"Watch out, here comes feeling!" Women executives and emotion work

Anne Ross-Smith*, Colleen Chesterman, Margaret Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we present findings of an Australia-wide empirical study that investigated the impact of the presence of senior women executives on management cultures. We found that both men and women clearly agreed that the presence of women in senior roles had changed management cultures. When there was a critical mass of women employed at senior levels, both women and men believed that women encouraged greater collaboration, more consultative decision-making processes and more collegial workplaces. Whilst t this might represent a welcome shift towards less instrumental management cultures, the findings also strongly resonate with stereotypical images of women's traditional roles in Western culture - roles associated with the domestic sphere. Such perceptions have the potential to disadvantage women executives particularly if women accept that it is their role to manage these aspects of a culture - a scenario which could lead to the reproduction of a gender-based system of relations at the most senior levels in organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-66
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical mass
  • Emotion work
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Gender-based
  • Masculinity/reason and femininity/emotion
  • Mothering
  • Senior women executives


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