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30 pages/≈8250 words
Literature & Language
Dissertation Review
English (U.S.)
MS Word
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Women's Career Mobility Patterns (Dissertation Review Sample)


This is a literature review of women's career mobility patterns.


Women Career Mobility Patterns
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Chapter 2: Literature review
2.1 Introduction
The intent of a literature review is to provide a general understanding that has been propagated by the advances of previous research on an issue of concern. Such a section is motivated by the need to show that there is actually a gap in the current knowledge. This presence of this gap motivates the need for the current research that is being undertaken. The current literature review will employ a procedural approach. Such an approach will have the impact of making the research move from the general understanding to the more complicated understanding of the dynamics of the issue at hand. In lay man’s terms, the review has adopted a funnel approach to investigating the connection between women career paths and how the type of leadership that has been adopted has an influence on the creation of opportunities for women in their career mobility.
Community colleges are a great place to study women’s career patterns given that they appear to be more open to acceptance of women into leadership roles than traditional four-year universities with (Townsend & Twombly, 2006). Yet, the ascent of women to VP level positions or above is stagnant despite the improvement in women’s representation in other leadership roles in community colleges. For example, women presidents grew at a rate of only 2 percent between 2001 and 2008 (Eddy, 2008). Thus, knowing how women progress in their careers can prove fruitful in other women charting the course to obtain the highest levels of office within the community college.
2.2 Lack of a leadership identity
Research has shown that women tend to have negative perceptions about their own ability to lead (Tan, 2008). In a wider context, women tend to have negative perception of fellow women being able to lead. Such a negative perception tends to hold even in reference of their abilities. It then translates to a negative construction of a professional identity as a leader. This sentiment highlights the tendency of women to internalize gender stereotypes. Such has the effect of making them believe and eventually and earn less than men, especially when undertaking the same performance irrespective of them being of a higher or lower qualification. Sadly, this applies even for the management positions and their subsequent rewards. Given this negative mentality women are less likely to consider themselves as leaders.
Research has shown that women perceive there to be challenges preventing them to assume leadership positions (Eagly & Carli, 2003). Such perceived incapability has been internalized to the extent that they have a poor cultural fit in the male-dominated cultures. The lack of fit approach focuses on the attitudes of self-limiting women, which is the primary finding in this subsection. In line with this view, the self-assessment on gender and leadership alignment that is often interpreted in more traditionally masculine terms lead to a negative self-evaluation of themselves in their role. Given that women already have a negative perception of their capabilities, they cannot be expected to be adamant in their quest of the top leadership positions.
Self-efficacy is a key factor in determining human action (Perrewé and Nelson, 2004). Research has shown that people with high self-efficacy for a specific task are more likely to pursue and persist in this task (Madsen, 2012). Such a realization then shows that the lack of this self belief inspires a reduction in motivation and desire to assume the top spots in leadership. This research points out that it is until women start to believe that they are capable of leading institutions at the top management positions will they be able to put an end to this self-limiting behavior. Such an approach will then pave way for a much more developed level of self-efficacy. The act of building self-efficacy, or confidence in a particular area, can be defined as the beliefs a person cultures about their ability to perform a particular behavior or being successful in a task.
Such a sentiment reigns true especially for women in leadership positions. It is also particularly relevant for women on other high level capacities as they follow their career paths. Social cognitive theory postulates that the level of self-efficacy of an individual is determined by factors such as direct experience, verbal persuasion and affective states like emotional arousal. In environments that are biased to male domination and have a better proportion of men in the decision-making functions, these situations affect the self-efficacy of women who may not have had the same depth of experience as a leader. They only experience that women have had is of watching other women leaders in the success or their leadership role (Madsen, 2012).
Despite the variability of their organization contexts, women have reported lower self-efficacy in managing. Research, however, has also shown that self-efficacy may be modified under certain conditions and that the success experienced in the specific field will be the greatest impact on perceived effectiveness (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007). It translates to mean that as women continue to be given challenging tasks, their confidence and subsequently their self-efficacy continues to grow.
Research has shown that when women, who initially recorded low self-efficacy levels, are given challenging tasks to manage, the impact to their self-confidence and self-efficacy levels is dependent on their success on the assigned task (Billing, 2011). When successful, their self-efficacy level is enhanced significantly, which then ushers in a new perspective to this issue. It is essential for women working in colleges to be given more challenging tasks if they are to gain the self-efficacy necessary for success in the top leadership positions. Such a perspective emphasizes that strategies to build self-efficacy in the management endeavors also contribute to building professional identity of the market leaders, such as the ability of people to feel safe in their leadership roles. This experience then becomes an important aspect of their professional identity.
2.3 Glass ceiling
The metaphor of the glass ceiling is often used to describe the obstacles and barriers to women’s endeavors in the upper levels of organizations. It denotes a series of obstacles which impact women and minorities, as they try to improve their employment situation. Barriers faced by women make it hard for them to move to a higher position as far as their career progression is concerned.
Lyness and Thompson (2000) were curious whether women and men managers followed similar paths to climb the career ladder. In fact, they found that women face greater obstacles and they need different strategies to succeed than men. To be an effective leader, women must overcome the isolation of sex-stereotyping and pressure performance.
Cotter and colleagues (2001) argue that the concept of the glass ceiling is increasingly being treated as generic forms of racial and gender inequality and power to describe a unique form of inequality at the top of organizations. They conceded that the point of immobility can occur in all professions, but says that if jobs have the same limits at all levels of the professional hierarchy, then this fits the description of racial or gender inequality, not a glass roof. As such, the most potent approach to defining glass ceiling is to be used when discrimination increases in severity with the movement up the occupational hierarchy (Eagly & Johannesen-Schmidt, 2007).
For the existence of a glass ceiling to be ascertained, four key criteria have to be met. When these four criteria exist in the workplace, then the women can be said to experience impediments to advancements in their career. The first criterion is the existence of a gender difference in the workplace that cannot be attributed to any other causes. As such, there is a disparity in the employment cannot be attributed to any other institution policy. The second criterion is the presence of disparities in income of the different genders. In such cases, the incidence of disparity happens to be greater with the advancement up the career ladder. It also tends to be lower with reduction in employment levels. It has to be understood that this disparity in income is such that it cannot be explained by any other rule or tenet in the workplace.
The third criterion is that there is disparity in the opportunities for advancement in the higher levels of institutional management. Proportions of gender in the higher levels of management are less than fair. The fourth criterion is when an individual experiences actual forms of practiced inequality in the workplace. When these four criteria are met, then it can be said that a glass ceiling actuality exists. The impacts of a glass ceiling is that it inhibits the progression of women up the career ladder simply because they are women and not because they do not have the ability to manage jobs in the higher levels of leadership.
Belgihiti and Kartochian (2008) support with an idea that explains that "women face a number of obstacles when they reach the level of organizational leadership. At the same time men also face the same obstacles as well. The distinguishing feature is that women face more obstacles as compared to men. As such, to reach the same level in the professional hierarchy, women have to undergo twice as many obstacles when compared to men. The term is generally used in reference to the barriers to entry in the proposed higher management positions.
There is paucity of field studies that have examined whether the decisions of actual promotion management positions reflect the phenomenon of the glass ceiling (Willi...
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