Journey to the Top: Are There Really Gender Differences in the Selection and Utilization of Career Tactics?

By Laud, Robert L.; Johnson, Matthew | Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Journey to the Top: Are There Really Gender Differences in the Selection and Utilization of Career Tactics?


Laud, Robert L., Johnson, Matthew, Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict


ABSTRACT

This investigation identifies and analyzes the tactics and upward mobility strategies utilized by men and women who successfully advanced into senior leadership positions. Although much of the leadership research over the past 50 years has focused on career success antecedents that existed prior to employment such as college reputation, intelligence, industry strength, personality traits and gender, the application of how successful individuals, of either gender, combine and manipulate different strategies to advance is not well understood. Our study provides evidence that successful career men and women behaved similarly on a majority of 15 identified key upward mobility tactics. We conducted 187 interviews with CEOs, presidents, managing directors and other leaders in 136 organizations using consensual qualitative research (CQR) and quantitative analysis. The results bring into focus these high-achieving men and women as formidable and equally-proficient career competitors. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: career success, upward mobility, career development, gender, career tactics

INTRODUCTION

There exists extensive research on career success characteristics, yet focused upward mobility studies are few and results have been inconclusive and often contested (Barrick & Zimmerman, 2009; Carter & Silva, 2010; Groysberg, 2008; Harris, 2008; Kelan & Jones, 2010). Moreover, researchers have noted that many gender questions regarding management success have gone unanswered and have repeatedly called for comparisons of how men and women in similar career situations create their upward journeys and what differences are exhibited (Gottfredson, 2005; Kirchmeyer, 1998; Powell & Mainiero, 1992; Whitmarsh, 2007). There is little empirical or theoretical support that provides an understanding of how males and females organize and formulate their career tactics on their ascendancy. To address this issue, our research provides empirical data specific to gender tactic selection and offers further theoretical insights into this dynamic. In addition, the findings have practical application that will contribute to the career strategies developed by both men and women.

Previous studies have largely explored pre-hire predictors or antecedents of career progression which emphasize factors that are established primarily prior to employment, but do not reflect the situational shifts and subsequent tactics that either males or females may exploit. The career literature on these career antecedents is extensive and includes factors such as demographic data, e.g., age, gender, race (Judge, Cable, Boudreau & Bretz, 1995; Kelan & Jones, 2010; Tharenou, 2001;); industry strength and profitability, e.g., (Bell & Straw, 1989; Eby, Butts & Lockwood, 2003; Siebert, Kraimer & Liden, 2001); and more psycho-social investigations, e.g., Big 5 personality dimensions, trait approaches (Boudreau, Boswell & Judge, 2001; Daft, 2008; Kirkpatrick & Lock, 1991; Stogdill, 1974); proactive personality traits (Seibert, Kraimer & Crant, 2001); and career and organization commitment (Sturges, Conway, Guest & Liefooghe, 2005; Sturges, Guest, Conway & Mackenzie Davey, 2002). However, these important studies provide little insight into those factors or tactics that can be controlled by individuals and modified against changing circumstances. And what few studies there are on upward mobility do not offer sufficient theoretical insight with regard to male-female differences (Whitmarsh, 2007). Further, within the growing body of research on women's careers there seems an overconcentration on barriers to advancement and work-life issues (Greenhaus & Foley, 2007; Kottke & Agars, 2005;). As women assume a greater percentage of managerial and professional positions, which the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as over 51% in 2009, along with increasing economic power, there has been a call for new models of career development that more fully explain the multi-dimensional complexity of upward mobility actions, apart from predetermanants (Kirchmeyer, 1998; Whitmarsh Browm, Cooper, HawkinsRogers & Wentworth, 2007).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Journey to the Top: Are There Really Gender Differences in the Selection and Utilization of Career Tactics?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.