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Disappearing Acts: Gender, Power, and Relational Practice at Work Paperback – January 22, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this extraordinary book, Joyce Fletcher opens up a completely new way of thinking about competence, skills, and organizational effectiveness. By bringing gender dynamics into the analysis, she surfaces deep-seated norms that are unexpectedly counterproductive, and suggests ways that organizations and the women and men who work in them can challenge the status quo to ensure a better future for all.

(Lotte Bailyn, T. Wilson Professor of Management, MIT, author of Breaking the Mold: Women, Men, and Time in the New Corporate World)

Perhaps, as Joyce Fletcher suggests in Disappearing Acts, it is because people who actually behave in the ways needed by such organizations are likely to be ignored and dscounted. They will be seen as 'nice,' 'helpful,' and 'concerned;' hardly the descriptors for the tough, decisive, 'hero leaders' organizations actually reward and promote. Fletcher puts her finger on the what remains a largely undiscussable subject in contemporary management: the types of organizations we seek to build violate the norms, behaviors, and power arrangements we continue to reinforce. Without polemicizing, she shows clearly why women cannot realize their full leadership capabilities in today's organizations.

(Peter M. Senge, MIT and Society for Organizational Learning)

Joyce Fletcher's work is a gift to both women and men who want to build more effective organizations. I wish I'd had this knowledge years ago!

(Jane T. Philippi, Co-Head, Bond & Corporate Finance Group, John Hancock Financial Services)

Joyce Fletcher delineates the emotionally supportive, sometimes selfless behaviors that create the social glue that gets tasks done and holds teams, even whole organizations, together. She then shows, with devastating clarity, how organizations ignore and devalue these same behaviors in those crucial moments when rewards and promotions are handed out. This book will open the eyes of those who did not understand these disappearing acts, and it will make those whose contributions have been 'disappeared,' feel -- at long last -- recognized and appreciated.

(Joanne Martin, Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

Here is something truly new. This book can change our understanding of what work is and how it can be best done. It offers both a profound vision and clear practical applications.

(Jean Baker Miller, Director, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Stone Center, Wellesley College)

About the Author

Joyce K. Fletcher is Professor of Management at the Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons Graduate School of Management, and Co-director of Working Connections Project, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Stone Center, Wellesley College.

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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; New Ed edition (January 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262561409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262561402
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book contributes to our understanding of gender and work, and this is important. But I want to draw attention to this book's more general value for anyonet concerned to understand the changing nature of work in our times.
Today, as more and more work situations involve knowledge-intensive, fluid environments where the old principles of command-and-control are ineffective, those of us connected to such environments are scrambling to understand how to achieve effective performance in a game where the only thing we know about the rules is that the old rules don't apply. In this scramble, we are continually brought back to the most fundamental question of organizing: what actions produce value; what actions are irerelevant to or destructive of value? Dr. Fletcher's book has the potential be important in helping us to act purposefully and successfully to create effective systems in this turbulant environment.
What we see as `real work' reflects only a portion of the work-related activity in organizations. For the most part, it reflects the portion that was of interest to the employers who created the industrial system of the early part of this century. As we face the challenges of knowledge-intensive work in fluid, underdetermined and rapidly changing environments, we are being forced to create another reality of work. The critical factors for working successfully simply do not lie within the area lit by the spotlight of industrial reality. But how do we take off blinders we have worn for a century to see things differently?
I can think of no better way than to challenge our thinking with explorations of what, for lack of a better term, I might call alternate realities. Dr. Fletcher's book is such an example.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'll start by saying this was required reading for an MBA class, so I didn't read it out of personal interest. The author's study has some interesting concepts regarding the unrecognized, therefore uncompensated, efforts of women (most women, and some men) in the workplace and their positive impact on coworkers, teams, projects, etc. However, I found the book difficult to read, not becasue it was poorly written or anything along those lines, but the book is a narrative of an academic study and it would be difficult to make it exciting at all.
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Format: Paperback
I recommend this often. Fletcher opens our eyes (those of us that had them closed anyway) to deeply ingrained biases that unfortunately go untested in the corporate world vis-a-vis gender equality. I was only dissappointed that she implicitly seems to argue that the old male-oriented structures in the workplace be revamped to allow room for women at work, rather than offering a completely "new" model of workplace democracy more in tune with our times.
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Disappearing Acts examines organizations from an important - but largely overlooked ("disappeared") - perspective: the relational practices that bond individuals together into teams, that glue organizations together and that create communities out of mere collections of people. It is a clearly written, Incisive, and provocative book that should cause readers to think anew about what is - and what should be - truly valued and supported in organizations. As a professor of business who focuses on conflict management, this book has influenced my own thinking, writing and teaching in a number of important ways.
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Format: Paperback
I was at a talk with Peter Senge and heard him recommend this book as a good read on women in the organizations. Getting it now.. will update later.
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