The Centre for Gender Studies (CGF) at Karlstad University has had a long standing focus upon investigating and practically developing different change processes in organisations of various kinds from a feminist perspective. This focus on “Action for Organisational Change” involves analyzing, enabling, and generating social change. The Centre has, for instance, undertaken several substantial research and development projects on gender equality work and on strategies for responding to resistance arising from that gender equality work. The focus of this theme is also thoroughly integrated into the Gender Studies syllabi.
Within this thematic stream the intention is to avoid the common divide between theoretical analysis and empirical application. This stream focusses on theorising organisations and methodologies to achieve change, to offer teaching in the area, as well as advancing its parallel concentration upon practical implementation processes. Research on organisations and change tends to either be very descriptive and instrumental—with limited attention to analysis, socio-political implications, and portability of the research—or it is limited by a managerial organisational orientation. CGF’s research profile challenges these limitations in much existing work in the field. The Centre aims to connect robust and socially located theoretical analysis with reflexive practical implementation in research on organisations and change. In this context, CGF offers a critical approach which raises questions concerning notions of change in organisations, and engages with cutting-edge international debates regarding the meaning of gender equality, and the significance of intersectionality and gender diversity.
The CGF approach is to research possibilities for a feminist approach to social change and then enact implementation strategies to advance those possibilities. By gaining knowledge about how organisations situate themselves, the Centre is also able to contribute new methodologies for change. The theme of ‘Action for organisational change’ is framed by the recognition that feminist research on social life is not merely about understanding and clarifying social processes and power relations but importantly about social innovation to advance social justice.
CGF is presently running two research projects that combines practical understandings of gender equality implementation in small and medium sized companies as well as an EU funded-project investigating entrepreneurship and innovation systems framework in four different countries: Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Israel. The project Gender Academy https://www.kau.se/genusakademin is working with gender mainstreaming in seven different SME’s. The project is funded by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Region Värmland and Karlstad University.
The transnational research project entitled “Overcoming the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Gender Divide: A Cross-Cultural Perspective” is comparing gender, and national ecosystems of entrepreneurship. Underlying most regional entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem frameworks is the assumption that all entrepreneurs have equal access to resources, participation and support, as well as an equal chance of a successful outcome (venture start-up). However, women are under-represented in successful entrepreneurial ecosystems and a persistent gender bias continues to exist in entrepreneurship discourse and practice. The project further explore the role of technology incubation in influencing women’s engagement in entrepreneurial ecosystems. This project is being funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. To learn more about the project see http://gender-net-plus.eu/joint-call/funded-projects/genre/ as well as our PI, professor Maura McAdam’s homepage http://mauramcadam.com/genre-project/ at DCU, Dublin.