Previously published as: Women In Management Review
Online from: 2008
Subject Area: Human Resource Management
|Title:||Married professional women's career exit: integrating identity and social networks|
|Author(s):||Elizabeth Hamilton Volpe, (Gabelli School of Business, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA), Wendy Marcinkus Murphy, (College of Business, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)|
|Citation:||Elizabeth Hamilton Volpe, Wendy Marcinkus Murphy, (2011) "Married professional women's career exit: integrating identity and social networks", Gender in Management: An International Journal, Vol. 26 Iss: 1, pp.57 - 83|
|Keywords:||Careers, Employee turnover, Individual psychology, Social networks, Women|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/17542411111109318 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2006 Academy of Management annual meeting and included in the Best Paper Proceedings from that conference. Both authors contributed equally to this paper. Order of authorship is based on reverse alphabetical order. The authors thank three anonymous reviewers for their feedback on initial ideas related to this work. The second named author would also like to thank the American Association of University Women for funding that aided in the completion of this research.|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to address the idea of “opting out” for married professional women by presenting a conceptual investigation into the impact that a woman's identity and social networks have in shaping her decisions surrounding career exit. A model is developed and intended to help researchers in this area move beyond existing frameworks when attempting to explain and predict women's career exit.
Design/methodology/approach – Research from the identity, social networks, turnover, and careers literatures was analyzed and integrated to put forth a new theoretical lens, represented by the conceptual model developed in this paper, that helps to explain married professional women's career exit.
Findings – Development of the model reveals a complex, reciprocal relationship between a woman's identity and her social network and depicts how these factors act in concert to shape women's decisions regarding career exit or “opting out.” This model also highlights the importance of structural constraints shaping a woman's social network, moderators impacting the relationship between a woman's identity and career exit behaviors, and outcomes of career exit.
Originality/value – Although identity is a fundamental element of career development and relationships with others serve as an origin of self and source of self-understanding, the integration of these perspectives has been conspicuously absent from research on women's career exit. Examining the convergence of identity and social networks and the reciprocal relationship these constructs have on career phenomena advances our knowledge of why married professional women choose to “opt out” or exit their careers.
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