Women's experiences and representations of diversity management and organizational restructuring in a multinational forest company
Mills, Suzanne Elizabeth
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This thesis examines the relationship between worker identity and workplace practices from the perspectives of white and Aboriginal women working in a multinational forest company in the northern prairies. Over the course of three manuscripts I demonstrate the salience of ascribed and constructed identities of women to their experiences and representations of forest employment and corporate discourse. Setting the context for the remainder of the thesis, the first manuscript presents an analysis of employment segregation by gender and Aboriginal identity in Canada’s forest sector in 2001 using segregation indices. Results demonstrate that forest employment was vertically segregated by both gender and Aboriginal ancestry in the forest sector in 2001. Men and women of First Nations ancestry were over represented in less-stable and lower paying occupations in woods based forest industries, and both white and First Nations women were over represented in forest services and clerical occupations. To explore women’s perceptions of company practices of diversity management and restructuring, I then analysed interviews with women working in forest processing using critical discourse analysis. In my second manuscript, I demonstrated how women’s representations of diversity management practices were linked to their social identities in terms of Aboriginal identity and class. Yet, as a whole, these representations prompted a questioning of the meaning of difference within diversity management, and of diversity management’s ability to further the interests of marginalised workers. My third manuscript examining representations of restructuring, argues that there is a two way relationship between women’s identities as workers and their representations of restructuring. Whether women reproduced or resisted restructuring was linked to their presented work identities and restructuring and practices in turn were helping to shape women’s worker subjectivities. Results from this thesis demonstrated that how women represent themselves and workplace practices is related to their different experiences in the specific set of social relations of forestry work in the northern prairies.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeNoble, Bram F.; Johnston, Mark; Iliopoulou, Despina; de Boer, Dirk H.