Critical and Feminist Approaches

This post will be broken down into two sections, firstly critical approaches, and secondly feminist approaches.

Critical Approaches 

Power, Power, Power is what it’s all about. It looks at how a theory can be a force that can emancipate individuals from these dominating organisational forces or considers how employees resist organisational dominance, thus encouraging organisational transformation. This topic is extensive, so please note what is covered in this post it not the be-all and end-all of this topic, we would be here for days if we did it all!

An important facet of this is the pervasiveness of power. It is a concept of power and is typically equated with the related constructs of control and domination. In an organisation there are three types of power that theorist Conrad & Ryan (1985) established, including traditional approach, symbolic approach and radical-critical approach.

The traditional approach looks at a power that is a relatively stable entity that people or groups possess and asks questions about the factors that lead to organisational power and the impact of power on outcomes such as job satisfaction and performance. The symbolical approach views power as a product of communicative interactions and relationships, it looks at how communication constitutes understandings of power through socially constructed organisational relationships. Lastly, radical-critical approach looks at the ‘deep structures’ that produce and reproduce relationships in an organisational life.

Traditional approaches is the most intriguing to me and its relationship with how power affects job satisfaction and performance. I am sure that at one stage in our working lives or another we have experienced a person in power that has used their privilege in ineffective ways. I sure have…

I always think to myself, you are so lucky to have this power to use your skills and make the right decisions to positively impact the business and you’re not…how is this fair? In a realistic sense, I feel this is in line with their abilities to cope with  pressure and stress and their personality. Ever met someone at work whom did not handle their power and pressure well, then at the Christmas party at the end of the year you see them in a different light? Stress and the pressures of making decisions that impact a large number of people can significantly change how the workplace functions. I know for me, my motivation levels lowered, luckily I put myself in the hard-working basket, and regardless of how I am spoken to, I work hard. However, this is not the case for everyone, I certainly did not appreciate being spoken to in this manner, and my respect level for an individual dropped, my work satisfaction was pretty much non-existent and to be frank, I didn’t want to be there. One thing I did learn, is how to not treat your staff. In my working life I have experienced many different managers and leaders in the workplace, and have therefore experienced first hand what its like to have a good and bad person in power, and to call it like it is good drives motivation, performance, loyalty and job satisfaction, bad does not.

This leads on well to resistance of power (how’s that for a segway?).

Resistance considers how workers can extort counter pressure on this exercise of power. More obvious examples of this include strikes:


Interestingly, as the advancements in technology have developed, this has provided a new forum for resistance. Counterinstitutional websites have shown that staff and customers are able to share their dissatisfaction with management, service, policies or procedures. Thus, internet technology provided a forum for widespread, public and anonymous organisational resistance.

Feminist Approaches

Beyonce- Feminist

Feminism has been dominant in the media recently with public figure Emma Watson’s extremely well executed speech at the United Nations in 2014.

Emma Watson Emma-Watson-HeForShe

Personally, I think she hit the nail on the head…anyway back on track.

There are a four different types of feminists.

Liberal Feminists: Is Emma Watson, but also: they believe that remedies for female subordination should come from within the system and women should work to gain their fair share of control in institutions currently run by men. Essentially believing that men and women are equal and that women should be given equal opportunities but must work for them, just like the men.

Radical Feminists: Not Emma Watson. They believe that emancipation for women can only occur through the destruction of male-dominated institutions or through the total separation of women from these institutions.

Stand-point Feminists: work to enhance opportunity for a variety of marginalised voices to be heard within a societal dialogue.

Post-Modern Feminists: attempt to deconstruct male dominated meaning systems in order to highlight women’s perspectives.

Feminism is still popular in current society but not so much in the workplace compared to the 90’s. There are women CEO’s and many women in power, for me 95% of the managers in my line of work are female, which is something that you wouldn’t see 50 years ago, we have come along way but we are not there yet. Emma Watson is working to make that change, go get them girl!


Feminism is more popular in a different sense, such as Beyonce:

Beyonce- Feminism

She stands for a different type of feminism, one where girls shouldn’t feel pressure to wear make-up, to be skinny and to quote her “aim to be successful but not too successful”. I am all for it, and feel that this type of feminism, that her and Emma Watson stand for is perfect, needed and welcomed.


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