gained from being able to operate successfully in two very different domains

Gained from being able to operate successfully in two

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gained from being able to operate successfully in two very different domains (Knight, 1994; Campbell Clark, 2002). According to Auster (2001), a key organisational-level factor affecting career satisfaction for professional women at mid-career is flexibility or flexible working options. Flexi-options allow for work-life balance to be formally structured into careers (Auster, 2001). However, the “extent to which employees actually avail of these arrangements is very low” (O’Connell and Russell, 2005, p. 64). It is suggested that while many organisations have policies for flexi-options, there is a stigma attached to using them (Drew and Murtagh, 2005; Hochschild, 1997; Auster, 2001). Drew and Murtagh (2005), in an Irish study, and Hochschild (1997, p. 79), in a US study, found that women who opted for flexi-options were seen as lacking in commitment by their managers and were not considered “serious players” in terms of their career. The women themselves felt that if they opted for such arrangements, their careers would be seriously jeopardised (Drew and Murtagh, 2005), or “stripped of their benefits or job security” (Hochschild, 1997, p. 79). Some women opt for a “career tree” rather than the “career ladder” (Ciabattari, 1986, p. 84) which allows for breaks from career as well as changing jobs compared to following a largely linear career path. O’Connor (2001) argues that some women want to reach the senior management positions and equal opportunity should prevail for them. However, other women may not aspire to reach the highest ranks because their fulfilment needs are different (O’Connor, 2001). Recent research on careers contends that a more intricate relationship exists whereby the paradigm is shifting for both men and women as to how they create, develop and utilise their careers (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005; Sullivan and Mainiero, 2007) or how career success is defined by the individual (Heslin, 2005). Furthermore, the research suggests that the departure of women from the workforce, or the “opting out” of women, (primarily working mothers who choose not to aspire to advance to a higher level in their careers) is not simply due to non-work or lack of advancement reasons (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005, p. 106). A combination of factors such as generational difference, changing work values, work-family balance issues and discrimination against women in the workforce are suggested as possible reasons for such the opt-out phenomenon (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005; Sullivan and Mainiero, 2006, 2007). Following extensive research into male and female careers, it was found that women are adopting a “self-crafted” career to suit their needs and life criteria, which the researchers term as “kaleidoscope careers” (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005, p. 109; Sullivan and Mainiero, 2007). The concept of the kaleidoscopic career suggests that career success can be determined more broadly than the traditional concept of linear career development (Heslin, 2005). The kaleidoscope career model emphasises the importance of authenticity, balance and challenge for women in their professional lives (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005). Authenticity refers to the need to be genuine and true to oneself,
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