Abstract

This study brings together gender inequality and labor process research to investigate how divergent control structures generate inequality in work experiences for women and men. Content-coded data on 155 work groups are analyzed using Qualitative Comparative Analysis to identify combinations of control techniques encountered by female and male work groups and their relationship to outcomes measuring workplace dignity. Results suggest that male work groups more often encounter persuasive “bundles” of control that enhance autonomy, creativity, meaningfulness and satisfaction, while female work groups confront more coercive arrangements, especially direct supervision, that erode these and other foundations of dignity at work. I conclude with implications of these findings relative to understandings of the labor process, workplace sex segregation and forms of inequality not so easily quantified in dominant approaches to stratification.

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