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date: 08 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Gender is one of the most powerful of symbols; indeed, the very word ‘gender’ encapsulates all the symbols that a culture elaborates to account for biological difference. Therefore a symbolist approach is particularly able to grasp the ambiguity of gender relations, since the function of a symbol is to express a polysemy, to contain and to convey ambiguity. The contribution of organizational symbolism to the analysis of gender as a social practice highlights both how gender is ‘done’ at work, and how organizations ‘do’ gender. Both play an active role in gender performativity trough the interplay of ceremonial and remedial work underpinning the symbolic ordering of an organizational culture. Gender symbolism is maintained, reproduced and culturally transmitted through the ceremonial work that takes places within organizations, while remedial work restores the symbolic order of gender following instances when it has been challenged.

Keywords: gendered organizational cultures, organizational symbolism, ceremonial work, repair work

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