The Entrenchment of the Ideal Worker Norm During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Working Mothers in the U.S.
Graziadio Business School
Covid-19, gender, ideal worker, masculinity in the workplace, work/family scholarship, working mothers
We study shifts in the ideal worker culture as experienced by working mothers across organizations in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on the experiences of 53 interviewees in how they attended to increased responsibilities across both work and family domains, we saw an entrenchment of the ideal worker culture across nearly all organizations and professions. This manifested in three levels, as (1) a reinforced ideal worker culture in the workplace through work-intensification, increased competitiveness, and surface-level support; (2) the reinforcing of organizations’ ideal worker norms at home, with gendered division of space and labor, and (3) experienced internalized ideal worker norms in the expectations working mothers maintained for themselves. These findings offer insight into the lives of working mothers during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the challenges which have pushed many mothers to reduce work hours or leave the workforce. Highlighting the intricate nature of the entrenchment of the ideal worker culture informs implications for theory of gendered organizations and for organizational practice.
Gender, Work and Organization
Zanhour, Mona, and Sumpter, Dana McDaniel. 2022. “The entrenchment of the ideal worker norm during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from working mothers in the United States.” Gender, Work & Organization 1– 19. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12885.
Publication can be accessed at this link: https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12885