Handbook on Women in Business and Management
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Handbook on Women in Business and Management

Edited by Diana Bilimoria and Sandy Kristin Piderit

This comprehensive Handbook presents specially commissioned original essays on the societal roles and contexts facing women in business and management, the specific career and work–life issues of women in these fields, organizational processes affecting women, and the role of women as leaders in business and management. The essays shed light on the extant structures and practices of society and organizations that constrain or facilitate women’s representation, treatment, quality of life, and success.
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Chapter 6: Women and Success: Dilemmas and Opportunities

Margaret M. Hopkins and Deborah A. O’Neil


Margaret M. Hopkins and Deborah A. O’Neil In today’s changing societal and organizational environments, traditional notions of what constitutes successful careers are open to interpretation. Definitions and measurements of success abound. There are subjective and objective as well as individual and organizational measures of success (Melamed, 1995; Sturges, 1999). Subjective measures of success incorporate internal individual perspectives, a person’s level of job satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. Objective ways of examining success include observable career accomplishments which can be measured by upward mobility and/or salary level. Objective success measures have been the norm for decades. However, research suggests that hierarchical constructions of career success are becoming increasingly obsolete (Sullivan, 1999). As Hall (1996, p. 1) notes ‘the career as a series of upward moves with steadily increasing power, income, status and security has died.’ In this chapter we will explore whether changing definitions of success have kept pace with changing notions of careers. We will discuss what success means to women, and explore the things that hinder and facilitate women in their quest to succeed. For many women there is no strict line of demarcation between work and life and they are striving to define career success on their own terms incorporating personal, professional, internal and external measurements. Changing notions of career development reflect the fact that careers and life are no longer as distinctly separate as they were once thought. Concepts such as kaleidoscope careers (Mainiero and Sullivan, 2005), protean careers (Hall, 1976, 1996), boundaryless...

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