JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF CARING: CONTRADICTORY DEMANDS OF HR WORK IN BELARUSIAN IT INDUSTRY
This article discusses the tensions of Human Resources (HR) work in Belarusian IT companies by examining it within the context of an ongoing crisis in the industry. HR workers in Belarusian IT are predominantly female, and various gendered expectations are assigned to them, both formally and informally. Based on the qualitative study conducted in 2021, I examine how care (Fisher & Tronto, 1990), emotional labor (Hochschild, 2012), and intimate labor (Zelizer, 2010) manifest in HR work, regulated by the idea of balancing the interests of different groups and employer branding rationale. HRs have to perform several kinds of emotional work that are not officially part of their job and even can be regarded as unprofessional, but that are nevertheless perceived as unavoidable. I discuss how performing impartiality involves what Hochschild calls deep and surface acting (2012) with several audiences in mind. I argue that the ambiguity of this role is strategic in the sense that it serves the businesses, by allowing them to benefit from emotional labor without acknowledging it.
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