Multiple institutions of diversity practices at Scandinavian building contractors
Conference contribution, 2013
This paper analyses diversity practices in companies in three Scandinavian countries, all countries with a tendency to collapse diversity into equality, gender and
immigrant integration. Our contribution is to map and
analyze company practices and establish the multiplicity
of diversity practice institutions in these three countries. An institutional approach to gender and equity including institutional pluralism is adopted. As empirical field an trditionally conservative sector is chosen, namely construction where we focus on workplace practices around management positions. While Scandinavia is
leading in diversity, construction has traditionally been
rather women- and diversity proof. The three Scandinavian countries represent national institutional set-ups that enable and constrain diversity in specific ways. Based on mixed qualitative and quantitative methods encompassing 93 companies, the result shows that the female and ethnic representation among CEOs, board members and boards of directors is still very low compared to other sectors. The Nordic multinational contractors tend to exhibit the lowest representation, and the Norwegian the highest.Four competing institutions account for this: dominant male, token, voluntarist and politically correct. The Nordic multinationals represent a renewed version of white male dominance, paired with the politically correct institution. The Danish contractors exhibit the token institution, typically with one woman on the board. Norwegian contractors are similar, since the board quota law encompasses very few construction companies. Swedish contractors exhibit most political correctness, building on around 15 years of modest growth in equity representation.