Publication Details

Hort, L., Barrett, M. & Fulop, L (2001). Doing hard labour - gendered emotional labour in academic management. Conference on Critical Management Studies, UMIST, Manchester, UK, 11-13 July, 2001 (pp. 1-18).


This paper explores, from the authors' experiences, emotional labour as gendered experience in the area of university management in Australia. University work (teaching and research) clearly involves high levels of emotional labour. Commitment, passion and curiosity in the self and created in others are keys to developing and transmitting knowledge. But what of the managerial roles within universities? To explore the gendered nature of managerial work in the university context, the authors related to each other three critical incidents associated with their work as senior managers. These narratives were explored to determine themes within our experiences. Some of the new forms of emotional labour found in our critical incidents suggest a need for further research and theorising. For example, our stories revealed a common theme of high levels of self-monitoring. We found that high levels of self-monitoring in this context entail endless self-questioning of how we might be doing the job, at least doubling the work requirements, time and energy invested. This self-monitoring often leads to self-punishment and selfdeprecation and the conduct of 'repair work' when perceiving that one has behaved 'badly'. We found it also led to self-justification and deficits in credits or the let offs given for perceived transgressions. Other similar experiences are explored in the paper. We conclude by analysing these experiences as a part of the identity construction of women as managers and raise the inherent contradiction that this identity formation presents. A final discussion of our methodology raises issues of self-disclosure and authenticity and concludes by noting that many of the issues we have raised remain unresolved but are deeply embedded in our everyday experiences as women managers in academia.