Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Gender and representative bureaucracy: The career progression of women managers in male-dominated occupations in state government
by Ballard, Velma J., Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, 2015, 295; 3703956
Abstract (Summary)

The tenets of representative bureaucracy suggest that the composition of the bureaucracy should mirror the people it serves including women in order to influence the name, scope, and implementation of public policies. Women account for the largest segment of the workforce and have attained more education and advanced education than men. Although there have been steady increases in executive leadership positions, management positions, professional and technical positions in most occupations, women are still underrepresented in mid-to-upper management in male-dominated occupations. When women are under-represented in mid-to-upper levels of management in government, there are implications regarding representative bureaucracy.

Through the use of qualitative methods, this study examined the career progression experiences of women who were successful in reaching mid-to-upper levels of management in male-dominated occupations in state government. Specifically, the study explored how women perceive various occupational factors including their rates of participation, experiences, gender, roles within the bureaucracy, interactions with their coworkers, leaders and organizational policies, personal influence, and decision-making abilities.

The findings revealed that women experience various barriers to career progression in male-dominated occupations, but find mechanisms to navigate obstacles imposed by the negative consequences of tokenism. The findings indicate that although women have been successful in reaching mid-to-upper level management in male-dominated occupations, they do so in institutions, regional, district, field or offices with fewer overall employees where they have less opportunity to have influence on overall agency-wide policy decisions. The decision-making power is limited to implementation strategies of agency-wide policies within their smaller domains or geographical area of responsibility.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gooden, Susan T.
Commitee: Douglas-Glenn, Nakeina E., Grant, Patricia H., Liebert, Saltanant
School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Department: Public Policy and Administration
School Location: United States -- Virginia
Source: DAI-A 76/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Public administration, Public policy, Gender studies
Keywords: Male-dominated occupations, Obstacles to career progression, Representative bureaucracy, Tokenism, Women in male-dominated occupations
Publication Number: 3703956
ISBN: 978-1-321-76084-2
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