Sex Roles [sers] pp884-sers-466841 June 10, 2003 17:48 Style ﬁle version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 49, Nos. 3/4, August 2003 (
Gender Differences in the Inﬂuence of Professional
Tenure on Work Attitudes
Mandy E. G. van der Velde,
Carin J. H. Bossink,
and Paul G. W. Jansen
In this study we examined gender differences in the inﬂuence of professional tenure on 3 work
attitudes: career salience, organizational commitment, and job involvement. In total, 220 men
and 125 women working in high-level jobs in a large multinational organization completed a
written questionnaire. Using hierarchical regression analyses, and controlling for differences
between men and women in age, the presence of children, and number of working hours,
we found no signiﬁcant gender differences in the 3 work attitudes. The results further show
that although career salience, job involvement, and organizational commitment increase with
age, these work attitudes decrease with professional tenure. In terms of organizational com-
mitment, the negative inﬂuence of professional tenure was signiﬁcantly stronger for women
than for men. Finally, the implications for future studies and for organizational practice are
KEY WORDS: gender; professional tenure; work attitudes.
In both organizational research and practice,
work attitudes, such as job involvement and orga-
nizational commitment, are important constructs be-
cause they are related to work behavior and perfor-
mance, especially in high-complexity jobs (Judge &
Bono, 2001; Kluger & Tikochinsky, 2001). Many au-
thors have, therefore, searched for relevant determi-
nants of work attitudes. One important factor that in-
creases involvement and commitment is career stage,
which in this study we measure as professional tenure.
There are other issues related to the inﬂuence of ca-
reer stage, which we also seek to address.
We should begin by noting that most previous
studies concern the inﬂuence of professional tenure
exclusively among men. In this study, however, we
investigate gender differences in the relationship be-
tween professional tenure and work attitudes. More-
Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
SHL Group, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of Management and Organization, Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Utrecht School
of Governance, Bijlhouwerstraat 6, 3511 ZC Utrecht, The
Netherlands; e-mail: email@example.com.
over, unlike this study, most studies have lacked a
large sample of both men and women in high-level
jobs. We examine gender differences in a large sample
of men and women, all of whom hold high-level jobs in
the same organization. Finally, work attitudes are mul-
tidimensional. Therefore, we focus on work attitudes
toward three different items: the career, the job, and
the organization. Career salience concerns the impor-
tance of building a career and the time and effort an
individual is willing to invest in it. Job involvement is
deﬁned as the importance placed on a particular job
and the extent to which everything else in life cen-
ters around it. Affective organizational commitment
is deﬁned as emotional attachment to the organization
(see, for example, Sagie, Elizur, & Koslowski, 1996).
THE INFLUENCE OF PROFESSIONAL
TENURE ON WORK ATTITUDES
Many researchers have focused on the inﬂu-
ence of career stage on work attitudes (e.g., Adler
& Aranya, 1984; Aryee, Chay, & Chew, 1994; Jans,
1989; Leeman & Seers, 1991; Lynn, Cao, & Horn,
1996; Morrow & McElroy, 1987; Smart, 1998). Most
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation