Conflict Research Theory

Decisions Without Hierarchy: Feminist Interventions in Organization Theory and Practice

Decisions Without Hierarchy:
Feminist Interventions in
Organization Theory and
Kathleen P. IannelloRoutledge1992

Bringing feminist and organization theory together with feminist organizational practice, Kathleen Iannello provides an insightful analysis that both illustrates and explains the successes and challenges facing non-hierarchical organizations. Decisions Without Hierarchy is part of an important and growing literature on “feminist interventions.”

If much organization theory begins with the world as it is, accepting hierarchy as necessary to organizational life, feminist theory, determined to eliminate gender-based inequalities, denies this assumption. Instead, as Iannello makes clear, feminist theory offers a powerful tool for thinking about and constructing new organizational forms.

Decisions Without Hierarchy is based on a two-year examination of three feminist organizations: a peace group, health collective, and business women’s group. From these case studies, Iannello constructs a model of organizations that, while structured, is nevertheless non-hierarchical. She terms this organization from the “modified consensus model.” Her case studies show that modified consensus does not give way to pressures toward formal hierarchy and that, therefore, the model merits the attention of feminists and organization theorists alike.

A core question for feminists is, how can the world be changed? Is it possible to create new structures that will not replicate the hierarchical, competitive, power-saturated institutions that have been so unwelcoming to women> In this innovative book Kathleen Iannello uses case studies of three women’s movement organizations to illuminate these questions, bringing feminist theory and organization theory together in a most fruitful way.

Hester Eisenstein, SUNY/Buffalo and author of Gender Shock: Practicing Feminism on Two Continents and Contemporary Feminist Thought

Table of Contents

Part One
1. The Starting Point of Organization Theory
2. Hierarchy
3. Non-Hierarchy
4. The Starting Point of Feminist Theory

Part Two
5. The Feminist Peace Group
6. The Women’s Health Collective
7. The Business Women’s Group
8. Summary and Conclusion