University of Limerick
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Of seats, stereotypes and structures:empirical contributions on women in the workplace from a gender-organisation-systems perspective

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posted on 2022-10-10, 13:48 authored by ELAINE BERKERYELAINE BERKERY
This thesis examines systematic issues relating to the progression of women in the workplace using a gender-organisations-systems perspective (GOS). Drawing from the different elements of the GOS perspective and employing data from primary and secondary sources, at both a national and international level, this thesis examines: (1) the impact of societal changes in Ireland on the perceived suitability of women to managerial and decision making roles; (2) identifies the traits and attributes ascribed to men, women and managers, among a student population and within the nursing and midwifery profession, and determines the impact of the ascribed traits and attributes on the perceived suitability of women to the managerial role in Ireland; (3) maps the trends in female appointments onto the boards of state-sponsored bodies in Ireland between 1970-2007 and (4) investigates the uptake of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) across 7 EU countries to determine the association between FWAs and absenteeism, employee turnover, productivity and profitability. The substantive empirical contributions in this thesis are presented in four published articles. Article one finds that women are overlooked, in favour of their male counterparts, for selection onto state boards, despite the introduction of a 40/60 gender balance initiative in 1991. The overall results of articles 2 and 3 point to the continued gender role stereotyping of the managerial position among Irish males despite enormous societal changes in Ireland during the twentieth century. Drawing on data from a nursing and midwifery sample, article 2 indicates that Irish males continue to gender type the managerial role despite working in a female dominated profession. Female nurses and midwives on the other hand did not gender type the managerial role, however, qualified nurses and midwives did record a greater degree of similarity between men and managers compared to their student counterparts. Article 3 presents a similar pattern of results, with male students gender typing the managerial role in favour of men. Female students did not gender type the managerial role. However, despite the continued gender role stereotyping of the managerial role among male students, an examination of the attributes and traits ascribed to women provides a different perspective on these results as women are perceived to be androgynous in nature, meaning women are seen to possess both communal and agentic characteristics. Finally, based on the uptake of 12 individual FWAs, article 4 identifies 4 novel bundles of FWAs, which were subsequently used to identify the associations between bundle membership and organisational demographics and the association between bundles of FWAs and organisational outcomes. The results indicate that FWAs are not universally applied in organisations, highlighting the need to consider organisational contexts when researching FWAs. Furthermore, significant associations were recorded between bundles of FWAs and absenteeism, employee turnover and productivity. The results of these investigations are discussed within the context of the GOS perspective and the wider literature before outlining and discussing the implications of the results.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Tiernan, Siobhán

Second supervisor

Morley, Michael





Department or School

  • Management & Marketing

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