Old norms in the new normal: Exploring and resisting the rise of the ideal pandemic worker

Authors Frederike Scholz, Liz Oliver, Jennifer Tomlinson, Robert MacKenzie, Jo Ingold
Published in Gender, work and organization
Publication date 2023
Research groups Organisations in Digital Transition
Type Article


Introduction: Acker's description of the ideal worker as “unencumbered with caring responsibilities and ready to devote his life to his job” (Acker, 2006a, p. 69) becomes haunting when considered in the context of a global health crisis. When, on a global scale, human life became more vulnerable, care needs increased exponentially, and organizations demanded intense effort in their clamor for survival. Acker's (1990, 1998) ideal worker concept has captured the intellectual imagination of contributors to Gender, Work and Organization (GWO) for decades (Adkins, 2019; Pocock, 2005; Pullen et al., 2019). In this Special Issue of GWO we apply the ideal worker concept to the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to expose how implicit ideals about who workers are and what workers do interact with unprecedented organizational crisis management and other large-scale changes in practices and processes

Language English
Published in Gender, work and organization
Key words care, re-entrenchment, covid-19 pandemic
Digital Object Identifier 10.1111/gwao.13071