A tour of India in one workplace: investigating complex and gendered relations in IT

DHAR-BATTERCHARJEE, Sunrita and RICHARDSON, Helen (2018). A tour of India in one workplace: investigating complex and gendered relations in IT. Information Technology and People, 31 (2), 578-594.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-08-2015-0198


Purpose: This paper investigates the situation of women working as IT professionals in different regions of India within Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs). The research is part of a cross-national study that compared gendered relations in the UK and Indian IT sector.  The complex roles that region, class and caste and gendered values and norms have in shaping women’s work and lives in India are discussed. Design/methodology/approach: The cross-national research assumed common themes as part of a programme of in-depth interviewing and observations during site visits. The ‘safari method’ was adopted by a sole field worker with intimate knowledge of languages and cultures of both India and UK. In-depth interviews and observations were conducted at 5 IT MNEs in 4 cities in India. The research considered notions of intersectionality and difference –how the lived experiences of Indian women are shaped by gender relations and are interconnected with other dynamics like caste and class on regional and cultural differences in India that impact on working in IT MNEs. Findings: The IT sector in India offers opportunities for middle and upper class women professionals with barriers often experienced by women working in IT in Western countries not replicated in India. Nevertheless this has not meant significant improvements in gendered relations at work or in Indian society at large. The role of women at home and within a patrifocal society shapes their experiences at work. There are significant differences in organisational culture even within MNEs sharing common legislative and policy environments. There are also particular influences of regional, class and caste differences manifest in IT workplaces, contributing to inequality. Research limitations/implications: Practical implications: Social implications: Originality/value: This paper adds to the understanding of the situation of women in IT including within MNEs giving insights into the workings of global capitalist enterprises. The research offers appreciation of the complexity of social differences and whether opening up opportunities for women professionals in India can contribute to inclusive growth or will maintain current patterns of inequality.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Business School Research Institute > People, Work and Organisation
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-08-2015-0198
Page Range: 578-594
Depositing User: Helen Richardson
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2017 17:15
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 23:37
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17310

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