Miles of Pipeline, Millimetres of Pool: Cognitive limitations and possibilities in managerial views on promoting gender equality in the IT sector

Chris Mathieu

Research output: Working paperResearch

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This paper examines how basic cognitive processes lead to the non-recognition of processes that lead to or sustain gender inequality in the Information technology sector. The paper is based on empirical research carried out in Sweden and Ireland from 2001-2004. The central thesis is that "delusions" about gender equality in the IT sector are sustained by positional factors (governing what one can see from a vantage point and what type of data one can, and one is encouraged to, gather and process); ideological factors (how information is "fit" into pre-existing frameworks to which one has political or organizational commitments) and more rudimentary processes of "optical socialization" (Zerubavel) and "good reasons for holding false beliefs" (Boudon). A series of "delusions" found in empirical research are described and analysed. The paper concludes by sketching out how such cognitive hindrances and barriers can be overcome within organizations, and how this could lead to a greater recognition of the processes facilitating or causing gender inequality in a branch that frequently sees itself as "gender neutral" as well as measures to actively promote gender equality. Keywords: gender inequality, Information Technology, management, delusions, cognition
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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