Women's leadership ambition in early careers
Edward Elgar Publishing
Reason for embargo
Assumptions are made that women leaving organizations in their late 30’s and 40’s are choosing to become stay-at-home mothers, implying that women have inherently lower career ambition than men. This, despite the fact that young women have been “overachieving” at university level, receiving more and better graded degrees than young men for several years. Extant research has tended to focus either on student perceptions of careers and aspirations or on the older age-group struggling to stay in organizational life. This chapter recounts a qualitative study of young women in sought-after graduate roles and asks: “How do women construe their ambition at early career stages in a professional services organization?” Considering social cognitive career theory and the identity fit model of career motivation, the chapter defines women’s early career identification with ambition and their struggle to maintain it in the current working environment, revealing that the psychological exit causing women to leave later in organizational life may start a decade earlier.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Edward Elgar via the DOI in this record.
In: Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership, edited by Susan R. Madsen