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Thematics :

Each year the FNEGE presents awards for the best doctoral theses in management. In 2021, the jury favoured the research that provides a real contribution to companies. Nathalie Clavijo, professor at NEOMA, received the FNEGE Award for the Best Transdisciplinary Thesis in Management for: “Gender and Accounting in the Saint-Gobain group: three studies on accounting as an instrument of domination and resistance to gender norms,” which was defended in June 2020.

The aspect of gender in understanding the power/resistance relationship in accounting

By investigating the aspects of gender in accounting, the thesis by Nathalie Clavijo examines how domination and resistant play off one another. The studies, which combine gender and accounting, offer insight on how resistance to a neoliberal and patriarchal system is always relative. There have been very few accounting studies to date that focus on this field of research, and this thesis contributes to advancing this area of knowledge by showing that our vulnerability to gender norms does not help to knock out the power relationships in our acts of resistance.

Gender: performance lever or social construct

The thesis, carried out under the supervision of Claire Dambrin, Professor at ESCP, comprises three essays resulting from three empirical objects located within two levels of the Saint-Goblin group.

The first essay investigates the initiatives designed by the organisation’s women’s network to promote gender equality. Although certain initiatives have been shaped by a ‘business case’ approach, others act against this logic by making the members of the network aware of gender as a social construction.

The other two essays focus on female cashiers in the building’s distribution division.

The second essay investigates how gender norms exclude cashiers from investigating inventory variances, while holding them responsible for the poor results resulting from this accounting activity.

Since power relationships call for acts of resistance, the third essay investigates how cashiers use their accounting knowledge, skills and instruments to make themselves visible within the organisation and distance themselves from their assigned gender norms.

The findings of these three essays make it possible to consider gender in a hierarchical or more social sense in instances where accountability is attributed in accordance with how the concept is viewed by people in the organisation: either as a lever for performance or as something that is socially constructed.

“This thesis award also acknowledges just how much more needs to be done in terms of gender equality, a subject covered by the ‘The World We Want’ Area of Excellence and on which a number of researchers at the school are currently working,” says Nathalie Clavijo.