From pragmatism to meritocracy? Views on in-house family ties on the Swedish labour market


  • Kerstin Westin Dept. of Geography and Economic History
  • Katarina Haugen Human Geography Unit, Department of Society and Economy, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg


In-house family ties within workplaces are a non-negligible phenomenon on the labour market. Drawing on organizational and geographical perspectives and based on thematic analysis of 40 interviews with human resource managers, we analyse how family ties are viewed and managed in organizations on the Swedish labour market. Based on the empirical analysis, we suggest that there are two different logics of human resource management concerning in-house family ties: a traditional, pragmatic and informal logic which expresses an accepting view; and a modern, meritocratic and formal logic associated with a disapproving view. Moreover, the informal logic seems to be increasingly challenged by formalization of human resource processes in both urban and rural settings. However, the analysis indicates that in smaller labour markets this shift is somewhat restrained by the limited supply of labour and socially tight knit local communities. Also, it seems that the change often meets resistance from supporters of the informal logic, and there is dissonance across different professional groups across and within organizations.

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How to Cite

Westin, K., & Haugen, K. (2019). From pragmatism to meritocracy? Views on in-house family ties on the Swedish labour market. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 197(2), 268–279.