Kanter Revisited: Gender, Power and (In)Visibility


  • The authors are listed in alphabetical order as they are equal contributors.

email: r.simpson@brunel.ac.uk


This paper revisits Kanter's (1977) seminal work Men and Women of the Corporation, rereading her account of numerical advantage and disadvantage through a poststructuralist lens which exposes hidden dimensions of gendered power. This lens is captured in the ‘(In)visibility Vortex’ (Lewis and Simpson, 2010) which highlights struggles and tensions around the norm through processes of preservation and concealment within the norm as well as dynamics of revealing, exposure and disappearance as features of the margins. The study draws on developments in feminist theorizing, specially around visibility, invisibility and power, to facilitate this rereading. In so doing, the author demonstrate that while Kanter retreated from explanations based on the gendering of organizations or from recognition of gendered power, these dynamics can be identified in her text. The authors suggest that rereading classic texts can surface dimensions of organizations that have contemporary significance and can inform future research.