The lived experiences of women working in managerial roles: An interpretative phenomenological analysis.
(2017) The lived experiences of women working in managerial roles: An interpretative phenomenological analysis., no. 83.
Purpose: To gain an understanding of the lived experiences of female managers. Previous literature has suggested that there is prejudice towards female managers. However, there is a gap in the literature in terms of how female managers make sense of being subjected to prejudice. Method: Seven female managers were interviewed for this project, four of these consisted of semi-structured face-to-face interviews and three were semi-structured interviews conducted over electronic mail. The data consisted of verbatim transcripts of the interviews and was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: There were three master themes identified, namely: manager identity, perceiving the work-life balance as a struggle and understanding prejudice in the workplace. The three themes were inter-related. Understanding prejudice in the workplace relates to how female managers perceive themselves in terms of their manager identity. The manager identity relates to perceiving the work-life balance as a struggle in terms of prioritising work over their personal life. Conclusion: The master themes identified in the current study support previous literature. It has been suggested that the gender stereotype of the manager role is male (Powell, Butterfield & Parent, 2002; Willemsen, 2002) which arguably relates to understanding prejudice in the workplace. The notion of finding it difficult to meet demands at work and at home (Buzzanell, Meisenbach, Remke, Liu, Bowers & Conn, 2005; Millward, 2006; Maddox-Daines, 2016; Peus & Traut-Mattausch, 2008) relates to perceiving the work-life balance as a struggle. The findings can be used in an effort to highlight the issues related to prejudice experienced by female managers in an organisational context. Furthermore, this knowledge can be used in an attempt to develop strategies to tackle such issues.