Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management
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Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management

Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management provides an international overview of current practice and theory surrounding gendered employment in management, illustrating the impact of gender on key stages of career development.
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Chapter 27: Senior women, work–life balance and the decision to quit: a generational perspective

Deirdre A. Anderson and Susan Vinnicombe


The work–life balance debate has shifted from the emphasis on family, and particularly those with young children, to a broader perspective that encompasses wider sections of the workforce (Casper et al., 2007; Ransome, 2007; Darcy et al., 2012). In this chapter we examine the experiences of an elite group of women who have reached the top echelon of their organization, and therefore could be described as career-focused, and yet for whom life outside of work, including family, extended family and friends, is highly salient. Our focus in this chapter is to address how the search for balance between the work and non-work domains affects the decision-making of a sample of women when they choose to leave their organization. The women had all achieved the level of partner within a major international consulting firm and will henceforth be referred to as ‘women partners’. The research was carried out on behalf of the firm who were committed to developing and retaining a diverse workforce and wanted to understand more about what would encourage senior female executives to stay within the firm.

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