Overt and covert practices of gender (in)equality at the workplace in Scandinavian companies in Ukraine

University essay from Lunds universitet/Sociologi; Lunds universitet/Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: Based on ethnographic data, this study sheds light on gender (in)equality in Scandinavian workplaces in Ukraine. More specifically, the study aims to investigate how managers in Scandinavian companies in Ukraine present and legitimize company-practices in relation to gender equality. The study is within critical management studies and takes a Butlerian, per-formative approach to knowledge production. The main data consists of in-depth semi-structured interviews with 17 managers in 10 Scandinavian companies in Kyiv. This data is triangulated with participant observation of a networking event and office environments, interviews with NGO’s and a Scandinavian business association and website-analysis. In the analysis of the managers’ performativity, the strategically overt and covert practices within the companies are analyzed along with the managers’ unconscious schemes of perception and appreciation. The results of the study show that the performance of Scandinavian culture is productive in embedding gender equality in the company practices. However, the companies’ moral self-image inhibits the managers from identifying structural inequality within their workplace, and covertly, several policies and emancipatory programs are not implemented. Due to the managers’ unconscious schemes of perception and appreciation, they have gendered skill-perceptions, and they do for the most part not consider gender equality a pressing issue in the Ukrainian labor market today. Based on the results of the study, I argue that combining strategically (c)overt company-practices with unconscious schemes of perception and appreciation lays the ground for more nuanced studies of cross-cultural company-practices.

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