Gender and the production of elites in the Nordic countries: new directions in research

Jorid Hovden (Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Elin Kvande (Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Bente Rasmussen (Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The paper criticizes current directions in research on women and management. The purpose of this paper is to propose new directions for such research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is conceptual and is based on a review of recent literature on elites and the gendering of elite positions internationally and in the Nordic countries. This literature is discussed using studies of changing power dynamics and the development of welfare state services in a context of globalization.

Findings

The paper argues that one needs to move away from the focus on individual traits and “female management” to study the processes and practices that (re)produce power differences between men and women in the organisations where they take place. Two contextual factors make new directions in research necessary. The first is the knowledge economy changing organisations from bureaucratic towards democratic forms at the level of production and the financialization of the economy centralizing power at corporate level. The second is the challenging of Nordic welfare states by globalization of the economy. The welfare state results in a “democratization of motherhood” that increases women's participation in the economy, but may limit their opportunity to obtain elite positions.

Originality/value

To understand women's exclusion of elite positions, new research should combine multidimensional analyses of gender and power to explore the symbolic connections between masculinity and “big money”.

Keywords

Citation

Hovden, J., Kvande, E. and Rasmussen, B. (2011), "Gender and the production of elites in the Nordic countries: new directions in research", Gender in Management, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 408-418. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542411111164902

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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