Re-situating organizational knowledge: Violence, intersectionality and the privilege of partial perspective

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16 Scopus citations


Scholars have called repeatedly for more nuanced understandings of power and organizational knowledge, but researchers have yet to integrate available critical frameworks that could link these concepts. Moreover, existing analyses of power in organizational knowledge tend to focus on role differences but do not yet consider how social differences – including gender, race and sexuality – shape knowledge. Working from a practice-based approach, I draw upon standpoint theory and intersectionality to show how whiteness, masculinity and heteronormativity are embedded in organizational knowledge. I construct this argument using a case study at a US university known for having some of the best systems for building organizational knowledge about sexual violence on campus. I argue that the university’s practices – specifically those related to interpretation and definition – mask heterogeneity in knowledge across the university. I also show how practices give the university’s knowledge the appearance of neutrality and, subsequently, can unintentionally defer important organizational actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-285
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Title IX
  • critical organizational studies
  • intersectionality
  • organizational knowledge
  • power
  • practice
  • rape
  • sexual violence
  • situated knowledge
  • standpoint theory


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