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Gender-biased office culture in Croatian PR industry: why feminine sectors practice masculine patterns?

Mirela Polić (College of Design and Management, Aspira University, Split, Croatia )
Mirela Holy (VERN' University, Zagreb, Croatia)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 21 May 2021

Issue publication date: 1 October 2021




This paper aimed to research attitudes of women working in the Croatian public relations (PR) industry regarding office culture (networking, banter, dress codes, etc.).


This paper uses Bourdieu's habitus theory and analyses the experiences of women working in the Croatian PR industry with a focus on office culture. The study is based on 21 in-depth interviews with women working in the Croatian PR industry. Thematic analysis has been used to analyse data.


Although female employees (76.84%) dominate the PR industry in Croatia, the so-called masculine patterns still prevail in the PR sector. Results show that women are often exposed to gender discrimination but at the same time, they also perpetuate gender-based prejudices.

Practical implications

Employees in the PR industry should consider working on their own gender stereotypes that impact their patterns of behaviour. Relinquishment of the ideas of patriarchal essentialism would consequently change career progression opportunities, and it would particularly improve networking among women, which could lead to career advancement opportunities.

Social implications

Structural changes are needed in society to avoid women perpetuating inequality through masculine behaviour and unrealistic expectations that many women cannot meet.


To the best of the author's knowledge, this paper is the first paper that explores gender-biased office culture in the Croatian PR industry. In doing so, the paper also applies Bourdieu's habitus theory, thus contributing to studying cultural masculinities from a Croatian perspective. The paper also introduces the concept of gender-biased behaviour.



This research is the part of the study “EUPRERA Report Vol. 2, No. 2 ‐ Women in Public Relations in Croatia” that was done by authors of this article.


Polić, M. and Holy, M. (2021), "Gender-biased office culture in Croatian PR industry: why feminine sectors practice masculine patterns?", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 716-727.



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