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Hardcover | Out of Print | 182 pp. | 6 x 9 in | August 1999 | ISBN: 9780262062053
Paperback | $30.00 X | £24.95 | 182 pp. | 6 x 9 in | June 2001 | ISBN: 9780262561402
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Disappearing Acts

Gender, Power, and Relational Practice at Work


This study of female design engineers has profound implications for attempts to change organizational culture. Joyce Fletcher's research shows that emotional intelligence and relational behavior are often viewed as inappropriate because they collide with powerful, gender-linked images. Fletcher describes how organizations say they need such behavior and yet ignore it, thus undermining the possibility of radical change. She shows why the "female advantage" does not seem to be benefit women employees or organizations. She offers ways that individuals and organizations can make visible the invisible work.

About the Author

Joyce K. Fletcher is Professor of Management at the Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons Graduate School of Management, and Co-director of Working Connections Project, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Stone Center, Wellesley College.


“In this extraordinary book, Joyce Fletcher opens up a completely new way of thinking about competence, skills, and organizational effectiveness. By bringing gender dynamics into the analysis, she surfaces deep-seated norms that are unexpectedly counterproductive, and suggests ways that organizations and the women and men who work in them can challenge the status quo to ensure a better future for all.”
Lotte Bailyn, T. Wilson Professor of Management, MIT, author of Breaking the Mold: Women, Men, and Time in the New Corporate World
“Perhaps, as Joyce Fletcher suggests in Disappearing Acts, it is because people who actually behave in the ways needed by such organizations are likely to be ignored and dscounted. They will be seen as 'nice,' 'helpful,' and 'concerned;' hardly the descriptors for the tough, decisive, 'hero leaders' organizations actually reward and promote. Fletcher puts her finger on the what remains a largely undiscussable subject in contemporary management: the types of organizations we seek to build violate the norms, behaviors, and power arrangements we continue to reinforce. Without polemicizing, she shows clearly why women cannot realize their full leadership capabilities in today's organizations.”
Peter M. Senge, MIT and Society for Organizational Learning
“Joyce Fletcher's work is a gift to both women and men who want to build more effective organizations. I wish I'd had this knowledge years ago!”
Jane T. Philippi, Co-Head, Bond & Corporate Finance Group, John Hancock Financial Services
“Joyce Fletcher delineates the emotionally supportive, sometimes selfless behaviors that create the social glue that gets tasks done and holds teams, even whole organizations, together. She then shows, with devastating clarity, how organizations ignore and devalue these same behaviors in those crucial moments when rewards and promotions are handed out. This book will open the eyes of those who did not understand these disappearing acts, and it will make those whose contributions have been 'disappeared,' feel—at long last—recognized and appreciated.”
Joanne Martin, Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
“Here is something truly new. This book can change our understanding of what work is and how it can be best done. It offers both a profound vision and clear practical applications.”
Jean Baker Miller, Director, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Stone Center, Wellesley College


Chosen as a finalist in the George R. Terry Book Award presented by the Academy of Management for outstanding contribution to the advancement of management knowledge.