The Female Executive's Perspective on Career Development and Advancement in Organizations
The gender gap at executive levels in organizations in the United States persists although women hold the majority of middle-management positions. Gender bias continues to play a role in the gender discrepancy at executive levels. Female managers may be overlooked for advancement to executive positions because of a lack of synergy between individual career planning and organizational development and advancement practices. Retaining and promoting female middle managers may help organizations close the leadership gap as the number of older employees retiring increases over the coming years. One way to retain female middle managers is to incorporate career planning and advancement programs that increase visibility to potential advancement opportunities within the organization. This descriptive phenomenological study was designed to investigate and describe the lived experiences of female executives with career planning and advancement in organizations, and focused on 16 female executives employed in organizations in Nashville, Tennessee. The study revealed that career planning for female executives began with identifying next steps in ones career and evolved over time to incorporate short-, medium-, and long-term planning. The study revealed that although individuals must make a commitment to career planning and take responsibility for executing to the plan, successful career planning and advancement is dependent upon others beyond the individual seeking advancement. The findings of this study are important for women who desire advancement to executive levels and to organizational leaders who want to hire and promote the right person for the job regardless of gender.
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