Collective Endeavors to Address Institutional Contradiction between Gender Identity and Occupational Identity: A Case Study

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    Women’s presence in the labor market is one of the major institutional changes of the past century. However, in particular at higher hierarchical levels, gender equality still remains a distant objective. The ideal-type of the worker, manager or leader is this largely a masculine one, thus associating the related occupational identity to a masculine gender social identity. Thus, it can be argued that women in organizations can face an “institutional contradiction” between their occupation and their gender – i.e a perceived discordancy between their social occupational identity as managers or leaders and their social identity as women. Accordingly,
    I here seek to answer the following question: what dilemmas arise from the collective institutional work performed by actors facing institutional contradiction between their occupational and gender identity, and how are those dilemmas addressed? I propose to address this question through the analysis of a ‘discursive space’ composed of a women’s
    business network and the 14 firms that are official sponsors of it. Data analysis led to the reconstruction of three normative ideals, as well as three practical dilemmas and two tactics to address these. Together, these findings show that trying to resolve institutional contradiction
    through collective institutional work is a complex endeavor than can lead to what propose to call ‘ambivalent institutional work’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2015
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventThe 31st EGOS Colloquium 2015: Organizations and the Examined Life: Reason, Reflexivity and Responsibility - Athen, Greece
    Duration: 2 Jul 20154 Jul 2015
    Conference number: 31


    ConferenceThe 31st EGOS Colloquium 2015
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    • Institutional contradiction
    • Institutional work
    • Gender identity
    • Occupational identity

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