Sex Roles

, Volume 78, Issue 7–8, pp 573–586 | Cite as

Gender, Emotions Management, and Power in Organizations: The Case of Israeli Women Junior Military Officers

  • Tair Karazi-Presler
  • Orna Sasson-Levy
  • Edna Lomsky-Feder
Original Article


Through in-depth retrospective interviews with 25 women officers in the Israeli military, we discovered that their experiences with power are central to their military experience even years after their discharge. The interviewees conveyed a dialectical emotional experience of power, interpreting it as a source of pleasure and empowerment and a source of shame at the same time. The women are made to feel ashamed because, according to accepted gendered beliefs, they crossed gender boundaries and used military power preserved exclusively for masculine use. Shame is a disciplinary mechanism through which women learn to obey normative gender arrangements and thus should be understood as an invisible block preventing women’s promotion and mobility. These dual perceptions show the inherent gendered boundaries of military power and women's place in the military power hierarchy. The politics of emotion, in this case, should be analyzed as an intersubjective surveillance and self-regulatory mechanism, which could illuminate hidden corners of organizations wherein masculine authority is preserved and reproduced through indirect and murky methods. Hence, women's perceptions of power are a key tool for understanding gender dynamics and may contribute to identifying and deciphering unspoken practices as well as helping to change them.


Phenomenology of power women’s military service Politics of emotion Emotions management Shame women’s leadership 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

With the submission of this manuscript, we would like to declare that the Israel Academy of Sciences (grant no. 494/10) supported our research and we have no conflict of interest regarding this funding.

We also would like to affirm that all procedures performed in our research that involve human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the national research committee.

Furthermore, Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in our study (the Informed consent forms were in Hebrew, the interviewees’ first language).

Finally, we assert that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere or accepted for publication elsewhere nor is it under editorial review for publication elsewhere.


  1. Abu-Lughod, L., & Lutz, C. A. (1990). Introduction: Emotion, discourse, and the politics of everyday life. In C. Lutz & L. Abu-Lughod (Eds.), Language and the politics of emotion (pp. 1–23). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Acker, J. (2006). Inequality regimes: Gender, class and race in organizations. Gender and Society, 20(4), 441–464. doi: 10.1177/0891243206289499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, A. (2009). Gender and power. In S. T. Clegg & M. Haugaaed (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of power (pp. 293–310). London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Azulai, A., & Ofir, A. (2008). A regime that is not one: Occupation and democracy between the sea and the river (1967- ). Tel Aviv: Resling (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  6. Bartky, S. L. (1990). Femininity and domination: Studies in the phenomenology of oppression. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Ben-Ari, E. (1986). A sports day in suburban Japan: Leisure, artificial communities and the creation of local sentiments. In J. Hendry & J. Webber (Eds.), Interpreting Japanese society: Anthropological approaches (pp. 211–225). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Bosak, J., & Sczesny, S. (2008). Am I the right candidate? Self-ascribed fit of women and men to a leadership position. Sex Roles, 58(9–10), 682–688. doi: 10.1007/s11199-007-9380-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Calas, M. B., Smircich, L., & Holvino, E. (2014). Theorizing gender and organization: Changing times, changing theories? In S. Kumra, R. Simpson, & R. Burke (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of gender in organizations (pp. 17–52). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Carli, L. L. (1999). Gender, interpersonal power and social influence. Journal of Social Issues, 55(1), 81–99. doi: 10.1111/0022-4537.00106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carreiras, H. (2015). Gender and civil-military relations in advanced democracies. Res Militaries (1), women in the military, Part One. Retrieved from Accessed 22 July 2017.
  12. Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  13. Cohen, S. (2013). States of denial: Knowing about atrocities and suffering. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  14. Connell, R. W. (1987). Gender and power: Society, the person and sexual politics. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Creed, W. D., Hudson, B. A., Okhuysen, G. A., & Smith-Crowe, K. (2014). Swimming in a sea of shame: Incorporating emotion into explanations of institutional reproduction and change. Academy of Management Review, 39(3), 275–301. doi: 10.5465/amr.2012.0074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Danaher, G., Schirato, T., & Webb, J. (2002). Understanding Foucault. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Dar, Y., & Kimhi, S. (2002). Young women in a masculine organization: Gender differences in perceptions of the qualities of mandatory military service in the IDF. Israeli Sociology, 4(1), 61–87 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  18. Doan, A. E., & Portillo, S. (2017). Not a woman, but a soldier: Exploring identity through translocational positionality. Sex Roles, 76, 236–249. doi: 10.1007/s11199-016-0661-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  20. Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109, 573–598. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.109.3.573.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Elshtain, J. B. (1987). Women and war. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Enloe, C. (2000). Maneuvers: The international politics of militarizing women's lives. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  23. Foschi, M. (1996). Double standards in the evaluation of men and women. Social Psychology Quarterly, 59(3), 237–254. Scholar
  24. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  25. Harris-Perry, M. V. (2011). Sister citizen: Shame, stereotypes and black women in America. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hegel, G. W. (1977). The phenomenology of spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Herzog, H., & Lahad, K. (2006). Introduction: Knowledge-silencing-action and what there is between them. In H. Herzog & K. Lahad (Eds.), Know and stay silent: Silencing and denial mechanisms in Israeli society (pp. 7–22). Tel Aviv: The United Kibbutz (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  28. Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Illouz, E. (2008). Cold intimacies: The making of emotional capitalism. Tel Aviv: The United Kibbutz (in Hebrew).Google Scholar
  30. Johnson, E. L., & Moran, P. (Eds.). (2013). The female face of shame. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Kanter, R. M. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  32. Kark, R., & Eagly, A. H. (2010). Gender and leadership: Negotiating the labyrinth. In J. C. Chrisler & D. R. McCreary (Eds.), Handbook of gender research in psychology (pp. 443–468). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Keshet, S., Kark, R., Pomerantz-Zorin, L., Koslowsky, M., & Schwarzwald, J. (2006). Gender, status and the use of power strategies. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36(1), 105–117. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Koeszegi, S., Zedlacher, E., & Hudribusch, R. (2014). The war against the female soldier? The effects of masculine culture on workplace aggression. Armed Forces & Society, 40(2), 226–251. doi: 10.1177/0095327x12460019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Loveday, V. (2015). Embodying deficiency through ‘affective practice’: Shame, relationality, and the lived experience of social class and gender in higher education. Sociology, 50(6), 1140–1155. doi: 10.1177/0038038515589301.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Lutz, C. A. (1988). Unnatural emotions: Everyday sentiments on a Micronesian atoll and their challenge to western theory. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Lutz, C. A. (1990). Engendered emotion: Gender, power and the rhetoric of emotional control in American discourse. In C. Lutz & L. Abu-Lughod (Eds.), Language and the politics of emotion (pp. 69–91). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Molm, D. L. (1985). Gender and power use: An experimental analysis of behavior and perceptions. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48(4), 285–300. Scholar
  39. Obradovic, L. (2014). Gender integration in NATO military forces: Cross-national analysis. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..Google Scholar
  40. Oyster, C. K. (1992). Perceptions of power: Female executives' descriptions of power usage by 'best' and 'worst' bosses. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 16, 527–533. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1992.tb00273.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Parashar, S. (2014). Women and militant wars: The politics of injury. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Paris, L. D., Howell, J. P., Dorfman, P. W., & Hanges, P. J. (2009). Preferred leadership prototypes of male and female leaders in 27 countries. Journal of International Business Studies, 40(8), 1396–1405. doi: 10.1057/jibs.2008.114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ridgeway, C. L. (2001). Gender, status, and leadership. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 637–655. doi: 10.1111/0022-4537.00233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ridgeway, C. L., & Correll, S. J. (2004). Unpacking the gender system a theoretical perspective on gender beliefs and social relations. Gender and Society, 18(4), 510–531. doi: 10.1177/0891243204265269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ross-Smith, A., & Huppatz, K. (2010). Management, women and gender capital. Gender, Work and Organization, 17(5), 547–566. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2010.00523.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ruddick, S. (1990). Maternal thinking: Toward a politics of peace. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  47. Rudman, L. A. (1998). Self-promotion as a risk factor for women: The costs and benefits of counter stereotypical impression management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 629–645. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.74.3.629.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Sasson-Levy, O. (2008). Individual bodies, collective state interests: The case of Israeli combat soldiers. Men and Masculinities, 10(3), 296–321. doi: 10.1177/1097184X06287760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sasson-Levy, O. (2011a). The military in a globalized environment: Perpetuating an 'extremely gendered' organization. In E. Jeanes, D. Knights, & P. Yancey Martin (Eds.), Handbook of gender, work and organization (pp. 391–411). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  50. Sasson-Levy, O. (2011b). From the military as a gendered organization to militarized inequality regimes: Research on gender and the military in Israel. Israel Studies Review, 26(2), 73–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sasson-Levy, O., & Amram-Katz, S. (2007). Gender integration in Israeli officer training: Degendering and regendering the military. Signs, 33(1), 105–133. doi: 10.1086/518262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scheff, T. J. (2000). Shame and the social bond: A sociological theory. Sociological Theory, 18(1), 84–99. doi: 10.1111/0735-2751.00089.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Scheff, T. J. (2006). Hypermasculinity and violence as a social system. Universitas, 2(2), 1–10. Retrieved from Accessed 22 July 2017.
  54. Scheff, T. J. (2014). The ubiquity of hidden shame in modernity. Cultural Sociology, 8(2), 129–141. doi: 10.1177/1749975513507244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sedgwick, E. K., & Frank, A. (1995). Shame in the cybernetic fold: Reading Silvan Tomkins. Critical Inquiry, 21(2), 496–522. doi: 10.1086/448761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shott, S. (1979). Emotion and social life: A symbolic interactionist analysis. The American Journal of Sociology, 84(6), 1317–1334. doi: 10.1086/226936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Silva, J. M. (2008). A new generation of women? How female ROTC cadets negotiate the tension between masculine military culture and traditional femininity. Social Forces, 87(2), 937–960. doi: 10.1353/sof.0.0138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sjoberg, L., & Gentry, C. E. (2007). Mothers, monsters, whores: Women's violence in global politics. New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  59. Small, M. L. (2009). How many cases do I need?’ on science and the logic of case selection in field-based research. Ethnography, 10(1), 5–38. doi: 10.1177/1466138108099586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sturm, R. E., & Antonakis, J. (2015). Interpersonal power: A review, critique, and research agenda. Journal of Management, 41(1), 136–163. doi: 10.1177/0149206314555769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Suter, E. A., Lamb, E. N., Meredith, M., & Tye-Williams, S. (2006). Female veterans’ identity construction, maintenance, and reproduction. Women and Language, 29(1), 10–15. Retrieved from Accessed 22 July 2017.
  62. Thoits, P. A. (1989). The sociology of emotions. Annual Review of Sociology, 15, 317–342. doi: 10.1146/ Scholar
  63. Turner, J. H., & Stets, J. E. (2006). Sociological theories of human emotions. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 25–52. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.32.061604.123130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Warner, M. (2000). The trouble with normal: Sex, politics, and the ethics of queer life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Yoder, J. D. (1991). Rethinking tokenism: Looking beyond numbers. Gender and Society, 5(2), 178–192. doi: 10.1177/089124391005002003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yoder, J. D., & Perez, A. U. (2013). Tokenism. In V. Smith (Ed.), Sociology of work: An encyclopedia (pp. 883–884). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  67. Yohalam (The advisor to the Chief of Staff on gender issues). (2016). Women’s service in the IDF. Retrieved from (in Hebrew).
  68. Ziv, E. (2008). Between subjugation and opposition: The dialectics of shaming mechanisms. Theory and Criticism, 32, 99–128 (in Hebrew).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Anthropology and School of EducationThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations