Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of history in the creation of gender dynamics at work. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on an ANTi‐history – which draws on actor‐network theory (ANT) – and critical sensemaking framework, the authors analyze a written history of a teachers' union to examine how historically contextualized networks of actors shape notions of gender. Findings – The findings support the notion of history as socially constructed story telling, which serves to shape rather than describe gendered relations at work. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited to archival materials as the participants are not available as direct informants. Archives by their nature are incomplete and some accounts are summaries. Practical implications – Understanding the socially constructed role of history will help management educators and practitioners to examine historical accounts as part of the problem of gendered relations. The paper reinforces the notion that understanding of discrimination may be lost as power imbalances are written out of historical accounts in the attempt to be politically correct. Originality/value – The paper's contribution to research lies in its application of new methods of historical analysis (namely, ANTi‐history and critical sensemaking) and a focus on history as a powerful sensemaking device that shapes on‐going sensemaking.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 6, 2012
Keywords: Management history; Gender; Organizational politics; Trade unions; Historical periods; Education; Canada