilitate change within Irish universities. Making the gendered

Summary and conclusions


nature of that power visible, and exposing its legitimating ideologies, is seen as a basic first step in this process. Many of the issues which arise in an Irish context are not peculiar to Ireland. Thus, there is an underlying tension in the fact that although women are disproportionately represented among the knowledge workers in the EU, they are concentrated in health and education (EU, 2012b), and are under-­ represented in those disciplines that are seen, by masculinist states, as most important in terms of a narrow gendered vision of the economy. For the EU, and indeed historically for the Irish state, the ideal solution has been to interest women in such areas, an objective which has however had limited success in capitalist countries. However, the devaluing of expertise in health and education cannot be seen as an appropriate template for a society in the twenty-­first century. Furthermore, it can be seen as an impediment to economic growth not least in terms of a growing realization of the importance of internal markets in contributing to employment and hence indirectly to economic growth. This realization has implications for the gendering of indicators of excellence at organizational, national and international levels as well as for the taken-­for-­ granted definitions of those kinds of disciplines and activities that are defined as ‘in the national/European/global interest’. Women constitute roughly one fifth of those in university senior management and the majority of them in this study are effectively contesting such gendered structures. In addition, not all men are supporting these structures. Pressure as regards gendered change are also supported by cross-­national structures whose concern is with economic growth and which see the failure to address gender inequality as inhibiting that growth. These are supported by an increasing awareness that diversity and excellence are not competing realities; and the related awareness that ‘groupthink’, generated by homosocial structures, is unhelpful in generating effective solutions to complex economic and social problems. Changing the structure and culture of senior management in universities can be seen as an esoteric and elite pursuit. However, in so far as we regard universities as creators and disseminators of knowledge, defining what counts as valued knowledge, those who occupy senior positions in these structures are symbolically and strategically important. It seems very strange that so little critical attention has been paid to them. This can only be seen as part of a wider tendency to ignore the privileged in Irish society, a pattern that is increasingly seen as problematic. The fact that such structures remain male dominated, despite the increasingly female profile of their students and faculty, raises issues about cultural colonization. A context where personal ties characteristic of a medieval court are the basis for appointment of manager-­academics to senior management raises fundamental questions about the ability of Irish universities to respond to the very considerable challenges faced by Irish society.


Management and gender in higher education

Raising questions about the nature, purpose and future structure and culture of the universities are an essential part of transforming them: questions that are all too easily avoided in the increasingly close relationships between the state and the market.

Appendix: socio-­economic realities in contemporary Irish society

It is difficult to overestimate the extent of the recent changes in Irish society. At an economic level, the country has moved from being one of the most economically successful in the world to economic collapse. Although the current crisis is the most severe, recessions which have been characterized by high levels of unemployment have occurred regularly in Ireland. Thus in 1985 unemployment reached 17 per cent (CSO, 2011a). Government debt has also been a problem in the past, being 94 per cent of GDP in 1990 (CSO, 2011a). Ireland has suffered high levels of emigration since the mid-­nineteenth century. Thus, despite consistently high birth rates, the total number at work was only 1.1 million in 1985. Dramatic increases in women’s participation in paid employment, as well as high levels of inward migration during the Celtic Tiger (1997–2007), increased the labour force to an unprecedented 2.1 million in 2007 (CSO, 2011a). Ireland became a model to be emulated internationally, with economic growth rates (1994–2000) in excess of 9 per cent per annum. Gross domestic product (GDP) per head was fourth highest in the world. However, GDP overestimates Irish economic well-­being because Ireland is unusually dependent on multinational corporations. Gross national income (GNI: the income which remains with Irish residents after repatriation of the multinationals’ corporate profits) is a more accurate reflection of economic well-­being and is 81 per cent of GDP (as compared with an EU average of 100 per cent: CSO, 2012a). Nevertheless, during the Celtic Tiger era, living standards rose dramatically, as did government expenditure (particularly in male dominated employment areas related to construction). Ireland lost its economic sovereignty in November 2010 with the arrival of the ‘troika’ of representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. General government debt as a percentage of GDP increased from 25 per cent in 2007 to 108 per cent in 2012 (as compared with an EU average of roughly 83 per cent: CSO 2012a). This level is similar to Portugal, although better than Greece. The increase in



the ratio of government debt to GNI in Ireland has been even steeper, rising from 29 per cent of GNI in 2007 to 135 per cent in 2011 (CSO, 2012a). The factors seen as contributing to the Irish economic collapse include a reckless construction sector (with fifty people accounting for debts of 40–50 billion: Kirby, 2010); ineffective regulation and collusive relationships between the political system, the construction industry and the banking system. At a more fundamental level it can be seen as reflecting a croneyistic, male dominated culture, where diversity and dissent were not tolerated (Clancy et al., 2010; Murphy, 2012). Public anger resulted in a resounding defeat for the majority and minority partners in government in 2011 (Fianna Fáil and the Greens, respectively). Since then, hostility, particularly in the media, has been mainly directed towards the public sector (Lynch et al., 2012). The size of the Irish government debt (estimated at €174 billion) partly reflects the state’s action in 2008 in guaranteeing all bank debts, however reckless and unsecured. These debts thus became sovereign debts (estimated at €64 billion). It also reflects imbalances between state expenditure and income in a context where economic growth is poor and the international context is unstable (Durkan et al., 2011). Attempts by the government, since the economic collapse, to reduce public expenditure, by cutting salaries and reducing numbers in the public sector, have exacerbated unemployment levels (which rose from 4.5 per cent in 2007 to almost 14 per cent in 2013). Thus Ireland’s total sovereign indebtedness of €174 billion falls to a (declining) working population of 1.8 million to discharge. Nevertheless, Ireland is ranked 27 out of 144 countries on a global competitiveness index (Schwab and Sala-­i-­Martin, 2012). Productivity per person in Ireland was nearly 40 per cent higher than the EU average in 2011. Furthermore, although Ireland’s GNI per capita has fallen dramatically since 2007, it is still marginally above the EU average, and higher than Greece or Portugal (CSO, 2012a). Like the other OECD countries, Ireland’s main source of employment is services (70 per cent: OECD, 2012c). Women in Ireland are more likely than their male counterparts to be found in this sector (89 per cent versus 61 per cent), and are less likely to be in industry (9 per cent versus 30 per cent). These patterns are broadly similar to the OECD. This gender differentiated pattern has been reflected in and reinforced by unconscious institutional privileging of areas of predominantly male rather than predominantly female employment. In Ireland, women’s average annual earnings are 72 per cent of men’s (CSO, 2011a). On average women employees are paid 13 per cent less than their male counterparts per hour (the average EU27 difference is 16 per cent: CSO, 2012a). This gender pay gap is much higher among part-­time than full-­time employees (37 per cent versus 10 per cent). Such part-­time employment is predominantly undertaken by women and reflects the cost of child care (with limited state facilities), and both limits economic growth and is part of the economic penalties for motherhood in Ireland.



The extent of the change in women’s participation in paid employment must be located in the context of a marriage bar which existed up to 1973, which prohibited women from continuing in employment after marriage in a range of occupations (O’Connor, 1998). Irish women’s employment rate exceeded the 2010 EU target for women by 2007 (CSO, 2011b), although both it, and men’s employment rate, have fallen since then, and are both now below the EU27 employment rates (CSO, 2012a). However, whereas in 1980 the gap between men and women’s labour force participation rates was 51 per cent, by 2010, it had fallen to 15 per cent (OECD, 2012c). Much of this participation is part-­time. Furthermore, more than three fifths of women not in the labour force described their principal economic status as full-­time ‘home duties’, compared with less than 2 per cent of men (CSO, 2011b), reflecting the gendered nature of such ‘duties’. The recentness of much social change in Ireland is evidenced by the fact that divorce has only been available since 1996 and abortion is still in a legal quagmire. In Ireland, as elsewhere, the labour market is highly gender differentiated, and women with higher education are most likely to be in paid employment (OECD, 2012c). Roughly half of the women, aged 20–44, with children aged 3 years old or younger are in paid employment (CSO, 2011b) but these women are three times more likely than their male counterparts to work fewer than 30 hours per week. The level of such female part-­time employment is considerably above the OECD average (2012c). Currently, only just over a quarter of couples, with children aged less than 14, are both in full-­time employment. If women’s participation in such paid employment fully converged with men’s by 2030, the net effect would be an increase in 12 per cent of GDP over a twenty year period. Ireland is ranked 29 out of 138 countries on the Gender Equality Index (GEI: UNDP, 2010) which includes economic activity (measured by women’s participation in the labour market); empowerment (measured by share of parliamentary seats and second level education) and reproductive health (measured by maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates). The difference in the ranking of Ireland on the Human Development Index (HDI: 5) and the GEI (29) exceeds most other highly developed countries and is a continuation of earlier Irish patterns (O’Connor, 1998; UNDP, 1995, 2005). Many aspects of the gender order in Ireland have changed, and this is reflected in the fact that its score on the most recent Gender Equality Index (EIGE, 2013) is very similar to the overall EU27. However, its score in the area of economic power is below the EU average (23 versus 29, respectively), and is very much less than, for example, Sweden where the score in this area is over 60. On the economic participation and opportunity sub-­index of the Global Gender Gap Index (Hausmann et al., 2011), which includes labour force participation, wage equality for similar work, earned income, access to management and legislative



positions and professional employment) Ireland is ranked 30 (i.e. between the Russian Federation and Namibia). This ranking is virtually identical to the GEI ranking (at 29). In summary, Ireland is currently in a very difficult economic situation. Although women make up half of those in the professions and one third of those in management and administrative positions, their participation in paid employment is much more likely than in other OECD countries to be on a part-­time basis. The relationship between gender equality and economic growth (OECD, 2012c) has been ignored by the Irish state. Thus it has seen gender equality as a rather trivial feminist issue rather than a fundamentally important way of improving the economic and social well-­being of the country. Even where the state has given this rhetorical support, it has failed to put in place effective mechanisms to facilitate its implementation (OECD, 2012c). The economic crisis in Ireland is a challenge to masculinist ideologies and male dominated power structures. It will be interesting to see to what extent such structures are able or willing to respond to this challenge.


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accountability 10, 22, 38, 47–9, 50, 61 Acker, J. 12, 34, 39, 88, 90, 97, 100, 103, 109, 135, 169 Adshead, M. 47, 49, 169, 192, 194 advantages 8, 21, 28, 129, 144–5, 153 see also costs; disadvantages agenda 2, 22, 52–5, 57, 66, 96, 143, 149, 150–1, 156 see also authority; influence; legitimacy; power aggressive 17, 103, 115, 117–18, 126, 143, 153 see also emotional; rational Allen, K. 13, 55, 59, 89, 169–70 Alvesson M. 2, 37, 84, 113–14, 155, 170 appointment 1–2, 12, 23, 38, 70–1, 74–8, 84, 86, 154–5, 163 see also nomination; selection auditing 10, 39 see also managerialist Australia 3, 17, 22, 36, 38, 40, 42–4, 47, 49, 65, 69, 74–5, 89–90, 97–8, 101, 106, 129, 130, 137–8, 159, 162 authority 2, 6, 9, 12, 21, 34–5, 36–7, 46, 95, 110, 116–17, 121 see also legitimacy; power Equality Authority Governing Authority Higher Educational Authority local authority Bagilhole, B. 3, 42–4, 79, 88, 98–9, 102, 104, 111, 136–7, 151, 160, 170, 173, 181, 189, 191, 193 Barry, U. 54, 64, 171, 188

Benschop, V. 5, 14, 23, 27, 64, 77, 88, 149, 171, 199–200 binary system 15–16, 26, 103, 107, 145, 147 see also Institutes of Technology (IOTs) Irish universities Blackmore, J. 13–15, 20, 25, 33, 36, 38, 47, 49, 50, 56, 67, 73, 98, 109, 114, 119, 122, 137, 171–2 Brink see van den Brink bureaucracy 49, 116, 134, 157 bureaucratic 12, 36, 48–9, 51, 71, 79, 97, 118, 133, 138, 145, 153, 157 career 1, 5, 6, 9, 23, 25, 69, 74–6, 78, 80–3, 86–7, 91, 96–7, 101–2, 104, 108, 122, 136–7, 141, 152, 155–6 career paths 4, 43, 45, 80, 83 career planning 98, 102, 107, 152 care-less 146 Carvalho, T. 9, 15, 36, 39, 47, 74–5, 85, 112, 134, 173, 193, 201 catholic see roman catholic Celtic Tiger 10, 20–1, 26–7, 31, 100, 110, 134, 149, 157, 165 change 2, 10, 27, 30–1, 34–6, 40, 50, 52, 64–5, 75, 77, 84, 88–90, 96–8, 102, 105–8, 117, 128, 130–3, 137, 145, 147, 152, 160–2, 167 cultural 21, 114 fundamental 102, 105–6, 108, 160 gendered 162–3 incremental 102, 108, 160 institutional 10 legislative 62 organizational 100, 117

204 characteristics 2, 4, 10, 28, 34, 36, 39, 71, 95, 102–3, 110–18, 123–4, 126–7, 129, 131, 141, 143, 145, 154–6, 159–60 see also competencies; gender stereotypes child care 59, 100–1, 166 see also maternity leave children 2, 21, 62, 100–1, 135, 167 Clark, B. 4, 7, 11, 15–16, 29, 38–9, 46, 48–9, 147, 173–4 Cockburn, C. 12, 90, 174 collegiality 27, 29, 37–40, 43–5, 72, 74, 79, 93, 112–13, 115–16, 129, 142, 144–5, 151, 154, 156, 158–9, 161–2 Collinson, D.L. 12, 98, 170, 174, 178, 180, 182, 186, 190, 195, 198, 202 commercialization 13–14, 38, 51, 54, 56 see also commodification; corporatization; marketization commitment 10, 35, 60, 64, 85, 99, 102–3, 108, 117, 130, 160 commodification 13, 15, 26–7, 38, 147, 157 see also commercialization; corporatization; marketization competencies 23, 53, 110–11, 155 see also characteristics competitive 2, 8, 17, 39, 47, 72, 83, 96, 123, 133, 144 conformist 102–3, 108, 158, 160 Connell, R.W. 12, 31–2, 34, 90, 104, 107, 118–19, 121, 124, 140, 158, 174, 181 consensus 37, 113, 125, 133, 145, 160 consensual decision making 37, 113–14, 126, 155 see also decision making contract compliance 65 corporatization 13, 15, 26–7, 116, 147, 157 see also commercialization; commodification; marketization costs 4, 21, 28, 49–50, 56, 71, 120, 129, 135, 137–8, 159 see also disappointment; frustration; meaning; pleasure Crowley, N. 60–1, 65, 174–5 CSO 16, 18, 20, 56, 58, 62, 68, 101, 110, 165–7, 175 culture gendered 79, 89, 107, 119, 152 of entitlement 119, 120 of sameness 75, 86, 154

Index managerialist 10, 85 see also gender; organizational culture Danowitz Sagaria, M.A. 64, 175, 185 daughters 102 Davies, A. 39, 98, 140, 161, 198–9 Davies, C. 90, 103, 135, 175–6 Davies, M. 6, 53, 176 Davies-Netzley, S. 33, 98, 176 dean 2–4, 25, 41–3, 67–9, 76, 86, 146 decision making 37–8, 52–3, 60–2, 64, 68, 82, 89, 104, 108, 115–16, 133, 145, 148, 155 see also consensus; consensual decisionmaking Deem, R. 5, 12, 29, 36, 38–9, 71–2, 80, 88, 111, 116, 130, 136, 140, 147, 155, 176 degendering 28, 44, 46–7, 59, 62, 65, 149 Devine, D. 29, 182, 188 DES (department of education and skills) 15, 17, 19–20, 24, 50–2, 58–9, 63, 65–6, 148, 150, 157, 177 DF (department of finance) 53, 60, 177 disadvantages 1, 28, 32, 129, 132–3, 135, 144–5, 153 see also advantages; costs; disappointment; frustration; meaning; pleasure disappointment 129, 132, 159, 162 see also costs; frustration; meaning; pleasure disciplines 11, 14, 25–6, 36, 39, 43, 51, 57–8, 71, 94–6, 107, 147, 158, 163 discrimination 32, 59, 60–1, 64–5, 91–3, 98 see also privilege DJ (department of justice) 60, 150 DJE (department of justice and equality) 61, 177 DJEI (department of jobs, employment and innovation) 55, 66, 150, 177, 196 DJEL (department of justice, equality and law reform) 61, 177 Doherty, L. 77, 81, 98, 101, 136, 177 Eagly, A. 6, 34, 36–7, 89, 98, 109–10, 117, 120–1, 124–5, 173, 178 economic growth 5, 6, 9, 29, 47, 51, 53–4, 56–7, 59, 64–6, 148, 150, 158, 161–3, 165–6, 168 economy 9, 11, 16, 19, 26, 31, 51, 58, 63, 75, 83, 100, 103, 147–8, 163 see also labour force

Index EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality) 95, 100, 144, 167, 178 elite 4, 6–7, 15, 17–18, 29, 33, 35, 40–2, 51, 58, 77, 129, 132, 145–7, 150, 156–9, 163 Ely, R. 34, 88, 91, 95, 97, 110, 117–19, 121, 141, 161, 171, 195 emotional 77, 103, 121–3, 126, 153 see also aggressive; rational employment 6, 9, 11, 16, 24, 27, 30, 46, 54–7, 59–61, 83, 100–38, 148, 158, 163, 165–8 female/women’s employment 31, 54, 61, 101, 166–7 male/men’s employment 23, 54, 167 see also labour force Employment Control Framework 20 engineering 23–4, 55–8, 94–6, 111–12, 119 see also science; technology entitlement 32, 34, 78–9, 92, 98, 119–20, 126, 132, 134, 152, 160 see also culture of entitlement; patriarchal privileging equality 8, 11, 33–4, 37, 41, 46, 51–2, 58–66, 74, 90, 97, 105, 130, 149–50, 157, 161, 167 contribution of 66, 150 see also Equality Authority; gender equality; mainstreaming Equality Authority 58, 60 essentialist 25, 95, 99, 108, 122, 141–2, 149 EU 15–16, 20–6, 31, 41, 46, 53, 56, 60–2, 64–6, 68–9, 78, 89, 95, 97, 100, 148–51, 161–3, 165–7, 178–80, 200 excellence 5, 6, 21–4, 27, 64, 76, 149, 163 see also merit experience 1, 4–5, 20, 25, 28, 32, 41, 44, 63, 76, 112, 123–4, 126, 129, 138, 144–5, 151, 153, 159 see also costs; disappointment; frustration; meaning; pleasure fees: students 19–21, 26, 132, 147, 157 see also student contribution femininity 12, 95–6, 98–9, 103, 107, 113, 117, 121, 131, 138, 142, 161 Ferguson, K. 12, 54, 121, 180 Ferlie, E. 11, 36, 38, 49, 180 finance 5, 36, 67, 71, 73, 79, 82 Foschi, M. 22, 180 Franzway, S. 12, 54, 181 Frazer, N. 12, 109–10, 121, 181

205 frustration 129, 132–3, 159, 162 see also costs; disappointment; meaning; pleasure Garavan, T. 37, 117, 181 gatekeeping 72 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) 19, 165 gender appropriate 121, 131 awareness 130 balance 62–3, 105 bias 22, 104, 106 blind 21, 30, 91, 156 budgeting 64 congruent 91, 117 differences 16, 18, 22–3, 29, 37, 80, 101, 117, 132, 144–5, 151 discrimination 59, 64 diversity 6, 161 ‘doing gender’ 33–4, 160 equality 7, 9, 21, 59–66, 92, 98, 106, 144, 150, 160–2, 168 gender as invisible 145 gender as visible 94, 142, 145, 153, 160 inequality 6, 12, 31–2, 38, 61, 64, 89, 93, 97, 103, 106, 109, 114, 148, 163 management styles 43, 110, 120, 123–4, 126, 152, 159 mixed teams 93, 107, 161 multilevel 27, 30, 151, 153, 156, 159 neutral 12, 23, 91, 158 order 30, 33–4, 89, 99, 110, 146, 152, 159, 167 pay gap 101, 166 profile 22, 24, 26, 41, 64, 68, 96, 105–6, 110–11, 125, 141, 149–51, 160 representation 40, 45, 53, 60 roles 34, 120, 130 stereotypes 109, 117, 120 see also Equality Authority; Gender Equality Index; mainstreaming Gender Equality Index (EIGE) 144, 167, 178 Gender Equality Index (UNDP) 167, 199 genSET 6, 21, 56, 64, 181 Gherardi, S. 104, 113, 140, Giroux, H. 8–9, 13, 84, 181 global 8, 10, 13–16, 21, 26, 40, 46, 49, 53–4, 73, 128, 163, 166–7 Global Gender Gap Index 167, 183 GNI (Gross National Income) 24, 165–6 Goode, J. 98–9, 102, 104, 170, 181

206 Goransson, A. 25, 33, 68–9, 94, 109, 118–19, 124, 153, 160, 180, 193 governance 6, 11, 13, 35, 37–8, 47, 52–3, 70, 72, 86, 106, 151 Governing Authority 50, 70, 75, 154 Gronn, P. 71, 85, 182 growth see economic growth Grummell, B. 13, 29, 38–9, 71, 91, 98, 135, 160, 182, 188 Gumport, P. 9, 21, 27, 29, 49, 182, 190, 195 Halford, S. 12, 67, 90, 109, 183 Hazelkorn, E. 13–14, 17, 29, 51, 54, 56, 184 Hearn, J. 5, 12, 37–8, 85, 89, 98, 174, 176, 184, 186, 194–5, 202 Heijstra, T. 89, 91, 101, 135, 185, 196 Henkel, M. 67, 71, 75, 134, 147, 185 heroic 85, 104, 108, 112, 160 hierarchy 5, 7, 12, 30, 32–3, 42, 69, 74, 80, 88–9, 91, 122, 138–40, 152, 159 Higher Educational Authority (HEA) 3, 15–18, 20, 24, 27, 41, 46–50, 52, 55, 57, 63–5, 69, 133, 148–51, 162, 180, 184, 198, 200 homosociability 71, 86, 154, 160 Human Development Index (HDI) 167, 199 Hunt Report 200 see National Strategy for Higher Education Husu, L. 21, 72, 75, 89, 97, 101, 107, 185 Ibarra, H. 78, 141, 186 identity 11, 33, 36, 43, 90, 111, 128, 137, 141–2, 155 individualistic 26, 68–9, 79, 85, 149 industry 7–8, 10, 14, 39, 51, 53, 55–7, 59, 66, 71, 111, 115, 128, 134, 149–50, 156–7, 161, 166 inequality regimes 2, 30–2, 34–5, 41, 103 see also gender; Gender Equality Index influence 2, 5, 11, 13, 36, 38, 42, 46, 49–50, 64, 67, 71, 84, 96, 102, 115, 157 see also authority; leadership; power Institutes of Technology (IoTs) 16–19, 25, 27, 64, 101, 184 instrumentality 28, 44, 46–7, 50, 53, 65, 149, 151 invisibility 90–1, 139–40 see also visibility Irish universities 3, 24–5, 27, 38, 40–1, 48, 52, 54–5, 59, 68, 70–2, 74–6, 86, 97, 112, 132–3, 138, 146–7, 149–50, 154, 156, 162–3

Index Kerfoot, D. 19, 39, 104, 198, 160, 186 Kirby, P. 55, 166, 169, 174, 186, 192, 194–5 Knights, D. 12, 19, 39, 96, 174, 182, 186–7, 198 labour force 6, 56, 165, 167 see also employment leadership 34, 36–8, 53, 61, 64, 73, 80, 82, 84–5, 89, 196, 109, 111–13, 115, 117–18, 120–2, 125, 131, 137, 139, 161 agentic 89, 102 charismatic 85 distributed 85 transactional 37 transformational 37 league tables 13 see also ranking Leathwood, C. 18, 25, 35, 89, 98, 103, 121, 187 legislation 50, 59–60, 83 legitimacy 7, 13, 15, 27, 32, 34–5, 40, 45, 48, 70, 78, 85, 87–90, 97, 105–7, 115, 117, 120, 131, 142, 146–7, 151–2, 154, 156, 158, 160, 162 see also authority; power Linehan, C. 29, 91, 101, 188 local authority 62 see also authority; legitimacy; power Lynch, K. 1, 9–11, 13–14, 18, 22, 25, 29, 38, 41, 44, 48, 51–2, 54, 56–8, 61, 68, 90–1, 97, 99, 100, 137, 140, 149, 158, 166, 177, 182, 188, 195 Mahon, E. 19, 30, 90, 99, 189 McCoy, S. 16, 18–19, 21, 189 McGauran, A. 60, 63, 175, 189 Machado, M. 9, 74, 173, 189 Mackenzie Davey, K. 77, 99, 138, 189 mainstreaming 48, 60–1, 63–4, 66, 150 see also Equality Authority; gender; gender equality management styles 37, 111, 117, 122, 124, 126–7, 153 gendered 43, 110, 117, 120, 123–4, 126, 152, 159 male 118–19 manager-academics 5, 36, 40, 43, 67, 72–3, 75–81, 83, 86–7, 91–2, 94, 126, 128, 133, 135, 143–4, 146, 154–6, 163

Index female/women manager-academics 80, 82, 92, 96, 131, 135–7, 139 male manager-academics 78, 80–1, 82, 93, 104, 107, 114, 130, 136, 145, 153 see also other professional managers managerialism 2, 27, 29, 36–40, 42–5, 47, 67, 71–2, 84, 86, 102, 112–16, 126, 128–9, 137–8, 143–6, 151, 153–6, 158–9, 161 see also collegiality Marginson, S. 8, 13–14, 26, 38, 42, 50, 84, 190 market 4–5, 10–11, 13, 15, 19, 21, 26, 36, 40, 46, 49, 52, 54, 56, 84, 98, 102, 108, 146–7, 152, 156–8, 164, 167 marriage bar 83, 167 masculinist 18, 39, 63–4, 136, 151, 158, 163, 168 masculinity 6, 12, 27, 35, 39, 90, 96, 98, 103–4, 108, 113, 115, 118, 143, 149, 156, 160–2 maternity leave 59, 100 see also child care; support Mavin, S. 21, 77, 117, 119, 124, 131, 141, 190 meaning 13, 110, 126, 129–30, 132, 144–5, 159, 162 see also costs; disappointment; frustration; pleasure Meek, V. 37–8, 47, 174, 190 mentor 78 merit 5, 21–4, 27, 137, 148–9 see also excellence money 8, 85, 96–7, 104, 107, 116, 134 see also resources narratives 2, 4, 27–8, 30, 33–5, 45, 85, 88–9, 128, 146, 151–3, 159 National Strategy for Higher Education 20, 24, 44, 50, 157 Neale, J. 40, 42, 191 neo- liberal 10–11, 15, 26–7, 38, 40, 64, 156–7, 162 neo-liberalism 11, 13, 38, 50, 54, 96, 128, 146–7, 150 networks 23, 74, 76, 131, 141 see also mentor; new public management see managerialism New Zealand 3, 16, 43, 69, 90, 160 nomination 67, 74, 140 see also appointment; selection nurturance 121, 131

207 O’Connor, M. 101, 192 O’Connor, P. 12, 25, 33, 36, 39, 50, 68, 73, 75, 91, 94, 98–9, 107, 109, 112, 118–19, 124, 130–3, 137–8, 153, 156, 160, 167, 185, 192–3 O’Donovan, O. 111, 193 O’Dowd, L. 44–5, 193, 195 OECD 6, 9, 15, 18, 20–1, 24–5, 44, 50–4, 57–9, 61, 63–6, 89–90, 100–1, 109, 148, 150–1, 161–2, 166–8, 188, 194 O’Hagan, C. 100, 194 O’Leary, E. 57, 89, 194 oligarchy 159 see also professoriate organization 36, 70, 73, 75, 82, 84–5, 97, 99, 106, 115, 119, 128, 136, 140–1, 153, 162 organizational culture 10, 28, 39, 43–5, 75, 88, 90–3, 95, 99, 102–3, 106–9, 118, 128–9, 143–5, 152–3, 160, 162 see also culture; gender O’Riain, S. 11, 12, 57, 101, 194 O’Sullivan, D. 15, 29, 38, 48, 54, 58, 63, 156, 194 other professional managers 5, 36, 40, 42–3, 67, 72–3, 75–6, 78–9, 82–3, 86, 91–4, 99, 105, 107, 113–14, 126, 129, 131–4, 137, 143, 146, 154–5, 161 see also manager-academics ‘outsiders’ 18, 32–3, 109, 113, 116–17 Padavic, I. 110, 116–17, 118–19, 121, 178, 195 Parry, K.W. 89, 195 paternalistic 104, 108, 141, 160 patriarchal privileging 97, 106–7, 124 see also entitlement patriarchy 12, 30–1, 120, 131, 139, 142, 159 perceptions 27–8, 45, 128, 138–9, 142–4, 146, 151–4, 162 colleagues 129, 138, 144–5 gendered perceptions 12, 139 non-gendered perceptions 142 performance indicators 39, 106 plans 5–6, 64, 84, 102 pleasure 128–30, 132, 144, 154, 159, 162 see also costs; disappointment; frustration; meaning policies 12, 15, 18, 46, 49, 60, 63, 97, 130, 158 see also policy documents

208 policy documents 40, 44–5, 50, 57, 62–3, 65, 149 Pollitzer, E. 21, 195 Portugal 3, 42–4, 47, 56, 69, 74, 84, 100, 112, 129–30, 138, 159, 165–6 power access to 6, 7, 30, 35, 87, 113, 128, 151, 155 awareness of 72–3, 155, 162 balance of 46, 70, 86, 154 bases of 22, 40, 74 centralization of 27–8, 37, 45, 68, 71, 73, 85, 87, 128, 151, 155 defining 70, 73 equation of 27, 149 gendered orientation to 131 holders of 26, 103, 113, 120, 155 male 13, 30, 103 patriarchal 34 positional 67–8, 73–4, 86, 90, 104, 108, 130–1, 160 presidential 2, 70–3, 154 structures of 68, 73, 85, 123, 131 see also authority; legitimacy Power, M. 54, 195 practices 4, 12, 23, 30–5, 38–9, 53, 59, 88–9, 92, 107, 130, 133–4, 146–7, 152–3, 156, 161–2 president 2, 5, 9, 25, 49, 64, 67–81, 83–7, 105–6, 108, 110–13, 125–6, 128, 154–6, 158, 160 contribution of 83–5, 87, 155 see also rector; vice chancellor pressure 8, 19–20, 24, 38, 50, 60, 62, 64–6, 100, 123, 128, 132–3, 136, 138, 140, 150, 163 Prior, L. 44 private good 9, 19, 132 see also public good private sector 38, 53, 57, 93–4, 97, 106–7, 160–1 see also public sector privilege 4–5, 7, 14, 22, 27, 32, 92, 97, 107, 110, 145 see also entitlement; patriarchal privileging professorial level/professoriate 1, 3, 23–4, 38, 55, 67–9, 75, 78, 91, 101, 147, 149, 158 proportion of women 3, 22, 24, 69 public good 8, 10, 26, 50, 147 see also private good

Index public sector 31, 36, 38, 61, 134, 166 see also private sector ranking 13–14, 16–17, 24, 51, 144, 150, 167–8 see also league tables rational 18, 37, 96, 120, 134 see also aggressive; emotional recession 19, 21, 55, 148–9 rector 106, 160 see also president; vice chancellor Rees, T. 21, 23, 51, 61, 196 representation 28, 40, 44–5, 53, 60–2, 89, 97, 101, 153, 160 resistance 35, 48, 89, 91, 138, 140, 143, 156, 161–2 resources 5, 14, 20, 23, 30, 32–6, 48–50, 52–4, 56, 59, 64, 67, 74, 83, 91, 95, 97, 107, 119, 123, 125, 131–2, 145, 158–9 see also money Rhoades, G. 13, 14, 21, 52, 54, 56, 59, 198 Richardson, I. 54, 195 Risman, B.J. 32, 104, 196 roman catholic 110, 147 Russell, H. 25, 100, 189, 196 sample 29, 42–3, 45, 151 Savage, M. 12–13, 71, 110, 183, 197, 201 science 7–8, 10–11, 14, 19, 21, 23, 24, 43, 47, 53–9, 63, 65–6, 95–6, 111–12, 119, 149, 150–1, 158 scientization 28, 44, 46–7, 53, 57 see also engineering; technology Sealy, R. 5, 6, 71, 98, 102, 109, 117, 122, 124, 197 selection 53, 70–1, 77, 106, 147 see also appointment; nomination senior management group 5, 25, 27, 42, 67–9, 71, 75, 79–80, 86, 160 see also manager-academics; other professionals; professoriate; senior positions, proportion of women senior positions proportion of women 3, 22, 24–5, 50, 53, 68–70, 101, 106, 110, 124, 141, 149, 159, 161 service community service 7, 26 civil service 53, 60, 62, 68, 90, 115


Index public service 51 health service 90, 127 service level agreements 52 see also social engagement Shattock, M. 15, 38, 50, 52, 197 Sinclair, A. 92, 111, 118, 122–3, 198 situational 32, 85, 101 Slaughter, S. 13–14, 21, 52, 54, 56, 198 Smyth, A. 63, 198 Smyth, E. 16, 18–19, 21, 189, 196 social engagement 66, 149 solidarity 30, 120 South Africa 3, 43, 69, 74, 90, 97 stakeholders 14, 39, 44, 46, 65–6, 70, 102, 111, 115, 128, 149–51, 157 state and the market 4–5, 10, 13, 15, 21, 26, 36, 40, 46, 54, 146–7, 156, 164 boards 50, 62 contribution 20 control 12, 16, 21 examinations 17, 148 funded 55–6, 66, 150 funding 17, 20–1, 26, 132–3 neo-liberal 15, 156 semi-state 1, 5, 60, 158 support 33, 100 universities and the 13, 19, 27, 47, 148 stereotypes 4, 27–8, 30, 32–5, 37, 39, 45, 53, 61, 95, 109–10, 117–18, 120–8, 137–9, 146, 151–3, 159, 160 see also gender stereotypes strategic planning 84 see also vision structure 8, 31, 34, 40, 46, 48, 73, 86, 116, 134, 150, 164 bicameral 70, 86 career 81 collegial 67, 86 committee 37 gendered 148 line management 73 managerialist 128 power 68, 73, 85, 123, 131 state 9 symbolic 34, 109 see also collegial; gender; managerialist; power; state students 5, 7–10, 13, 15, 17–21, 26, 29, 56, 58–9, 62, 92, 102, 111, 116, 133, 136, 146–7, 149–50, 157, 163

student contribution 19–20, 148 see also fees styles see management styles support 4, 8, 10, 13–17, 33, 36, 49, 52, 55, 57, 59, 64, 77–9, 80, 86, 100, 130, 140–1, 151–2, 157, 162, 168 Sweden 3, 16, 27, 33, 41–3, 61, 68–70, 74, 90, 94, 97, 100–1, 124–6, 144, 149, 153, 159, 162, 167 teaching 7, 9, 13–14, 17–18, 23, 25–6, 35, 38, 46, 48–9, 51–6, 58, 66, 71, 81–2, 92–3, 95, 136, 145, 149, 158 team 84, 104–5, 113, 115 technology 8, 10–11, 14, 16, 24, 47, 53–9, 63–6, 71, 95–6, 111, 149–51, 158 see also engineering; science tradition 17, 29, 40, 57, 61, 74, 80, 86, 95–6, 107, 114, 130, 154 Trow, M. 15, 19, 26, 147, 199 Turkey 3, 43–4, 69, 74, 84 Turner, T. 57, 199 UNDP 6, 167, 199 UNESCO 148, 199 unions 46, 48 universal 11, 15, 17–19, 26–7, 29, 101, 109, 147, 157 Universities Act (1997) 7, 41, 49, 62, 64, 67, 70, 74, 84, 86, 154 Universities (Amendment) Bill (2012) 49 university as institution 5–6, 13–14, 26, 49, 72, 80, 89, 96, 105, 116, 130–2, 145, 153–4 see also Irish universities van Den Brink, M. 5, 23, 77, 199–200 vice-chancellor 98, 114 see also president; rector vice–president 73, 75–6, 106 vice-presidential 4–5, 25, 43, 48, 54, 67–8, 71, 86, 146, 150 visibility 1, 32, 35, 41, 70, 80, 88, 90, 94, 106–7, 113, 129, 139, 147, 152, 160 see also invisibility vision 2, 51, 64, 84–5, 111, 113, 115–16, 126, 155, 157–8, 163 Wajcman, J. 54, 200 Walby, S. 12, 15, 31, 39, 62, 74, 159, 200 Wharton, A. 152, 201

210 Whitchurch, C. 49, 51, 70, 79, 82, 86, 91, 115, 161, 201 White, K. 3, 9, 16, 19, 36, 42–4, 54, 73, 75, 98, 107, 111, 130, 132, 136–7, 151, 160, 170, 173, 181, 189, 191, 193, 201

Index Willis, P. 20, 201 Witz, A. 12, 35, 71, 183, 197, 201 Yancey Martin, P. 13, 34, 89–90, 98, 103–4, 109, 120–1, 140, 152, 171, 198, 202 Yuval-Davies, 32, 202