Ligestilling på ledelsesgangene: Et politisk spørgsmål om samfundsansvar og lederidentitet

Marie Valentin Beck & Louise Sommerfeldt Laursen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis seeks to find out how a long term, explicit and collective wish for increased gender equality within management, can be met by a declination of the Gender Quotation bill as proposed in April 2007. We therefore study how the foundation for making a political decision regarding the Gender Quotation bill is formed and produced, and how this foundation furthermore constitutes certain conditions for managing. We carry out our study by making a discourse analysis. By doing so we place ourselves theoretically in the constructivistic paradigm, and therefore understand social reality as a result of social processes. As constructivistic poststructuralists we regard these social processes as being linguistically founded. We are thereby able to execute our study on the assumption that meaning is produced through discursive processes, and that this meaning constitutes what we percept as social reality. We have chosen Ernesto Laclau’s discourse theory to form our strategy for analyzing these discursive processes. Laclau’s discourse theory seeks to show how sense making takes place as contingent processes, and how it establishes discourses that constitute what we as subjects understand and carry out as social reality. As a result producing meaning is a matter of politics. By making an analysis of a limited part of the public debate as it is represented in the media, as well as of the Gender Quotation bill, we find three different systems of meaning, that all try to fill out the empty signifier ‘the cause of the lacking gender equality in management’. One cause is defined as ‘structural barriers’, the second is defined as ‘lacking feminization of management’, and the third is defined as ‘the lacking assimilation of women’. Each system of meaning – or discursive project – includes thus a definition of the problem, a definition of the solution and also a placement of responsibility for implementing a solution. On a society level the state is responsible for equalizing the structural barriers. On an organizational level the companies are responsible for feminizing their management. On an individual level the women themselves are responsible for assimilating. The Gender Quotation bill is being debated in this logic of problem-/solution definitions, and because gender quotations is linked to the equalization of structural barriers, the bill ends up being a question of whether or not the state shall take responsibility for the lacking gender equality in management. The declination of the bill therefore leaves it up to the remaining two discursive projects to implement solutions that bring gender equality to the management. These two remaining discursive projects are, however, related antagonistically. They are impossible to establish as social reality simultaneously – one will always be eliminated as the other is settled as a discourse. This antagonistic relation constitutes certain conditions for managing. We describe how two types of the female leader can possibly conflict with two types of conception of management, and furthermore how one as a leader are proposed only two different and gender bound identities. The thesis is finished by a conclusion and a perspectival discussion of alternative related studies, in what scientific ways this thesis can serve as contribution and finally how the analysis’ and results can be put to strategic use.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages99