"Sailing twixt scylla and charybdis": Negotiating multiple organisational musculinitiesMaree V Boyle. Women in Management Review. Bradford: 2002. Vol. 17, Iss. 3/4; pg. 131,11 pgsAbstract (Summary)This qualitative study explores the intersection between organizational masculinity andemotionality within a pre-hospital emergency services organization. The existence ofmultiple masculinities within a male-dominated and emotion-laden organization indicatesthat men who work within this context are required to negotiate multiple forms ofmasculinities within heavily emotionalized organizational regions or spaces. It was found thatthere were competing tensions between at least 2 forms of masculinity within theorganization in question. While militarized and managerial/technical forms of masculinitydominate as the principal hegemonic form, a heroic and caring masculinity is also essential tohow the organization in question produces its key services. It is argued that forms ofmasculinity that are closer to the hegemonic ideal type are not "compensatory," but have toco-exist with other, albeit more marginalized, masculinities.» Jump to indexing (document details)Full Text(7016 words)Copyright MCB UP Limited (MCB) 2002[Headnote]Keywords[Headnote]Organization, Men, Environment, Emergency services, Work, Environment[Headnote]Abstract[Headnote]This qualitative study explores the intersection between organizational masculinity andemotionality within a prehospital emergency services organization. The existence of multiplemasculinities within a male-dominated and emotion-laden organization indicates that menwho work within this context are required to negotiate multiple forms of masculinities withinheavily emotionalised organizational regions or spaces. This study found that there werecompeting tensions between at least two forms of masculinity within the organisation inquestion. While militarized and managerial/technical forms of masculinity dominate as theprincipal hegemonic form, a heroic and caring masculinity is also essential to how theorganization in question produces its key services. It is argued that forms of masculinity thatare closer to the hegemonic ideal type are not "compensatory", but have to co-exist withother, albeit more marginalized, masculinities.
[Headnote]Electronic access[Headnote]The research register for this journal is available athttp://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/researchregistersThe current issue and full text archive of this journal is available athttp://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezp.lib.unimelb.edu.au/0964-9425.htmIntroductionThe study of the gendered and emotionalised nature of organisations has traditionally focusedon women. This growing body of literature indicates that women are responsible for the bulkof emotional and caring labour (Hochschild, 1983). Studies that have focused specifically onmen and emotion within organisations are hard to find. In order to understand fully how theintersection of gender and emotionality impact upon organisations, there is a need to focus onunderstanding how men experience emotionality within organisations, and how theirexperience constructs the norm for organisational emotionality. A useful place to commencesuch a study is within an organisation where men perform considerable amounts of emotionallabour.This paper therefore examines the emotional ambiguity inherent when men perform publiccaring work within a traditionally hegemonically masculine context. The works of Connell(1995, 2000) and Goffman (1959) provide a framework for illustrating how multiplemasculinities and organisational emotionalities intersect within an organisational setting. Inthis instance, the setting chosen is emotion-laden, and this also compounds the process ofswitching between masculinities. This paper is based upon a study of emotionality andmasculinity within an Australian public sector organisation, the Department of ParamedicalServices (DPS) which provides pre-hospital emergency care and transportation. Theorganisation in question is over 100 years old, male dominated and has both military and not-for-profit origins.With regards to the organisation under discussion here, the question that needs to beanswered is how male workers who engage in the "feminine" skill of emotional labourreconcile these tasks with the demands of a hegemonically masculine gender regime. In otherwords, how does an organisation juggle the tension-ridden co-existence of caring andmasculinity? Observational and interview data indicated that there were competing tensionsbetween at least two forms of masculinity within the DPS. As like many other organisations,militarized and managerial/technical forms of masculinity dominate as the principalhegemonic form. However, a heroic and caring form of masculinity is also essential to howthe organisation in question produces its key services. While this form is clearly moresubordinated than the latter forms, there is a constant struggle over what which form gainsascendancy. It is argued that forms of masculinity that are closer to the hegemonic ideal typeare not "compensatory", but have to co-exist with other, albeit more marginalized,masculinities.Organisational masculinity
The literature on masculinity within organisations has moved from a primary focus ondichotomous inter-gender relationships to a recognition of the existence of multiplemasculinities and the relation of various forms of masculinity to power, culture andsubjectivity (Collinson and Hearn, 1996; Kerfoot and Knights, 1998). Within organisations, ithas been suggested that managerialism is replacing militarism as the principal hegemonicform (Hopton, 1999). While most recent studies have focused on hegemonic masculinity asthe central phenomena in terms of gendered organisational culture, few have fully exploredthe complex and contradictory relationship between hegemonic masculinity and the existenceof multiple masculinities. Connells (1995) work has been especially instructive here,providing a framework for analyzing multiple masculinities. Recent literature on how men"do" masculinity in feminized organisational contexts indicates that men engage incompensatory gendered practices so as to "restore" a dominating position (Alvesson, 1998;Nixon, 1998).This study therefore draws on the works of Connell (1995) to explore how intra-genderrelations between men within an emotionladen organisation can be driven by a very virulentform of hegemonic emotionality that in turn supports and drives the dominant hegemonicallymasculine practices within the same organisation. Attention paid to organisationalmasculinity within organisational theory is a relative new endeavour (Kilduff, 2001). Earlierstudies of men and work in the context of the study of masculinity in the workplace indicatesthat the terms "work" or "working" and "men" are nearly always linked (Morgan, 1992). Thisverifies Ackers (1990) claim that the disembodied worker so prevalent in organisationaltheory is assumed to be male. This cultural construction of "organisational man" consists ofan image of the typical organisational member as affectively neutral, without work-familyconflict and favouring a hegemonically masculine demeanour. However, this is a reading oforganisational man that recognises the implicitness of masculinity as a basic feature of theorganisational ideal type. The masculinity of work and organisation is rarely made explicit(Cockburn, 1983). To counteract this there has been a move to name male workers as "men"(Cockburn, 1983; Kimmel and Messner, 1989; Connell, 1987; Brittan, 1989; Hearn andMorgan, 1990; Collinson and Hearn, 1996).However, as Morgan (1992) assiduously points out, bringing men back in to organisationaltheory is not without its difficulties. Paid work has been described as the centre of mens livesand, as such, is also the basis of dominant forms of masculinity and masculine identity (Ford,1985; Ingham, 1984). But masculinity is also the sum of what it rejects. According to Connell(1995), masculinity is defined in relation to femininity. Therefore masculinity is not onlywhat constitutes being a man (for example, strength, emotional control and an ability tocontrol the immediate environment) but also everything that femininity is not. For instance,the linkage between masculinity and paid work is in direct contrast to that of femininity andunpaid work. Paid work involves control over tasks, people and ideas, where one constructsthe world through rational action. On the other hand, unpaid work is associated withmaintaining relationships between people within the private sphere. The construal of paidwork as real work that occurs solely within the public sphere contrasts significantly withunpaid work, which is construed as maintenance work that occurs within the private sphere.The former is clearly visible within the public sphere; the latter is viewed as invisible andintangible. These dichotomies are closely tied to gendered ideological constructs ofappropriate masculine and feminine practice. What these dichotomies do not indicate is thatmasculinity is contingent upon the symbolic annihilation of femininity, homosexuality anddisembodied forms of masculinity.
However, the workplace is only one site where dominant masculinities are created. It istherefore erroneous to assume that changes at the level of work will create a destabilisinginfluence within current gender orders that privilege the role of men as controllers ofemotion. If anything, the change is occurring in the other direction. Women are increasinglyexpected to simultaneously behave like their male colleagues while bringing "special"qualities into the workplace that are supposed to "soften" the corporate world (Sinclair,1998). Therefore, Morgans warning about the contradictory nature of the relationshipbetween masculinity and work is heeded. To understand this contradictory relationship, aframework is needed to assist in the exploration of the conceptualisation and practice ofmasculinity.Connells theory of masculinitiesConnells theory of gender as structuring social practice assists in developing a workingdefinition of masculinity that accounts for both its complex and contradictory nature.Essentialist definitions that attempt to account for what is the "core" of masculinity are oftenat odds with each other, because there is no agreement about what the core is. Similarly,normative definitions recognise differences and offer a standard of what men ought to be.Semiotic definitions highlight symbolic differences through the study of masculinity incontrast to what it is not -femininity (Connell, 2000). Connell (1995) argues that anydefinition of masculinity needs to incorporate a relational focus on processes and practicesthrough and in which both men and women are a part.Connell recognises the existence of multiple masculinities, which can either be hegemonic orsubordinated. The essence of Connells (1995, p. 77) definition of hegemonic masculinity isthe:Configuration of gender practice ... which guarantees the dominant position of men and thesubordination of women.Connell acknowledges at least two forms of non-hegemonic masculinity - subordination andmarginalisation, which indicates that between men there are gender relations of subordinationand dominance. Gay masculinities can be found at the bottom of this hierarchy, what Connell(1995, p. 78) refers to as:The repository of what is symbolically expelled from hegemonic masculinity.However, it would be simplifying the process of subordination to the extreme to suggest thatthe gay/straight dichotomy is the only manifestation of intra-gender relations among men.Other heterosexual men are also excluded from the "circle of legitimacy", and this manifestedthrough what Connell (1995, p. 79) refers to as the "vocabulary of abuse". This raises thequestion of just what and who represents the embodiment of hegemonic masculinity. Connellargues that while most men do not actually practice hegemonic masculinity in its purest form,most men benefit from the ideology of masculinism that privileges men over women in ageneral sense.Therefore, Connell asserts that most men do enter into a "relationship of complicity" in thatmen can benefit from particular forms of masculinity that are constructed within theideological realm of patriarchy. This process of complicity occurs most blatantly through themarginalisation of certain groups of men. As Connell (1995, p. 80):
Marginalisation is always relative to the authorisation of hegemonic masculinity of thedominant groups.The emotion-laden organisationThe process of organising is an emotional process and organisations are ostensibly emotionalarenas (Fineman, 1993, 2000; Albrow, 1992). The emotionalising of organisations is acomplex process that involves the participation of all individuals, groups and externalinfluences within a particular organisational context (Ashforth and Humphrey, 1995). Whileall organisations can be considered emotional entities, not all organisations are totallyemotion laden. Whether or not an organisation is emotion laden depends on a number offactors, but for the purposes of this paper the most important indicators are organisationaloutput and how much emotion is explicitly intertwined in this. Is there a deliberate fosteringof emotionality through particular modes of service delivery, production or marketing? Towhat degree does the embodiment of emotion occur through the organisational person?The life-cycle stage of an organisation will also be a clear indicator as to whether or not anorganisation is emotion laden. For example, a major restructuring or downturn or uplift in thefortunes of the company will evoke strong emotional reactions which, in turn, will increasethe degree to which that organisation is emotion laden (Huy, 1999). In the case of the DPS,male officers perform emotional labour as a crucial part of their work, and this performanceis integral to delivery of services to patients. As well, the DPS has experienced large amountsof organisational upheaval, which has caused ambivalent and confused work feelings amongofficers. At the time, the level of turbulence within the organisation was extremely high, andthis has impacted upon how officers view their work and the organisation in which theywork. The DPS is also unique in that the kinds of organisational emotionality experienced byofficers is spatialised and regionalised in that there are specific feeling rules that govern theexpressed and felt emotion of officers. The best way of illustrating how emotionality isregionalised within the DPS is to apply a dramaturgical perspective.Emotional regions and the dramaturgical perspectiveThe concepts of frontstage and backstage emotional cultures are derived from Goffmans(1959) dramaturgical perspective. Goffmans concepts of front and back regions are used hereheuristically to further Finemans (1993) notion of the "emotional architecture" oforganisational culture, in which he suggests that organisations have physical spaces in whichdifferent kinds of feeling rules apply. The concept of emotional culture builds upon Gordons(1984) original conceptualisation, joining both Goffmans description of regional behaviourand audience segregation and the differentiation perspective of organisational culture whichrecognises the importance of sub-cultures. In addition, Hosking and Finemans (1990)differentiation between frontstage and backstage organisational emotionality helps toillustrate how a full understanding of the nature and consequence of emotional labour canonly occur if it is considered within the context of emotional culture. Therefore, emotionalculture can be observed within three "regions" - front or onstage, backstage and offstage. Thefrontstage sector is where emotional labour is performed. The backstage sector is whereinteraction with organisational members occurs and where emotional process work is likelyto occur. Offstage spheres are found outside the realm of the organisation itself, such asfamily or household.
There are three main gendered sub-cultures and regions within the DPS. The frontstageregion is the bulk of the interaction with patients occurs, and is also where most of theemotional labour is performed. The backstage region is characterised by the absence of thepublic. These spaces are inhabited by co-workers, supervisors and non-frontline staff withinthe organisation. The offstage region is found outside of the organisation, mainly within thehome and family.Observational data indicated that a significant amount of emotional "switching" occursbetween frontstage and backstage regions. Officers are expected to switch quickly from acaring, compassionate persona in the frontstage region to a more wisecracking, cynical andnonchalant stance in backstage regions. Observations indicated that there is considerablepressure in backstage regions for officers to adopt a tougher, less compassionate stancetowards patients and other officers.Research context: the Department of Paramedical ServicesThe site chosen for this study is a public sector provider of pre-hospital emergency care, theDPS. A qualitative ethnographic style study was conducted over a period of two years. Datacollection included 110 on road observations, qualitative interviews with 30 officers, morethan 500 hours of organisational observation and analysis of organisational documentation.The author spent 18 months as an "observer as participant" within the organisation, but didnot become fully immersed within the setting. She remained a "civilian" because she did notwear an ambulance uniform, and therefore was able to observe free of the constraints fullmembership would have brought.The DPS is a male-dominated organisation with 90 per cent of the shopfloor level workforcebeing men. At some stage during their working day, these men publicly perform emotionallabour. As part of their duties as ambulance officers, DPS staff are expected to perform asemotionally complex individuals while simultaneously adhering to a rigid hegemonicallymasculine code of conduct. On the one hand, officers are expected to display the softeremotions of compassion, empathy and cheerfulness in public regions while on the other hand,refraining from public expressions of grief, remorse or sadness.At first glance this would seem quite a contrast to the status quo, where men are less likely toperform emotional or caring work in either a public or private context, let alone within amale-dominated environment. However, this study indicates that the DPS expends aconsiderable amount of energy denying the existence of "feminine" forms of emotionalitywhile at the same time being highly dependent upon the expression of the same for its veryexistence.Officers themselves describe the emotional culture of the DPS as "macho", and are aware, atleast on a superficial level, of the role that masculinity and masculinism plays in defining theculture. Although Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) has been introduced and is usedby officers, a request for a defusing or debriefing is still viewed as a sign of emotionalweakness:There is a macho thing amongst the men and the women, and if you said to an ambulanceofficer, I want you to go inside to be debriefed, he would punch you.
Prior to the introduction of CISD, officers were subject to operational debriefings afterparticular cases. One officer explained that counsellors often paid little attention to the realityof shopfloor masculinity, and the ensuing tendency of officers to refuse to acknowledgebetween themselves that a case may have deleterious emotional effects:They talk about how the patient presented and this is what the outcome was. I ask, how didyou feel about all of this? Oh, were talking about feeling here. This is not good. Theybecome very uncomfortable.This quote validates my experience as an observer in similar situations at stations aftertraumatic cases. Officers appeared extremely reluctant to express any negative or "unmanly"emotion. In many instances, officers engaged in long bouts of "black" humour. This is not tosay that humour is not useful as an emotional process technique. However, humour appearedto be used as a way of denying emotional reactions to cases. Officers who engage in theserituals of black humour are not necessarily callous or unfeeling. The tendency to deny orsuppress feeling during work hours is something that is learnt very early in an officers career.The message both men and women within the DPS receive from senior officers can be verystark - "take it or leave it". This feeling rule is passed on from senior to junior officers at thescene of traumatic cases. Younger officers who are visibly upset or approach senior officersabout how they feel are given a number of signals about "not feeling". Messages such as"take it or leave it", "dont be a wimp or sook", or "if you cant stand the heat", all indicatethat it is not only inappropriate to acknowledge feelings about certain cases, it is dangerouseven to feel at all.When dealing with patients, officers are allowed to step out of the traditionally hegemonicframe within the confines of performing emotional labour. When officers experienceemotional dissonance or exhaustion as a result of the emotional component of the serviceprovider-patient relationship, the DPS had an expectation that an individual officer willreceive the bulk of his emotional support from within a traditionally heterosexual relationshipfrom the spouse. In addition to this, the DPS has an expectation that officers can easily slip inand out of the hegemonic masculinity characteristic of backstage masculinity.Multiple masculinities within the DPSWithin the DPS, at least five broad types of masculine subjectivities and practices have beenidentified:(1) militarized;(2) managerial;(3) techno;(4) hero/community; and(5) nurturing/caring.In keeping with the theme of this paper, I will group these categories of masculinities intotwo groups - the first group of categories exemplifies and mirrors a close fit betweenmasculine practice and ideal hegemonic type. Militarized and managerial masculinities are
not unique to the DPS. However, a newer, generational-based form called techno masculinityhas emerged with the advent of increased technical specialization and a push towardsprofessionalisation. In contrast, officers also cite the importance and centrality of a caring,community hero-oriented type of masculinity within the DPS. Both of these broad groups aredeeply embedded in the wider DPS culture. In terms of shopfloor practice, there appears aconstant tension between what is appropriate masculine practice and what the edicts of theemotional culture as described above dictate.Militarized masculinitiesThe modern ambulance service evolved out of religious and military institutions andpractices, both influences that are evident in many ambulance services today (Barkley, 1978;Haller, 1992). The DPS is not unusual in this regard as a strong military influence can betraced from its beginnings. The militaristic dimensions of the DPS include a centralisedcommand structure with a rigid chain of command:* clearly delineated lines of communication and authority;* emphasis on maintenance of the status quo;* a highly centralised system of operations;* promotional opportunities which are only usually available to members of the organisation;and* lack of flexibility when confronted with situations not covered by existing drectives, ordersor policies and procedures (Auten, 1981).In addition to this, there is close alliance between militaristic influences upon emotionalculture and the privileging of masculinist forms of emotional expression and copingstrategies. This alliance forms the cultural foundation upon which organisational emotionalitywithin the DPS is based. Indeed, it could be argued that the militarized nature of theemotional culture is the key to explaining why attempts at extensive emotional culturalchange have failed. These findings are similar to those of Barrett (1996) and Mills (1998).When problems on the road arise, officers explained that the militaristic chain of commandleaves lower ranking officers with very little room for explanation when called up beforemanagement for disciplinary action. Officers complained that because management tend toassume guilt prior to talking to the officer, the "offending" officer is alienated and left to fendfor him or herself. When problems do arise on the road, officers tend not to talk freely withtheir peers about the problem and what could be done to avoid it in the future. Becauseofficers fear being disciplined, they are less likely to publicly support officers who areperceived to be unfairly castigated.The most obvious manifestation of militaristic masculinity is the number of ex-militaryofficers that occupy key positions within the DPS. These range from station officer positionsright through to senior management positions. Officers interviewed were of the belief that theproliferation of officers with military service, especially those who had done a "tour of duty"in recent wars, had a significant impact upon the development of the organisation as a whole.More specifically, there is also a belief that applicants with military backgrounds were chosen
in favour of civilians because they were considered more emotionally hardened and,therefore, more suitable for ambulance trauma work where an officer was required tocompartmentalise emotional states:Ive had a fair bit of experience with the army, in a combat zone where you learn to look afteryourself. You can turn the adrenaline on and off. If you stay "up" all the time you become abasket case. Turning yourself on and off... it becomes automatic.Many officers interviewed with civilian backgrounds expressed a feeling of disquiet about thesignificant amount of influence militarism had within the organisation. At least one officerbelieved that senior managers with a military background were unable to totally dissociatethemselves from their military past. As the following quote indicates, he believed that thiscreated a cultural barrier between the heavily militarized higher management and the civilian-oriented officers of middle and lower ranks:The assistant commissioner was in the army, so he comes from a background of killingpeople. We come from a background of coming behind people like him. But he says heknows how this culture works. He doesnt. His culture and our culture are worlds apart ...This quote also illustrates the inherent tension caused by the mix of militarized masculinitieswith the more subordinated caring form. It also refers to the existence of multiple emotionalcultures within the DPS. Because the militarized form is hegemonically in the ascendency,many officers attempt to develop new militarized symbols. For example, the hegemonic idealtype of Rambo as ex-military man gone wild is seen as an influence within the DPS, wheremuch of the high adrenaline, high pressure, emergency work occurs on the street. Hence, forsome officers, the officer as community hero is not masculine enough, and a more aggressive,street-fighter kind of image needs to be developed.In order to raise their community profile, ambulance officers need to contend with the sheeraggression, authoritarianism and para-military practices of the police, especially on the streetwhere police are assumed to be in control. More recently, they also need to counteract thecharge that they are not as "manly" as firefighters, particularly in a corporeal and sexualisedsense. For instance, firefighters who work with the DPS engage in charity fundraisingactivities such as selling "beefcake" calendars. In comparison to other emergency serviceworkers, ambulance officers may be viewed as more asexual and gender neutral than policeofficers or fire and rescue workers. In contrast to the sexualised image of the firefighters,DPS officers carry teddy bears dressed as ambulance officers with them to settle smallchildren who are in pain or distress. Apart from developing militarized images thatsuccessfully compete with other street rescue occupations, the DPS has also encouraged thedevelopment of two other forms of masculinity - managerial and techno.Managerial and techno masculinitiesThe rise of managerial masculinity occurred during the 1990s, when the DPS engaged inextensive organisational restructuring. The major change that occurred involved the movefrom a community-based governance structure to a government-controlled bureaucratic one.This meant that a whole layer of managers was employed to manage the new bureaucraticstructure. In addition, the power of senior managers grew significantly, with severalmanagers in urban areas in charge of hundreds of shopfloor staff. Predictably, this changewas met with confusion and hostility from many long-serving officers because they believed
non-ambulance staff were making decisions that directly impacted upon emergencytreatment. Officers expressed opinions about the non-caring nature of mostly malebureaucrats, and their inability to understand the emotional demands of the job:I think that some of the higher bureaucrats have absolutely no concept of what it is like to behurt or need an ambulance. As far as they are concerned it is all dollars and cents andnumbers. And thats sad. I think we should go back to the idea where all the hierarchy shouldspend time at the coal-face and find out what it is really like.However, the most virulent form of masculinity that has arisen in recent years within the DPSis based on a technological focus to the exclusion of the development of emotional skills.This new form appears to be generationally based. Officers who have entered the serviceduring the past five years are more likely to have gained higher qualifications than thoseofficers who have been in the service longer. It is interesting to note that young women whohave entered the service recently are not placed in this category by older male officers. Olderofficers often referred to younger, technically-oriented officers as "techno kids". Olderofficers were often quick to dissociate themselves from what they saw as "showing off" orintellectual "wizardry". Older officers who are critical of "techno kids", particularly thosewho were trained during the pre-DPS era, argue that recruits are now not chosen for theirability to "care" but rather their academic skills. These officers are adamant that the "caring"component should be the crucial factor in choosing new recruits.However, there is a need to look beyond a simple reading of the techno form of masculinityas being separate because of the young man-older man dichotomy. The intersection betweenall forms of masculinity are well illustrated in the following example. One younger officerreferred to non-emergency work as "granny-busting". Others referred to these cases as"bumpers" or "geries". Officers who found non-emergency work tedious were more likely toobjectify their patients in this way. However, even with emergency cases involving olderwomen, younger male officers were observed to be emotionally ambivalent. Older officersview this redefinition of ambulance work, and the students eagerness to embrace technicalcompetency above all else as a cultural change that excludes and demotes the "caring" and"empathetic" skills that once distinguished an ambulance officer from a mere "taxi driver".This image of the new breed of ambulance officer as technically brilliant but emotionallychallenged begs the question of how this frontstage cultural change may affect the backstageculture. Given that the backstage culture is still one that is not described by officersthemselves as emotionally supportive, it is worth considering the possibility that the "new"frontstage culture may actually reinforce the worst aspects of the backstage culture. There issome evidence here to suggest that this might be the case.Heroic/communitarian masculinitiesDuring observations, I gained first hand insight into how ambulance officers are viewedwithin their communities, and what these communities expect of the role of the ambulanceofficer. Based on my observations of how people reacted when the officers arrived at thescene of an accident or at the home of a patient, the biggest expectation was that the officerswould "solve" their problems and act as "heroic" in face of disaster or personal tragedy. Ioften observed the relief on peoples faces and the general easing of tension when the officersstepped onto the premises. Many people displayed a level of deference in front of the officersthat is usually only seen in the presence of the "true" professionals such as a doctors and
lawyers job. In a rural context, this expectation is further exacerbated by the fact that ruralofficers are more likely to be "on call" after hours. When officers are out on the roadproviding services to patients, they do possess a status shield, which may offer them someemotional protection. The uniform and the air of authority and command, technical expertiseand the ability to "save" lives, permission to enter any establishment or personal space, andthe permission to touch, all combine to give DPS officers some form of status and authorityin the eyes of the public. While DPS officers may not possess the same degree of shielding asmedical practitioners or lawyers, officers are still in a moreauthoritative position than most interactive service workers. The "masculine" nature ofambulance work also serves to provide an emotional shield in that officers are free to bemasterful, competent and directive towards patients, relatives or bystanders who do notfollow instructions.In contrast to the flight attendants in Hochschilds (1983) study, there are situations whereambulance officers can command compliance and co-operation. However, the autonomy thatofficers experience on the road can dissipate once they complete their case and come onceagain under the "command" of communications and management. Therefore, this statusshield tends to diminish when officers have to switch to backstage militarized masculinities.Caring masculinitiesMost officers referred to the importance of recognising the physical and emotionalvulnerability of patients, and the need to address this in appropriate ways. Officers describetheir occupation as a "caring" one, and many cite this as a component that keeps them in thejob. How they define "care" nearly always involves the ability to empathise with the patientas well as providing "patient care". Patient care incorporates both emotional and physicallabour, which is similar to James (1992) definition of care. The differences between therational and technical focus of care in the public sphere and the relational focus of care withinthe private sphere are clearly gendered. As James explains, while the role of male carerswithin the private sphere has been recognised (Ungerson, 1987a, b), the ideology and practiceof caring as symbolic of femininity remains entrenched. For example, this officer indicatesthat although he "cares", he is still a man, and does this in a uniquely masculine way:To me, it comes from my heart ... Provide service with feeling ... as a male I just get thisfeeling that you feel strong about things, and once you know that is happening, I dont thinkyou cannot be genuine ...The emotional component of care is especially subject to a gendered division of labour."Caring about" is considered an essential component of "womens work" within both thepublic and private domains. Because this aspect of care involves the practice of emotionallabour, this distinguishes it from "caring for", which involves the physical and organisationalaspects of caring work. While on-road officers may acknowledge that the difference betweencaring about and caring for is an important one, the reality is that the heavy emphasis placedupon technical and physical aspects of ambulance work in training programs means thatofficers are trained primarily to "care forFor example, in cases that involve children, male officers are permitted to display a wholerange of emotions in public that they would not otherwise be comfortable doing. The
following quote indicates that, in the context of caring for children, officers are freer todisplay full range of emotional labour skills:With jobs involving children, you feel more protective towards them. If theyre sick theyvegot a life ahead of them and they havent had a chance.Within the DPS, the term "care" is particularly ambivalent. The invisibility of the emotionalcomponent of care work contributes significantly to the non-recognition of emotional labouras a legitimate skill. This does not mean that care work is unrecognised. At the shopfloorlevel, officers are quick to point out that care work is a skilled part of their work. DPSmanagers and trainers, however, are comfortable with the notion that care work is mainlyphysical. This is because this component of care requires the mastery of skills that are easilymeasured. Because emotional labour, which is a part of emotional care work, is not easilyquantified, it is therefore dismissed as an essential part of ambulance training curricula.While it is possible to rectify this omission by changing the curricula, it is much moredifficult to problematise the prevailing gendered ideologies of care. In the case of the DPS,there exists a considerable amount of ambiguity as to whether an explicit acknowledgementof male ambulance officers as total carers is warranted. That is, the service is comprised ofmen who not only care for, but also care about.Within the ranks of on-road officers, men in the service equate the term caring with emotion.Because of this association, male ambulance officers are in a unique ideological, genderedand cultural position. Caring is generally associated with femininity, privacy and intimacy.Men who enter female-dominated caring professions are more likely to move up the ranksand locate themselves in technical and managerial positions (Williams, 1995), thusreinforcing the notion that the "caring about" work is really a womans domain.Therefore, men in the DPS find themselves in an ambiguous position. Through being in therare position of doing caring work in a male-dominated occupation, they are located outsidethe traditional ideological and economic framework of caring. The public promotion of theDPS as a "caring" organisation illustrates this clearly, where men are portrayed "caring" forthe sick and injured. However, most official images of ambulance officers very rarely displayofficers in nurturing or "feminine" poses with other men, older women, or children. Eventhough less than ten per cent of the DPS workforce are women, they figure frequently in"caring" advertisements and official images of ambulance officers.ConclusionCollinsons (1992) work on masculinity and subjectivity in the workplace recognises thecentrality of work as a cultural marker of masculinity, as well as an important site for theexploration of the interconnections between masculinity, subjectivity and class. However,Collinson is critical of the "compensation" theory of work (Cockburn, 1983). This theorysuggests that particular kinds of masculinities, such as "macho" identities, develop as a wayof compensating for the "indignities of commodified and controlled manual labour"(Collinson, 1992, p. 36). If this theory is correct, then compensatory masculinities woulddevelop in other sites where men are similarly subjected to conditions not of their ownchoosing. It is suggested that while individual male workers may lead very rich and fulfillingemotional lives, they do this in the face of increasing pressure from within both public andprivate spheres to act as traditionally hegemonically masculine "men". This expectation is thebasis upon which organisational emotionality is constructed. The ideology of masculinism
promotes certain organisational practices that stymie attempts to de-institutionalisehegemonic patterns of masculinity. This is achieved through a devaluation of emotionallabour and the ensuing emotional process work, and the privileging of "individualised"responses to emotive dissonance. A collective response to certain kinds of emotionality, inthe case of the DPS, that is, a recognition that men are as emotionally capable of caring foreach other well as patients, is thwarted because it conflicts with the basic tenets of the widergender regime - men are not carers, and if they engage in public caring work, they need tocontinually reproduce their manhood in a way that disallows a challenge to hegemonicmasculinity. Consequently, the clash between the public "caring" and the private "conviction"is explained via an analysis of the interrelationships between organisational masculinity andorganisational emotionality.The ambiguity between what is emotionally acceptable within the frontstage culture of theDPS and what is not within the backstage culture is fuelled by the notion that men who carein public are required to engage in backstage compensatory work in order to avoid beingcastigated as not quite "man" enough. When officers find themselves in time and space that isnot constitutive of frontstage emotional culture, they are required to conform to masculinistcultural edicts. One of the main roles of the backstage emotional culture is to ensure that noslippage occurs from frontstage emotionality and pollutes the wider masculinist culture.Thus, DPS officers are denied organisational emotional support because of the gendered andideological notions of what a backstage male officer should be. However, the DPS reliesheavily upon officers ability to switch between hegemonically ascendant and subordinatemasculinities as necessary for the kind of emotional labour they perform.In conclusion, the "Scylla" of frontstage expectations and the "Charybdis" of backstagerealities create competing tensions for DPS officers. In addition to this potential "lose-lose"predicament in terms of individual organisational identity, the customers desire for a pureform of masculinity manifested through miltarized and managerial masculinities contributesto negation of the existence of multiple masculinities within this organisational context.[Reference]References[Reference]Acker, 1. (1990), "Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: a theory of gendered organisations", Gender andSociety, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 139-58.Albrow, M. (1992), "Sine Ira et studio - or do organizations have feelings?", OrganizationStudies, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 313-29.Alvesson, M. (1998), "Gender relations and identity at work: a case study of masculinitiesand femininities in the advertising industry", Human Relations, Vol. 51 No. 8, pp. 969-1005.Ashforth, B.E. and Humphrey, R.H. (1995), "Emotion in the workplace - a reappraisal",Human Relations, Vol. 48 No. 2, pp. 97-125.Auten, J.H. (1981), "The paramilitary model of police and police professionalism", PoliceStudies, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 67-78.[Reference]Barkley, K.T. (1978), The Ambulance: The Story of Emergency Transportation of the Sickand Wounded Through the Centuries, Exposition, New York, NY.
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Morgan, D.H. (1992), Discovering Men, Routledge, London.Nixon, S. (1998), "From lads to maverick geniuses: masculinity and creative industries in theUK[Reference]advertising industry", unpublished paper, International Sociological Association.Sinclair, A. (1998), Doing Leadership Differently: Gender, Power and Sexuality in aChanging Business, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.Ungerson, C. (1 987a), Policy is Personal, Tavistock, London.Ungerson, C. (1987b), "The life course and informal caring: towards a typology", in Cohen,G. (Ed.), Social Change and the Life Course, Tavistock, London.Williams, C. (1995), Still a Mans World: Men Who do "Womens Work", University ofCalifornia Press, Berkeley, CA.[Reference]Further reading[Reference]Fineman, S. (1995), "Stress, emotion and intervention", in Newton, T. (Ed.), Emotion andStress: Emotion and Power at Work, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.Hearn, J. (1993), "Emotive subjects: organisational man, organisational masculinities and the(de)construction of emotions", in Fineman, S. (Ed.), Emotions in Organizations, Sage,London.[AuthorAffiliation]The author[Author Affiliation]Maree V. Boyle is a Lecturer, School of Management, University of Queensland, Brisbane,Queensland, Australia.