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Closing the social distance: mitigating gender inequality in organizations using complexity theory in response to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Faculty Advisor




organizational change, gender inequality, COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract (summary)

The following paper is centered around the potential for organizational change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper argues that the disruption of “business as usual” during the COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunities to both highlight gendered organizational practices during remote work and explore how organizational actors might contribute to a more equitable restructuring of gendered communication practices once employees return to in-person work. First, the paper contextualizes the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of writing. Next, the literature review examines the notion of organizations as inherently gendered, the history of organizational change from Lewinian Planned Change to models of non-linear change, and bureaucratic organizational structures using a feminist lens. The discussion section then argues that complexity theories offer significant opportunities for improvement due to the destabilization of current workplace practices. This argument is followed up by examples of how organizations can successfully engage complexity theories to reduce gender inequality in the post-pandemic world. The paper concludes that by emphasizing consensus and autonomy, improvements to network communication and the merging of public and private spheres should be the first steps towards the ultimate goal of reducing gender inequality through the deconstruction of bureaucracies.

Publication Information

McMullen, L., & Schultz, K. (2021). Closing the Social Distance: Mitigating Gender Inequality in Organizations Using Complexity Theory in Response to Remote Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic . MacEwan University Student EJournal (MUSe), 5(1).


Item Type

Student Article




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)