Purpose - A major barrier to women's progress in management worldwide continues to be the gender stereotyping of the managerial position. The purpose of the paper is to examine how this "think manager - think male" attitude has changed over the three decades since the author's initial research and to consider the implications of the outcomes for women's advancement in management today.Design methodology approach - The paper reviews the author's research, first conducted in the 1970s and replicated in the USA and internationally, on gender stereotyping and requisite management characteristics.Findings - The overview reveals the strength and inflexibility of the "think manager - think male" attitude held by males across time and national borders. Over the last three decades corporate males in the USA continue to see women as less qualified than men for managerial positions. Internationally, the view of women as less likely than men to possess requisite management characteristics is also a commonly held belief among male management students in the USA, the UK, Germany, China and Japan.Practical implications - Women's continued progress depends on recognizing the intractable nature of these negative attitudes and continually seeking ways to ensure that these attitudes do not derail their success. The need to maintain and expand legal efforts is discussed. An argument is also made for challenging the "corporate convenient" way of working and restructuring managerial work to facilitate a work and family interface.Originality value - Based upon three decades of research, the paper highlights the importance of maintaining and increasing efforts to ensure that women advance to positions of power and influence in organizations worldwide.
The objective of this article is to examine and conceptualize gender-related boardroom dynamics that affect how women can make contributions on corporate boards. Stories were collected from eight women directors about their experiences from more than 100 corporate boards. Narrative methods were used in the data analysis. Women as well as men need to understand the power game inside and outside the boardroom. Their contribution depends on the ability and willingness to make alliances with the most influential actors, to spend time on preparations, being present on the most important decision-making arenas, and to take leadership roles.
Purpose - This paper attempts to present varying discourses pertaining to women's work and how it is impacted by interpretations of Islam.Design methodology approach - Current discourses from various viewpoints are presented including Muslim scholars on the one hand and active feminists on the other. Personalities are presented as being representative of the debate that has been going on pertaining to women in Arab societies.Findings - Attempts that aim at categorizing Arab thought and activism into two camps, one is religious-based adverse to women's causes, and the other being secular and supportive of their causes does not present a candid depiction of the different forces.Research limitations implications - Personalities chosen represent specific case studies that, although thought to be representative, cannot realistically reflect all the multitudes of views expressed pertaining to the issues discussed. Future studies may cover other relevant personalities in the region.Practical implications - Developing the status of women in Arab societies requires a major reassessment of Muslim history and traditions. The dialogue and debates going on among religious scholars and feminists should be continuously communicated, discussed and exposed. Readers and mangers would benefit from understanding the complexity of issues and diversity of views presented.Originality value - This paper offers a window into the world of women's work and participation in Arab societies and how such participation is impacted by Islam, or its interpretations thereof. In addition to the English sources, this paper offers an opportunity for the reader to get a glimpse of the debate that has been going on in Arabic (especially when it comes to the little known religious discourse).
Purpose - The purpose of this conceptual paper is to provide a theoretical explanation for the persistence of the glass ceiling keeping women from assuming leadership positions.Design methodology approach - The methodological approach of this paper is to compare and contrast social role theory and expectation states theory as theoretical underpinnings to explain the persistence of a glass ceiling for women leaders.Findings - Both social role theory and expectation states theory belong to the structural cultural models describing differences between the genders. Social role theory and expectation states theory explicate diverse reasons for the emergence of these differences. However, both theories propose that gender differences will result in evaluation bias against women.Practical implications - As a result of evaluation bias against women, the glass ceiling phenomenon keeping women from assuming top leadership positions continues to occur.Originality value - This paper is being written on the 20 year anniversary of the term glass ceiling being coined. It adds to the body of literature by closely examining two structural cultural theories as possible causes to an invisible barrier which keeps women leaders from entering top level management positions.
Develops a model of the factors that motivate women to start their own businesses. Qualitative research involving 25 French women entrepreneurs were used to explore case study situations. The research identified a number of situations that relate to women's decisions to become entrepreneurs, namely "dynastic compliance", "no other choice", "entrepreneurship by chance", "natural succession", "forced entrepreneurship", "informed entrepreneur" and "pure entrepreneur". The findings do not reinforce the assumption that a majority of women become entrepreneurs for reasons of necessity and identified antecedents to the generalised "push", "pull" and environmental motives.
Purpose - The recent appointment of a number of women to leading policy making positions in the Arab Gulf State of Oman marks a significant departure from the traditionally exclusive male dominated decision-making arena, and ushers an end to an era of exclusive patriarchal dominance in leadership positions. This study aims to shed light on this evolving phase of women's empowerment in Oman, and attempts to capture their traits, experiences and challenges as women leaders in conservative, male dominated work environments.Design methodology approach - The study analyzes the views of ten Omani women who achieved extraordinary levels of career success. In depth interviews were conducted using an interview guide purposely designed to solicit responses pertaining to their early socialization patterns; personal traits; work family role conflict and their vision of the challenges facing working and professional women in Omani society.Findings - Contrary to social perceptions and stereotypes, Omani women in leading positions are highly motivated and ambitious. Their successful transition to elevated positions can be attributed to their early socialization experiences which valued education, supportive parents (particularly the father), and equal treatment with their male siblings. They are challenged by the incongruence of their roles as female leaders relative to the prevailing social values and expectations towards women and their traditional role in society.Research limitations implications - The study does not investigate the extent to which such appointments may have transformed gender relations in Oman nor its impact on women's roles in Omani organizations.Practical implications - Empowering women requires policies and human resource programs that support this goal. This paper has implications for gender policy development as well as diversity and leadership training for women.Originality value - Given the dearth of research on this topic, the study contributes to understanding the dynamics of female leadership in this increasingly important world region, and raises awareness among women (and men alike) regarding the unique experiences and challenges of Arab women leaders.
Purpose - This paper aims to investigate age and gender differences in initial motivations for starting a business. What is not known, however, is whether the initial motivations for starting the business are different for older people and whether any gender differences exist. Historically, women were "pushed" rather than "pulled" into business ownership, but more recent studies have indicated that, overall, many women now actively choose self-employment. However, age may be a new barrier for women and men.Design methodology approach - The study combined a self-administered questionnaire which was used to collect data relating to general information about the respondent and their business, in addition to their start-up motivations. In total 270 questionnaires were returned. About 15 in-depth interviews were also conducted to verify the empirical findings.Findings - The results showed that self-employment is a reactive rather than proactive decision for both older women and men; however, women were less inclined to actively seek self-employment as their employment option of choice. In addition, the findings also show that a significant motivation for many younger women is still because of the double domestic shift, indicating therefore that some things change but some things stay the same for women.Originality value - Whereas the majority of previous research has looked at start-up motivation, few have considered age and gender as independent variables. Given the increasing number of "baby boomers" starting their own businesses, this research can have practical policy implications.
During the past decade, the incidence of women starting businesses dramatically accelerated in the US. A national, representative sample of women (and men) business owners was interviewed by telephone to understand better this phenomenon. This analysis focuses on women business owners who left corporate careers to start their own businesses. Respondents' experiences with corporate "glass ceilings" and "glass walls", such as lack of flexibility and challenge, lack of role models and mentors, lack of access to line positions with concomitant intrapreneurial opportunities, and failure of organizations to credit and reward women's contributions, are examined. Differences among three age cohorts of women business owners, included in the analysis, portend increased difficulty for companies in retaining talented women professionals and managers, especially those with entrepreneurial interests. Recommendations to companies include identifying and eliminating barriers to women's advancement in the corporate culture and work environment, and development of more intrapreneurial opportunities.
Purpose - The aim of this paper is to investigate the issue of women entrepreneurs in Greece by looking into personal characteristics and motivation of female Greek entrepreneurs in order to assist Greek policy makers in their future attempts to devise programs to support them in the start-up phase.Design methodology approach - The paper is a review of the entrepreneurial environment and female entrepreneurship in Greece, approached first through an analysis of the existing bibliography and then through the presentation and analysis of data exploring personal characteristics and motivation, drawn mainly from three similarly designed surveys (two of which were designed and carried out by the authors), covering the period 1990-2000.Findings - It is important that women entrepreneurs are not treated as a monolithic category: rather, policies and programs to support them should begin with a diagnosis of their personal characteristics and motives aimed at strengthening pull motives that comprise a base for more viable and innovative entrepreneurial activity.Originality value - The paper's originality lies in its review of the Greek situation, adding more evidence of the characteristics of women entrepreneurs in a different setting.
This paper uses a social capital theoretical framework to examine how the relational dimension of business networks affects the networking activities of female entrepreneurs. In particular, the study examines the role of trust on women's networking behaviour and the part played by government business development officers in supporting women entrepreneur's opportunity recognition behaviour. The research used mixed methods to gather and analyse data. A survey instrument was used to gather quantitative data and qualitative data was gathered from interviews and written responses to open-ended questions included in the survey. The quantitative findings suggest firstly that approximately 20% of the reason why women entrepreneurs belong to formal business networks is to search for business opportunities; however, their experience of trusting significantly affects their perception of the potential benefits of networking activities. Moreover, government development officers appear not to positively affect women entrepreneur's trusting behaviour. The sampling process could have caused bias in the data collection and therefore the generalisability of the findings may be compromised. This is because the sample came from a state with the most start-ups and therefore it is likely that these women are more entrepreneurial than normal. In addition, there may be bias in the type of women entrepreneur likely to have responded to the survey. It seems likely that the women entrepreneurs that would respond to this questionnaire are apt to be more entrepreneurial in their behaviour of recognising new opportunities, thereby biasing the sample used. Finally, another limitation of this study is common methods bias in relation to the data collected using self-report questionnaire.
Purpose - The ascendancy of women to top management positions is a perennial problem plaguing organizations worldwide. The purpose of this paper is to present some insights relating to this pervasive phenomenon from a Middle Eastern context by exploring the constraints reported by Lebanese women managers throughout their careers.Design methodology approach - Literature review and qualitative research methodology consisting of interviews with 62 Lebanese women managers in different fields of occupation.Findings - The findings suggest that the constraints reported by Lebanese women managers are similar to those reported worldwide. The main differences revolve around the strongly felt salience of cultural values and expectations constraining women to traditional roles and a more accentuated sense of patriarchy.Originality value - The value added of this research is to present an insider view and fresh perspective into career constraints facing women from a non-traditional context, namely Lebanon. In view of the Western-centric nature of academic publication on the topic, there is a real need and added value in empirical research stemming from an Arab-Middle Eastern context.
Purpose - Aims to critique solidarity behaviour as a means of advancing women in management; questions the queen bee concept and raises negative relations between women.Design methodology approach - Conceptual paper which critiques extant research and approaches to advancing women in management identifying alternative perspectives.Findings - Assumptions of solidarity behaviour set expectations of senior women which cannot be fulfilled. Continued use of the unproblematized queen bee label, without acknowledgement of the embedded gendered context for women in senior management, perpetuates a "blame the woman" perspective as a "one-woman responsibility". Emerging from the gendered nature of organization, female misogyny may be a means of exploring negative relations between women to challenge existing gendered organizations which sustain the status quo.Research limitations implications - Mediates recommendations of senior women as mentors and role models, whilst blaming them for being more male than men, by calling for action to challenge and change the gendered social order which impacts on women in management. Empirical research is required.Originality value - Considers the impact of negative relations between women to highlight how the gendered social order encourages and exacerbates differences between women; challenges assumptions of solidarity behaviour and problematizes the queen bee label.
Purpose - Organisational work-life policies and programs allow employees to have greater control over how, when and where they work but these policies are often under-utilised, particularly by men and career-oriented employees. In what is largely an atheoretical area of literature, the paper aims to theoretically integrate the empirical literature related to the uptake of organisational work-life policies.Design methodology approach - The paper links three related areas of literature: the associations between work-life policies and individual organisational outcomes; explanations for the low uptake of work-life policies in many organisations; and preliminary studies which have explored organisational culture and its relationship to work-life policies. These literatures are integrated to develop a five-dimensional construct, "organisational work-life culture", for testing in future research.Findings - It is suggested that the following five dimensions underlie this aspect of organisational life: lack of managerial support for work-life balance; perceptions of negative career consequences; organisational time expectations; the gendered nature of policy utilisation; and perceptions of unfairness by employees with limited non-work responsibilities.Practical implications - The development and validation of the organisational work-life culture construct requires further research and may result in specific organisational strategies and policies which address the barriers to work-life policy utilisation.Originality value - Based on existing empirical evidence, the paper suggests an original theoretical proposition: that organisational work-life culture is underpinned by five dimensions and explains much of the provision-utilisation gap in work-life policy.
The purpose of this study is to focus specifically on formal and informal networking and their relationship with career satisfaction. It was expected that men would engage more in networking and that men are able to use networking effectively than women, which will be shown in the achievement of greater career satisfaction. Hypotheses were tested with hierarchical regression analyses, using a sample of 180 (69%) female and 80 (31%) male employees from a Dutch bank. The positive association of engagement in formal networks with career satisfaction appeared to be stronger for men than for women. Although the women in this study engage more in formal and informal networking, the association with career satisfaction is smaller than holds for men. That is, men were able to use their networking activities more effectively than women. Perhaps men are more motivated to use their networking instrumentally to achieve career goals.
Work-life polices and practices have the potential to enhance opportunities for women in the workplace (and opportunities for men to be more involved in family life), but are often undermined by workplace culture. Presents a case study of an organisation which is addressing issues of workplace culture in relation to work-life policies and gender equality. Despite achieving substantial change in practice and in shared assumptions, a new set of issues have emerged which will require innovative solutions.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore how young career-minded women use role models. It draws on previous research into how professionals experimented with their identity projections to become partners in US professional service firms.Design methodology approach - A theoretical paper with in-depth interviews with ten young professional women.Findings - The women revealed that they actively draw on role models from different domains. In some cases, the role models were personally known to the individual women, whilst in other cases, they were personally unknown to them. The women revealed that they preferred to use the learning from external role models rather than focus on individual women from the top of their own professions.Originality value - This research adds richness to our understanding of young female managers' use of role models, and contributes up-to-date empirical evidence in a field which has been somewhat neglected in recent years.
Purpose - This paper seeks to examine the relationship of a network of social support for midlife women with their attitudes toward work-family balance and work outcomes, including job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and career accomplishment.Design methodology approach - A total of 1,089 women between the ages of 35 and 50 across three organizations were surveyed and then 72 of them interviewed.Findings - Results indicate that the women generally received more personal social support than work-based social support and more instrumental than expressive support from all sources. Work-based social support was positively associated with job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and career accomplishment; personal social support was also associated with job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Work-family balance may partially mediate the relationship between social support and work outcomes.Originality value - Much of what is known about work-life issues centers on the work-family conflicts of younger women with children. Perceptions are explored of work-life balance among women at midlife, an understudied population with significant work and personal responsibilities. This study contributes to research by examining the relationships among the full network of social support, work-family balance, and work-related outcomes, as well as the nature of this support for working women. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods provides substantive insights into the complexity of these relationships for women at midlife.
Purpose - To investigate women's corporate networks, and the reported benefits for the women and their employers. To gain insight into the motivation for these voluntary activities, by drawing on organisational citizenship theory.Design methodology approach - The paper explores the issue using in-depth interviews with chairs and organisers of 12 women's networks, and triangulated the data with an email survey resulting in 164 responses from network members in five companies.Findings - The paper identifies how networks were set up and managed, as well as the benefits that accrue to the organisation, the leaders and the members. Key findings were the wealth of voluntarily contributed extra-role behaviours, and totally business-oriented view of the activities presented by network leaders. More senior women were more likely to report prosocial behaviours such as driving change and supporting others. Organisational citizenship theory provided a lens through which to draw insight into actors' motivations for supporting corporate networking.Research limitations implications - This is a study of only 12 corporate networks within large UK companies, but findings should be useful for any employers or senior women thinking about starting or refreshing a corporate women's network.Practical implications - Women and their employers appear to benefit strongly from being involved in corporate networking. Evidence suggests that employers should support internal women's networks, given the organisational citizenship behaviours voluntarily contributed for their benefit.Originality value - This paper is the first to investigate how women's corporate networks are organised, and how their activities benefit not just the women but also the employer. Organisational citizenship theory provides insight into motivation for such initiatives. The findings should be of interest not just for those involved in women-in-management studies, but also to organisational citizenship and networking researchers.
Purpose - This paper sets out to examine the experiences of female managers in order to enhance our understanding of why there is a relative scarcity of senior female managers in one of the newest sectors of the Irish economy, the high-tech sector. Because this sector has effectively only emerged in Ireland in the last 15 years, it had been expected to provide a unique genderless environment in which female managers would emerge in equal numbers to their male counterparts.Design methodology approach - This paper takes a qualitative approach. A series of interviews were carried out with 20 female junior and middle managers in this industry segment.Findings - The results of the interviews illustrate that a combination of formal and informal organizational policies and procedures, together with a "self-imposed" glass ceiling hamper women in junior and middle management positions from advancing to senior managerial roles in this important segment of the Irish economy.Research limitations implications - One of the limitations of this study relates to the sample. Further research expanding on this initial sample into other industry sectors is required.Originality value - One issue that emerged from the interviews is the concept of a "self-imposed glass ceiling", where individual female managers are actively weighing up the costs and the benefits of moving to the next level of management. Based on their analysis of this information they are individually deciding whether or not to engage in the activities, which will assist their carrier progression. The role of individual choice may assist us in explaining the low numbers of women at senior management level.
Purpose - To provide insights into the experience of women aspiring to the CEO position, particularly regarding qualifications and compensation expectations.Design methodology approach - The ExecuComp database of executives at 1,500 large US corporations from 1992 to 2004 was used to identify women CEOs and to examine gender differences in compensation of executives over that period. Additional information about the backgrounds of female CEOs was collected from company press releases and regulatory filings.Findings - Women are not as highly compensated as men before becoming CEO but the few who reach the CEO position receive similar compensation as men. While women CEOs are younger on average than men, they have impressive work experience and education.Research limitations implications - The study covers relatively large US companies that are publicly traded; thus, smaller firms and privately-held firms are not included.Practical implications - Impressive work experience, usually from within the company, and a strong education seem to be associated with promotion to the CEO position. Female executives should be more aware of the existence of gender differences in compensation at positions other than the CEO.Originality value - Much is written about the gender-based duality of the leadership career and the overall gender gap in compensation. This study adds an in-depth analysis of compensation at the top of the executive ladder to better understand who makes it to the top and whether they are equitably rewarded.