Men’s Anxieties and Defences Regarding Gender (In)Equality in the Workplace: An Object-relations Psychoanalysis of Organisational Masculinities

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12 Jun 2024

12:30 -14:00

Times are shown in local time.

Open to: All

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Room W2.01 (Cambridge Judge Business School)

Trumpington St



United Kingdom

Join our Organisational Theory and Information Systems Seminar

Speaker: Dr Darren Baker, Monash University

Seminar Strategy and International Business.

About the seminar topic

This article explores men’s psychic attachments to organisational masculinities in the context of gender equality initiatives in the UK finance sector. Deploying an object-relations psychoanalysis and generating interview data with 30 male executives and non-executives, it unpacks why and how men outwardly support but unconsciously repudiate workplace gender equality. We explain how this conflict indicates the presence of what Melanie Klein (1946) terms the paranoid-schizoid position. We examine 2 key unconscious processes of the paranoid-schizoid position in men’s accounts: gender-splitting, when men dissociate undesirable aspects of organisational masculinity, and projection, when repressed, negative parts of their masculine ideals are instead attributed to women.

This article’s contributions demonstrate how the paranoid-schizoid position is defensive, enabling men to articulate support for gender equality, but also protect paranoid constructions of organisational masculinity when it is threatened by women. Empirically and theoretically, this article shows how organisational masculinities are ambivalent, which in Kleinian terms underscores how masculinity has good and bad components that are constituted unconsciously through its relationship with the object world. This article concludes by drawing out the implications for (re)positioning men within workplace gender equality debates and activities.

Speaker bio

Dr Darren Thomas Baker (PhD) is an expert on leadership, ethics, and psychoanalysis. He is currently Assistant Professor of Responsible Leadership at Monash University. He lectured Business in Society at University College Dublin, and has held adjunct fellowships at University Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, and the Open University of Catalonia (Spain). Dr Baker has published in top tier business academic journals. 

Dr Baker read for an MA at the University of Oxford and holds a PhD from King’s College London. Prior to entering academia, Dr Baker was a management consultant at Deloitte, where he designed and delivered strategic human capital projects for FTSE 100 and 250 companies. 


If you would like to register, or know more about this event, please email Luke Slater.