Learning, compliance and gender in public management

Fenwick, John and McMillan, Janice (2008) Learning, compliance and gender in public management. Public Policy and Administration, 23 (3). pp. 247-261. ISSN 0952-0767

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0952076708089975


This article offers a critical perspective on the ways in which the learning process in public organizations may be influenced by gender. The discussion considers the difference between the direct impact of gender differences on learning and the indirect influence of gender when mediated through other variables including structure, culture, hierarchy and status. Based on qualitative interviews with a group of public sector managers, the discussion finds no grounds for concluding that learning in their organizations is directly gendered, in the sense of being systematically defined or structured specifically in relation to gender. However, there were powerful indications that gender may work alongside other factors — particularly culture and hierarchy — in shaping the patterns of learning within public sector organizations. The variables of hierarchy, status, culture, power and personal networks impact significantly on how learning takes place and upon what is learned, and the importance of gender lies in its complex relationship with these and other factors. The discussion as a whole is framed with reference to the prescriptive agenda of public sector `modernization' and it is suggested that such compliance may not be conducive to learning in public organizations. Indeed, it may undermine genuine organizational development and impact negatively upon the ethos of public service.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: gender, organizational learning, public management, public services
Subjects: N200 Management studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2009 12:10
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 10:05
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3189

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