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Diversified Organizational Inequality Regimes and Ideal Workers in a “Growth-Driven,” “Diverse,” “Flexible” Australian Company: A Multilevel Grounded Theory
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-22, 01:40 authored by Elizabeth TurnbullElizabeth Turnbull, Melissa GrahamMelissa Graham, A Taket
Interacting global, societal and organizational contexts produce unique organizational inequality regimes. This paper aims to understand multilevel processes influencing gendered, classed, raced and aged inequality regimes and worker hierarchies within “ComCo”, an Australian subsidiary of a multinational company. Our qualitative critical feminist-grounded theory approach triangulated organizational documentation, employee interviews and open-ended questionnaire responses. The emergent theory suggested that ComCo’s globally and societally embedded neoliberal-capitalist–masculine growth imperative produced no longer simplistically one-sided, but multifaceted and diversified masculine–individual–white and feminine–collaborative–colored growth mechanisms, including ideal workers broadening from quantitatively extreme to qualitatively conformant qualities and practices, to constitute not merely unencumbered masculine, but all workers, as existing for company growth. However, feminine–collective–colored mechanisms, co-opted to supporting growth, remained subordinated to masculine–individual–white mechanisms constructed as more effective at delivering growth, reinforcing ComCo’s inequality regimes and worker hierarchies despite diversity initiatives. Organizations must identify and address processes reinforcing inequality regimes to genuinely promote employment equity and diversity.