Women in leadership positions and affective work
Gender stratification and inequalities in organizations do not only indicate interdependencies with patterned social arrangements like payment and promotion prospects, they also wield a strong influence on individual behavior, well-being, and feelings. How individuals feel and behave at their workplace is shaped by a variety of emotion norms and rules related to social characteristics such as gender, position or age. A rising demand of affective work due to processes of subjectivation of work leads to a high valuation of emotions at the workplace and hence, feelings constitute an important benchmark for social acknowledgment of gendered behavior. However, women in leadership positions are confronted by contradictory feeling norms and rules that are associated with both, being a leader and a woman. This is often described as ‘lose-lose’ for female leaders. A consequence is a lack of institutionalized norms and rules that in turn opens up possibilities to create new structures. Taking these assumptions into account, the study deals with interpretations and experiences of emotions and affects of female managers in power constellations. More precisely, I want to investigate how women in leadership positions manage their feelings at the workplace. Thus, I examine how female leaders make sense of their affective work by conducting interviews with women from top and middle management positions within German companies. By doing that, I want to investigate subjective interpretations as well as their place in larger contexts of transformations in work and power structures.