Chapter

Hyperembedded demand and uneven innovation: female labour in a male-dominated service industry

Bonnie H. Erickson

in Innovation By Demand

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780719062674
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700273 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719062674.003.0008
Hyperembedded demand and uneven innovation: female labour in a male-dominated service industry

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This chapter argues that in service industries such as security, demand for a service is inseparable from the demand for the kind of people seen as suitable for providing the service. One important example is women providing services in sectors that were once dominated by men. The massive movement of women into paid employment can be considered as a significant innovation. The chapter traces such variability of innovation to the complexity of a ‘relational matrix’ within which innovation is embedded. The matrix includes several kinds of key actors such as employers, service providers, potential employees, clients, and targets to whom service work is directed on behalf of clients. Gender distributions either limit or enable innovations. For instance, employers can use female labour in innovative ways only to the extent that they have female service providers on hand or can recruit them from potential employees as well taking into account the appropriateness of gendered roles in the market. An analysis of Canada's security industry is used to explore these issues using various data sources.

Keywords: service industries; security industry; Canada; demand; innovation; women; female labour; relational matrix; gender distributions; employers

Chapter.  8365 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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