Dr. Jennifer Manning Wins Best Critical Doctoral Dissertation Award

27 November 2017

Dr. Jennifer Manning is the recipient of the 2017 Critical Management Studies Division (Academy of Management) Best Critical Doctoral Dissertation Award, the first Irish recipient of this prestigious award.

Double-blind assessed by senior scholars from the Critical Management Studies (CMS) community, Dr. Manning’s dissertation —titled Maya Women Organising in the Margins: A Post/Decolonial Feminist Approach (see abstract below)— was adjudged to be an “an extraordinary and impressive piece of work” that “makes a unique and strong contribution to organization studies/CMS”.

 Dr. Manning received her award at the CMS Division Business Meeting as part of the 2017 Academy of Management Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  Subsequently, her achievement was featured in the CMS Division Newsletter.

The Academy of Management is the oldest and largest scholarly management association in the world. Since its beginning in 1936, the Academy has evolved to an organization of over 20,000 active members from over 120 countries.  The CMS Division serves as a forum within the Academy for the expression of views critical of established management practices, prevailing forms of organization, and the established social order, all with a view to contribute to the creation of better organizations, more humane societies, and a viable world system.

Jen M

Dr. Manning graduated with her PhD from DIT School of Marketing in February, 2017, under the supervision of Dr. Paul Donnelly, DIT School of Marketing and Dr. Miguel Imas, Kingston University, UK. Over the course of her PhD, Dr. Manning was the recipient of a Fiosraigh Dean of Graduate Students PhD Scholarship (2012-16), the recipient of the 2016 Management Learning Most Thought-Provoking PhD Student Paper Award, and shortlisted for the 2017 Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Dr. Manning now lectures Strategic Management in the School of Management, additionally, she has taught Management, International Management, Entrepreneurship and Market Research in DIT. 

Abstract: Maya Women Organising in the Margins: A Post/Decolonial Feminist Approach

The work and lives of marginalised indigenous women in the Global South are located outside of the dominant Western discourse of management and organisation. There is limited empirical engagement with marginalised indigenous women in the Global South within the organisation studies discipline. As a result, we know little about how they construct their identity as women and their organisation/organising experiences in the context of their social, cultural and historical location. My ethnographic research takes us into the lives of Maya women community weaving groups in the rural Highlands of Sololá, Guatemala, and explores the everydayness of their work and lives so to document their contribution to the organisation studies discipline. In so doing, my research provides space for marginalised Maya women to voice their own understanding of gender, identity and work from within the context of their social, cultural and historical location.

Applying the critical lenses of postcolonial theory, decolonial theory and feminist theory to organisation studies, my dissertation builds a post/decolonial feminist theoretical approach to offer an alternative to the field of organisation studies as it currently stands, a discipline dominated by theories that are implicitly male/masculine, white/Western and bourgeois/managerial. My approach challenges an ontology of modernity and recognises different organising/organisation knowledges produced from the perspective of ‘Otherness’, and, thereby, contributes to the deconstruction of the mechanical transfer of organisation knowledge from the West to the Global South. Equally, my theoretical approach is built into my ethnographic approach to recognise the cultural, social and historical location of the Maya women participants, reflexively examine the self-Other relationship in this context, and address the complexities of positionality and representation.

My three-month ethnography finds that marginalised Maya women working together in community weaving groups have developed working practices that respect their indigenous worldviews and cater to the everydayness of being an indigenous Maya woman. The Maya women have reclaimed the value of community and collective action to address the challenges of living in the socio-economic margins. In sum, my dissertation demonstrates the knowledge and agency of Maya women and their capacity to create and organise.

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