Oxford Brookes Business School

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  • Birgit Den Outer

    PhD: Female employees in private security organisations: identity construction in a stigmatised industry

    Business and Management

    Oxford Brookes Business School

    Birgit Den Outer 17004719

    Mode of StudyPart-Time
    SupervisorsJuliette Koning, Karen Handley
    Research AbstractThe Private Security Industry is worth an estimated £140bn worldwide (The Guardian, 2017). Supposedly imbued with a masculine culture, employees of private security organisations have been frequently referred to as ‘mercenaries’ or ‘dogs of war’ who engage in ‘hypermasculine’ practices in environments characterised by close relations between men. However, in the increasing normalisation of private security, women are sometimes seen as able to adopt specific roles and foster positive relationships with local populations, and thus viewed as important to operational effectiveness. Female employees, therefore, could possibly be construed as mitigating extreme, masculine behaviours to enable a more positive sectoral identity overall.  My PhD research, in its early stages, hopes to investigate if and ways in which gendering processes take place by looking at the dynamic relationship between organisational identity and individual identity construction. It draws on an organisational ethnographic methodology to offer insights into how employees shape and experience their sense of self. At the same time, it aims to show the extent to which organisations, in an industry in the process of constructing its own identity, enable or hinder women participation.  With a focus on self/other talk, particular practices within two private security organisations will be singled out to compare and contrast different articulations of female or feminized security employees.