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Conference Papers Year : 2023

Untangling the characteristics of men who dare to break the “ideal worker” norm

Sabrina Tanquerel


For many researchers (Acker, 1990, 2006; Blair-Loy and al., 2013; Minnotte and al., 2021), today the “ideal worker” image (Williams, 2001) is still the dominant norm in most organizations. It refers to the image of the most desirable worker as one who is totally committed, available and fully devoted to his or her work (Acker, 1990). Straying from this image presents risks, especially for men, who are the most expected to adhere to the work-devotion norm (Blair-Loy, 2003). Men who “do not fit into the straight-jacket of conventional masculinity” (Williams, 2010) face sizable job risks such as femininity stigma, flexibility stigma, job consequences, career penalties (Coltrane et al., 2013; Rudman and Mescher, 2013; Williams et al., 2013). Nevertheless, despite the stigmas and barriers (Tanquerel & Grau-Grau, 2020) they may experience, some men dare to open other paths to increase their work-life balance. Until now, research has mainly focused on the consequences of male deviance from the “ideal worker” norm on their job outcomes and career structure, but we understand very little about the characteristics of such progressive profiles. These “progressive” men challenge the dominant model of masculinity and the traditional norms that still rule contemporary organizations. They are key to increase gender equality and justice at work and home. This article explores the characteristics of these men who dare to reveal their gender deviance and openly break the “ideal worker” norm. Based on 40 semi-structured interviews of working men in different types of occupations, organizations and sectors in France and Spain, the findings of this exploratory study present the different elements that may explain their “disclosure”.
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hal-04287291 , version 1 (15-11-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04287291 , version 1


Sabrina Tanquerel, Marc Grau-Grau. Untangling the characteristics of men who dare to break the “ideal worker” norm. The 83rd Annual Meeting of the AOM 2023: Putting the worker front and center, Academy of Management, Aug 2023, Boston, United States. ⟨hal-04287291⟩
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