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Gender in Career Transitions from Corporate Management to Entrepreneurship

BRACHES, BIRGIT (2015) Gender in Career Transitions from Corporate Management to Entrepreneurship. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This dissertation aims to explore the gendered element in women’s career transitions from corporate management to entrepreneurship. Women’s organizational careers are frequently affected by boundaries that are commonly referred to as glass ceiling constraints. This study is rooted in the boundaryless career literature and uses a feminist perspective lens to analyse gendered entrepreneurial motivations and perceptions of entrepereneurship as a gendered activity. The research methodology includes semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus groups with a sample of 17 women from Germany who departed from a corporate career to entrepreneurship. The Kaleidoscope Career Model is used for adressing the gendered drivers in career decision making. For the purpose of data analysis, I use ‘interpretative repertoires’, an approach that is rooted in discursive psychology, to uncover the experiences of those women. Findings of this study suggest that the lack of alternatives in the labour market frequently pushes women towards entrepreneurship. This study indicates that despite the strong inclusive environment in Germany providing for equal treatment of women and men, gender discrimination is still plaguing working women. Their entrepreneurial motivations are largely influenced by gendered elements such as the sociocultural status of women and their roles as mothers and caretakers. Entrepreneurship is recognized by the participants in this study as a career that sits alongside the traditional mainstream careers; however, gendered dimensions similar to the ones experienced in organizational careers kept re-emerging. The findings of the study provide support for a redefinition of boundaryless careers by recognizing the important and partly enabling and mobilizing role of boundaries. The findings further indicate that the seeming boundarylessness is the outcome of a boundary-crossing process. This study has several practical implications for an institutional audience dealing with equality and gender diversity by exemplifying that law does not seem to determine behaviour.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Business Administration
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Feb 2015 16:03

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