Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe a longitudinal study which followed up middle managers who had participated in a survey on attitudes to promotion eight years earlier. The aim was to contact a sample of these individuals to ascertain their current views on women's career advancement in management. Design/methodology/approach – In‐depth interviews were conducted with 30 interviewees (19 male and 11 female managers). Respondents were reminded of their initial response to the question “How long do you think it will take before women in this organisation fill 50 per cent of senior management positions?” Current views were recorded to ascertain if any attitudinal changes had occurred over the previous eight years. Findings – The responses from this sample reflected a pessimistic change in views and were consistent with the view that gender stereotyping of the management role continues, influencing attitudes toward the appropriateness of women in senior management positions. The majority of these male and female managers now feel that it will take “more than ten years” before female managers fill 50 per cent of senior management positions, suggesting that some respondents do not believe they will see this outcome during their working life‐time. Research limitations/implications – Limitations of the follow‐up study were the small sample that was available, highlighting some of the methodological difficulties involved in carrying out research of a longitudinal nature. The responses obtained suggested that gender stereotyping of the management role continues, exerting a negative influence on the career advancement of women. It was concluded that female talent is still not being utilised sufficiently in the ranks of senior management. Practical implications of such practices are noted. Originality/value – This paper allows an examination of any attitude change that may have occurred in a small sample of managers who participated in an initial study in relation to predictions about the length of time it will now take for women to fill 50 per cent of senior management roles. Obviously, because of the small sample, it will not be possible to draw any generalizations from the results obtained, however it will be possible to observe the indicative trends, and these may suggest fruitful paths of exploration for future research.
Equal Opportunities International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 19, 2008
Keywords: Women; Career development; Gender; Prejudice; Sexual discrimination; Managers
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