Mentoring as Affective Governmentality: Shame, (un)Happiness, and the (re)Production of Masculine Leadership

Jette Sandager*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article contributes to current discussions on the effectiveness of mentoring as a gender equality tool, but also focuses on the emotions and bodily (dis)comforts mentoring produces in addition to linguistic discourses, thus offering a novel take on how the tool operates. Drawing on a case study of a Danish mentoring program aimed at establishing the organizational space of leadership as more gender equal, the article demonstrates how, in producing shame and (un)happiness, mentoring (re)produces leadership as an organizational space dominated by masculine norms and work practices. The findings of the article support literature arguing that mentoring is an ineffective gender equality tool. However, the article does not entirely discard mentoring for this purpose, instead suggesting that scholars and practitioners look to literature on queered forms of mentoring for inspiration on how to use mentoring as a tool that carries the potential of truly promoting gender equality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Work & Organization
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1304-1322
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 17 March 2021.


  • Affect/emotions
  • Gender equality
  • Governmentality
  • Leadership
  • Mentoring

Cite this