Gender research can be a highly political process with significant impact, positively or negatively, on the researcher(s) and research participants. As a result there are key issues for consideration when preparing to undertake gender research in Human Resource Development (HRD). Gender research in HRD requires a mature level of researcher reflexivity in terms of personal understandings of gender; individual researcher values, philosophical positions and standpoints on gender; motivations for research; awareness of how gender research may construct researchers in their own professional settings and how research participants may respond to gender research. We contend that a process of researcher reflexivity, in critically reflecting upon and reviewing individual assumptions and standpoints, is essential before beginning gender research. Gender is a significant dimension of personal life, social relations and culture: an arena where we face difficult practical issues about justice, identity and even survival; where there is much prejudice, myth and falsehood, and where social sciences gender research is producing a relatively new form of knowledge (Connell, 2009). This chapter outlines key issues for gender researchers illustrated through research into gendered media constructions of women leaders. We introduce the importance of women leaders and gender aware learning and HRD and outline understandings of gender; diverse advances in gender research; consistency, harm, pleasure and power; participant-research relationships and the researcher’s position in gender research, by drawing upon our previous studies. We then present the key issues in practice, through our operationalization of a Multi-Stakeholder Framework for analysing gendered media constructions of women leaders. We utilize a mixed method design (Saunders, 2012) of statistical analysis of secondary data on women in senior positions in a UK region (geographies of gender); analysis of three Supplements of the Top 500 Influential Leaders via discourse analysis; a semi-structured interview with a media producer; group and individual interviews with selected aspiring and current women leaders and stages of on-going researcher reflexivity and accountability. We conclude with reflections on the constraints and possibilities of the multi-stakeholder framework approach.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Research Methods on Human Resource Development|
|Editors||Mark Saunders, Paul Tosey|
|Place of Publication||Cheltenham|
|Number of pages||464|
|ISBN (Print)||978 1 78100 923 9|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2015|