The purpose of this paper is to discuss diversity management in the light of Bourdieu's social theory. One question of particular interest is whether diversity management could – at least conceptually – lead to the retention of highly‐educated female engineers in their chosen professions in science, engineering and technology.
An explorative empirical study was conducted. In total, 12 female computer scientists in Austria who voluntarily quit their jobs were interviewed with respect to motives, reasons and experiences in their rather male‐dominated organizations.
The results show very clearly that diversity management could contribute to the retention of female engineers if changes in the “habitus” are realized.
Due to the small study sample, any conclusions are limited in their generality. However, the paper is a contribution to the discussion on how to attract and retain sustainably more women to the fields of science, engineering and technology. Further research on Bourdieu's social theory and its empirical application within the study of organizations is a promising direction for research.
The paper elaborates the main features of an inclusive management concept, in particular for organizations in the technology branch. In addition, some insights concerning the motives for women to quit their jobs are highlighted.
The paper shows that it is insufficient to simply motivate women to choose a career in engineering. To retain women in such sectors, the current gender‐biased organizational cultures and structures have first to be changed.
Many research contributions exist which have examined the motivation and de‐motivation of women to find the fields of engineering and technology attractive; however, there is a lack of relevant studies to examine the reasons why women with a technical/engineering background are motivated to leave their branch after several years. Furthermore, there has been no previous attempt to examine the social theory of Bourdieu in relation to diversity management and its implications for gendered organizations.
Hanappi‐Egger, E. (2012), "“Shall I stay or shall I go”? On the role of diversity management for women's retention in SET professions", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 144-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151211202790Download as .RIS
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