Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perception is Reality: Working Mothers' Social Identity and Perceptions of Advancement Potential
by Martin, Jane, Ph.D., Cabrini University, 2019, 123; 13808105
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this empirical study was to extend the body of work related to working mothers in the U.S. by examining the extent to which beliefs regarding the ideal worker, motherhood, and gender social identity roles were associated with self-perceptions of career advancement potential and the likelihood of a working mother to shift her career. The role of the working mother was seen as a complex phenomenon, and outcomes were believed to be influenced by both intrapersonal and system components. To deepen understanding of the phenomenon, comparisons across social identity roles and cultural stereotypes were examined. Findings supported the hypothesis that career identity had a significant positive relationship with perceptions of career advancement potential, and an inverse relationship with career shift.

Interestingly, motherhood also exhibited a significant inverse relationship with career shift. Findings suggested that a new integrated working mother archetype, which encompasses formal employment as a positive aspect of motherhood, may be emerging within the culture. Taking a systems thinking approach, in which the cultural context and self-identity may be embedded within the system, could lead to new understanding for Organizational Development practitioners as they work to build organizational capacity and develop diverse leadership teams. The findings could also serve to inform working mothers and their employers of how social identity may reflect cultural prototypes and stereotypes, and thereby raise collective awareness of an otherwise hidden issue.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brunt, Mary Van
Commitee: Jamieson, David, Matthews, Todd
School: Cabrini University
Department: Organizational Development
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Individual & family studies, Organization Theory
Keywords: Gender equality, Ideal worker, Social identity theory, Stereotypes, Working mothers
Publication Number: 13808105
ISBN: 978-0-438-97705-1
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