How is it that dysfunctionality and misbehaviour become a normal way of living among people working in the construction industry?
In my research project, I look at middle managers, a group within the industry that has been characterized by extensive stress and overwork, to explore how forms of misbehaviour, such as workaholism, presenteeism, burnout and neglect of family and friends, becomes normalized, reproduced and resisted in practice. Previous research has tried to explain these behaviours against the backdrop of construction as a rigid industry characterized by a masculine mindset and an autonomous structure. However, our initial findings indicate that the normalizing processes are embedded in practices that are continuously embodied and reproduced, thus suggesting that we lack knowledge of the practical micro-foundations that ’feeds’ the behaviour. Using an ethnographic approach inspired by the critical works of Hochschild, Perrow, Sennett and Kunda, I am trying to untangle these processes at a micro-level by applying theoretical lenses at the intersection of work-life balance, well-being and patterns of organizing in the industry.
Rikard Sandberg is a doctoral student in Construction Management at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. His background is in Work Science and Sociology and his research interest concerns critical studies of work and lifestyles, ideals, embodiment and reflexive patterns of organizing. Rikard's PhD is supervised by Christine Räisänen and Martin Löwstedt (Chalmers University) and Ani Raiden (Nottingham Business School).