Sunday, May 07, 2023

Bamboo Ceiling Reframed: The Impact of Social Practices in Management on Asian Library Managers

It was such a pleasure to moderate a session featuring my friend and role model librarian, Silvia Vong.   Silvia and I are conducting a research project and it has been an eye-opening working with such a talented individual.   As the Associate Chief Librarian for Scholarly, Research and Creative Activities at Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto, Silvia has worked in universities for over a decade.  She's completing her Ph.D. research which focuses on the impact of neoliberal conventions and managerialism on equity and anti-racism work in Canadian universities. Silvia draws on the works of Critical Race Theory scholars, Postcolonial Theory, and Bourdieu to examine issues in librarianship.   Her talk is based on a chapter that is published in Libraries as Dysfunctional Organizations and Workplaces.  

In 2005, Jane Hyun, a management consultant, wrote a book titled Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians. Though the text was intended to “introduce” Asians to dominant management practices and workplace culture, the text was problematic in that it essentialized Asians, reiterated deficit narratives, and narratives of the “other.” In an effort to add another perspective to the issue of the lack of representation, Silvia's research was designed with a structuralist approach. Rather than blame or point to a group, the study focused on examining social and organizational barriers through a Bourdieusian and Critical Race Theory lens to identify how dominant structures exclude, reward assimilation, and build into a system, of invisible or taken-for-granted rules.   The talk's presentation slides on Bamboo Ceiling Reframed are here.  

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