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The role of culture and gender in the choice of a career in management

Ayala Malach‐Pines (Ben‐Gurion University, Beer‐Sheva, Israel)
Oshrit Kaspi‐Baruch (Ben‐Gurion University, Beer‐Sheva, Israel)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




The paper addresses the influence of culture and gender on the choice of a management career among men and women MBA students in Israel, the USA, the UK, Turkey, Cyprus, Hungary and India. The culture by gender comparison enabled an examination of five theories: two that focused on culture (Hofstede's and an application of Schneider's ASA model) and three that focused on gender (evolutionary theory, social role theory and social construction theory). The five theories have contradictory predictions about the relative influence of culture and gender.


Seven hundred and forty‐seven MBA students (390 male and 357 female and approximately 100 in each country) responded to a self‐report measure that was assembled especially for the purpose of the study.


The findings showed large cross‐cultural differences and small gender differences in the influences and aspirations associated with a career choice in management.

Research limitations/implications

The findings support Hofstede's research and social construction theory, which predicted the cross‐cultural differences. They provide some support for social role theory, which predicted both gender and cross‐cultural differences, and very limited support for evolutionary theory, which predicted large and universal gender differences, and for the application of Schneider's ASA model, which predicted no cross‐cultural differences.


The findings are important in light of the small percentage of women in top management positions and the view of an MBA as means for breaking through the glass ceiling into top management. The findings can be translated to recommendations for encouraging women's entry into management.



Malach‐Pines, A. and Kaspi‐Baruch, O. (2008), "The role of culture and gender in the choice of a career in management", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 306-319.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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