Disembodied Senior Managers: The Perspective of Male Senior Managers in an Australian Hospitality Organisation

  • Mahan PoorhosseinzadehEmail author
  • Glenda Strachan
  • Kaye Broadbent


This chapter focuses on the underrepresentation of women in senior management positions in one Australian organisation. The study is theoretically informed by Joan Acker’s concept of the “disembodied worker”, which she defines as an unencumbered worker who is totally dedicated to work and with no responsibilities for family care. The characteristics of the “disembodied worker” are abstract and neutral in the organisational text; however, some authors have suggested that it resembles male rather than female workers. This study draws on semi-structured interviews with nine male senior managers in one hospitality organisation (called Hospitality) in Australia and uses a critical social constructivist philosophy and feminist lens. This chapter addresses the following questions: How do men in senior positions (re)construct the ideal candidate for managerial position and how do their own experiences shape this construction? The interviews revealed that while organisations are defined as sex-neutral, a specific masculine image of the “disembodied worker” exists which continuously (re)constructs and reinforces the masculine image of senior roles which makes men seem more legitimate as leaders than women.


Male Senior Managers Disembodied Worker Senior Roles Senior Positions Unencumbered Worker 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahan Poorhosseinzadeh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Glenda Strachan
    • 2
  • Kaye Broadbent
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Work, Organisation and WellbeingGriffith Business SchoolBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Employment Relations and Human ResourcesGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Arts and Social ScienceUTSUltimoAustralia

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