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Det osynliggjorda ledarskapet: Kvinnliga chefer i majoritet
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Organization and management. (Fosfor)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7878-6742
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Women Managers in Majority (English)
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on women managers in women-dominated organisations. They are leaders in organisations where the majority of the managers as well as the employees are women. In Sweden today most women and men of working age carry out paid work. Women’s salaried employment in Sweden, along with other Nordic countries, is well above the EU-average. The labour market is however divided both horizontally and vertically according to gender. Men and women tend to work in different sectors and industries, perform different tasks and hold different positions. In the public sector, 64 per cent of all managers are women. This means that quite a large proportion of women managers in Sweden work in the public sector.

The empirical material consists of interviews with managers, employed in the public sector, working with care for the elderly and disabled. The results were also based on observations of the managers’ places of work as well as written material.

The overall aim of the thesis is to: understand how gender power relations are produced, reproduced and changed through describing and analysing the working conditions of women managers, their room for manoeuvre, and how this (re)produces and changes in organisations dominated by women.

The studied organizations are large organisations that supply a vast number of care services. The managers describe their job as compelling and stimulating and they enjoy having the power to shape the organization. Results of the analysis suggest that being in majority opens up for various ways of challenging male constructions of management. The managers do not have to relate to pre-existing notions of management. They are comfortable in the power position. They constitute the norm for management in the sense that it is what they do at work that defines management. Moreover, they do not perceive themselves as part of a gendered category as managers.

The manager’s working conditions are characterized by large areas of responsibility. They are responsible for budget, staff, organizational development and day-to-day operations. Despite this, managers in woman-dominated operations are paid lower salaries than managers in both male-dominated municipality activities and in the private sector.

How can it be that such highly qualified and challenging managerial practice is not rewarded high status and high salaries? In the analysis a misogyny discourse is identified which exists at the level of society and is passed on to the organisations studied. The misogyny discourse contributes to devaluing and making women’s work invisible. In parallel with misogyny, there is also a discourse glorifying men. The glorification of men gives men in minority a dominant status above the women in majority. Power relations are nevertheless not only reproduced. The results show that the women managers apply both individual and collective resistance strategies to alter subordination. The prevailing unequal conditions are thus both reproduced and challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , 318 p.
TRITA-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2013:05
Keyword [en]
Managers, management, leadership, women-dominated organizations, gender, power, gender ordering, gender structuring, elderly-care, care for the disabled.
Keyword [sv]
Chefer, ledarskap, kön, makt, kvinnodominerad verksamhet, omsorg, jämställdhet, mångfald, könsordnande, könsordning
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-134379ISBN: 978-91-7501-905-5OAI: diva2:666584
Public defence
2013-12-06, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)

QC 20131125

Available from: 2013-11-25 Created: 2013-11-22 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved

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