The purpose of this paper is to explore the mid-career experience of female managers within a small higher education institution in the UK. It considers how managers manage “self” within this phase of career.
This study takes an ethnographic approach to the exploration of experiences in mid-career. Using a relational approach it was possible to draw together new insights deriving from the data. A narrative approach provided the framework from which deeper insights were captured through detailed participant stories told in situ.
This study offers a deep analysis of the constructs of management experience as these are negotiated within mid-career. The priority of female managers in this study is directed towards the balance of home and work. There is less evidence of a desire for upward progression, instead the focus now shifts to the achievement of authenticity and balance.
This study was conducted in the higher education sector in the UK which is noted for its increasing commercialisation agenda and low staff turnover. Undertaking comparable research in other sectors will provide further insights into the generalisability of findings. Managers in this study were wholly white, middle class and most are still working in the region in which they were born. A more diverse cohort may be studied to ascertain the importance attributable to balance of work and life across different groups.
This study presents some important areas of consideration for those involved in the support and advancement of female managers. Indeed, for those engaged in cognitive and developmental work this study provides rich and in-depth qualitative data that may prove helpful when formulating policy. It is of significance to senior managers within organisations and encourages attention towards executive development and organisational culture, both of which support the retention of talent within the organisation.
This paper provides insights into middle and senior management practice that may be of use by policy makers in the wider higher education sector context, as well as in general management good practice discussions more widely. This study may also be of interest to aspiring female managers and those relatively new to their roles as they seek to position themselves to achieve a sense of authenticity within their organisations.
This study provides an empirical contribution to the study of female managers working within a small higher education institution in the UK. It provides deep insights into management practice at mid-career within the workplace and the way in which this is conceived in situ.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited