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Top managers and the gendered interplay of organizations and family life: the case of Iceland

Top managers and the gendered interplay of organizations and family life: the case of Iceland

Title: Top managers and the gendered interplay of organizations and family life: the case of Iceland
Author: Júlíusdóttir, Ólöf
Rafnsdóttir, Gudbjörg LINDA   orcid.org/0000-0003-2662-5773
Einarsdóttir, Þorgerður J.   orcid.org/0000-0001-8906-0760
Date: 2018-11-06
Language: English
Scope: 602-622
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Félagsvísindasvið (HÍ)
School of Social Sciences (UI)
Department: Félagsfræði-, mannfræði- og þjóðfræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Sociology, Anthropology and Folkloristics (UI)
Stjórnmálafræðideild (HÍ)
Faculty of Political Science (UI)
Series: Gender in Management: An International Journal;33(8)
ISSN: 1754-2413
DOI: 10.1108/GM-03-2017-0028
Subject: Gender; Leadership; CEO; Executives; Organizational practices; Power relations; Kynferði; Jafnréttismál; Leiðtogar; Stjórnendur; Konur
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/1965

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Júlíusdóttir, Ó., Rafnsdóttir, G.L. and Einarsdóttir, Þ. (2018), "Top managers and the gendered interplay of organizations and family life: the case of Iceland", Gender in Management, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 602-622. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-03-2017-0028


Purpose: Iceland, along with the other Nordic countries, is seen as an international frontrunner in gender equality and equal sharing of responsibility for paid and unpaid work is part of the official ideology. Nevertheless, the number of women in leadership positions remains low. The purpose of this study is to analyse the practices that (re)produce power imbalances between women and men in business leadership both at the macro and the micro levels. This is done by using two theoretical explanations: gendered organizational practices and the interplay of organizations and family life. Design/methodology/approach: The mixed methods are applied by analysing 51, semi-structured interviews with female and male business leaders and survey data from CEOs and executives from the 250 largest companies in Iceland. Findings: The analyses reveal gender differences and asymmetries in work life as well as within the family. Men have longer working hours than women, higher salaries and more job-related travelling. Women carry the dual burden of work and family to a higher degree than do men. By questioning and attempting to resist the organizational culture women risk further disadvantage. The situation of male and female leaders is therefore incomparable. This is a paradox and does not fit with the idea of the Nordic gender equality of a dual breadwinner society. Originality/value: It is shown that lack of gender diversity in business leadership is based on gendered organizational practices as well as on power relations within families. These two aspects are mutually reinforcing and the originality of the study is to explore the interplay between them. The authors conclude that despite being the country at the forefront of gender equality in the world, neither organizational practices nor family relations recognize the different life experiences of women and men in Iceland. This is expressed in organizational practices and different access to time and support, which may hinder gaining gender equality in top leadership. © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.


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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher

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