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The Impact of Single Agents on Gender Equity in Organizations – The Case of Austrian Equal Opportunity Active Works Councillors

Manfred Auer and Heike Welte

Industrielle Beziehungen - Zeitschrift fuer Arbeit, Organisation und Management - The German Journal of Industrial Relations, 2013, vol. 20, issue 3, 179-198

Abstract: The aim of this article is to explore the influence of single agents on gender equity in organizations. In our qualitative study, we focus on works councillors as equal opportunity agents in large profit organizations in Austria, because of their unique institutional position regarding organizational change in the direction of gender equity. This study is based on the concept of social positioning within the theory of structuration (Giddens 1992). We organize our empirical material along Stones’ (2005) conception of the ‘quadripartite nature of structuration’, including external and internal structures, activities and outcomes. In the discussion of reasons for the rather limited impact equal opportunity active works councillors have on gender equity, we emphasize the constitutive approach of co-determination and a liberal concept of equal opportunity policies. Accordingly, works councillors broadly accept gendered structures in organizations and mainly deal with obvious, unfair (formal) procedures or individual cases of discrimination as the outcomes of these structures.

Keywords: gender equity; works councillors; social positioning; structuration theory; Austria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J00 J59 J70 J83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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