Knowledge work: gender-blind or gender-biased?
Truss, C. and Conway, Edel and d'Amato, A. and Kelly, G. and Monks, K. and Hannon, E. and Flood, P.C. (2012) Knowledge work: gender-blind or gender-biased? Work, Employment and Society, 26 (5). pp. 735-754. ISSN 0950-0170
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Knowledge-intensive firms (KIFs) have been the subject of growing interest from researchers. However, investigations into the comparative experiences of men and women in KIFs remain sparse, and little is known about women’s participation in the processes of innovation and knowledge exchange and combination that are core features of KIFs. We report on the findings of a study in the UK and Ireland involving 498 male and female knowledge workers in KIFs. Despite equal levels of qualification and experience, women are more likely to be in lower status and more insecure jobs. They also predominantly occupy roles featuring less variety and autonomy than men and, despite comparable levels of knowledge exchange and combination, are less likely to be in a position to translate this into the innovative work behaviours necessary for career advancement. Our findings suggest that women’s experiences of and participation in knowledge processes within KIFs differ fundamentally from men’s.
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