In the workplace, one of the most prevalent issues faced by women is the veiled obstructions that inhibit women from occupying leadership roles. While academic literature, business and global social advocates continuously emphasize the need for increasing opportunities for women to ascend to leadership roles, the rate at which this transformation is taking place is disconcertingly slow. Amongst the multi-dimensional impediments that women face in career advancement, there is very limited evidence on gendered role structure and social processes that influence how women accumulate the required resources or capitals to ensure successful leadership role occupancy to add value to new approaches. The aim of this research study is to explore and understand how gender role structure influences Cultural Capital, Power Motivation and Social Capital as determinants of leadership role occupancy for women.
A qualitative research method was selected for this study to gain valuable insights into the personal experiences of women with regards to gender role structure and the consequential adult attitudes, behaviours and choices which influence how leadership role occupancy is pursued. The value of this insight lies in the understanding generated by the research results on what factors encourage accumulation of the required capitals and what factors inhibit them, so that new approaches may be designed and implemented at an organisational level to improve the rate at which women ascend into leadership roles. In order to gain valuable insights from personal experiences of women, nine in-depth interviews were conducted with senior managers and executive managers from five different industries. The interviews were then analysed using thematic content analysis to produce findings and obtain constructive insights for this study.
The findings of the study indicate gender role structure has an influence in how cultural capital, power motivation and social capital is accumulated and employed to pursue leadership role occupancy. The findings indicate that observations of gender stereotyping in learned experiences, influence of role models and the consequential ineffective use of social networks are factors that inhibit women from pursuing leadership role occupancy. The model for creating sustainable ambition for leadership role occupancy for women was developed using these research findings and it incorporates the interdependence of social structural processes at individual, social and organisational levels to improve pursuit of leadership role occupancy for women.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.