Translating Equal Opportunities: Discourse Analytical Findings from Swiss Universities

Item Type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

How does change happen and how can we impact it? (Not only) feminist movements have asked this crucial question for decades. How can we conceptualize and experience gender relations differently, while moving beyond traditional models of work division between men and women? The idea of gender equality forms the horizon in which those questions of social and organizational transformations are deliberated. Depending on the theoretical frames of the chosen scholarly disciplines, processes of change are categorized as matters of politics, management or also social movements. Accordingly, the explanations and understandings of the nature of change vary, and so do the measures regarded as suitable for organizing change processes.

In this paper, we use the ‘translation model of organizational change’ in order to investigate gender equality reforms at Swiss universities. This model has been developed by scholars within so-called ‘Scandinavian institutionalism’. In order to empirically investigate these sense-making processes, we suggest to combine this model with the concept of ‘interpretative repertoires’ borrowed from discursive psychology. Hence, we conceive organizational change as taking place in different loops of translation in which different interpretative repertoires become dominant which make up the range of possible changes. Simultaneously, this range is heavily influenced by gendered institutions that constitute modern work organizations, such as heterosexuality, the public-private divide, or the ‘ideal worker’. Gender equality work is needed to identify those openings within organizations where these constructs can be eroded, and to facilitate to their erosion.
In the following article we will first shed light on gender relations and the status quo of gender equality in Switzerland and at Swiss universities (1.) before we present current research on translating organizational change (2.). Then we develop our conceptual model for analyzing gender equality reforms at universities (3.), give an empirical example of a Swiss university (4.), and conclude by reflecting on the value of our perspective (5.)

Authors Offenberger-Kazich, Ursula; Nentwich, Julia C. & Borra, Carolina
Research Team Alexandria Link Publikationen
Projects Offenberger, Dr. Ursula; Nentwich, Prof. Dr. Julia C. & Borra, Carolina (2014) Exzellenz und/oder Chancengleichheit der Geschlechter: Nationale Programmatiken und diskursive Praktiken an Universitäten (Deutschland und Schweiz) [fundamental research project] Official URL
Language English
Subjects social sciences
Institute/School ?? STUDENT ??
OPSY - Research Institute for Organizational Psychology
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Date 29 June 2016
Event Title 9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference Gender, Work and Organization
Event Location Keele University, Staffordshire, UK
Event Dates 29.06.-01.07.2016
Depositing User Christina Ihasz
Date Deposited 06 Jul 2016 06:57
Last Modified 22 Jan 2018 14:47


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Offenberger-Kazich, Ursula; Nentwich, Julia C. & Borra, Carolina: Translating Equal Opportunities: Discourse Analytical Findings from Swiss Universities. 2016. - 9th Biennial International Interdisciplinary Conference Gender, Work and Organization. - Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.

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