When Following the Rules Is Bad for Wellbeing: The Effects of Gendered Rules in the Australian Construction Industry

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Work Employment and Society, 2021
Issue Date:
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The construction industry is known to be highly masculinised and to have work practices detrimental to employees’ wellbeing. Drawing on feminist institutional theory and a rapid ethnographic approach in two construction multinationals in Australia, we examine the relationship between the gendered nature of construction and workplace wellbeing for professional women and men employed in the industry. The findings reveal that adhering to the gendered ‘rules in use’ in the construction industry is negatively associated with wellbeing and is usually endured in silence. We also identify the ways in which the gendered rules have different effects on the wellbeing of men and women. We conclude that the construction industry is characterised by a set of ‘greedy’ gendered institutions that are inextricably linked to workplace wellbeing for both men and women and that these rules must be broken to improve worker wellbeing.
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