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How French managers picture their careers: a gendered perspective

Christine Naschberger (Rn’B Lab'Research Centre of Audencia & Centrale Nantes, Department of Management, Audencia Business School, Nantes, France)
Krista Finstad-Milion (Department of Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour, ICN Business School, Nancy, France)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 19 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how French managers picture their careers, specifically female careers.


The sample was composed of 93 women and 5 men attending a professional women’s networking event in France. Participants answered a questionnaire, including images to choose from to best describe how they perceived their own career development.


The results indicate that a female career is closely associated with work-life balance by both women and men. Also, women acknowledge three times more than men, the existence of a glass ceiling in their organisation. Women and men choose both traditional and contemporary images of career.

Research limitations/implications

As the sample was taken from a women’s network event, the male sample size is small. Despite the small sample of men, giving voice to male participants leads to rich insights which challenge gendered and non-gendered career models.

Practical implications

On an individual level, reflection on one’s career path fosters awareness and ownership of career choices. Further, working with career images enhances discussion and experience sharing about personal career choices, and offers opportunities to organisations concerned with developing female talent.


The study contributes to the career literature by providing insights into how female and male managers perceive female careers. The study’s originality lies in the methodology, based on using images of careers to better understand how managers picture their own careers.



Naschberger, C. and Finstad-Milion, K. (2017), "How French managers picture their careers: a gendered perspective", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 401-416.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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