This article seeks to identify, map and understand the ways in which the everyday beliefs and practices of British central government departments embed social constructions of masculinity and femininity. It draws on observational fieldwork and repeat interviews conducted between 2002 and 2004 to analyse the everyday practices of departmental courts. We argue these courts have gendered practices and are ‘greedy institutions’. We unpack their practices of hierarchy, civility, rationality, gendered division of work, and long hours. We argue that these practices have significant gender consequence most notably women have few institutional options but to ‘manage like men’.