Career development and the vitality of academic women in an era of intensifying globalisation
John Asirvatham, S. R. (2016). Career development and the vitality of academic women in an era of intensifying globalisation (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10813
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10813
Globalisation is a term used by authors such Korten (2015b), Klein (2016), Kelsey (2016a), Maxton (2011), Stiglitz (2014) and Shiva (2016) to denote the greater integration and intensification of capitalist ideas globally. The form of globalisation under critique has been characterised by Seo and Creed (2002) as embedding hegemonic control, ultimately achieving what Kobrin (2009) calls a post-Westphalia world order. This order is sustained by a form of institutional logics critics find rife with contradiction and paradoxes. Gender dynamics are crucially entwined with globalisation. From my review of the literature, I came to think neoliberal feminist ideals and projects have rewarded a limited number of women at the cost of the wellbeing of people and planet. To target simple equality between men and women seemed increasingly inadequate for transformation of the trajectory of globalisation if the thriving of all humanity and restoration of Earth is to be achieved. To enquire more deeply into this reflection, I shaped my fieldwork around conversations with twelve academic women who hold senior positions in business or management schools in the North Island of New Zealand. New Zealand has been at the vanguard of neoliberal [re]organisation and, given its size and seeming geographic isolation, curiously influential in global affairs. From a rich set of literature, field-notes, stories, and self-reflective journaling, I crafted five themes for further reflection: i) career depictions, ii) vitality, iii) radical feminist theory, iv) globalisation, and v) critic and conscience of society. Examined separately these themes allowed for a particular view into aspects of participants’ lives with confluences and divergences of ideas within and among the women, and between their experiences and the literature. Seen together our conversations provide insights into the complexity of women’s lives, their commitment to their values, the opportunities and constraints of an academic career, and their hopes for the future. I examined what dynamics were reported as enhancing or diminishing their vitality. Most participants implied a commitment to women’s authority that I would call ‘feminist’ - some more explicitly than others. Notable was the fluid movement from neoliberal observations and strategies for their own careers and a more radical analyses brought to reflection on the seeming intractability of many issues that concern them. My research contribution through this work covers overlapping fields of organisational and critical management studies. Through the Education Act (1989), New Zealand public universities are mandated to contribute as a critic and conscience of society. A similar mandate is variously expressed by universities across the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. To enact such a mandate, scholars need to be critically aware of self and one’s potential as an influence on the future. My participants showed a great sensitivity to this self-awareness and expressed a commitment to such service as integral to a career that enhances vitality, self, others, and Earth. Their insights, many of which I would call feminist, hold much of value. I advocate for greater inclusion of radical feminist orientations to teaching and research for a transformation of the trajectory of globalisation for the betterment of society. To do so would strengthen the position of scholars as always activist, unable to position our influence as politically neutral, and more conscious of the part we play in the preservation or transformation of the degrading dynamics of globalisation.
University of Waikato
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