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nothing personal - management and gender in the newsroom
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This is a discourse study concerning newsrooms, exploring the concepts of management and gender when connected. When women managers are portrayed or female leadership discussed in media output gender is more often put forward as making a difference. Research on management and newsrooms respectively has also discussed gender and the possible difference it makes or not. When considered making a difference qualitative aspects are presented. Female-style leadership has been thought to be cooperative rather than competitive, dialogical rather than based on giving orders, seeing your co-workers as friends rather than colleagues. The latter style has been thought to be typically male. This rationale is produced at a number of discursive sites such as varying media platforms. In this study ten newsrooms managers are interviewed on management, gender and being yourself to cover the research questions (a) if concepts of gender and management style are, or are not, discursively coupled in the newsroom, (b) if there is support or refutation for the existence of typical genderised newsroom leadership styles, and (c) what discursive patterns of gender and management occur. Lastly, possible effects of discourses on gender and management qualities will be discussed. The theoretical backdrop is newsroom and management ethnography and gender theory. Methods used are semi structured interviews and Focauldian discourse analysis based on Barthesian and Saussurian theories. The material will also to some extent be discussed from the perspective of constructivist psychology. In its conclusion this study explores how, in a micro sample of media work environment, ideas on difference come into conflict with the concept of being yourself.

The findings of this study challenge any clean cut separation between what has been thought of as female and male leadership style. The characteristics of these styles are used alternately depending on situation and used alternately by the same individual. The findings contradict the supposition of there being specific female and male management styles. The most interesting finding is the usage of a tactic in which gender stereotypes are reversed, a counter posing of typical dichotomies while still staying within the dualistic form. This was most apparent when the respondents talked about their observations of others. When talking about themselves these managers’ accounts were more likely to shatter the dichotomist order. This exposed a tension between a should and an is. Paradoxes and difficulties between gender expectations and sense of self surfaced. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 73 p.
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104696OAI: diva2:725154
Available from: 2014-06-27 Created: 2014-06-15 Last updated: 2014-06-27Bibliographically approved

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