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Factors effecting career advancement of Indian women managers

Sumita Datta (S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)
Upasna A. Agarwal (National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India)

South Asian Journal of Business Studies

ISSN: 2398-628X

Article publication date: 2 October 2017




Reasons that have an effect on the continuity and career progression of women in corporate India are complex. The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that have an effect on the women leadership pipeline of Indian organizations.


The present study adopted a qualitative research methodology within a dyadic framework by including women managers and their respective supervisors in the study.


Thematic analyses of the qualitative study conducted on Indian women managers as well as their supervisor revealed rich insights into the antecedent social-psychological factors of a women leadership pipeline that can be summarized under three broad categories, namely, intra-personal, interpersonal and organizational.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations are the small sample size and the qualitative nature of this study. An important implication is that the results of this study can be used for cross-cultural comparisons because most studies that have focused on the effect of gender on career advancement have used western conceptualizations and measures.

Practical implications

The findings of this research suggest designing organizational interventions that can help women professionals in navigating the complex social environment in order to create their own leadership identities supported through a high-quality leader-member exchange.

Social implications

The study takes an important step toward developing a better understanding of the factors affecting the career advancement of women managers by contextualizing the way women professionals perceive their career identity and the meaning they imbue to career advancement. The findings of this study can aid policy makers toward arresting the leaking women leadership pipeline.


The study contributes by exploring several social-psychological dimensions of objective-subjective career success perceptions and their interplay among women managers drawn from three organizations in India.



This paper forms part of a special section on Gender, generation and leadership: insights from South Asia


Datta, S. and Agarwal, U.A. (2017), "Factors effecting career advancement of Indian women managers", South Asian Journal of Business Studies, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 314-336.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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