MARTA ZIENTEKJagiellonian University / Cracow University of Economicsmzientek@message.plCan female bosses act as change ag...
time, space and for special reasons. Women and man IT managers, are nominated byhierarchy to the status of duty-bound work...
empirically testable particular role attitudes may be in this symbolic interaction. Somesociologists, practical researcher...
of rationalization process, division of labor and cultural transformations, instead of linear,though a-synchronous, progre...
essential part of the identification process. There are also other dimensions: close (well-known in working environment) a...
organization where the majority dominate and marginalize the minority and where structurespreserve this harmful situation....
around succeeding as a woman were considered to be reinforced by the small number ofvisible women – senior executives who ...
segregated, dual labor market and employment policy. The perception of these jobs as typicalmasculine follows to different...
the role congruity theory. Prejudices in accordance with the role congruity theory principallyoccur when gender stereotype...
actions, it is consistent with findings that women report experiencing bias and employmentbarriers in the workplace. Stere...
on what these supervisors are really like rather than to rely opinions about them onstereotypes. A set of studies show tha...
which are the common generator of the cultural, gender-biased imaginations. All these forceshas a great influence on Spani...
can opt out from lower level agreements as is the case, for instance, for specific company-level pacts. Moreover, it eases...
The number of female PhDs in Europe grew from 39.6% in 2001 to 43% in 2003 and 45% in2006. The balance of the presence of ...
family life (starting late and ending late in the day with a long midday break, typical ofSpanish businesses).The educatio...
“During the first month of my work here, a new Web Marketing Manager and I were havingour very important meeting with our ...
“It is as important, as it is in any other sector. In this case it can influence the speed ofchange, it is always importan...
“I am responsible for automatic regulation of commuting control systems together withplanning in telecommunication industr...
barriers are] the necessity to be always up to date, permanent trainings, the hyperspecialization of the sector, the enter...
These answers reveal a very wide range of activities and a great deal of energy into keepingabreast of a fast changing sec...
half. Those answering that there were none of these phenomena in the IT sector did not gointo much detail in answering and...
position. Gender stereotypes are also clearly barrier that continues to affect labour marketoutcomes and are the basis for...
BIBLIOGRAFIA   1. Arciszewski, K. , Poznanie, zbiorowośd, polityka: Analiza teorii aktora-sieci Bruno Latoura,       Wrocł...
NOTA BIOGRAFICZNAMarta Zientek jest doktorantką Instytutu Europeistyki Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego iKatedry Socjologii Un...
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Marta zientek's final paper 09.06.2011 poznań

  1. 1. MARTA ZIENTEKJagiellonian University / Cracow University of Economicsmzientek@message.plCan female bosses act as change agents, queen bees or cogs in the machine? About role congruity theory and business practice. Czy kobiety-szefowe przyjmują role liderek zmian, autorytatywnych przełożonych czy też niedocenionych kierowników wykonawczych? O teorii zgodności postaw i biznesowych praktykach.Introduction The background of this paper is connected with my continuous interest in the subjectiveaspects of high IT managerial professions as a precondition for forming working knowledgeand self-esteem (perceived by group of subordinates as social status) as well as for workingout such crucial factors as conceptions of self-regulation and individual or team consciousnessof anti-discrimination practice in business. In this context it is a very interesting political aswell theoretical issue to understand both the supervisor and the subordinate identities relatedto the gender differentiation in the IT organizational domains. Moreover, these high-statusprofessions are similar in absorbing relative distinct work job’s domains based on specificknowledge, language and skills that must be acquired by all the members of IT department.It’s worth to mention that they enjoy a societal recognition and are treated by environment asfull rewarding jobs, too. In times when still the non-gendered-biased and mostly subjectiveimportance of IT work is questioned and conceptions of its culture and codes acculturation areprevailing, it seems to me particularly important to study empirically how these structuralforms and ranks of IT professions are constantly changing due to the process of globalizationand migration of a highly diversified and skilled workforce. This research was conducted inSpain, a country where masculine, patriarchal context of work and functional approach toprofessions hierarchy are, unfortunately, still kicking and alive, especially in technologysector. This approach stems from an imprinted, cultural code in Spanish society’s mind whichdivide world into internal and external parts, differently appropriate to both genders with theoverestimated value of external sphere of life, professionally bordered to men’s roles. Takinginto consideration last overcoming changes of labor markets, more and more highly qualifiedjobs, not only in Information Technology sectors, are relevant backbones of modern societies.Their functions materialize the basic principles of rationality in economics and broadendivisions of labor in the area of revenue. In addition, these computer-savvy, geek professionssecure some cohesion of society in spite of division of very useful tasks and finally theysecure the identification of its members with their rational and constructive role in special
  2. 2. time, space and for special reasons. Women and man IT managers, are nominated byhierarchy to the status of duty-bound workers who embody social expertise with fullrationality and who assume the responsibility for the general availability of this expertise by asocial agreement (in cooperation with low status workers). IT professions and ITprofessionals, both genders, have been playing a very positive role in the process ofmodernization and have been using a high legitimacy based on the specialized knowledge andthe professional responsibility. The traditional idea for gaining scientific, computingknowledge without a core competence in this position is outdated. All women and men - ITspecialists, having managerial power, should act in the workspace as geeks who gainedcollective experience and business practice to quality others work in certain IT sectors and tooccupy democratization of knowledge and shared control among collateral workers. Theirpositive self-esteem and attitudes connected with given tasks to fulfill should be closelylinked in coherence with feelings of their counterparts and cooperatives of lower professionalstatus in organizational workspace, recognized by researchers in their self-consciousness andpredominant awareness of synergy. This paper consists of three main parts. First focus on role modeling and career stages’construction in organizational hierarchy with the significance of developing managerialidentity of women and men in specific time. Second part is about the role congruity theory of managers and its both constructive anddestructive influence on genders, including not only the issue of occupational achievementthrough motivation but also expectations and attitudes among diversified workforce. Third part presents some empirical examples and conclusions of recently finishedresearch, conducted in Spanish IT companies during last two years.ROLE MODELING AND CAREER STAGES "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts" William Shakespeare “As You Like It “(Act II, Scene VII)Our world is an imagination based on culture –a theatre with: special space or stage to act anddefined time to present an effective role-play. Every individual constructs her or his identitythanks to this given space and structured time, acting consciously out of socially definedcultural categories and imprinting appropriate and permitted forms of behavior. According tothe role theory in sociology and social psychology, the theatre is a metaphor often used todescribe space of personal acceptance and identification with the role in specific time. Themind, the self-esteem and the self-consciousness are its precursors and when actors approveof roles’ scheme, treating them as legitimate and constructive, then they are able to considerhow closely their behavior is related to the audience or society expectations and how
  3. 3. empirically testable particular role attitudes may be in this symbolic interaction. Somesociologists, practical researchers agree with the assumption that such social categories ascultural role of status, gender roles or in ad-hoc specific-situation roles are the most importantimplications to individual or group acting. Moreover, they also focus more precisely on therole conflict which can be observed in a situation when the individual do not accept theassessment of others concerning his or her performance but has limited amount of practicaltools and symbolic power to interact by rejecting these biased categorization. Having mindand self limited by low social status or norms which depreciate actors’ efforts andeffectiveness, it’s impossible for them to search for positive space to provide an active andawarded life. Nowadays we can observe many adults - man and women - facing problems infinding new roots and a livable life. They tell stories about their trials and strategies for sittingdown in well-known but full of symbolic oppression places or unbelievable motivation tostruggle against daily experiences of exclusion, violence, prejudice and gendered-biasedstereotypes. Building unconscious description of others matters shortcuts in absorbing theirreal personalities and finally provides to differences and diversity in assistance to vertiginouschanges in the field of building pictures of identities. Furthermore, this situation leads toartificial processes of constructing, de-constructing and re-constructing sociocultural andterritorial identities and these are encouraged by social contact and networks and can havedeep influence on social cohesion or inequality. Individuals’ perception is under pressure ofharmful symbols that put their own experiences away of the centre where may discover theirown value and where conscious self can be build. The actors - subordinatives are merelyplayers who are not able to learn their roles and can’t create an artistic plot because they donot receive the constructive feedback from their supervisors. What’s more, their theories ofthemselves and life experiences are damaged, the writing of memories and their sharing in agroup of “others” are not aimed to produce thoughtfulness, constructive reflexivity andmeaningful deliberate action. In critical theory this lack of understanding mutual cooperationmeans serious need for new blood in managerial positions. Learning cooperation among ranksis partly an individual process which is based on sharing ideas and participation betweendifferent professionals in the space of workplace. Unfortunately there seems to be also lack ofcooperation between experts and decision makers. Firstly, when democracy is apprehended asa mode of associated living it is lacking in our examples. Secondly, everybody shouldunderstand that culture of participation is the central and essential element of democraticcitizenship in each organization. Furthermore, it is also a cause to approach of experienceformation and a way of appropriation of the own formation power. Building professionalcompetences and self-esteem in a workplace means making construction of theautobiographical work from the existential and introspective formation and research. Thistriple movement of getting conscience and taking power by the person about its ownformation seems to be the background of a conceptual definition of the self-education throughfulfilling job’s requirements. The self-education is the same as working knowledge and itappears in the situation of fear like the emergency of an original consciousness in theinteraction with the context. To some extent the profession may remain predominantly maleeven with female actors but, on the other hand, it seems likely make difference and ourpreliminary observations confirm that the relation between gender, gaining experience andprofessional identity really exists. The gender quality of work and the analysis of genderedaspects of identity process make it clear that professionalization is rather specific combination
  4. 4. of rationalization process, division of labor and cultural transformations, instead of linear,though a-synchronous, progressive development of knowledge and experience based on work.A new vision of liquid modernity with all its disadvantages is an innovative view of socio-economic space where progressive development of professions can be investigated in the lightof the struggle by a certain, emerging group of professional bodies to achieve a goal: a strongrecognition of legal rank and its material privileges, totally different measurable than previousones. This is an approach which is useful to describe some negative, sudden aspects ofprofessional motives, mostly because of unpredictable, liquid actions in organizationaldomains. There is no doubt that a professional identity is subjective effort identification, inwhich individuals-actors, within their life history and gender (which are constituted in a longperiod of time), become able to fulfill already existing tasks to some more extent by acquiringnot-only-already existing knowledge. Apart of that, they are expected to develop collectivelytheir own managerial practice and socio-work identity at the same time. Above perspective ofthe highly-qualified professional identity, a strong coherence of many experiences gainedthrough the personal effort and the ongoing struggle with the demands of the task should bevisible and easy to understand. Moreover, most of them are closely integrated in their owntime-consuming life experience after being estimated as profitable experience of eachcompany. All workers who have core competences in relevant IT sector get status of hired-them stage. Both supervisors-leaders and their subordinates have to deal with department’sindoor requirements, outdoor expectations of latest co-workers. Furthermore, they should beaccurate with leadership skills such as fresh ideas and innovative competences not forgettingabout their own inabilities in relation to up-to-date tasks and their dynamic unconsciousnessbecause of the fast growing liquid environment. Each process depends on the interplay notonly with more and more unstable and risk-taking in work organizations but also decisivebodies and societal division of labor on the one side – and on the experience and the possibleidentification of specific group of workers, on the other side.To review the use of role models in professional identity formation we should focus on thesocial theories of identities to illuminate the process of role modeling and forming careerstages as its impacts’ identity work in its organizational demographic context. Shapiro1defines role models as individuals whose behaviors, personal styles and specific attributes areemulated by others and argues that modeling contributes to identity construction. A rolemodel can be a symbolic entity, an inspirational person, a worker from whom others can learnand can create desired attitude by company requirements to fulfill tasks. An ideal role modelcan be seen as a cognitive construct based on the attributes of people in social roles which areperceived to be similar by everyone by observation, adaptation and rejection attributes ofmultiple character resulting on a behavioral change. The constructing positive attributes rolemodel is also known as a specific degree to which the individuals think they are sufficientlysimilar in their professional environment. That point of view links to social comparison theorywhich states that people generally seek others with some similarities as they are informativefor making accurate self-assessment and can be fruitful for self-improvement which is 1 1. S.P. Shapiro, Agency Theory, “Annual Review of Sociology”, vol. 31, p. 263-284, Palo Alto 2005.
  5. 5. essential part of the identification process. There are also other dimensions: close (well-known in working environment) and distant (completely unknown) when it comes to thestructural model theory.According to modeling career stages approach, the most crucial to current situation are themid and late career stages in which highly specialized IT women and men are situated. In thiscontext career stages differences arise during the process of role formation with theassumption of ageing influence. When workers get older, confidence in self-concept increasesand hence the requirements for role model diminish2. The role model diminishes not becauseof the age but more in case of changes in the emphasis placed in different dimensions. In earlycareer, which is known also as acquiring stage, workers build viable self-concept byemulating others and using positive, close roles models and a range of attributes needed tocreate the real professional identity. During mid-career (refining stage) individuals seek torefine their self-concept as confidence starts growing, selecting specific and generally positiveattributes from role models. At this stage people usually emphasize the importance of havingrole models to choose freely and accept their character by being conscious of their availabilitybefore different task transactions. During this time people are unstable and look for betterconditions of work to improve their motivation, state value of ambiguity and they sometimescan interact with the feeling of uncertainty and lacked guidance, especially confrontingvisible, strong role models. Respondents also maintain that, as time passed, their careerchoices become limited with further restricted hierarchically availability among interesting forthem role models. On the other hand, workers’ ability to get useful attributes grew, supportingthem with a better sense of their own self and life. In late career (affirming stage) people wantto improve and affirm their self-concept by learning appropriate skills tied to specific goals.Workers agree to absorb both – positive and negative role models to affirm their own sense ofuniqueness and finally to integrate shared role of models into parts of one global model ofmultiple roles. What’s more, employees often believe the role model has similar values andgoals to themselves. Gibson suggests that supervisors should recognize the growth needs ofmid-stage IT managers by emphasizing exposure to exemplary peers or IT supervisors. In theera of rapid organizational and career changes, IT managers and IT leaders should have theopportunity to establish their own network of developmental relationships among other geeksand computer-savvy employees, varying in strength and diversity. Moreover, the role modelcouldn’t be defined only as cognitive because it consists also of the importance of symbolic orinspirational effects and, of course, emotive values.Some researchers3 point out that the context of working environment influence the process ofgender identity formation which is easy to being observed in the asymmetric power of 2. 2 A.H. Eagly, Sex differences in social behavior: A social role interpretation, Nowy Jork 1987. 3. S. Skiffington, P.& Zeus, , Behavioral Coaching : How to Build Sustainable Personal and Organizational Strenght, Nowy Jork 2003.
  6. 6. organization where the majority dominate and marginalize the minority and where structurespreserve this harmful situation. In this case, scientists say about homophile and tokenismwhich premised on the assumption that people prefer working with similar others. Throughthe process of assimilation, polarization and exaggeration, stereotypes are used to heightenboundaries. It is frequently assumed that by hiring more women (which usually have thestigma of token), the power balance will improve, but identity groups need to be equal in theiraccess to power resource in the workplace. Thanks to Ely approach4 we are accustomed withthe situation when there is a proportional representation of women at the top of IT ladder andhow it influences the relationships between other women employed in the same place. It isproved that in IT firms hiring few top IT women managers, others were less likely toexperience gender as a positive factor for identification with other women, less likely toperceive senior IT women managers as role models with legitimate high authority and morelikely to perceive competition in relationships with women peers, and finally less likely tofind professional support in these relationships. The presence of IT women executives is amirror of the level and likelihood of possible promotion of other women with lower status.Organizational gender compositions at senior levels of IT can explain turnover differences forboth women and men, though with the higher number of women. These women, who werehired in lower ranks, were more likely to leave than these who were in the middle or higherpositions. Probably lower ranked women were prone to think about such distance betweenthem and were sure that women executives limited their views of possibilities to change. Incontrast, higher level ranked women were more similar and closer to the top IT women whohad the power and legitimate resources to affect their working conditions. Balancedrepresentation at peer level would reduce sex-role stereotyping and could promote a greatersense of common work for better working conditions. Following social identity and self-categorization theories, women evaluate other women’s attributes less favorably to thecompany’s criteria of the success. It provides to thought that firms, with considerably morethan token numbers of women in management at all levels, have greater latitude in genderroles with the women consciously enacting masculine and feminine roles as they saw fit. Inmale-dominated firms, women’s discomfort with sex roles and rate themselves less favorablyin relation to the firm’s requirements for success would explain lower levels of jobsatisfaction, lower expectations and motivation to be promoted. In sex-integrated companies,biological sex is usually less tightly linked to bipolar construction of gender. Women ITmanagers have a better sense of acceptance, higher satisfaction in solving IT tasks incooperation with other IT co-workers and, in the end, are optimistic about their prospectivecareer in IT. Ely carried out another approach two years later. Junior and middle male andfemale IT managers were asked their perceptions of the personality and behaviorcharacteristics associated with success within their organization. In many cases, women andmen identified the same issues, but the significance of them for their own decision-makingand the way others interpreted their behaviors and attitudes varied – especially in relation tothe perceived incompatibility between active parenting and senior roles. The uncertainties 4. 4 R.J. Ely, The power of demography: women social constructions of gender identity at work, “Academy of Management Journal”, vol. 38, p. 589 – 634, Londyn 2004.
  7. 7. around succeeding as a woman were considered to be reinforced by the small number ofvisible women – senior executives who could act as role models. These women who hadmade it to senior roles were described as having lost their femininity. Proportion of women atthe various hierarchical levels made a difference to men’s but not to women’s cross sex-rolemodeling patterns. Women in sex-balanced organizations were less likely to place importanceon same sex-role models. In companies with higher amount of female partners, women weremore prone to agree they had good role models available to them for career success, thoughtheir role models were top IT women managers. This research was helpful in providing quitenew standards in recruitment policy. Increasing the number of women hired in senior ITpositions may help organizations reduce turnover and draw a wide range of women talent.These studies also suggest that visible role models of women in authority can be related withan increase of women’s ambitions and motivation level because their presence enables themto change the old gendered schema of status and power.THE ROLE CONGRUITY THEORY Role congruity theory stems from the descriptive nature of social role theory byconsidering multiple social roles simultaneously and examining the congruity betweenexpectations and perceptions. According to Eagly and Karau5 role congruity theory admitsthat one social group (women) will be positively evaluated at work when its professionalattributes, attitudes and characteristics are noticed by society (working environment) asappropriate to this group’s social roles. This statement pertains to the congruity betweengender role and role model typical for it, including leadership top IT managerial positions.Gender roles are consensual believes about the attributes and skills of women and men thatare normative for each sex so there are typical male- and female-congenial workingenvironments. Characteristics typical of leaders or top IT managers are defined in agentic andinstrumental areas which biologically are prescribed more to men, so IT sector is much morebetter professional place to develop for men than women. Due to this perception, men, morethan women, are concentrated in professional roles that emphasize power, core competitionand authority which are correlated with post-modern, innovative-fluctuating organizations. Atthe same time, women traditionally are bordered by their sex and can have easily enteredprofessional, low-waged roles e.g. in education or social work which are considered suitableto feminine stereotyping. Hence, these characteristics associated with high status, executiveand leadership roles have been attached still more and more rather by men than women. As aconsequence it is assumed that all decisive and innovative in meaning jobs such as leader andchange agents, executive managers or top IT specialists are more congruent with themasculine gender role. This situation fosters to prejudice and gender discrimination bycreating the selection of different jobs by males and females, thereby producing sex- 5 5. A.H. Eagly, S.Karau, Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders, “Psychological Review”, vol.109, p. 573-598, Londyn 1995.
  8. 8. segregated, dual labor market and employment policy. The perception of these jobs as typicalmasculine follows to different generalized assumptions that people are prone to accord moreauthority to men so men are generally more influential and decisive in groups andconsequently women may adopt these characteristics that are prescribed strongly to men inorder to be perceived by others as leaders and to exert authority. Moreover, women often facejob discrimination in relation to many innovative and decisive managerial positions,especially in those areas of business (e.g. Information Technology sector) that are male-dominated. Furthermore, this masculine stereotype contributes to the segregation of the laborforce whereby men tend to monopolize all positions perceived as prominent in authority. Ithas also determines how women think about themselves as prospective and current leader notonly in IT sector but in every other managerial field of workspace. Women can feel lessappropriate persons to fulfill requirements connected with decisive roles, less confident andcomfortable in a leadership position than their male counterparts. As far as the predictions aretaken in mind, females will be described as more feminine when they work in a women-dominant profession that is congruent with historically bordered gender roles and, on thecontrary, more masculine when they are hired in the labor field, more incongruent with theirbiological roles. It is a process that involves environmental expectations about what isdesirable for each sex, together with descriptive (present situation) and injunctive (idealsituation build by willing as a prediction of future better status) rules and norms giving guideto act in the socio-economic context. The congruity and incongruity asymmetric proportionamong both genders is strictly under pressure of people’s expectations in relation to genderattitudes, placing women in low-status, communal stages of organization and distributingagentic, based on higher status, task-oriented jobs to men. “Given the incongruence of beingfemale with leadership (the role incongruity principle) women have less potential to emergeas leaders than do men and will be evaluated more harshly than men when women do assumeleader roles”6. It provides to stereotyping conclusions that women are generally less likely tobe seen as leaders and decisive managers in high technology because of their worse brainconditions to learn agentic qualities. What’s more, they are seen less favorably, even though,they hold managerial positions and display the required agentic behaviors because theyviolate their biological ought to and diminish their injunctive gender role. Women tend tohave more androgynous views of managerial and leader role than their male co-workers. Thatstatement provokes conclusion that women believe in the need of both – agentic andcommunal qualities to fulfill professional roles, and in contrast, men are more addicted tounderstand leadership and management role solely as agented. According to a feministapproach, women in leader and managerial positions face dual challenges: one that derivesfrom observers’ views as “women are agented” and second challenge that categorizes them as“merely leaders”. Moreover, when agented traits are especially for leader roles, role congruitytheory and categorization theory would predict that the negative evaluations attributed tofemale top leaders may be even further compounded at top levels in organizations. Theconcept of double standards of competences for both exists in the field of strict requirements,applied to workers of lower status groups and, consequently, inferences about their traits andabilities are aligned with their lower category of membership. The use of double standards isdistinct from biased evaluations that are used to present gender differences in management in6 Ibidem, s. 187.
  9. 9. the role congruity theory. Prejudices in accordance with the role congruity theory principallyoccur when gender stereotypes remain undisputed by performance evidence and are thenpresented to define the work-pertinent attributes of the leader. On the contrary, doublestandards exist when performance evaluations have taken place and are deemed to beobjective. Using performance evaluations of middle managers and senior-level managers fromSpain, we observe that women who were promoted to upper levels of management receivedhigher performance ratings than men who were promoted. All these women really changedtheir positions to more decisive because they simply had to perform much better than men inorder to be promoted7. Such double standards can actually provide the background for a futureadvantage for women top managers, because these higher scores serve as a source ofinformation about the agented abilities of women who occupy senior level positions. This oneexample of research has shown that unambiguous and comprehensive evidence demonstratingthe abilities of female leaders and their ability way to mitigate the negative effects of rolecongruity among the workforce. When information of previous, documented performancewith explicit standards of women-managers are presented, women have been shown to beperceived as confident and influential, and gendered-biased expectations have been presentedas completely irrelevant. Furthermore, when women leaders not only achieve top positionsbut also demonstrate success in them, they are likely to be evaluated by the businessenvironment as able to demonstrating even greater evidence of management capability inparticularly challenging situations. Therefore, achievements of these women may beexamined favorably relative to men because some causes facilitate attributions made tobehaviors whereas other causes inhibit attributions made to specific behaviors. When bothfacilitating (abilities) and inhibiting (gender) parts co-exist, the facilitating fact will be viewedas the more probable causal mechanism. Thus, the augmentation principle suggests that whenwomen occupy roles for which their gender may be an inhibiting cause (e.g. masculine rolessuch senior level or IT managers), their co-workers are likely to assume that such womenhave exceptionally high agented traits that allowed them to overcome barrier to lead that roleposed by their gender.Previous research on communal and agented ratings, consistent with the tenets of congruityrole theory, argued that women who violate gender role expectations by exhibiting agentedtraits, risk being judged as insufficiently communal. This type of prejudiced statements aboutfemales holding masculine positions derives from the prescriptive norms of gendered roleswhich delineate views about how women ought to behave rather than how women act becauseof specific profession. These norms reject the possibility of transformation in “typical”leadership behaviors not seeing cooperation between communal and agented traits, especiallyin the environment of feminized, lower status of management. However, there are somechanges in evaluating women managers, still gender stereotypes continue to have complexeffect on perceptions of behaviors within organizations. When considered in context of rolecongruity theory, gender stereotypes have a substantial impact on the selection and on thepromotion of women and the end result is fewer women in upper-management or managerialfunctions in IT sectors. Although this interpretation stands in contradiction to what previousEU employment policy declared in different gender mainstreaming and anti-discrimination
  10. 10. actions, it is consistent with findings that women report experiencing bias and employmentbarriers in the workplace. Stereotypes activation may require minimal semantic processing,not merely exposure to an individual representing a particular group of workers. Althoughstereotypes are automatic, unconscious process, they are more functions of the social contextand that’s why they can be controllable at the organizational stage. They have their own effectof rebounding which is affected by personal characteristics, such as level of prejudice as wellas situational factors such as the appropriateness of expressing stereotyped behaviors. Thatexposure to information about gender stereotypical roles can lead to false recognition of rolesand traits, provoking the creation of false memories. Some examples of situationalstereotyping women are closely linked to the evaluation process in the organizations andthat’s why have more direct implications to the process of hiring and promoting women inupper-managerial IT positions. A common finding is that the better we know somebody(depth of information in department), the less likely we are ready to stereotype him or her. Itcan be visible when women in high managerial positions are more likely to be promotedwithin the department rather than hired from outside. Other studies suggest8 that ratee sexalone does not provoke rater bias, but rater bias results from a more complex consideration ofrate masculinity and femininity. Whether or not women are burdened by the consequences ofstereotypes, it is in part a function of working conditions that are under the control of theorganization. Bearing in mind this approach, the key lies in the role an organization can playin controlling the impact of context on the stereotyping process. In most cases the gender (thiswhich is mentioned here) is salient when it comes to most interactions in the workspace andbecause of its character people experience subtle acts of prejudice which are very difficult torecognize and usually are unnoticed by a casual observer. However, focusing on its nature,their implications are harshly damageable for a female employee who constantly receivesconstructive depreciation because of their cumulative effect in terms of motivation, self-esteem, career aspirations and even performance. There is a relevant application of thecumulative effect which exists in the research of stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is ananxiety created from the fear of validating a negative stereotype of a group which anindividual is a member of and, unfortunately, people are likely to shed light on itsdevelopment and casual mechanisms. This commonly accepted belief rejects systematicallyconscious considering prejudices in a proper context, one in which their potential impact isnot on one decision but on every decision with the necessity of identifying the cumulativeimpact. People being in the group have increasing tendency to devalue female’s professionalrole when her managerial skills and leadership attitude are enacted in a stereotypicallymasculine style, particularly when this style is autocratic or directive and when she occupiesstereotypically male-dominated roles, especially IT professions. Stereotyping is a commoncognitive process now and due to different roles in women’s professions, prejudices aredivided into various subtypes which fluctuate dependently of women’s influx into theworkforce. Subordinates are more likely to be subjected to stereotyping by their supervisorsthan contrary. Managers have many subordinates so it makes sense for subordinates to focus 7 7 Cuadrado, I., Estilos de liderazgo y genero: Una perspectiva psicosocial, Tesis Doctorada publicada en edición electrónica, ISBN 84-8240-597-7, Almería 2002.
  11. 11. on what these supervisors are really like rather than to rely opinions about them onstereotypes. A set of studies show that people pay attention to others who control theiroutcomes and they pay attention to stereotype-incongruent behavior of bosses so that they canbehave appropriately around them. Similar the way people see their bosses, it is easier tostereotype the majority – those who are in subordinate positions or who do not controlimportant outcomes. There is less incentive for supervisors to react to stereotype-incongruentbehavior of lower status workers. In fact, they may even misremember stereotype-incongruentbehavior as behavior consistent with stereotypes. Given that women, especially being inminority, tend to be overrepresented in subordinate positions, they may, relative to men, bemore subject to discrimination.To ensure more objective perceptions and evaluations in organizational context, managersshould strive to minimize the effects of stereotypes in work settings. Due to the fact that morewomen aspire and achieve top levels of management and leadership, it will be increasinglyimportant to effectively evaluate and utilize women’s leadership styles and behaviors toaccomplish high organizational goals. Moreover, attracting and retaining top female talentcould be influenced by managers’ ability to build a fair and appealing work environmentwhere men and women alike, are able to reach their full potential. Effective, both sexesleaders not only need to have proper environment to be achievement-oriented, competitive,decisive and independent in their roles, but also must recognize the value of building strongrelationships, collaborating with others and have space to take care of their subordinatesthrough coaching and development.SPANISH WOMEN IN IT SECTOR – SOME EMPIRICAL EXAMPLESSpain is the Mediterranean country. The word Mediterranean has many metaphors because ofvarious perceptions of its interior sea which, nowadays, can be seen as a bridge or a frontier,depending on the discourse is presented (without forgetting about the problems of the countrysurrounding it). Bearing in mind an unstable nature of women, it is easy to compare it with theimages of water, mostly turbulent – usually perceived as distorted but when the sea is calm –very clear and realistic. Spain is imaged by sociologists and anthropologists as a country oflots of inverted, mutual images in the context of religion as well as many other socio-culturalones. Its space has got a history full of blending cultural exchanges. Women in these diversecultures have always been decisive actors in the process of transmission of such goods as:language, oral literature, beliefs or artistic knowledge. Moreover, thanks to education andmodern training women have had the possibility to push the business together with thescientific and cultural world over the last decades. But the status of Spanish women,especially on the southern shore, is growing very slowly, not only because of mentalities butalso because of lack of financial resources and real political will. The productive work ofwomen, currently, apart from the traditional related to caring for the family, is much morewider than the statistics show in general. The issue of stereotypes still affects the north and thesouth of Spain, the slanted vision of women is repeated through media and some textbooks,
  12. 12. which are the common generator of the cultural, gender-biased imaginations. All these forceshas a great influence on Spanish labour market and its economical tools.During last fifteen years Spain has experienced the sharpest increase in unemployment amongall European Union countries, especially presented by economists as structural problems.Very high severance payment of permanent contracts has resulted in a rigid dual market withadverse effects on unemployment and productivity. The wage bargaining system, mostlycollective in its power, has led Spanish companies to macroeconomic shocks, bringing theirnegative effects to a head on the labour market. Spanish government has just prepared labourmarket reform legislation. It is mainly focused not only on reduction of enormous protectionof workers employed in permanent contracts but also on decrease of high level of collectiveagreements, even though it is uncertain whether the courts interpret it sensibly. Some negativeaspects of Spanish labour market are strongly correlated with a huge drop-out rate from lowersecondary schools and then from universities which is an important factor of a largeunemployment rate among young workers ( 18 – 26 ). There are also very significantdifferences in unemployment across sectors and regions and some of them are caused by thelack of geographical mobility of Spanish workers, slowing the relocation of workers fromhigh- to low-unemployment regions, and therefore stifling labour market trend overall. Highstructural unemployment is likely to have increased mostly during the current crisis.Employment and unemployment react in a very truculent way to the cycle as is seen duringlast unstable economic situation. The strong reaction of these factors can be sometimesexplained by nominal wage interia and by frequent use of temporary contracts. It can beuseful to allow wages react in a more flexible way which could be a tool for absorbing andrelocating workers. Decreasing the diversity between workers and available jobs could makethe shifts allocate strictly to create an export-led economic development. Dual labour markethas harmful effects on both unemployment and productivity policy. According to the OECDreport, 34% of all Spanish workers have been hired on temporary contracts and positive ornegative employment growth is driven only by changes in an amount of jobs on temporarycontracts. On the contrary, the amount of permanent workers was slightly higher and thejuridical procedures protecting this privileged group of workers have led to the long-termwages paid them by previous employers. Very high dismissal costs of permanent contractsmakes Spanish companies reluctant to convert temporary contracts into permanent ones and,consequently raise turnover in this country. Even firms are satisfied with the work of theirpermanent workers, it is more cheaper to fire them and, after a short time, seek new kids onthe block. Higher turnover is likely to raise unemployment rate as workers look for new jobs.The larger dualism in the labour market is, the larger unemployment rate can be measured inpractice. This situation is deeply correlated with wage bargaining system which protects theinterests of permanent workers, because insider’s power may keep wages for all workersabove market-clearing levels. Although unemployment workers find jobs, they may have togo through many spells of unemployment and low productivity entry-level jobs beforeobtaining better - regular ones. Moreover, the dual labour market may interfere with humancapital accumulation which would slacken productivity growth. Besides reforms ofemployment protection, the 2010 labour market reform aims also at improving theadaptability of the labour market to shocks. First, the law changes the conditions under whicha firm can opt out ex post from collective agreements: it widens the causes under which firms
  13. 13. can opt out from lower level agreements as is the case, for instance, for specific company-level pacts. Moreover, it eases the conditions for opting out from higher level collectiveagreements at sectoral or regional level. In this case, firms that want to opt out no longer needto ask for consent from the social partners (notably trade unions); instead, agreement betweenemployers and their employees would be sufficient. If such an agreement between employersand employees cannot be reached, collective bargaining must provide for solutions througharbitration. Furthermore, firms can now also opt out as regards a larger range of workingconditions, beyond wages, including working time and firm organization. Second, the lawopens up company-internal flexibility in terms of reductions in working time (including short-time work). Such flexibility is now given independently of the number of workers concerned;previously it could be applied only in the case of full suspension of contracts or collectivedismissal. In addition, the law extends existing employers’ social security rebates in the caseof short-time work if such work was combined with training of the workers concerned. The2010 labour market reform foresees a reform of the collective bargaining process within sixmonths since the law was passed by Parliament. If social partners do not reach an agreement,the government is willing to adopt necessary initiatives such as to further improve thecollective bargaining process.In terms of employment the growth in women’s rate in Spain has been spectacular, increasingfrom 35% in 1997 to almost 56% in 2006. The analysis reveal that women in the age group of55-64 years have experienced the highest raise between 2000 and 2006, while the younger agegroup of 16-24 / 25-54 presented a much lower growth rate. Taking the whole period intoconsideration, the highest growth has been recorded for the youngest age group, followed bythe oldest age group. The lowest increase was among women in the middle age groupcoinciding with the largest likelihoods of family responsibilities. In the case of men, on thecontrary, the employment rate surpassed the EU averages, although employment growth wasmuch lower than that women’s one. For men, there has been a distinct higher growth periodbetween 2002 and 20069The number of female researchers increased in Europe in all economic sectors: the HigherEducation Sector, the Government Sector and the Business Enterprise Sector. In the former,the proportion of female researchers grew from 34% in 2000 to 37% in 2006. It is importantto remember however that we are measuring the countries of the European Union, with apopulation that changed between 2001 and 2006 in size and number of countries concerned.The female researchers population grew even more considerably in the Government sector,going from 31% in 2000 to 39% in 2006. Regarding private sector researchers, 15% in 2000were women and 19% in 200610. 9 9 en.html 10 Ibidem.
  14. 14. The number of female PhDs in Europe grew from 39.6% in 2001 to 43% in 2003 and 45% in2006. The balance of the presence of female PhDs across fields of sciences didnt changeconsiderably between 2001 and 2006, with women being more numerous in the fields ofEducation, Humanities and Arts, Agriculture and Veterinary, and Health and Social Services.The Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction field had 20.6% of female PhDs in 2001,21.90% in 2003 and 25% in 2006. The proportion of women attaining the top level of anacademic careers, defined here as "Grade A professorship", moved from 15.20% in 2000 to15.3% in 2004 and 19% in 200711.There are positive trends for women in Spain in terms of job to job mobility. However, Spainhas the highest rate of fixed term employment in the whole of the EU and it is almost 5percentage points higher for women than for men. This means that, in principle, there aredifferent factors driving the high mobility rates compared to the EU and that they result invery different outcomes in terms of conditions and pay as well as the impact on the overalleconomic performance. In the case of Spain, the high turnover and lack of job security canlead to a negative impact, especially in terms of productivity. However, the trend in the ICTsector might follow a different logic. Although no other readily available data can be used toinvestigate this point further, the analysis of the sample of women in ICT jobs taken in Spainfor this project will shed some light on this issue. Moreover, there also seems to be acorrelation between the classification of welfare states and the levels of job mobility in the EUcountries. At the high end of the job mobility scale are the social-democratic and liberalwelfare state countries. Corporative regimes, such as Germany and France, score lower in jobmobility. The countries of Southern Europe such as Portugal, Greece and Italy show higherwork security but show the lowest overall job mobility rates. Spain is also included in thisgroup, but is somewhat of an exception since it shows job mobility levels closer or above EUaverage not correspondent with its welfare state regime classification and in fact has one ofthe lowest geographical mobility rates in the EU. However, mobility in the ICT sector isparticularly high for Spanish women.There were 50 women and also 50 men, IT managers, who took part individually in the on-line surveys and then who decided to record their opinions during mixed-gender focused-group interviews. Although the sample is clearly not representative of the labour marketfigures analyzed nor is it statistically valid, their views of the conditions in the ICT sectorprovides an important qualitative perspective. In the beginning the idea was to interviewyoung women but couldn’t be realized because the reality of this sector is that womenbetween 30 – 40 are the most numerous group (70 %). On the contrary, about 65% of malemanagers were between 26-35 years old. The interviews were organized in such cities as:Sevilla, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid, with the amount of 10 women and 10 menin each place. The women interviewed were mostly self-employed (55%), working on regularbasis in offices and then at their homes. 30% of them were part business owners and, finally,20% of them had fixed-term contracts in big international IT firms. All women and men hadvery long working hours and schedules, clearly incompatible with reconciliation of work and11 Ibidem.
  15. 15. family life (starting late and ending late in the day with a long midday break, typical ofSpanish businesses).The educational level of the women surveyed wasn’t more diversified than men. In six casesthe women had a different than technical basic educational background which theycomplemented with specific formal education in ICT. On the other hand, 75% had specificbasic formal training in ICT followed by more formal training (masters degree) in the sameareas. In the rest of the cases (25%) university training has been acquired not related to ICT.As to the different jobs of Information Technology being carried out, practically all were inhigher level occupations as directors/owners and qualified specialists (ISCO 1 and 2). In 65%of the cases the occupations were related directly to ICT. Those who have their owncompanies or work as freelance professionals have mostly entered in the sector after someyears working for others and only a few have directly started to work in the ICT sector asindependent professionals. In the case of those who are in dependent employment, there is avariety of answers as to how they obtained their present position. This can be resumed intotwo main methods: through recommendations and through free market competition (includingpublic administration entrance exams, school to work transitions through internships or finaluniversity projects). This is a most interesting finding since in Spain top level jobs are usuallynot obtained in this manner. This finding is not consistent with the answer to the secondquestion. Indeed, around half think that women are hired on the basis of their professionalworth compared to men or that the industry does not prefer either one or the other. Anotherhalf thinks that women are definitely not preferred to men. Here some examples of theiropinions:“Yes, I consider that this association exists, and that you can definitely find more menworking in technical occupations than women...but to be able to say that his idea harms theaccess of women to the technological sector would be, for me, a bit exaggerated” (33 yearsold, system analyst web designer).“ (….) It does harm, but I believe that if a women has vocation for a profession in the ITsector, this type of stereotypes ideas will not matter to her””( 30 years old, EducationalSoftware Designer).“I do not believe that it affects, in any case the use of the ITs has much to do with services, atleast in the case of an operator of telecommunications so, this association would be beneficialto access certain positions. But I have never witnesses a situation in which one could applythis associations [of ideas]” (38 years old, Senior Applied Techniques Engineer)“I had no idea of the existence of such an absurd association of ideas. I suppose that thereare people who follow these ideas, but I don’t believe that this association of ideas harmswomen who actually want to accede to the IT sector. I believe that the existing stereotypes inthis sector are the same ones that exist in other sectors. Stereotypes are a commondenominator in all European cities.” (36 years old, Local Area Network Administrator).“I am not sure of that. They usually associate very technical knowledge with men, althoughthey say” that they prefer us because we are better at solving problems.””(40 years old,Computer Applications and Systems Advisor / Programmer)
  16. 16. “During the first month of my work here, a new Web Marketing Manager and I were havingour very important meeting with our prospective client. We were on equal levels at thecompany that time but he constantly neglected copying slides and tried to burden me with theresponsibility of this dull work. We didnt get along well after that, but finally he ended upgetting fired. This sort of stuff happens a lot in the IT sector with men of all ages.” (31 yearsold, Computer Technician and Project Manager)“Yes, I have met social obstacles, mainly because I have come across many professionals whoare engineers or economists who can’t understand that a woman can contribute with a morepractical vision of some aspects.” (35 years old, Web Developer/Analyst)“It is difficult to remain updated in an environment that changes so much as this one does.Apart from this, a certain degree of specialization is required in my case. I left the technologyper se to become an advanced user, capable of selling and proposing technological solutionsto my customers that would fulfill their needs.”” (40 years old, CEO)“Until now not that many [obstacles], or perhaps I ignore them, I believe that I am alsoconstructing them myself.””(30 years old, Project Manager)“(…) Obstacles are personal reason. Only that I had to learn to deal with more men thanwomen. Though, in more recent years, there are more women entering programming jobs.””(32 years old, Information Technologies Engineer)Next stage in the questionnaire was describing present tasks and obtained technicalknowledge requested to perform IT jobs with the correlation to the team work and mobility.Final part had questions addressed the division of labour along gender roles in the respondersworkplace. Here are some examples of further statements:“I sell knowledge products, information with a high added value, channeled usually througha computer toll or through internet, giving a great emphasis to design so that it facilitates tothe maximum extent possible the fulfillment of the product’s objective… I need to be up-datedon the most recent market trends, on the possibilities that new technologies offer in the fieldof knowledge management, of technical requirements that limit the application of one type oftechnology or another, of the costs of the different technological developments and theapplicable legislation in each case… Regarding skills and abilities I would say that curiosity,fast understanding, imagination for designing creative solutions, attention to detail, a widevision (being able to see the big picture) and ability to establish priorities.”” (39 years old,CEO)
  17. 17. “It is as important, as it is in any other sector. In this case it can influence the speed ofchange, it is always important to work in teams as there will always be someone who will beable to detect innovation or change before others, and who will communicate this in order toexploit the opportunity created.”” (33 years old, Senior R&D Engineer)“In my task it is very important since the commercial and technical area must agree in theservice that we are giving to the client as well as making it feasible. We must communicatecontinuously.”” (34 years old, Account Manager)“In my field it is of utmost importance. Problems cannot be solved if the products are notbuilt considering different points of view. Technological tools must be at the service of people.If the engineers/computer technicians worked solely in the development of applicationsdestined to disabled people, but without considering their needs, it is highly probable that thetools will not function correctly. On the other hand, technology is a unique ally to providesolutions to many of the problems that disabled people face. For this reason it is necessary tocreate multidisciplinary teams that can combine interests and criteria.”” (36 years old, ITProject Manager)“There are the same barriers as in the rest of sectors. Family and children usually are themain barriers for women’s mobility. So, that’s why I am not able to gain specified ITknowledge as quickly as my colleges do. I must to analyze institutions’ needs and determinequickly what programs and systems are the most adequate to serve these needs. My job goesfrom creating complex computer programs to solving small computers’ conflicts. These tasksare timely restricted” (35 years old, Senior Computer Technician, owner)“(…) Not really. Moving is not only easy, but that there is an element added to mobility whichis telecommuting which helps and it is happening more and more. If one wants to hireworkers who you will never meet, it is very easy. Through Internet you can find many peoplewho love to work in very concrete projects, who will do the job from their own places, thenthey will send them to us and we can integrate their part into the larger project. The conceptof mobility has extended. In addition this is a sector that favours the fact that to do a projectnot everyone has to work in the same place or with the same time schedule. It is a sectordifferent from the others in that sense. This is also a sector that is in continual change, whichI n act favours mobility.” (38 years old, IT Partner-Director)
  18. 18. “I am responsible for automatic regulation of commuting control systems together withplanning in telecommunication industrial sector. These fields of knowledge are likely to befast advanced in science and I need to constantly update my skills and get new workingexperience. I lead a 12-technician team and I must have both technical and organizationalknowledge to fulfill different, technically-detailed requirements and stay in good, effectiverelations with my c-workers. It isn’t easy but I manage … “(32 years old, Computer andTelecommunication Systems Manager)“It is true that it is a very masculine” sector and that in many occasions it can be distant fromthe “worldly problems”, but in general it is a very dynamic sector that moves at a greatspeed, which poses a daily challenges and the need to permanently renovate yourself. That’sthe clue of working in such labour segment. You can move fast and create useful tool underthe pressure of time. ”” (36 years old, IT Project Manager)“As an example, during the telecommunications gala dinner, only 3.5% of the people presentwere women engineers. In addition to that, I believe that when you are a woman and you areattractive, occupying a good position both women and men question your worth asprofessional, they question your intellectual capacity and the means by which you arrived toyour current position. I believe that there is labour discrimination from men to women, butalso from women to women.”” (35 years old, Technical Engineer)“(…) I believe that our abilities to communicate and to deal with people are much better,something that is decisive when managing people and working in groups.”” (33 years old,R&D Computer Engineer).“[Differences by gender] are disappearing. I know this because of what I see in my companyand in companies that I know in the sector. The tasks related to systems, communicationsnetworks and hardware configuration have been associated to men. Programming has amixed association. But right now the number of women is equal to the number of men in thesector. I do not believe that there is a division of tasks by gender, and even more, in a veryshort time there are going to exist more women specialized in networks that there are menthis is what the University system statistics say!”” (40 years old, IT Partner-Director).“Work culture [in Spain] is based on strong dedication to projects in the sense of the numberof hours dedicated to them the lack of training in project management favours a typicallymasculine culture of high rotation, intensive work without a schedule, bad management,unsolved conflicts, lack of attention to the emotional and personal necessities, etc. These arethe factors that can affect in a negative way the adaptation of women to a typically masculineculture based on the negligence of balance between work and personal life. [Some of the
  19. 19. barriers are] the necessity to be always up to date, permanent trainings, the hyperspecialization of the sector, the enterprise policies of big companies, the deficiencies intraining of most of the technological project manages , etc. (…)”(38 years old, Senior AppliedTechniques Engineer)Finally, during the interviews in Spain, female IT managers or female CEOs of IT companieswere asked about behaving female ICT leaders among other businesswomen in thisemployment sector. Three general questions, in the beginning of the research, were furthersupported by a couple of more detailed as: “Have you ever noticed a female rivalry in the ITworkplace?”, “Is it as harmful for women as sexism in holding back female’s career in IT?”, “How do you act as a IT manager?”Here are some answers to given questions:“When I started my IT career in an international Spanish company in Zaragoza, I saw awoman in managerial position discriminating against other, that with a lower status in thecompany. It was possibly because they like to be the only female manager in the workplace. Idecided to change (after one year of full employment) my career track – I moved from graphdesigning to computer system department where there were no women. I was supported by mymale colleges and I achieved my professional goal after five years of hiring there. I try not tobe so powerful when I interact with other women.”(28 years old, Computer System Manager)“I do not agree that a female rivalry is as harmful as sexism in the workplace. Being CEOand the owner of IT company, focused on web designing, here, in Barcelona, I haven’t eventried to act as a queen bee among my four female IT middle-managers. I respect theiridentities and roles they cope and I examine checking only their core competences. We havebeen working together for five years and we know each other quite well. I do not see anycases of female rivalry in my firm. Moreover, I consider our professional team as changeagents. It is visible especially when we realize our IT projects for co-workers who are mainlymen.” (35 years old, Graphic & Web Designer, CEO)“I must say that I’ve never noticed a rivalry among women in the place where I workcurrently. On the contrary, I experienced role stereotyping just after beginning my IT careerhere. Now I am still the only woman – Technician Engineer in CPU Software here in Seville,and I’ve managed with gender stereotyping and tokenism here. That’s because of newmanagement. My new boss appreciates my work and I have been given some official trainingof common use of electrical appliances to provide better our automatic regulation of centralcontrol system.” (30 years old, Computer System Programmer)“Hopefully I have not. (…) All employees of our Bilbao subsidiary had to take a diversitycourse after five weeks of being hired. We, men and women - merely IT specialists, had towatch some videos and discuss what we had seen previously. One video showed a new femaleboss who had appointed another female, a friend, to a position while a male complained theprevious boss had promised him this post. The male promised to take it up to higherauthorities if he didn’t get the promised this one. We had also special anti-discriminativetraining to better understand the problem. I assume that here, in Basque region, we do notobserve gender stereotyping and its strong rivalry among females.” (IT Sales Technician)
  20. 20. These answers reveal a very wide range of activities and a great deal of energy into keepingabreast of a fast changing sector. Moreover, it is interesting to note that both the entrepreneursor freelance group and the employed group, engage well in personal relations with clients orusers of the services and products they produce or manage. However, the question itselfbeckoned a more technical answer, and in all the cases the answers reflect a high degree ofknowledge about the products and services as well as keeping up with the recent changes oftechnical field. The question on teamwork brought out a number of interesting aspects.Working in a collaborative environment is actually part of the IT sector, but it is also aworking method that supports the need to be continually updated and to have an innovativeedge. Also, the work not only within the IT part of the company but with others with differentskills is vital to the IT business and to its possible applications. During the interview womenwere asked about obstacles to mobility in their IT career. The overwhelming majority ofanswers was pointed out the reconciliation of work and family life. Some questions aimed ateliciting information on the personal possibility of moving to another IT job, but also tocontrast with answers in the previous blocks. As could be expected from the answers in theearlier part, the issue of reconciliation of work and family life features prominently as one ofthe most important barriers. In this case those that had said in the previous block that therewere no barriers for women to enter the sector overwhelmingly say that there are barriers tomobility, albeit due to social” not to workplace related causes, mainly in the area of work andlife balance responsibilities. Only in one case the answer was a flat out no.As to the first question, the sample is dived exactly in half: half would move to another IT joband half would not. However among those who have answered no, in four cases this wouldhave to be compared to the circumstances, mostly to the possibility of improving the presentsituation and the need to renew present technical knowledge. On the side of those whoanswered yes, it is interesting to note that in most cases the possibility of changing is linked toan improvement in working conditions and simply to a change of working environment (forexample from the private to the public sector or vice versa).The final block of questions aimed to get an idea of the specific gender relations affectingworking situations in the IT sector and the respondents’ particular views on the issues posed.As to the first question, there is 50/50 split among those that believe that there are no specificenabling factors or constraints due to being a woman in the IT sector and those who do.Moreover, among the former, it is pointed out in several instances that advantages orconstraints depend on personality traits, not on being male or female. Only in two cases didreconciliation of work and family life appear among the answers. Among those who believedthat there were no constraints, some enabling factors such as ability to listen, empathy, multi-tasking, networking, and being more organized and efficient were highlighted. With regard tothe second question, only three respondents answered that they had been attracted bytechnology in their younger years. But on answering the third question (attraction to the ITsector), all respondents unanimously answered yes and for the most part pointed to the factthat its dynamism and the continuous learning aspect is what they found most attractive.The next two questions were directly related to existing prejudices at work and the way thewomen interviewed felt in their labour market position with respect to men. With regard tothe existence of prejudices, discrimination and disadvantages, the sample was also split in
  21. 21. half. Those answering that there were none of these phenomena in the IT sector did not gointo much detail in answering and are mostly in line with their previous answers on obstacles(that there were none). The women answering yes, felt that this was true in general and not aproblem of the IT sector in particular. However, in some cases the fact that it is a maledominated sector in its highest levels was mentioned (for example felt at meetings and othersocial events related to the IT sector). In some cases it is pointed out that the prejudices alsocome from women. On the other hand, the question on whether the respondents sawthemselves as different from men labour-wise had a surprising outcome. In the case of womenwho answered that they did not believe there was any discrimination, disadvantage orprejudices, most also answered that they did not see themselves as different from men and inthe case they answered yes, the difference was that women have advantages over men (betterorganized, multi-task, etc.). In the case of women who felt that there were prejudices,disadvantages and discrimination, an overwhelming majority did not see themselves asdifferent from men in the labour or working aspects. However, some did mention that theywere getting less pay and less opportunities for progress at work, they saw themselves mostlyas equals. Finally, the last two questions addressed the division of labour along gender roles inthe respondent’s workplace and the transfer of stereotypes from the household into the labourmarket. In this case there has also been a 50/50 split into those answering that in theircompanies tasks are divided by gender. However, the overwhelming majority does believethat stereotypes are transferred from the home to the workplace.IT careers have given an increasing number of women a chance to enter the sector, even iftheir first choice of educational or vocational training was not IT related. Furthermore, given aspecific labour market context with a high degree of job to job mobility due to a high level offixed term contracts, the IT sector in Spain for women’s job to job mobility seems to berelated to other issues. These are mainly the personal drive to work for their own profit(entrepreneurs and freelance professionals) and the opportunities that have presentedthemselves, including the demand for professionals combining different knowledge bases (forexample legal or managerial with IT skills). One of the most interesting findings, in our view,has been the fact that basic training in IT and interest in at an early age are not necessarilyobstacles for women to enter this sector. The combination of IT with other formal trainingoptions and the creativity in different applications seem to be giving women an edge in thesector, in spite of general and specific obstacles being faced. Mobility into and within thesector as reflected in the education/training/work histories and the entry into the present postconfirm these statements. These types of experiences should be disseminated to encouragemore women into the sector. On the other hand, although almost half of the respondents werenot thinking of moving to another job in the near future, there were two main issues raisedwith regard to job to job mobility in the IT sector: training and reconciliation of work andfamily life. In fact geographical mobility is very much restricted by the latter, however, insome cases the possibilities that ICT itself offers should be exploited further. Although it isnot clear from this survey, and given its statistical limitations, that there is a gender divisionof tasks, it is true that the sector itself employs many women, but that they are not in thehighest levels of responsibility. Although in Spain this has to be tempered by the fact that inthe most important companies (all multinational and not Spanish) the CEOs or directors arewomen (Google, Yahoo, and IBM, for example) Spanish companies might not be in the same
  22. 22. position. Gender stereotypes are also clearly barrier that continues to affect labour marketoutcomes and are the basis for discriminatory attitudes and prejudices. Although some of therespondents do not apply them to themselves or to other women, the advantages and skillswomen have should encourage IT companies to employ and train both genders.EU policies on lifelong learning and on reconciliation of work and family life are of particularimportance to encourage job to job mobility, but also geographical mobility within andbetween member states. Fighting stereotypes and encouraging gender equality also play a keyrole if both women and men are to enjoy the benefits of mobility and enhance the impact thatthis has on the wider economy and society. A more decided support for companies to changeoutdated management styles and models, which come into contradiction with the changes andopportunities offered by IT services and products should also be promoted from within EUinstitutions. Given the large SME and family owned fabric of businesses, this should be animportant part to be strengthened in the framework of the growth and jobs strategy for nextyears.SUMMARYAlthough the proportion of women in management in different countries vary widely, ITfemale supervisors or leaders are still in a minority in most Spanish companies and reasonsthat have been put forward for its investigation including: the gendered structures of society,the masculine image of the manager and the different kind of socialization processes to whichgirls and boys are subject. Lots of earlier, international studies in management and leadershipconcerned with women in such managerial positions and the possible differences betweenmale and female managers have been noticed. My study also raises the question whether thereare differences between male and female managers but more as regards to their work roledescriptions and attitudes towards subordinates than other prejudice factors. This research is apart of my PhD thesis and was designed in NVivo 8 software to analyze on-line data with asample of 50 female Spanish IT managers and was carried out from January 2009 toDecember 2010.STRESZCZENIEPomimo, że liczba kobiet, posiadających kompetencje zarządcze, zmienia się na korzyść wwybranych krajach, to jednak ilość kobiet-przełożonych w branży IT pozostaje wciąż wmniejszości biorąc pod uwagę chociażby hiszpańskie realia. Przyczyn takiego stanu rzeczynależy upatrywać w kilku obszarach: bazującym na strukturalizmie funkcjonalnym, silniezmaskulinizowanym społeczeństwie z jedynie słusznym wizerunkiem menadżera-macho iukierunkowanych na obie płcie, ale zróżnicowanych procesach socjalizacji. W poprzednichlatach, podjęto wiele międzynarodowych badań nad kompetencjami i postawami kobiet imężczyzn, pełniących funkcje zarządcze, próbując wyjaśnić czy i jak ich zróżnicowanie, zewzględu na płeć, może wpływać na zmiany zachodzące w sposobach organizacjiprzedsiębiorstw. Moje badania również dotyczą tych kwestii, ale bardziej interesują mnie:przyjmowanie przez obie płcie, określonych wzorców zachowań, wchodzenie w nowe rolepod wpływem podwyższonego statusu zawodowego oraz zmiana postaw względembezpośrednich podwładnych lub niższych w hierarchii pracowników. Przedstawiona przezemnie tutaj metodologia badań jakościowych oraz analiza danych, pozyskanych on-line, toczęść ostatniego rozdziału rozprawy doktorskiej, w którym ostateczne wyniki uzyskano dziękitakim narzędziom informatycznym jak NVivo 8.
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  24. 24. NOTA BIOGRAFICZNAMarta Zientek jest doktorantką Instytutu Europeistyki Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego iKatedry Socjologii Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego w Krakowie. Interesuje się szerokorozumianą problematyką zmian rynku pracy, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniemhabitusowych zachowań kobiet i mężczyzn w świetle stereotypizacji ról zawodowych.Ponadto, regularnie bierze udział w konferencjach naukowych, których tematykadotyczy: ageingu, kształcenia ustawicznego i edukacji dorosłych. W chwilachwolnych od naukowych obowiązków, zajmuje się nauczaniem języka angielskiego nawszystkich szczeblach edukacji szkolnej w Polsce. Jej publikacje można znaleźć w nietylko w takich pismach jak: Gazeta Bankowa, Monitor Rachunkowości i Finansów,Zarządzanie Zasobami Ludzkimi (IPiSS), ale również w polskich i zagranicznychmonografiach pokonferencyjnych: Human Development and Adult Learning (2006),Challenges of Social and Cultural Diversity: Diverse Lives, Cultures, Learnings andLiteriacies (2007), Między kulturami: Edukacja w wielokulturowej rzeczywistości(2009).