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Foreign banks: executive jobs for Turkish women?

Oya Culpan (The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA)
Toni Marzotto (Towson University in Towson, Towson, Maryland, USA)
Nazmi Demir (School of Applied Sciences, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey)

Women in Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425

Article publication date: 13 November 2007



The purpose of this paper is to examine the employment policies and practices of Turkish banks and how these practices affect the hiring and promotion of women. Turkey's banking sector consists of state‐owned, private, and foreign banks. The overall restructuring of this sector along with the increase of foreign banks is an opportunity to enquire whether human resource (HR) policies of foreign banks have a differential effect on women's employment.


Data were collected in three phases. Phase 1: employment data for all three bank types were analyzed with particular reference to women's employment. About 12 of the largest banks were selected for in‐depth study representing each of the three bank categories. Phase 2: bank‐specific data were collected from the HR directors including: bank structure, personnel and recruitment policies, management levels, women in each level and professional employment application. Phase 3: structured personal interviews were conducted with the HR directors in the 12 selected banks.


The HR departments of foreign banks use different assessment and selection criteria compared with Turkish private and state‐owned banks. These criteria emphasize rank‐in‐person, which enhances the upward mobility of employees. Because of their flexibility, they may advantage female employment.

Research limitations/implications

Survey data from female employees by type of bank would demonstrate a close relationship between organizational structure and women's career advancement. However, this study only interviewed HR managers. The methodology does not indicate whether and to what extent women in three banking types perceive the effect of structure on their career advancement.

Practical implications

HR practices of the three categories evidences that foreign banks in Turkey add a variety of competencies of their prospective employees in their application forms. These additional dimensions may improve the recruitment and promotion of women into management positions. It is argued that employment applications that include individual or rank‐in‐person characteristics rather than job‐based criteria advantage women.


This is the only study that examines women's employment stratified by Turkey's three banking categories. The effect of culture and structure on employment practices and how this influences the mobility of women are explored.



Culpan, O., Marzotto, T. and Demir, N. (2007), "Foreign banks: executive jobs for Turkish women?", Women in Management Review, Vol. 22 No. 8, pp. 608-630.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited