Koppman, S., Bechky, B. A., & Cohen, A. C. (2022). Overcoming conflict between symmetric occupations: How “creatives” and “suits” use gender ordering in advertising. Academy of Management Journal, 65(5), 1623-1651.

In knowledge-based organizations, conflict among interdependentoccupations can be exacerbated by the absence of a clear hierarchicalordering of these occupations within the organization. Moreover, givenwomen’s inroads into some traditionally male-dominated occupations but notothers, these workplaces are increasingly horizontally gender segregated. Inthis paper, we study how members of these symmetric and segregatedoccupations manage conflict in U.S. advertising agencies through the case ofrelationships between “creatives” (copywriters, designers, and creativedirectors) and “suits” or account practitioners (account executives,strategists, and managers). Creatives and suits are at the sameorganizational level in their agencies. While creatives are primarily men,suits, traditionally also men, are now primarily women. Drawing onparticipant observation in five different U.S. advertising agencies and over100 interviews, we show how creatives and account practitioners use genderordering to overcome jurisdictional conflict. These practices are grounded inenacting essentialist gender differences that transform symmetricoccupational relationships into hierarchical ones by embedding the genderhierarchy. We find that, while gender ordering helps women and men incross-occupational pairs get work done, it also reinforces women’sdisadvantage, because, for women, it involves low-status and emotionallytaxing scut work that it does not involve for men.