Masculinity and workplace wellbeing in the Australian construction industry

Powell, A., Galea, N., Salignac, F. , Loosemore, M. and Chappell, L. (2018) Masculinity and workplace wellbeing in the Australian construction industry. In: ARCOM Annual General Meeting 2018, 2018, Belfast.

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The construction industry is known to be highly masculinised and to have work practices that detrimentally affect employee wellbeing. Drawing on rapid ethnographic research, we explore the wellbeing of female and male construction professionals. This involved interviews with 21 senior female and male business leaders, participant observation of 14 company events, onsite shadowing of 44 male and female construction professionals for 2-5 days and 61 interviews of project staff across 6 major construction sites operated by two multinational contractors in Australia. Our findings reveal significant symptoms of poor mental health such as stress, panic attacks, insomnia, fatigue and anxiety, as well as strains on family life - among men and women. Many employees endure these experiences in silence, adhering to unspoken masculine workplace norms of long hours, total availability, and presenteeism. Employees regularly worked double their contracted hours and discussed the need to 'prove their worth', leaving little time for work-life balance. Despite some efforts to address this by the companies, physical safety appeared a higher priority than psycho-social wellbeing, even in the face of lost productivity. We conclude that the masculinity of the sector is linked to workplace wellbeing for both the men and women that work in the industry. © Proceeding of the 34th Annual ARCOM Conference, ARCOM 2018.

Additional Information:cited By 0
Divisions:College of Social Science
ID Code:39964
Deposited On:27 Jan 2020 14:24

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