Alice Wikström

How Difference Matters: A Feminist Study of Inequality, Inclusion and Ethics in Atypical Organizations

While questions related to diversity and inclusion now often is centralized within organizational discourse and practice, discrimination and injustices persist and continues to hamper marginalized individuals’ abilities to participate in organizational life on equal terms. Recent research has directed attention towards the ambivalence of being ‘included’ on normative terms and the importance of understanding how the material, rather than solely discursive- and cultural, aspects of organizing contribute to the (re)production on inequalities. Together, these studies stress the need to further promote relational and novel ways of understanding how diversity is ‘done’ in contemporary organizations and spaces of work.

In light of this, my research is grounded in the question ‘how difference matters’ which pertains to the sociomaterial processes that contributes to privilege some patterns of organizing (for instance, unequal ones) over others. More specifically, I adopt a feminist, interdisciplinary lens to explore atypical organizations, such as platform companies, and organizations for creative work, and the possibilities and challenges these bring with regards to matters such as inequality, inclusion and ethics. By working with a methodological combination of visual media, ethnographic work and interview materials, I creatively challenge how we often come to understand organizations as premised on hierarchies, boundaries and centralized decision-making, and elaborate on its implications for understanding difference in a non-oppositional manner. The project seeks to contribute to organizational research, policy work and practice by promoting forms of organizing that are socially sustainable, and by foregrounding change over stability, relationality over separations, and ethicality over profit-oriented production.

The research project is now in a late stage of development, with two out of four articles being accepted for publication and two still being under development. The generous support from LSR will allow me to finalize my dissertation and prepare for my public defense which will take place in 2023.

Twitter handle: @WickstromAlice