Journal Article

From the cocoon to 'la chape de plomb': The birth and persistence of silence around sexism in academia


Drawing on narrative accounts of French business school staff and faculty about their experiences and observations of actions taken by different organizational actors in response to a trigger event, we theorize the intricate connections between organizational practices conducive to sexism and the persistence of silence around such practices. Specifically, empirical investigation demonstrates how managerial practices such as the allocation of organizational tasks and valorization of individual contributions prompt organizational members to assume a variety of stances toward gender issues. The enactment of these stances in various interactions provokes organizational counteraction in the form of sanctions, the establishment of a hermetic and formulaic communication regime, and public reinforcement of meritocratic narratives. This results in silence around organizational sexism manifesting as a collective and individual inability and unwillingness to react. This study contributes to a broader and rapidly developing literature on sexism in academic settings and the phenomenon of silencing in organizations by shedding light on the mechanisms of its persistence.

Attached files


Shymko, Yuliya
Vershinina, Natalia
Daskalaki, Maria
Azevedo, Guilherme
Quental, Camilla

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-06-06

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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