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Equal Opportunities: Towards a greater understanding of the fulfilment of Women’s career aspirations in senior management


  • Syme, Bettena (Tina)


Firms are beginning to understand that a key to economic growth and competitive advantage lies in gender diversity within senior leadership positons, yet the number of women who hold senior managerial positions remains disproportionately small. Research shows that many women who aspire to senior management plateau in middle management positons despite obtaining the necessary education, skills and expertise to advance. Therefore this exploratory study sought to understand how women approach their career decisions, within the context of their lived realities, by focussing on the research question “what factors or circumstances influence women middle managers career planning and advancement decisions? “. Eight women were interviewed who held middle management positons for at least 5 years. From analysis of the interview text five interconnected themes emerged: Trial and error, Mentorship, Self-confidence, Value alignment and Perceived organisational value. These themes add insight to the existing literature addressing how women approach their careers and lives. Furthermore the findings of this research indicate actions that can be considered by organisations to support the retention and development of women’s career pathway towards senior management. Areas for future research are also identified.

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  • Syme, Bettena (Tina), 2015. "Equal Opportunities: Towards a greater understanding of the fulfilment of Women’s career aspirations in senior management," MBA Research Papers 4953, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwmba:4953

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    Women; Senior; Management;
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