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Doing masculinities in construction project management: “We understand each other, but she…”

Gunilla Olofsdotter (Department of Social Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden)
Lena Randevåg (Department of Education, Mid Sweden University, Härnösand, Sweden)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 11 April 2016




This study aims to examine how masculinities are (re)produced in project-based organizations. The authors first investigate the doing of masculinities in everyday work practices in construction project management. Second, the authors investigate whether there are opportunities to perceive, or do, gender differently in this specific context.


Data are elicited from a case study of construction project managers working on a infrastructure project. The project managers were interviewed through semi-structured informal interviews regarding their experiences of project work. The analysis was inspired by the competing discourses and practices of masculinity in organizations outlined by Collinson and Hearn (1994).


The results showed how multiple masculinities coexist and overlap in the project organization and in the everyday practices of project management. Both male and female project managers must adjust to these masculine discourses and act in accordance with a particular context. But the results also showed opportunities to challenge the masculine norms by doing gender differently.

Practical implications

The results of this study highlights opportunities for creating a more gender-equal work environment in the construction industry. The multiple ways of doing masculinity, by both men and women, highlights the possibilities to balance between doing it well and differently. Such knowledge can be used in policy and strategies for equal opportunities for men and women in organizations.


This study provides insights into the (re)production of multiple masculinities in construction project management. This study contributes to the criticism of the normative conceptions that have characterized the literature on project management. The authors add to the tradition of organization studies by arguing that the gender analysis of project management is important to increase understandings of how projects are managed and, in this case, how masculine discourses affect everyday work.



Olofsdotter, G. and Randevåg, L. (2016), "Doing masculinities in construction project management: “We understand each other, but she…”", Gender in Management, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 134-153.



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