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Non-decision making in the reform of equal pay policy: The case of Finnish gender equality legislation

Paula Koskinen Sandberg (Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 16 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to analyse an example of non-decision making in the Nordic tripartite policy process, namely, the reform of the Finnish gender equality legislation and the law for equal pay comparisons.


The paper uses non-decision making as a conceptual framework for qualitative analysis of the documentation of the working group that drafted the law for equal pay comparisons. The analysis focuses on the strategic responses used by the participants in order to defend the status quo and resist change in legislation.


The key findings are that the suggested law for conducting equal pay comparisons as part of gender equality planning in Finnish organisations changed dramatically in the tripartite policy process. Employer organisations successfully prevented the most relevant features from being implemented in the reformed law.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research indicate that there is a need for more research on the tripartite policy process and its implication on developing policy.

Social implications

This paper shows what kind of power employer and employee organisations use in Finnish policy making. As a result, the reformed gender equality legislation is a compromise reflecting the vested interests of different stakeholders. The findings highlight the challenges of developing policy in tripartite policy process.


The tripartite policy process and its implications have rarely been studied. The value of this paper lies in both originality of the topic and approach, and the societal importance of the findings.



Writing this paper was made possible by a scholarships obtained from Funds at Hanken, Finnish Work Environment Fund, Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and KAUTE Foundation. The author would like to thank Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for allowing me access to the documentation of the working group’s meetings. The author would also like to thank the reviewers, Professor Jeff Hearn and Professor Jill Rubery for their valuable comments and suggestions for earlier versions of this paper.


Koskinen Sandberg, P. (2016), "Non-decision making in the reform of equal pay policy: The case of Finnish gender equality legislation", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 280-295.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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