The Role of Gender in Modern Worklife: An Investigation of Gender Equality and Women’s Events within Consultancy

Rikke Sigmer Nielsen & Marie Elisabeth Simonsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the role of gender in contemporary work lifethrough an investigation of the Danish consultancy firm Prudentia. The focal point of the investigation concerns the way in which the relation between gender and work is constructed at Prudentia. Furthermore, the thesis aims to investigate why this relation is present and what the implications of it are,on an organisational level. The empirical material that the thesis consists of is two in-depth interviews,with Prudentia employees, as well as afield observationof Prudentia’s Women in Consulting event.Answering the problem statement,the thesis subscribes to the ontological and epistemological beliefs that involve a socially constructed reality. These beliefs are also present in the theoretical framework of the thesis which consists of three theories, each providing a particular contribution toin the analysis. Firstly, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’sdiscourse theory allows the analysis to study the interviews and thereby disclosetwo, opposing discourses, namely the heteronormative discourse and the gender-neutral discourse,which respectively influence what the two respondents say. Secondly, with Francis Fukuyama’s theory of identity, it is found that the relation between gender andwork is of great importance at Prudentia since they lack a strongcommon and uniting identity and that the Women in Consulting event is counterproductive for achieving gender equality. Thirdly, with Nils Brunsson’s theory of organisational hypocrisy, it is argued that the Women in Consulting event allows Prudentia to satisfy all their conflicting stakeholders, except for the female consultants who experience being treated unfairly. Finally, the discussion of the thesis is dedicated to reflecting upon what possible initiatives could actually contribute to improving gender equality in the workplace. It is argued that this could involve formulating a stronger company identity and values that unitethe workplace, changing their internal language in order to change how gender is thought of and talked about or alternatively, changing their promotion structure.

EducationsMsc in Business Administration and Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages111
SupervisorsThomas Lopdrup-Hjorth