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”Our culture can be described as ‘Management by excel’”: Challenging inequality in the forestry industry
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite the increasing proportion of women in traditionally male-dominated occupations, the Swedish labor market is still highly gender- segregated. An example is the Swedish forest industry in which about 90 percent of the labor force are men. The male dominance is identified as a barrier for development and has resulted in aspiration for gender equality. Social justice, increased competitiveness, and improved legitimacy as a modern and contemporary industry are examples of arguments used (Johansson). Earlier studies have found that the masculine coded culture within   forestry might obstruct development as well as recruitment of employees. The industry is described as unmodern and old-fogeyish which may result in loss of competence if qualified staff decides to leave the forest industry. Difficulties to recruit and keep staff are put forward as contributing causes to the later years increased endeavor for gender equality. It was based on such a problem description one of the major forest companies initiated their work with the goal of creating a gender equal organization.  A first step was to carry out a quantitative and qualitative status report of attitudes and experiences of employee’ working conditions and work environment from a gender perspective.  

Our aim is to problematize the gendered implications of employees and managers working conditions and work environment. The theoretical framework of ´inequality regimes´, as presented by Acker (2006) inspires the analysis. The concept was developed as a means of examining the production and reproduction of complex inequalities based on class, gender and race in organizations. The empirical material that is presented in this article is based on focus group interviews and a questionnaire that was completed by personnel and managers employed in a company in the forest industry. The paper contributes with new insights on women’s labor market (dis)advantage in Nordic welfare states by discussing how particular patterns of inequality are (re)produced by emphasizing a description of inequalities, based on a quantitative analysis, and the experiences of inequalities based on a qualitative analysis.

The results unfolds a gendered logic of the company that includes certain norms that are built on the image of the ideal, abstract worker, in this case a white male working full time, who enjoys hunting, has a hunting dog, feels at home in the woods and has an educational background in forestry. The organizational culture is characterized by a hegemonic masculinity based on rationality and competitiveness, a “management by excel”. This also highlight a culture where quantitative measurements has the upper hand and obstruct the possibilities to challenge inequalities. Such normalization of the hegemonic masculinity places women as something deviant, an exception from the normal. These masculine norms and culture highlights how gendered inequalities are reproduced in everyday activities, practices and processes in this company.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35313OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-35313DiVA, id: diva2:1273270
Conference
9th Nordic Working Life Conference: Creating a sustainable future of work in the Nordic countries, Oslo, 13-15 juni, 2018
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-21Bibliographically approved

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