Creating inclusivity through boundary work? Zooming in on low-wage service sector work.
van Eck, D., Dobusch, L., & van den Brink, M. (2023). Creating inclusivity through boundary work? Zooming in on low-wage service sector work. Human Relations, https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267221145390
Workers in the low-wage service sector represent a sociodemographically heterogeneous and particularly vulnerable group in terms of job security, job quality and health implications. However, organizational inclusion research has largely neglected this group.
In contrast, this article builds on a qualitative study of a Dutch aircraft cleaning company in order to assess the ‘inclusivity of inclusion approaches’ for less privileged groups of employees. By reconstructing how managers and cleaners draw/rework boundaries, we identify certain configurations of inclusion and exclusion that can unfold more or less ‘inclusive’ consequences for historically disadvantaged group members, and more or less exclusionary repercussions for particularly privileged and/or majority group members.
We stress the need to say goodbye to a linear narrative of organizations becoming ‘inclusive as such’. Furthermore, we argue that the presence of decent working and employment conditions and the absence of steep differences in those conditions between groups represent the ‘silent foundation’ of creating inclusivity. Consequently, we ask: does inclusion research reach its ‘natural limits’ by tiptoeing around the topic of equality?