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Dogs at work: gendered organizational cultures and dog human partnerships.

Charles, N, Fox, R, Miele, M ORCID: and Smith, H 2022. Dogs at work: gendered organizational cultures and dog human partnerships. Hamilton, L and Tallberg, L, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Animal Organization Studies, Oxford: Oxford Academic, pp. 442-456. (10.1093/oxfordhb/9780192848185.013.29)

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This chapter draws on research into the way dog training constructs the relationship between dog and human to explore how different organizational cultures shape dog-human working relationships. Using a gendered lens, it addresses the idea of partnership and how it develops through training in two contrasting organizational contexts in the UK: the police and an assistance dog charity. Both organizations recognize the importance of the dog-human partnership for dogs’ ability to work effectively and, in the police, for both dog and handler to be able to carry out their often dangerous work. Even though the work dogs do is highly valued in both organizations, partnerships are provisional; they only persist if the dog is working well and are often dependent on the formation of an emotional connection between dog and handler. While work is done to minimize the emotional costs of a partnership that fails, organizational priorities take precedence over the interspecies affective ties on which the partnership depends and which are shaped through the training programme. Partnerships are therefore controlled by the organization, interspecies affective ties are instrumentalized to meet organizational goals, and dog-human relationships only persist insofar as they contribute to those goals. This chapter asks whether the differences in the way the organizations construct this relationship and the work they do in cases of partnership failure can be understood in terms of their gendered cultures and the gendered work the dogs are trained to do

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Oxford Academic
ISBN: 9780192848185
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 15:15

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