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UBRARY
CRANFIELD

UNIVERSITY

JANESTURGES

VVIIAT IT MEANS TO SUCCEED:

PERSONAL CONCEPTIONS OF CAREER SUCCESS HELD BY


MALE AND FEMALE MANAGERS AT DIFFERENT AGES

SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

PhD THESIS

CRANFIELD

UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

PhD THESIS

Academic Year 1996-1997

JANESTURGES

YMAT IT MEANS TO SUCCEED:


PERSONAL CONCEPTIONS OF CAREER SUCCESS HELD BY
MALE AND FEMALE MANAGERS AT DIFFER-ENT AGES

Supervisor:

Dr. Susan Vinnicombe

December 1996

ABSTRACT

The aim of this research is to investigate how managers define career success for
themselves. It seeks to discover what differences there are in the way that women
and men, and older and younger managers, see their own career success. It fills an
identifiable gap in the literature on career success, in that it examines the subject
from the point of view of the individual, not the organisation. In doing so, it
responds to calls for work in this area, especially the development of "orientational
categories" which classify peoples' attitudes to careers according to their individual
predispositions (Bailyn 1989).

The research,which took place in BT, usesqualitative methods,in particular in-depth


interviewing, to elicit managers'own definitions of careersuccess. Using techniques
of qualitative data analysis and with the help of NUD. IST computer software, it
develops a typology of managerial career success,which shows that managersview
their own career success in one of four ways: as a Climber, who emphasises
hierarchical position, pay and enjoyment in their definition of success;as an Expert,
for
being
do
they
and getting personal recognition
good at what
who seessuccessas
this; as an Influencer, who defines career success primarily as organisational
influence; and as a Self-Realiser, who judges their own career success by
level.
achievementat a very personal
Women managers,who generally basetheir definitions of career successon internal
Self-Realisers;
be
Experts
likely
to
intangible
men, who
and
criteria, are more
and
be
Climbers
likely
to
ideas
base
their
tend to
of successon external criteria are more
be
likely
Climbers,
to
Younger
Influencers.
managers,especially men, are most
and
in
terms
their
Influencers
of
success
own
see
often
who
managers,
and older
be
by
they
remembered.
will
which
achieving something at work

ii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis would never have beenwritten without the help and support of family,
friends and academiccolleagues. In particular, I would like to thank:

Sue Vinnicombe, my supervisor, for her untiring enthusiasm, even during my work1'-III
least promising phases;

Ian Kershaw, who inspired me with the confidenceto undertakethe project in the
first place;
Lesley Robinson, for painstakingly proof-reading my thesis;
David Partington, for giving me advice on the methodology chapter;
All the staff at BT who helped to arrange the interviews and who participated in the

research;
My mother, for never doubting that I would succeed in finishing my thesis;

it
Pritchard,
least,
Andrew
but
last,
without whom simply would
of coursenot
and
this
for
been
have
to
project!
complete
and
me undertake
possible
not

JS., London, December1996

iii

CONTENTS

Page
CHAPTER

1: INTRODUCTION

A personal perspective on researching career


success
The importance of researching personal
conceptions of
career successto individual managers
The importance of researching personal conceptions
of
career successto organisations
The theoretical need for research investigating managers'

1.5

personal conceptions of career success


The research questions

1.6

A summary of the thesis chapters

1.2
1.3
1.4

CHATTER

2.1

2:

SUCCESS: THE THEORETICAL

BACKGROUND

12

The concept of career success


2.1.1 New careers; old success

12

2.1.2

Success on managers' own terms

13

2.1.3

The two dimensions of the career


The career from the individual's perspective

16

2.1.4
2.1.5
2.1.6
2.2

CAREER

The meaning of career successto individuals


Career successand life success

The difference between male and female managers' ideas

12

19
22
26
27

of career success
2.2.2

Women managers' conceptions of career success


Differences in work values between male and female

2.2.3

managers
Psychological influences on women's attitudes to

2.2.1

careers
2.2.4 The different reality of women managers'careers
2.2.5 The relationship betweenwomen managers'ideasof
careersuccess,their psychological developmentand
their careerpaths

27
33
36
39
41

iv

Page
2.3

The effect of age on managers' conceptions of career success


2.3.1 Career successand age

43

2.3.2

48

2.3.3
2.4

Conclusion

CHAPTER

3.1

The process of adult development


Men and women's career development

3:

58

RESEARCH STRATEGY AND NIETHODS

3.1.1

Philosophical perspective
Pragmatic perspective

60

The choice of a research strategy


Research design

67

3.2.1

Research methods

69

3.2.2

The research setting


BT

71

The selection of the research participants


The participants in the first stage of the research
The participants in the second stage of the research

76

3.2.3
3.2.4
3.2.5
3.2.6

3.4

64
68

73
78
80

Field work
3.3.1 Interviewing the participants
3.3.2 Problems and successesof the interview process

83

Data analysis
3.4.1 The approach to data analysis
3.4.2 The process of data analysis

87

3.4.3
CHAPTER

4.1

60

60

3.1.3

3.3

52

Research strategy
3.1.2

3.2

43

4:

OF NIANAGERIAL,

86
88
91
95

Presentation of the findings


AN EXPLORATION

83

CAREER SUCCESS

be
their
to
do
What
on
managersconceive careersuccess
own terms?
4.1.1 Internal criteria of careersuccess
4.1.2 External criteria of careersuccess
4.1.3 Intangible criteria of careersuccess

97

97
98
101
101

Page

4.2

4.1.4 Further evidencefor the importanceof internal and


intangible criteria
The effect of genderon managers'personalconceptionsof

4.3

career success
The effect of age on manager'spersonalconceptionsof

103
104
109

career success

4.4

Discussion

112

4.5

Conceptualising managerial career success

116

CHAPTER

5.1
5.2

5.3

5.4

5.5

5:

DEVELOPING

A MODEL OF MANAGERIAL

CAREER SUCCESS

Managers'personal conceptionsof careersuccess


Internal criteria of careersuccess

118

5.2.1 Senseof accomplishment


5.2.2 Senseof achievement
5.2.3 Enjoyment and interest

120

5.2.4 Identifying sub-groupsof internal criteria


5.2.5 Integrity criteria

124

120
122
123
127

5.2.6 Balance criteria


Intangible criteria of careersuccess

128

5.3.1 Personalrecognition criteria


5.3.2 Influence criteria

130

External criteria of careersuccess


5.4.1 Grade criteria

135

5.4.2 Reward criteria


The effects of genderon personalconceptionsof managerial

141

career success
5.5.1 The differences in emphasison external criteria
internal
in
differences
The
criteria
5.5.2
emphasison
intangible
in
differences
The
criteria
5.5.3
emphasison
5.6

118

129
133
136
143
143
149
151

5.5.4 Women's "broader" definitions of success

154

The effects of age on personalconceptionsof managerial

154

career success
5.6.1 The decline in emphasison external criteria

154

vi

Page
5.6.2
5.6.3
5.6.4

5.7

156

Evidence for changes in managers' conceptions of

158

careersuccess
Developing a model of managerialcareersuccess

CHAPTER

6.1

The increase in importance of intangible criteria


The differences in emphasis on internal criteria

6:

BUILDING

A TYPOLOGY

OF MANAGERIAL

158

161

CAREER SUCCESS 168

6.2

Four types of manager


The Climber

172

6.3

The Expert

178

6.4

The Influencer

185

6.5

The Self-Realiser

192

6.6

Problematic managers
Climber, Expert, Influencer and Self-Realiser: what kind of
likely
is
to see successas each type?
manager

199

6.7

CELAXTER 7:

SUMMARY

AND DISCUSSION OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS

168

202

211

7.2

A summary of the research findings


What career successmeans to managers

212

7.3

The differences between male and female managers'ideas

219

7.4

of career success
The effect of age on managers'conceptionsof careersuccess

226

7.1

7.5

The researchfmdings in a wider context


7.5.1 Organisationalchangeand the "new" psychological
contract
7.5.2 Women in organisations
7.5.3 Areas of further questioning

7.6
7.7

Limitations of the researchfindings


Suggestionsfor future research

CHAPTERS:

8.1

POSTSCRIPT

The necessityfor a postscript

211

232
232
236
240
244
246
248

248

vii

Page

8.2
8.3

The significance of the researchfindings for organisations


The significance of the researchfindings for individual

8.4

managers
The personal significance of the researchfi:ndings

248
250
251

REFERENCES

253

AjPPENDIX 1

266

APPENDLx 2

268

APPENDrx 3

270

AjPPENDim4

272

AiPPENDIX 5

273

APPENDix 6

284

viii

TABLES

Page

Table 3.1
Table 3.2
Table 5.1
Table 5.2

The participants in the first stageof the research


The participants in the secondstageof the research
Internal criteria of careersuccess

79
82
127
136

Table 5.4

Intangible criteria of careersuccess


External criteria of careersuccess
Managers'criteria for careersuccess

Table 6.1

The Climbers

203

Table 6.2

The Experts

204

Table 6.3

The Influencers

204

Table 6.4

The Self-Realisers

205

Table 5.3

130
163

FIGURES
Page
Figure 2.1
Figure 2.2

Derr and Laurent's cultural model of career dynamics


Poole et al. 's theoretical model of the subjective view

24

Figure 2.3

of career success
Powell and Mainiero's cross-currents in the river of time

32

Figure 5.2

model
A model of managerial career success
A model of managerial career success(1)
A model of managerial career success(2)

Figure 5.3

A model of managerial career success(3)

Figure 4.1
Figure 5.1

17

117
162
165
167

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER

1: INTRODUCTION

This chapter introduces the

researchtopic of managers'conceptionsof careersuccess.


Section 1.1 explains briefly why it is
of personalinterestto the researcher;section 1.2
examines its importance to individual managers and section 1.3 discusses its
relevance to organisations. Section 1.4 identifies the theoretical need for research
which investigates career successfrom the individual's perspective. Section 1.5
outlines the research questions which the research tries to answer. Section 1.6
summarisesthe content of the subsequentchaptersin this thesis
1.1 A personal perspective on researching career success
The aim of this researchis to discover how managersdefine their own career
success,
that is not what they believe organisationsclass as success,but what they perceive
career successto be for themselveson their own terms. It also seeksto show what
differences there are in the way that women and men, and younger and older
managers,seetheir own careersuccess. There are soundreasonsboth from the point
of view of the individual managerand from the perspectiveof the organisationwhy
is
such research necessaryand worthwhile; these will be describedin detail below.
Yet the nature of the researchhas a deeper significance to me, the researcher,at a
level;
has
been
the
personal
accordingly, my experienceof
researchprocess
a period
development
discovery.
The most appropriate
as well as one of academic
of personal
is,
believe,
begin
I
for
discussion
to
therefore
the
topic
at this very
of
research
place
level.
personal
My own experiences of organisational life are, I suspect, very similar to those of
After
background.
virtually a single
many other women of my age and educational
it
by
followed
(girls'
women's college at university),
grammar school,
sex education
be
I
treated
discover
to
for
that
to
going
not
was
me
came as something of a shock
just like everybody else when I started work. In my firstjob, with a printing company
I
was
assistant,
I
the
a
canteen
or
secretary
a
not
only
was
woman
who
where was
disgruntled
that
to
by
me,
the
made
manager
comment one particularly
perplexed
"there'll never be a woman director of this company": I simply couldn't seewhy.
I
development
in
hand
to
I
what perceived
and moved on
Eventually took my career
least
to
There
all
seen
be
were
we
the
at
egalitarian
world
ofjoumalism.
more
would
by
frustrated
fact
became
increasingly
In
I
the
attitude of
be the same, or were we?

some of my superiors, in particular, an assumption that women j ournalists didn't want


to be promoted to become editors of magazines. They seemed to see
reward and
recognition in a way that didn't mean much to me either, as progression up an
increasingly sophisticated hierarchy of job titles,
without any additional responsibility
interesting
or
new challenges
By now I was conscious that, as a woman, not only was I being treated somewhat
differently from my male colleagues, but also that what I wanted from my career was
not quite what I was supposed to want as described by my male bosses in the form of
fancier
job titles.
ever

I only began to reflect seriously on this, however, when I


full-time
for
M[BA,
to
stopped working
study
an
when, of course, I had to think
future
direction
the
seriously about
my own career was going to take. Something else

that occurred to me at around that time was the "oddness" of some of my female
friends' careers. They were not odd at all, actually, but they just did not fit the pattern
development
learned
I
MEBA
At
"normal"
that
course.
which
about
on
my
of
career
large,
had
friends
in
By
they
their
chosen to
were
mid-thirties.
and
point most of my
be self-employed, work part-time, or were in the kind of jobs career literature
like
had
Others,
for
didn't
myself,
resumed
well-qualified graduates.
exist
pretended
or planned to resume their studies.
My thoughts about my own career and those of my ftiends came to a head, not
to
I
time
embark upon
the
or
not
whether
considering
was
when
surprisingly, at about
by
driven
for
PhD
decision
to
impossible
is
was
to
PhD.
It
a
study
my
whether
say
a
interest.
In
drove
decision
the
a
sense
in
my
interest
whether
or
women's careers
my
fact
The
intertwined.
it doesn't matter, because it seems right that the two were so
development
top
the
my
of
deliberately
at
had
I
career
own
my
that
put
already
this
an
to
was
journalist
to
meant
job
leaving
university
by
return
as a
my
agenda
be
(1995)
Marshall
As
often
can
investigate.
research
says,
for
to
me
obvious topic
linked with the researcher's life process "as they pursue topics of personal relevance
insight".
intellectual
life
development
as
hope
well
as
to
achieve
and

have
somewhat
direction
changed
the
research
my
of
My academic interests and
ideas
women's
but
days,
about
the
throughout
earliest
my
process
those
early
since
Beneath
have
to
me.
motivate
their
continued
in
careers
and
organisations
position
be
to
deserves
the
belief
deeply-held
lies
right
that
I
person
think,
every
a
these ideas,
has
PhD
for
the
Studying
in
individual
way.
any
and
stereotyped
not
treated as an
I
because
least
for
development
not
tremendous
me,
be
personal
of
period
to
a
proved

have been forced to

put my own attitudes about my career and my life as a whole


under intense scrutiny. What I have gained Eromthe processas a person is a better
understanding of the strength of my belief in the integrity of the individual and the
importance of this to
my view of the world. I believe that the value I place on this
relates closely to my earliest motivation to do PhD researchin this area.
1.2 The importance
individual

of researching personal conceptions of career success to

managers

There are likely to be important benefits for individuals from better


a
understanding
of what career successmeans to managersthemselves. Most researchinto careers,
in
especially the UK, has examined them from the point of view of the organisation,
individual.
As Herriot et al. (1994) say, it "has mainly focused on
than
the
rather
features
structural
of organisationsand their effects on objective careervariables and
levels".
It is perhaps for this reason that career successis frequently
managerial
presentedas something which can be objectively determinedand is measuredsolely
through external criteria such as hierarchical position and salary level (e.g. O'Reilly
Chatman
1994, Melamed 1995). For many writers on careers it has proved
and
definitions
"that
internal
(Bailyn
to
easiest
assume
external
coincide with
ones"
1989). Nonetheless, this assumption flies in the face of the claim made by career
theorists that career successfor the individual can only be defined by the individual
(Hall 1976, Gunz 1989).
There is widespread evidence that a description of career successin purely external
terms does not match what managersfeel about their own success(Korman et al.
1981, Nicholson and West 1988, Scaseand Goffee 1989). In particular, this idea of
how
does
women managersand older managers
not correspondwith
career success
Women
for
their
define
themselves.
own career
relate
to
often
success
appear
1978)
Jardim.
(Hennig
internal
to
which
and
growth
successmuch more a processof
1988)
Asplund
1984,
(Marshall
interesting
and
involves
and challenging work
balance with the rest of their life (Powell and Mainiero 1992). Older managers,
for
less
40,
the
criteria
external
on
emphasis
age
of
place
much
after
particularly
O'Connor
1988,
West
(Nicholson
their
than
and
younger
counterparts
success
career
1983).
Kalleberg
Losocco
1987,
Wolfe
and
and
however,
into
personal conceptionsof
which make research
There are other reasons,
importance
time.
individual
the
to
present
at
managers
of
particular
success
career

For many people,


uncertainty about their career and the kind of successthey may be
able to achieve is increasing, with good reason. Over the past ten years organisations
have tended to rethink the
in
way
which they operate. Competition has become much
sharper due to, amongst other things, the world-wide economic downturn, the
growing globalisation of business, and a faster pace of innovation thanks to rapid
improvements in technology. As companies have introduced
new ways of working in
order to make themselves more competitive, stable employment and the traditional
organisational career associated with it have begun to disappear.
Organisations have shed whole layers of management in order to speed up decision
destroying
hierarchical
ladder up which so many executives once
the
making,
neat
climbed. A new emphasis on concepts like organisational learning (Pedler et al.
1991) and the need for rapid innovation have meant that communication now byhierarchical
future,
In
the
traditional
the
passes
channels.
we are told, most
just
being
companies will employ
a small core of permanent staff, with others
brought in on a temporary basis as and when required (Handy 1989).
Not surprisingly, these changes mean that the concepts of "career" and "career
is
It
Chakiris
1988).
(Leach
been
have
known,
threat
and
are under
success", as they
longer
be
based
hierarchical
available
on pay and position, may no
success,
clear that
is
(1989),
As
Kanter
1992).
(Gelatt
post-entrepreneurialism
to many people
says
hastening the demise of the traditional hierarchical career: "Climbing the career
ladder is being replaced by hopping from job to job. " Career responsibility, she
the
to
individuals,
hands
in
mix
is
correct
acquire
the
need
who
will
of
now
claims,
in
"successful"
the
in
environment.
new
"portable"
to
career
a
enjoy
order
skills
of
have
Handy (1989) agrees that "discontinuous change and the new professionalism
few".
but
for
a
the
all
the
career
to
corporate
of
end
therefore combined
spell
by
be
the
replaced
Some believe that the traditional organisational career may
boundaries
and
employers
the
separate
of
"boundaryless" career, which moves across
1994,
(Arthur
principles
career
independent
is
organisational
of
conventional
as such
it
becomes
mean
will
boundaryless
reality,
If
a
1994).
the
Hall
career
Mirvis and
base
be
to
it
career
possible
not
increasing
may
numbers of managers,
that, for
kind
at
all.
success
of
organisational
any
success on
to
forcing
a
what
rethink
managers
At the same time as organisational changes are
is
that
especially
there
men
to
them,
evidence
some
means
success
career
and
career

are changing in a way which may also make existing preconceptions about career
success less relevant than ever before. Whereas William Whyte's Organisation Man
(Whyte 1956) was happy to devote his life to working his
way up the company
hierarchy, while his wife looked after the home and family, his
day
present
successor
is likely to have more ambivalent feelings about keeping the two
parts of his life so
separate (Gerson 1993).
According to writers like Kimmel (1993) and Hall (1990), men who achieve success
"traditional"
terms today often feel that something is missing from their life.
on
Scase and Goffee (1989) report that many male managers are less "psychologically
immersed" in their work roles than their predecessorswere. They believe that many
men now see career advancement as a means of enhancing personal lifestyles, which
from,
like
to,
they were in the past. As a
not subordinate
are separate
work roles,
defined
broadly
"are
and
result, men's conceptions of personal success
now more
include non-work criteria" (Scase and Goffee 1989). The implications of this for
be
have
definitions
to
explored.
of career success
yet
male managers'
1.3 The importance

to
success
of
career
of researching personal conceptions

organisations

from
have
time
the
to
Organisations also
a greater
present
gain at
much
individual
they
the
to
whom
managers
understanding of what career successmeans
have
1.2
in
described
made
may
While
section
the
changes
organisational
employ.
for
in
hope
their
to
kind
they
career,
achieve
the
might
of
success
employeesquestion
by
that
"career
of
many
disappearance
the
means
advancement"
the
of
organisations,
development
development
which
management
and
the processesconcerning career
be
have
to
rethought.
they have traditionally employed will
less
today
is
it
and
that
1.2,
are
in
detail
in
organisations
clear
As discussed
section
in
the
hierarchical
progression
less able to develop their managers'careersthrough
their
to
staff
If
to
in
offer
they
the
continue
want
past.
they
were
that
way
based
have
other
to
development,
something
on
these
for
will
career
opportunities
is
be
to
The
answered
remains
which
question
than the principle of upward mobility.
hierarchical
longer
to
is
it
if
be
founded,
development
related
no
can
on what career
has
to
bureaucratic
go".
"clearly,
(1989)
the
As Kanter
pattern
says,
progression.
it
the
And
it
y
do
securit
"what
about
what
with?
we replace
"But", she questions,
how
illuminates
"
Research
that
which
crave?
many
still
security
to
a
brought people,

managers themselves perceive their own career success may offer organisations a
better idea of what they
actually want from their careers and thus provide some
indication of potential
focuses
for
future
development
initiatives.
alternative
career
It is desirable in any case that the range
human
of
resource management practices
which organisations employ should reflect what employees feel about their careers
and their own career success; Peluchette (1993), for example, suggests that
"subjective career success has implications for one's mental
well-being and quality of
life, issues which most organisations are concerned about". The tendency for
organisations to view career successin purely external terms presumably is damaging
and demotivating for managers who do not see success in this way, and means that
the outcome of human resource management practices related to their careers may be
Gattiker
Larwood
(1988) maintain that "success criteria can help
unfavourable.
and
human resource specialists achieve a fit between the employee's real career
opportunities and needs"
If certain groups of managers, such as women managers or older managers, have
different ideas about career success from those which they are generally assumedto
hold, then their progress and development may be impeded, and the contribution they
better
Consequently,
to
the
gaining a
understanding of
organisation reduced.
make
has
implications,
kinds
different
to
particular
of managers
what career success means
for example, for organisations who run special programmes to develop women
is
"Any
understanding of career paths and effective personnel management
managers:
ignored"
(Gattiker
is
if
and
the
sub ective side of career success
substantially reduced
Larwood 1986).
Measures of career success as it has been traditionally understood, such as salary
level and hierarchical position, are also closely linked to the motivation and reward of
knowledge
improved
is
it
managers'
that
of
For
this
an
evident
reason,
managers.
likely
is
to
terms
organisational
make
their
own
on
success
career
perceptions of
development,
more
career
to
as
well
as
motivation and reward,
practices related
importance
into
insight
better
the
knowledge
Likewise,
a
offer
could
such
effective.
definition
life
home
their
balancing
success
of
of
part
as
and
work
on
place
managers
devise
to
1989),
Sekaran
Hall
1989,
Goffee
and allow organisations
and
(Scase and
friendly"
"family
policies.
acceptable
more
and
efficacious

1.4

The theoretical

need for

research investigating

managers'

personal

conceptions of career success


It is widely acknowledged that
career theory lacks a satisfactory conceptualisation of
managers' own definitions of career success. Poole et al. (1993), for example,
claim
that "one of the major shortcomings in the career
success literature has been an
adequate conceptualisation of what 'career success' means" and add that "an
individual's subjective view of the definition
of 'success' would be a useful starting
for
point
analysing self-evaluation of career success".

It is recognised that managers' personal definitions of career successare


often
overlooked or excluded from researchinto careers(Herriot et al. 1994). Gattiker and
Larwood (1989) say: "The examination of individual perceptions of achievement,
which are important becausethey might reveal that individuals feel differently about
their accomplishmentsthan an outsider might expect, has unfortunately not been a
popular subject, so there is less researchin this area."
For this reason there have been widespread calls for research into personal
1986,1988
Gattiker
(e.
Larwood
1990,
conceptions of career success g.
and
and
Marshall 1989, Powell and Mainiero 1992, Newell and Dopson 1995). Powell and
Mainiero (1992) believe that new researchis neededwhich incorporates"expanded
definitions of career success". "What would seem to matter most to women (and
"
is
terms,
they
their
themselves
they
say.
on
own
successful
as
see
men) whether
Newell and Dopson (1995) highlight the diversity of managers'views on careers,
literature
"The
be
"explored
believe
to
existing
and explained".
need
which they
(1989)
Marshall
"
in
talks
frameworks
few
helpful
they
this
conclude.
respect.
offers
ftom
"involves
for
theory
moving away
which
a re-focusing of career
about the need
from
individual
the
judging
the
using
socially
outside
society
and
organisations
defined criteria of successand towards self-assessment,including criteria setting and
personal responsibility".
less
likely
in
The suggestionthat women managersand older managers particular are
described
been
has
it
in
by
traditionally
the
terms
which
external
success
to seecareer
1987,
Wolfe
O'Connor
1989,
Asplund
1988,
Gallos
1984,
and
(e.g. Marshall
investigates
for
1988)
West
to
the
researchwhich
calls
adds weight
Nicholson and
indicates
it
the
of
weakness
also
conceptions
of
career
success.
personal
managers'
looked
have
based
is
in
it
that
theory,
the
on
which
career
studies
previous
much

primarily at men's careers (e.g. Schein 1978, Dalton et A 1982), and established
them as the norm.

The few studies which have investigated successfrom the individual's


point of view
have either overlooked the issue of the potential effect of gender
(e.
or age g. Gattiker
Larwood
1986 and 1988) or failed to substantiateit (Poole et al. 1991 and 1993).
and
There is a need, therefore, for researchinto managers'perceptionsof career success
which attempts to conceptualisewhat successmeansto female and male managers,
and older and younger managers,and makes a contribution to career successtheory
both through the conceptualisation itself and by demonstratingthe differences and
between
the various groups.
similarities which exist
Bailyn (1989) has suggested how this line of enquiry might be pursued. She
identifies the need for "orientational categories", taxonomies or typologies based on
"individual actors' wants, plans and commitments" which classify people "according
to individual predispositions", to be developed in order to conceptualise managers'
deal
internal
"
best
"How
the
their
to
she asks.
career?
with
can one
career.
attitudes
"Not idiosyncratically, individual by individual, at least not for research and theory.
Rather what is required is an aggregation of individual data which reflects differences
in subjective meanings. It is my sensethat such aggregation would result in what one
indicates
Bailyn
"
In
the
value
potential
particular,
categories.
orientational
call
might
both
categories,
social
and
categories
orientational.
of
use
makes
which
of research
differences
illustrating
the
similarities
and
of
means
as
a
age,
such as gender and
between particular groups of individuals in terms of their attitudes to their career.

in
identified
the
theory
fill
on career
to
gap
This researchtherefore seeks
a clearly
of
perceptions
personal
developing
by
managers'
of
a conceptualisation
success
(Poole
definitions
et
individuals'
success
career
based
of
subjective
on
careersuccess,
have
an
that
may
age
and
the
gender
takes
1993),
possibility
account of
which
al.
build
findings
to
Its
a
is
in
are
used
conceived.
the
which
success
way
effect on
(1989),
by
Bailyn
fashion
for
the
proposed
after
managers
success
typology of career
in
differences
data
subjective
individual
reflects
which
"an
of
aggregation
that is
meanings".

1.5 The research


questions
The intention of this
is
research to conceptualise managers' own definitions of career
success and investigate differences and similarities which
exist between male and
female managers
and older and younger managers in terms of how they conceive
their own career success. The gap identified in
career success theory described in
section 1.4 suggests that it considers the following research questions:

What do managers conceive career successto be for themselves


on their own
terms?
2. Do women managers have different ideas about
what career successis for them
ftom men?
3. Do older managers have different ideas about what career successis for them
ftom younger ones?
The focus of the research questions on uncovering managers' personal definitions of
career success, a topic that relates intimately to the psyche of the individual and about
date
few
have
been
has
important implications for the
to
which
studies
carried out,
kind of research methods which might be used. It is widely argued that qualitative
in-depth
interviews,
methods, such as
are most appropriate for this kind of
for
in
investigate
the meanings and
exploratory research and particular
studies which
beliefs of individuals in the way that this study attempts to do (e.g. Easterby-Smith et
in
be
discussed
1991,
1993):
Silverman
this
the
research will
al.
actual methods used
in detail in Chapter 3.
1.6 A summary of the thesis chapters

The content of the subsequentchaptersof this thesis can be summarisedas follows:


Chapter 2 examinesthe theoretical backgroundto the researchquestions. It considers
demonstrates
field
in
that
the
theory
which
of careers and career success,
existing
base
ideas
do
their
criteria
generally
on
external
success
not
own
about
managers
in
internal
It
the
the
but
use
measures
evidence
of
reviews
success.
also
alone,
female
that
managers,and older and younger managersemphasise
male and
literature
kinds
of careersuccess.
different

10

Chapter 3 defendsthe choice

of researchmethodsused from both a philosophical and


a practical point of view. It discusseshow the researchwas conductedand considers
the research setting, the managerswho took part in the research,
and the analysisof
the data.
Chapter 4 presents the findings of the first stage of the
research carried out amongst
12 managers at BT. It discusses the criteria which they
used to measure their own
career success and comments on the similarities and differences found between the

women and the men, and the older and younger managers. Using the managers'own
for
criteria
success,it proposesa model of managerialcareersuccess.
Chapter 5 presents the findings of the second stage of the research carried out
24
amongst managersat BT. It analysesin detail their criteria for success,comparing
them with the findings of the pilot stage. It contraststhe women with the men, and
the older managers with the younger ones, in terms of what criteria they used to
define career successfor themselvesand how they usedthem. It usesthe findings to
build on the model of career successintroduced in Chapter4, as an intermediatestep
towards the creation of a typology of managerialcareersuccess.
Chapter 6 uses the analysis of both the first and second stagesof the researchto
develop a typology of career success for managers, employing the model developed
in Chapters 4 and 5 as a conceptual "bridge" between the individual criteria used by
four
describes
It
the
defme
the
typology.
their own success and
each of
managers to
"types" of manager in the typology in detail and classifies the managers who took part
It
how
they
to
in the research within the typology according
see career success.
likely
discusses which "type" women and men, and older and younger managers are
the
be
the
managers
to
of
be,
characteristics
common
to
appear
and considers what

describedas each of the four types.


demonstrates
fi-ndings
discusses
this
the
research,and
of
Chapter 7 summarisesand
back
to
them
have
theory,
to
they
relating
success
career
made
what contribution
in
findings
it
field.
the
in
In
a
this
research
literature
considers
addition,
existing
for
fruitful
limitations,
their
avenues
proposing
possible
explores
widercontext and
future research.

11

Chapter 8 draws some brief conclusions about the researchfrom the perspectiveof
the organisation, the individual manager,and the researcher.

CHAPTER 2: CAREER SUCCESS: THE


THEORETICAL
BACKGROUND

12

CHAPTER

2:

CAREER

SUCCESS: THE THEORETICAL

BACKGROUND

This chapter reviews the literature


concerning career successand the different ways
in which it is conceptualisedby
managers. Section 2.1 examines existing theory in
the field of careers and career success,demonstratingthat,
while a model of career
successwholly basedon the external criteria of position and pay is commonly usedto
define success,this is not how managersthemselves
seetheir own success:like the
itself,
career
career successhas a internal as well as an external dimension. Section
2.2 discussesthe evidence that male and female managersemphasisedifferent kinds
of career success. Section 2.3 considersthe effect of age on what managersconceive
career successto be. Section 2.4 draws conclusionsfrom the theoretical background
investigation
to
relevant an
of managers'personalconceptionsof careersuccess.
2.1 The concept of career success
2.1.1 New careers; old success

The careerhas been describedas "the supremesocial reality" for large sectorsof the
twentieth century Western middle classes(Dahrendorf 1959). According to writers
like Scaseand Goffee (1989) and Roper (1994), corporatecareers,as they developed
in the post-war years, conferred a sense of order and security on those who
for
future
in
Managers
them
their
them.
within a
out
mapped
could
see
participated
best,
defmed
conspicuoussuccessor, at
career structure which promised, at
clearly
deeply
how
keenly
"They
much more
aware of
are
worst, respectable stability:
beholdenthey are to the organisationthan were their elders. They are wry about it, to
be sure; they talk of the 'treadmill', the 'rat race', of the inability to control one's
direction. But they have no great sense of plight; between themselves and the
harmony
than
believe
elders
most
they
more
and,
they
ultimate
see
an
organisation
(Whyte,
1956)
"
trust.
building
ideology
this
that
will vouchsafe
an
recognise,they are
forty
in
drastically
the
has
been
years
revised
The concept of the corporate career
1956.
in
Man
Organisation
The
his
first
text
Whyte
published
classic
since
decade
in
in
have
the
are
many
and
past
organisations
occurred
Enormous changes
Briefly,
1.3.
the
1.2
discussed
in
Chapter
1,
upshot
and
sections
as
place,
taking
still
is
their
as
a
that,
today,
told,
not
careers,
view
must
we
are
managers
of these changes
"boundaryless"
1989)
for
lives,
but
(Kanter
"portable"
their
and
foundation
as
secure
instability
for
Thus,
1994).
Mirvis
they
more
of
are
a
source
many,
now
(Hall and

13

than anything else (Herriot

and Pemberton 1995). As Pahl (1995) says: "Whether or


not the golden age of orderly careersever existed, the experience
of most managersin
the 1990sis of considerableinsecurity
and uncertainty abouttheir future prospects."

What does remain of the


old-fashioned corporate career is a paradox. Despite the
apparent passing of the heyday of what Hall (1976) describes
as "career as
advancement",the kind of managerial successit embodiedlives on. While the
multitiered hierarchies and clear cut routes for progressionhave disappeared,the
model of
career success as upward mobility and salary growth persists both within the
organisation and outside it (O'Reilly & Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). The values
which this type of career successreflects can be summedmost appropriatelyby what
Korman et al. (1983) call "the materialistic ethic", that is the higher the
prestige,
income and power, the more satisfying and successfulthe
career.
Managerial successas traditionally perceived in terms of the level reachedwithin the
hierarchy
organisational
plus the amount of money earned (Rosenbaum 1979 and
1989, Gould and Penley 1984), continues to be representedin this way, both in
literature
(e.
popular
g. Mercer 1994) and an academic context. Two recent studies
O'Reilly and Chatman, researching the
serve as good examples of this.
characteristics of MBA graduates who enjoyed early career "success",define this
"success"in terms of salary attainment and promotions (O'Reilly and Chatman1994).
Melamed, comparing the routes to career "success"for men and women, usesjust
two criteria of career success:relative salary and managementlevel (Melamed 1995).
2.1.2 Success on managers' own terms

There is a more important objection to such limited conceptualisationsof managerial


definitions
the
these
step
with
out
of
success
of
are
narrow
success: not only
do
they
not accord with what managers
also
changing nature of managerial careers,
is
For
to
feel
there
their
evidence
much
themselves
about
own career success.
like
in
describing
terms
material
managerial career success solely
suggest that
how
does
of
perceptions
own
not
managers'
represent
accurately
pay
position and
Nicholson
1989,
(Korman
Goffee
1981,
Scase
and
they
are
and
et
al.
successful
fact
The
1991,
1988).
Marshall
AsPlund
1984,
that
Russo
someof
1988,
et
al.
West
indicates
that
"crisis"
in
the
current
managerial careers
this evidence predates
have
their
never
viewed
own
success
so
myopically.
may
managers

14

There are
clear indications in the literature that hierarchical and monetary successon
their own are not
sufficient to make managers feel successful. Korman et al. (1981)
found in their
research that many apparently successful middle-aged (male)
executives did not themselves believe they were
a success, and were in reality
suffering from feelings of alienation,
loss
to
related
a
-particularly
of affiliative
satisfaction. "It has long been assumed that professional and managerial
careers are
...
desirable because people in these
positions are more satisfied in both the job and the
non-job aspects of their lives, " they say. "It is now becoming apparent that these
assumptions may no longer be asjustified as they have been in the past."
Korman et al. (1981) point to what they describe
"the
as
achievement versus
affiliation conflict", which led them to conclude that, at the time their research was
carried out at the beginning of the eighties, managers were changing, "even the males
who typify the traditional, achievement-oriented, technologically-accepting male, that
is the managers of organisations and the professionals of society": "To
admit to a
loss of affiliation and be concerned with it does reflect a changing world,
a world
leadership
the
which
of our organisations needs to recognise", they assert. Korman et
al.'s work also draws attention to the potential effect of age on managers' conceptions
issue
be
in
of career success, an
which will
considered detail in section 2.3.
Scase and Goffee (1989) believe that managers are increasingly disinterested in
been
it
has
traditionally understood: "Personal achievement and life
career success as
less
likely
be
to
satisfaction are probably
solely equated with promotion within
is
instead
career advancement seen as a means of enhancing
organisational structures;
"
from,
lifestyles
to
than
work
subordinated
roles.
rather
personal
which are separated
Managers, say Scase and Goffee, are more and more drawn to their families as a
lifestyles
for
less
less
their
their
to
sacrifice
prepared
and
source of satisfaction and
defined
in
broadly
become
have
that
"Conceptions
more
of
personal
success
careers.
benefits
the
incorporate
to
of career
they
costs and
non-work criteria according which
(1993),
by
Kimmel
that
"
This
is
suggests
who
view
supported
success are measured.
feel
defined
that
traditionally
may
achieve
career success as
male managers who
from
lives.
"missing"
is
their
something

"reluctant"
(1995)
describe
Pemberton
the
the
also
emergence of
Herriot and
do
in
high
the
terms
to
the
work,
those
extra
of
who
not
want
pay
price
managers,
for
imply
They
this
hours,
phenomenon
extra
stress
required
and
promotion.
extra
by
ideas
held
those
people
managers'
of
that
career
success
many
cannot
match
means

15

Occupying senior roles in organisations, who are most likely to


see it in terms of
Position and pay: "Many communications of wants and
expectations challenge the
practices, values and assumptions of those with power, " they conclude.
Sekaran and Hall (1989)
claim that the work force at large has already adopted "a
more individualised, 'protean' definition of success, which stresses autonomy,
flexibility and balance between work
home":
"Employees are not as single
and
...
mindedly promotion centred as they were ten or twenty years ago." They point out,
however, that such "protean" definitions of success
are not yet widely accepted in
organisations and that "the promotion ethic" continues to be perpetuated in the
corporate culture: "Promotions are written up in the company newsletter, while

lateral and downward moves and parental leavesare not."


In addition, research findings suggest that managers who are not hierarchically
successful can still be very satisfied with their careers and as such feel successful
(Russo et al. 1991, Keys 1985, Chusmir 1986, Subich et al. 1986). Gattiker and
Larwood (1988) claim that "the degree of satisfaction (in a career) is related to the
degree to which the individual believes his or her success criteria have been
is
linked
directly
for
If
thus
to
then
satisfaction
perceived career success,
achieved".
in
be
explained purely
objective external terms, such as
many people success cannot
internal
be
based
instead
it
criteria.
on other more subjective,
must
pay and position;
For example, in a survey of senior managers, Russo et al. (1991) found that salary
for
They
but
for
women.
not
men,
and rank were correlated with career satisfaction
differential
having
"a
describe
sense of
men and women as
consequently
despite
has
justice
that
"Distributive
objectively
established
research
entitlement".
fewer
to
themselves
and
rewards
allocate
generally
women
performances
similarly
"
j
lower
despite
have similar job satisfaction to males,
ob-related rewards.

themselves
female
to
tended
discovered
(1985)
that
rate
Keys
Likewise,
accountants
less
lower
had
fact
despite
they
that
the
salaries,
accountants
male
as
as successful
He
the
that
lower
than
the
reason
postulates
men.
and
expectations
careerexperience
it
difficult
how
in
"more
terms
their
of
the
success
that
women
evaluated
for this was
(1986)
Subich
Similarly,
level
the
et al.
than
of their salaries".
is to achieve, rather
job
the
"more
females seem
on
satisfaction
personal
concerned
with
that
conclude
than economic returns".

16

The research
on success and satisfaction indicates that female managers in particular
are often as satisfied as men at work, and as such feel as successful, despite the fact
that, in objective terms, they have
not achieved the same levels of career success.
This implies that
women may have quite different ideas about career success from
men, and be far less inclined to view it from the perspective of the "traditional"
model of pay and position. The apparent difference between male and female
managers' ideas about career successis also highlighted in the literature on women in
management (e.g. Hennig and Jardim 1978, Marshall 1984 and Asplund 1988) and
the literature on managerial values (e.g. Beutell and Brenner 1986, McGowen
and
Hart 1992).
As crucial evidence that managerial career success cannot be
conceptualised simply as hierarchical position and pay, these differences will be
discussed in detail in section 2.2.
2.1.3 The two dimensions of the career

While definitions of career successhave traditionally focusedon the external criteria


hierarchical
level
has
been
it
long
of
position and
of pay,
acknowledgedthat careers
have an internal as well as an external dimension. As long ago as 1937 Hughes
has
that
the
two aspects: the objective career, the series of
pointed out
career
holds,
is
("statuses")
the
that
the careeras perceived
positions or offices
which
person
by external observers; and the subjective career, which is the individual's view of
their own career experiences. Hughes describesthe notion of the subjectivecareeras
"the moving perspective in which the person seeshis life as a whole and interprets
him"
happen
his
to
the
that
things
the meaning of
various attributes, actions and
(Hughes 1937).
This view of the career as an entity which has both a personaland an organisational
has
(of
"The
the
Schein
by
later
is
career)
concept
says:
writers.
context supported
'internal
the
individual
the
both
and
career'
the
to
pursuing an occupationmeaning
follow
for
to
developmental
to
employees
path
trying
set
up
a
sensible
organisation
1978).
(Schein
'external
life
in
the
the
career'
their
organisation
working
throughout
facets
the
two
that
Gunz suggests
of the career representthe processesof personal
both
be
development
"(Careers)
for
individual:
a
as
the
seen
can
and organisational
'subjective'
development
(sometimes
a
the
as
and
career)
called
process of personal
Hall
1989).
(Gunz
jobs
(the
'objective'
career)"
observable
externally
of
sequence
between
being
like
difference
and
the
distinction
attitudes
as
more
the
sees
the
(the
"Thus,
of
one aspect of a career
subjective career) consists
behaviours:

17

changes in values, attitudes and motivation that occur as (a person) grows older.
Another aspect (the
is
career)
objective
made up of the observablechoices that one
makes and the activities one engagesin, such as the acceptanceor rejection of a
particular job" (Hall 1976). (The epithets internal and subjective, and external and
objective, used to describe the two dimensions of the career, often appear to be
interchangeablein the literature.)
The identification of the two dimensions of the career is important, but it is also
necessaryto rememberthat, in order to comprehendthe careeras a holistic concept,it
is the interaction not the separationof the dimensionswhich is crucial. As Hall says,
"To understand fully the course of a person'swork life, both the subjective and the
be
objective careers must
considered together as two facets of the same process"
(Hall 1976). With this in mind, Schein describesthe essenceof careerdevelopment
individual
focus
interaction
its
"the
(Schein
the
time"
and organisationover
on
of
as
1978). Derr and Laurent (1989) seethe two dimensional concept of the careeras a
link between the individual and the social structure, which fuses "the objective and
the subjective, the observable facts and the individuals' interpretation of their
interactive
"inseparable
dimensions
The
the
two
and
careerare
of
experience".
Figure 2.1: Derr and Laurent's cultural model of career dynamics

18

elements in the social construction of career reality": both elements are strongly
influenced by
organisational and national culture, as well as by individual
differences, in the
in
2.1
indicates.
Figure
the
model
way
shown
Derr and Laurent use the model to question the existence of any kind of objective
career reality, even an external one. They suggest that the "dynamic interaction"
between the external career and the internal career means that both are affected by
"individual

differences" or the individual's perceptions of reality, and thus are


in
internal
is
influenced
by
"The
in
the
perceptual
nature:
career
external career that
ftorn
life
by
persons
all walks of
cope and perform within organisational settings
internal
fit
their
to
their perception of the
changing aspects of
career or cognitive map
internal
Also,
the
the
career affects perceptions of
external career.
requirements of
impacts
(Derr
Laurent
1989).
the
external career"
and
reality and so
It is not surprising that the inextricability of the two perspectives of the career often
between
distinction
"The
Gunz
the
in
As
this
out,
points
area.
confounds research
individual and organisational levels of analysis is basic to the study of organisational
in
levels
the
two
the
confused
get
constantly
and managerial careers, although
has
"there
further
that
(1994)
to
Herriot
literature" (Gunz 1989).
suggest
go
et al.
"What
both
incorporates
research
been little empirical research which
perspectives":
has been conducted has mainly focused on structural features of organisations and
1994).
(Herriot
level"
et
al.
their effects on objective career variables and managerial
Hall's,
in
"career",
definitions
particular,
of
Nevertheless, the most efficacious
"To
Hall
understand
the
says:
two
in
concept.
the
of
aspects
synthesising
succeed
the
both
life,
the
objective careers
and
subjective
fully the course of a person's work
He
1976).
(Hall
facets
the
process"
same
together
be
of
as
considered
must
as
career
career:
four
of
distinguishes between
generally accepted meanings
"vertical
the
of
idea
notion
with
the
career
a
of
associates
which
advancement,
which
hierarchy;
profession,
as
in
career
an
organisation's
upward
moving
mobility",
advancement",
"some
systematic
of
pattern
clear
with
occupations
certain
views only
representing
as
education,
and
legal
politics
professions,
medical
and
the
such as
history
job
person's
lifelong
any
regards
which
ofJobs,
sequence
a
as
careers; career
is
which
lifelong
experiences,
role-related
of
sequence
a
as
career
and
career;
a
as
that
jobs
constitute
"the
activities
and
of
sequence
experiences
person
the way each
in
latter
From
particular
the
is
meaning
the
that
career.
subjective
history",
his work
follows:
is
definition"
the
as
"working
which
career,
his
of
he derives

19

"The career is the individually


perceived sequence of attitudes and behaviours
associated with work-related experiences and activities
over the span of the person's
life. " (Hall 1976)
2.1.4 The career from the individual's

perspective

The belief that careershave an internal as


well as an external dimension, and can be
from
the individual as well as the organisationalviewpoint, has led some
seen
writers
to develop career theory based on what Bailyn (1989) describes as
orientational
(e.
categories g. Schein 1978, Driver 1982, Bailyn 1982, Derr 1986). As Bailyn
(1989) says, such orientational categoriesdeal with individuals' subjective
meanings
and classify people according to "individual predispositions" regarding their career:
"They are taxonomies basedon individual actors'wants,plans and commitments."
Schein (1978) attempts to capture the differing attitudes of managerstowards their
his
through
careers
concept of the careeranchor, by which meanshe categorisesthe
different types of career, or "specific kinds of work or responsibility or job setting"
that individuals favour.

The career anchor is defined as "an occupational selfbecomes


concept" which an employee
aware of after early work experienceand is
based on their talents and abilities, motives and needs,and attitudes and values. It
then generally remains with a person for life (although if they are not awareof it, they
function
it
how
develop
in
Its
their
to
terms
they
career).
of
choose
may never act on
is to "organise experience,identify one'scontribution in the long run, generatecriteria
for kinds of work settings in which one wants to function, and identify patterns of
(Schein
1978).
by
for
success which one will measureoneself'
ambition and criteria
Schein initially identified five basic careeranchors,following a longitudinal study of
(male) Sloan Management School alumni: a technical and functional competence
desire
by
technical
individual's
is
the
to
the
emphasise
career guided a
anchor, where
the
job;
where
functional
anchor,
a managerial competencecareer
content of a
or
individual's career is dominated by "a strong motivation to rise to positions of
the
where
anchor,
a
career
security
and
stability
responsibility";
managerial
focuses
long-term
on securing
stability; a creativity careeranchor,
individual's career
businesses
develops
from
desire
to
individual's
which
new
career
create
a
the
where
identified
their
anchor,
career
with
own
efforts;
an
autonomy
be
and
closely
can

20

where the individual's career is driven by a wish to be as free from organisational


constraints as possible (Schein 1978).
Further researchled Schein to add a further three careeranchorsto his list. The three
additional career anchorsare: a senseof servi.ce, dedication to a causecareeranchor,
where the individual's career is shapedmore by strong values than actual talents or
competencies; a pure challenge career anchor, where the individual's career is
dominated by a desire to seek high levels of challenge in their work; and a lifestyle
career anchor, where the individual's career is seenas nothing more than an integral
part of their total lifestyle (Schein 1993). (It may seemquestionablewhether lifestyle
be
life
can consideredas a separatecareeranchorwhen
outsidework impinges on the
careerof every person to some extent or another. Furthermore,an increasingnumber
fmd
it
hard
from
life
(Scase
to
to
seem
people
separate
career
success
and
of
success
Goffee 1989, Super 1980). This will be discussedin more detail in section2.1.6.)
Driver's research(1982) looks at careerpatterns,rather than careerorientations,Erom
four
basic
he
individual:
types of
that
there
the
the point of view of
are
proposes
he
"career
them:
the
development
steady state
calls
as
concepts"
or
pattern
career
it,
job
with
within
remains
early
and
profession
or
a
one
selects
where
concept,
career
linear
for
the
hierarchical
little suggestion of
state
example, medicine;
movement,
hierarchical
traditional
the
an
to
career
within
corresponds
career concept, which
of
a
succession
of
the
consists
which
concept,
career
state
spiral
organisation;
"separate" careers in different fields; and the transitory state career concept,where
in
jobs
but
field
job
way.
a
random
changes
or
a
set
one never settles on
between
these
is
structural
Driver suggeststhat, while there no necessaryconnection
fields
individual's
certain
of
work,
area
chosen
patterns of career concept and an
"For
type
structure":
concept
of
historically
be
particular
a
"may
with
associated
found
frequently
be
semi-skilled
among
Transitory
more
concept may
example, the
be
to
turn
very
State
Steady
The
out
may
concept
labourers or among actors.
trades
(e.
skilled
among
and
physicians)
g.
professions
established
common among
among
Linear
fmd
One
represented
the
strongly
concept
might
(e.g. carpenters).
be
Spiral
predominant
Finally,
the
may
concept
professors.
among
or
managers
1982).
(Driver
or
writers"
among consultants
the
definition
his
from
derived
is
(1986)
of
theory
orientation
Derris career success
intentional
intended
by
history
sense
and
long-term
an
"a
characterised
work
as
career

21

of direction that allows and honours aspects of one's personal life". It


attempts to
categorise individuals' "intended and intentional senseof direction" in their careers by
means of what Derr describes as their "internal and subjective career success
orientation", that is "those unique personal career definitions, hopes and plans" which
he believes everyone has. Derr's
influenced
by and attempts to build on the
work was
work of both Schein and Driver; unlike Schein, however, he maintains that an
individual's orientation towards particular kinds of
careers can change over the course
lifetime.
their
of

Derr also claims that career successorientations have become more

diverse becausethe traditional career "ladder" no longer exists in many


organisations,
discussed
in Chapter 1, sections 1.2 and 1.3.
as
Derr identifies five different types of career successorientation, which seemto be
five
to
closely related
of Schein'scareer anchors: a getting ahead orientation, which
describesindividuals who aspire to reachthe top of organisationalhierarchies,rather
like Schein's general managementcareeranchor; a getting secure orientation, which
Schein's
ftee
to
roughly corresponds
security career anchor; a getting
orientation,
high
Schein's
to
autonomy career anchor; a getting
which corresponds
orientation,
is
held
by
is
individuals
Schein's
to
pure challenge career anchor and
which similar
inclination
to seek excitement, challenge and adventurethrough their work;
with an
balance
individuals
balanced
to
to
who wish
orientation, which applies
and a getting
does
(Derr
lifestyle
Schein's
in
home
life,
that
the
career anchor
way
career and
1986).
her
In
individuals'
(1982)
Bailyn's research
study
career orientations.
also examines
kinds
different
found
three
had
reached mid-career, she
of engineering graduates who
had
technical
One
orientation
a
retained
engineers
of
group
of career orientations.
is
they
that
most
were
their
people-oriented,
to
was
second
a
work,
with regard
in
that
issues
third
human
work-oriented,
in
non
interested
was
and problems, and a
become
had
family
lives,
the
more
their
their
community,
and
such
other aspects of
the
impact
these
The
on
their
than
orientations
of
important to them
career.
development
that
there
people-oriented
more
were
such
was
engineers' career
highest
in
the
organisational positions, and more non work-oriented
individuals

lower
in
positions.
individuals

22

2.1.5 The meaning


of career success to individuals

While it is acknowledged that the career has both


internal
an
and an external
dimension, in general little attempt is made to take this into
account when
considering individual managers' criteria for career success (e.g. O'Reilly and
Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). As discussed above, managerial successis still
commonly viewed in exclusively external, organisational terms. Bailyn (1989)
explains why it may have proved difficult to move beyond this narrow definition:
"On the whole it is easiestto assumethat external definitions coincide with internal
is
instructive,
It
for example,to note how readily one falls into the presumption
ones.
that upwardly mobile careersare experiencedas successfuleven when one's adopted
definition specifically denies such a connection."
Neverthelessit is logical that, if the careerhas two dimensions,the meaningof career
based
for
individual
be
internal
the
success as well as
will
on sub ective
success
described
latter.
be
in
just
the
terms
of
objective external success,and should not
This view is endorsed by a number of career theorists who believe not only that
individual subjective definitions of careersuccessare fundamentalto an appreciation
include
definitions
but
"failure"
that
"success"
will
such
also
of a career,
or
of the
internal
criteria as well as objective external criteria.
subjective
Gunz (1989) statesthat the "simple, objective" career "only scratchesthe surfaceof
has
he
their
Each
individuals".
own
to
claims,
manager,
the meaning of careers
is
failure
"best
(1976)
that
individual career "logic". Hall
career successor
claims
by
being
than
is
other
by
rather
considered,
the
career
person whose
assessed
he
for
evaluating a career":
interestedparties", because"there are no absolutecriteria
feelings
describe
success.
of
to
"psychological
own
person's
a
term
the
success"
uses
their
individuals'
own
of
(1990)
that
perceptions
Gattiker and Larwood
agree
based
"less
be
standards".
personal
subjective
to
more
tend
obvious,
on
achievements
favoured
the
has
"research
usually
on career achievement
They point out that
individual
"The
of
perceptions
of
examination
achievement":
of
criteria
objective
feel
individuals
that
because
important
they
reveal
might
are
which
achievement,
has
than
expect,
might
their
outsider
an
accomplishments
differently about
in
less
this
is
there
been
area"
research
so
subject,
popular
a
not
unfortunately
1990).
Larwood
(Gattiker and

23

In their earlier
work, Gattiker and Larwood propose that career successshould be
assessed by reference to both internal and external perspectives (Gattiker
and
Larwood 1988). They
suggestthat, while studies investigating career successhave
generally focused on the external perspective,with "progress"being judged in terms
of objective measuressuch as income and job title, "a person's own
assessmentof
his/her successmay be
strongly influenced by subjective internal career concepts"
(1986). This leadsthem to concludethat
any understandingof managers'conceptions
of career successmust incorporate the idea of subj ective internal success as well as
objective external success: "The automatic assumption that hierarchical career
successleads to feelings of successmust be rejected", they state. They question the
allegedly objective external reality of career success,as it has been traditionally
defined, and concur with Hall (1976) in their statement that "career
is
success a
construct which exists only in peoples' minds and which has no clear boundaries"
(Gattiker and Larwood 1988).
Peluchette (1993) also points to growing evidenceto suggestthat career successfor
individuals consists of both objective and subjective criteria. She believes that "the
how
feels
his
her
subjective view concerns
a person
about
or
careeraccomplishments
for
future
importance
the
and prospects
achievements" and sets
of this internal
dimension of success in an organisational context: "It should be emphasisedthat
has
implications
for
subjective career success
one's mental well-being and quality of
life, issues which most organisations are concerned about Individuals who feel
.....
in
happier
likely
be
to
and more motivated, which turn, would enhance
successfulare
For this reason, she claims, it is essential that a greater
be
internal
careersuccess achieved.
understandingof subjective

their performance."

Following on from the argumentssupportingthe importanceof the subjectiveinternal


dimension of career success,Poole et al. (1991 and 1993) identify what they describe
fails
it
"to
in
in
literature,
that
the
an
adequate
supply
career
a
shortcoming
as
Gattiker
individual.
Like
the
to
and
what
means"
of
career
success
conceptualisation
be
in
fact
internal
that
a more
Larwood, they suggest
success may
subjective
important determinant of perceived career successthan objective external success,
is
that
subjective
personal
a
necessarily
conclude
career
success
and consequently
in
by
demonstrated
their
theoretical
shown
success,
of
career
model
as
concept,
Figure 2.2.

24

Figure 2.2: Poole

et al.'s theoretical model of the subjectiveview of careersuccess

Subjectivecriteria
of success
:
Backgroundand

w of
ss

This model includes what Poole et al. believe are two major sourcesof influence on
background
perceived career success:
and sex role socialisation, and constraints,
taken from Astin's model of career development(Astin 1984). Poole et al. propose
that the interaction between objective external and subjective internal criteria for
perceptions of successmay be very complex: while they agreethat subjectivecriteria,
interest
highly
important,
such as
and work satisfaction, are
nonethelessthey point
income
influence
that
out
and supervisory status,can also
objective criteria, such as
feelings of career success.The findings of their empirical research(1991 and 1993)
demonstrating
internal
that
this
complexity, whilst
subjective
aspects of
confirm
important
determinants
"are
more
of career success than more
career success
objective measures".
Poole et al. develop their argument about how central subjective internal criteria are
to conceptions of career success to propose that women's perceptions of career
be
dependent
internal
in
than
may
more
on
success
measures
of
particular
success
"
"such
job
they
"For
say,
objective
women,
criteria
as
status
and
salary
may
men's.

for
describing
"
However,
their
they
be
perception
of
career
success.
adequate
not

25

were unable to corroborate this in their empirical research (Poole et al. 1991 and
1993).
The idea that women may have different ideas about

careersuccessthan men, already


alluded to earlier in this chapter,will be discussedextensively in section2.2. Suffice
it to say here that Poole et al.'s suggestionthat any model
of career successmust be
capable of showing the importance of the internal dimension is supportedby Powell
and Mainiero (1992 and 1993), who also believe that women emphasisesubjective
internal measuresof successmore than men do: "Subjective measuresof successare
at least as important as objective measuresin determining whether women truly are
"
successful, they state, although they stressthat "this is not to say that men defme
their career success solely through objective measures or women by subjective
"What
measures".
matters to most women and men in evaluating their careersand
lives is whether they seethemselvesas successfulon their own terms," they conclude
(Powell and Mainiero 1993).
Although writers such as Poole et al. and Powell and Mainiero have advocatedthat
for
internal
include
both
be
to
criteria
external and
conceptualised
career success
by
kind
internal
been
has
little
the
which
criteria
of
written about
yet
success,
from
is
There
judge
their own subjective career success.
some evidence
managers
however,
the
type
criteria
more
subjective
of
suggests
which
research,
empirical
individual managersmight regard as an important part of their own careersuccess:
Derr
Insead,
European
150
In a quantitative study carried out among
executives at
definitions
their
success,
to
of
career
Laurent
personal
report
asked respondents
and
being
to
to
items
able
related
based on a list of 36 criteria. The top three
all
chosen
life.
home
balancing
to
two
work
and
the
influence
next
at work, and
exert an
1989).
In
Laurent
(Derr
in
and
sixth place
"Becoming a general manager" was only
(1988),
West
Nicholson
by
and
large-scale study of UK managers, carried out
is
individual
appreciated",
accomplishment
where
"challenging work",
"creativity"
knowledge
as
rated
improve
all
were
and
skills"
to
and
"opportunities
Scase
In
for
"opportunities
than
the
to
advancement".
important
sample
being more
(1989),
British
lifestyles
the
managers
investigation
of
and
work
of
Goffee's
and
for
job
desirable
374
men
the
rewards
most
managers,
involved
of
survey
a
which
"self
"security"
be
"independent
and
thought and action",
to
found
were
in
fourth
in
Pay
place.
sixth
promotion
and
place
was
status".
and
respect/esteem
in
the
took
rather
were
for
research
part
the
who
managers
women
The results
"work

26

different: "self-respect/esteem
and status" was seento be the most desirablereward,
followed by "independentthought
and action" in secondplace, and "personalgrowth
and development" in third place. Pay and promotion came equal fifth. These
studies
imply, therefore, that
managers'own criteria for careersuccessmay include, amongst
other things, influence, balance, challenge, autonomy and respect. Criteria for
success shown to be important to women managers and older managerswill be
discussedin sections2.2 and 2.3.
2.1.6 Career success and life success

In addition to developing the idea of career successto include an internal


as well as
an external dimension, some writers have questioned whether concepts of career
successcan ever be considered separatelyfrom conceptsof life success. A growing
desire by managersto view their personal and work lives as a whole has meant that
the notions of lifestyle and balancehave becomean integral part of careertheory: for
it
has
become
increasingly
difficult to see career successin isolation
many people
from successin their life as a whole. Schein reflected this trend when he extended
his careeranchorsto include a lifestyle anchor (1993). He explainsthat he decidedto
include the lifestyle anchor after identifying "a growing number of people who are
highly motivated towards meaningful careers(who) are, at the sametime, adding the
be
integrated
lifestyle"
(Schein
1993).
Derr
that
the
total
career must
condition
with
(1986) likewise categorisesone of his careersuccessorientationsasgetting balanced.
The trend towards viewing career and life successas an integral whole reflects the
(1980),
development
Super
the
that
theory
concept of a career
who
claims
of
career
just
lifetime,
during
include
that
the
work roles,
not
a
one plays
roles
all
should
he
identifies
In
he
total,
the
nine roles which
occupationalcareer.
classifies as
which
lives,
during
them
their
child,
student,
simultaneously:
of
some
play
may
people
"leisurite" (when one is engaged in leisure activities), citizen, worker, spouse,
interacting,
"The
homemaker, parent and pensioner.
varying roles
constellation of
lifestyle
"the
he
defining
"
the
simultaneous
the
as
states,
career,
constitutes
combination of roles".
(1989)
Goffee
Scase
by
Nicholson
(1988)
West
and
and
and
Research carried out
in
family
lives
do
the
today
to
their
and
separate
work
not
wish
shows that managers
discussed
in
1981).
As
did
(Evans
Bartolome
and
their
predecessors
that
way
Goffee
Scase
1.2,
that
1,
male managers'personal
and
conclude
section
Chapter

27

identities in
particular are no longer solely derived from their jobs: the major source
of satisfaction in their lives is their family and personal relationships. As
a result,
they are more inclined to seek a balance between the demands their jobs
of
and their
personal lives and see career advancement "as a means of enhancing
personal
lifestyles" (Scase
and Goffee 1989). Nicholson and West (1988) also found that the
managers who took part in their research believed that their family mattered most in
their life and gave them more satisfaction than their work.

Gattiker and Larwood (1986) claim that, while individuals do distinguish between
success within the organisation and outside it, there is an overlap between the
concepts of career successand life success. They insist that "researchon career
successshould be placed within the larger context of a person'slife", and therefore
that "the possible impact of non-work aspects and roles upon subjective career
be
investigated".
successshould
Looking at successin the context of a whole life, rather than just a work life, may be
important
intended
that
particularly
when constructing models of career success
are
to apply to both male and female managers. Chusmir and Parker (1991) have shown
that, when work values alone are considered, male and female managers seem
home
life
in
fact
but
to
they
their
as well,
values relating
when asked about
similar,
1993)
(1992
different.
Mainiero
be
Powell
to
also suggestthat
and
and
appear
very
include
considerationof non-work as well as work
models of career successshould
life, particularly for women: "Women's experiences, concerns and 'successes'in
how
in
important
their
they
manage
considerations
are
relationships outside work
for
They
1992).
Mainiero
(Powell
"
women
see success
and
careers, they say
back
their
throughout
from
in
to
and
again
career relationships
emphasis
switching
lives. The question of whether women consider careersuccessmore holistically than
2.2.1.
in
detail
in
discussed
be
section
more
men will
ideas
female
between
of career success
2.2 The difference
managers'
male and

2.2.1 Women managers' conceptions of career success


is
literature
from
that
be
drawn
the
to
external
success
career
on
The main conclusion
hierarchical
by
as
such
measures
external
objective
represented
as
career success,
describe
does
level
conceive
managers
many
what
accurately
not
pay,
of
position and
by
is
it
In
terms.
be on their own personal
writers
suggested
particular,
to
success

28

such as Russo et al. (1991), Keys (1985), Poole et al. (1991 and 1993)
Powell
and
and Mainiero (1992 and 1993) that women managers'perceptions of career success
may be even more dependanton subjective internal measuresof successthan men's,
and as such are qualitatively different from thosewhich male managersespouse.
Indeed, Powell and Mainiero (1992) describethe traditional
external model of career
successas specifically describing a "male" idea of success,reflecting the fact that the
vast majority of research into careers and career development has looked at men's
(e.
careers g. Schein 1978, Dalton et al. 1982): "Measuring career successonly by
objective variables that emphasise 'getting ahead' in an organisation has been
associatedwith a traditionally male definition of success," they say. "Women may
focus more on measuresof satisfactionthat representhow they are feeling about their
career,rather than what their careersactually look like. " Thus, they concludethat, for
women managers,career successrelates more to satisfaction with career, defined in
terms of its perceived quality, than objective career achievements"as measuredby
increments,
like".
the
promotions, salary
and
This theme is echoedin much of the researchwhich has examinedthe position within
have
Several
that
evidence
studies
produced
of
managers.
women
organisations
in
"successful"
the traditional external senseof
those
who are
women managers,even
the word, may see their own career successmore in terms of self-developmentand
in
than
terms
of organisational status and
rather
challenges,
personal
meeting
hierarchy.
the
through
organisational
progression
Hennig and Jardim (1978) found that women managerssaw achieving successin
intensely
"towards
internal
personal
an
growth
their careers almost as a process of
Comparing
has
judge
individual
achieved".
she
whether
the
can
alone
which
goal
"Women
as
selfgrowth,
they
personal
as
a
career
see
state:
women with men,
doing
to
what one wants
fulfilment, as satisfaction, as making contribution others, as
they
indubitably
too,
things
career,
these
a
visualise
when
While
do.
want
to
men
leading
jobs,
jobs,
with
upward
path
it
a
as
of
progression
of
a
they see as a series
leads
this
Amongst
implied.
"
they
things,
conclude,
other
reward
recognition and
is
them
idea
from
to
jobs
do
so
the
the
they
which
a
career,
of
to
separate
women
job
to
treat
opportunity
as
an
each
"intensely personal", and as a result continually
develop
their
to
than
career.
chance
a
well,
rather
they
perform
can
that
show

29

In a qualitative
study of 30 women managers working in publishing and retailing,
Marshall (1984) discovered that
many of the managers did not look far ahead in their
careers but instead sought to get continual challenge, interest
and growth from their
work: many of the group did not want promotion; only when their job
ceasedto offer
interest and challenge, did they begin to look for
new opportunities. She concluded
therefore that their motivation to work
was personal, that is internal, rather than
external and called for the traditional notions of "career" and "ambition" to be
revised. "Challenge and satisfaction in a particular job are more important (for
women) than recurrent promotion for its own sake", she says.

Marshall draws a distinction between what she describes


"agentic"
as
and
"communion-based" career planning (Marshall 1989,1995).
"Agentic" career
describes
planning
an approach to the career which is "forward-looking, goaldirected, clear, pursuing external ideals, often againsttime scales" (Marshall 1995):
this approach is seenas being typically "male" and, as such, encompasses
what some
(e.
writers g. Powell and Mainiero 1992) have identified as the traditionally "male"
idea of external career success. "Its goals", Marshall says (1989), "are identified
largely in terms of organisational status and financial reward." "Communion-based"
is
"present-focused"
careerplanning more
and involves "being open to opportunities,
listening to the next inner need without concern about longer-term consequencesand
if
becomes
(Marshall
1995): this
generating change a given situation
unsatisfactory"
is
female;
to
typically
successwithin a career"planned" on
approach a career seenas
this basis will be much more internal. Its focus, Marshall says,has been "largely on
jobs" which nevertheless has led to "satisfying and organisationally successful
The
they
(Marshall
1989).
communion
as
relate to
and
of
agency
concepts
careers"
detail
in
discussed
in
2.2.3.
female
to
section
more
attitudes careersare
male and
Asplund (1988), who carried out her researchamongstmale and female managersin
found
that men's career strategies were more
Swedish
three
organisations, also
despite
fact
female
that
the
their
colleagues',
planned and purposeful, comparedwith
for
be
less
her
than
the
in
to
men.
promotion
appeared
eager
sample
no
the women
denied
level
had
that any conscious
Even women who
reachedmiddle management
Instead,
had
helped
they
them
their
position.
present
their
part
achieve
own
on
effort
Furthermore,
development
luck
in
terms
their
or
chance.
career
of
to
explain
chose
job,
in
focus
the
the
their
particular
at
work
of
main
was
on
content
the
men,
unlike
important
derived
from
it.
Asplund
this
they
up
summed
enjoyment
interest
and
the

30

difference she found betweenthe

male and female managersin her study as: "Women


want to do something interesting, men want a career."
When askedwhat they

looking
for from their career,shediscoveredthat women
were
were more inclined to mention internal psychological factors such
"developing
as
myself' and "exploiting my inner resources". Men, on the other hand, talked
openly

of the need for external criteria of successsuch as power and status. As a


result,
Asplund concluded that "the incentives that drive
women and men to enjoy a
successful career are probably different. Women are not so ready to talk about
in
careers terms of status and power. They are more likely to be motivated by
psychological factors and a desire for self-realisation".
Following research into UK managersand their work needs, (1988) Nicholson
and
West agree with this conclusion, stating that "women managers
less
are
concerned
than men with material rewards from work and are more interested in fulfilling a
for
need
growth". They discovered that women valued good ftinge benefits,
opportunity for high earnings and job security less than male managers;women
highly,
managersvalued more
amongst other things, working with people who are
ftiendly

and congenial, challenging work to do, work where individual

accomplishment is appreciated, opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills and a

job where I can be creative in doing things my own way (Nicholson and West 1988).
White et al. (1992), in a study of 48 women "who had achievedextraordinary levels
findings,
for
their sample,a
that,
concluding
of career success",again report similar
for
felt
be
for
than
to
stronger
a need
promotion:
need
personal challenge was often
"to
interviewed
that
they
they
two
the
reach
were striving
mentioned
only
of
women
Erom
identify
their
the
White
three
the top".
women
sought
other outcomes
et al.
careers:

in
by
The
desire
for
this
Self-development.
one woman the study
was summedup
keep
is
I
feeding
into
to
"Everything
me going.
about
me and what need
who said:
So I read a lot and I study and educatemyself daily." White et al. claim that the
flyers
high
did
in
not emerge a similar study of male
theme of self-d,evelopment
1988).
Cooper
(Cox and
for
for
The
this was
their
need
achievement.
Feedback and recognition
do
be
in
"I
to
the
to
of
woman
seen
comments
one
who
want
said:
encapsulated

31

things well. I want to be comparedwell with the next


person. Maybe it's because
I'm a woman in an all-male
environment, but I would hate for someoneto say,
'Oh well, I didn't expect her to do
because
so well
she'sa woman'."
Autonomy. One of the
in
the study explained: I like having the power to
women
make decisions and to stand by them. My defmition of successis being in control
and taking the responsibility for that. " Several of the women also mentioned the
importance of influencing events at
work.

White et al.'s fmdings support the earlier work of Donnell


and Hall (1980) and
Alban-Metcalfe (1989). Donnell and Hall's researchshowed that women managers
lower
basic
reported
needs and higher needs for self-actualisation than a matched
female
the
group of men:
managers in their sample were more concerned with
for
opportunities
growth, autonomy and challenge,and less concernedwith the work
environment, pay and strain avoidance. In a study of 2,000 male and female
intended
discover
believed
be
important
to
in a job, Albanthey
to
managers
what
Metcalfe (1989) found that amongst the ten items which the women rated
highly
than the men were: a challenging job, opportunity for
significantly more
development,quality of feedback,working with friendly people and autonomy. Men,
hand,
the
on
other
were significantly more concernedwith external factors such as
high earnings,fringe benefits andjob security.
In addition to the evidencethat, for women managers,subjectiveinternal measuresof
Gallos
(e.
for
important
they
than
are
men, some writers g.
career successare more
1989, Bell and Nkomo 1992) claim that women differ from men in that they define
family
involved
be
holistically.
to
Because
tend
with
more
women
successmore
in
likely
to
than
issues than men, they argue, they are more
see success their
men
Therefore
life
to
the
in
just
their
ability
whole.
as a
one part of success
career as
definition
become
life
home
life
their
their
of
balance their work
part of
can
with
life
by
balancing
they
their
because
two
the
achieve
can
of
parts
only
career success,
her
for
(1995),
that
Marshall
terms.
research
example, says
true successon their own
do
than
have
"many
that
career
of
senses
more
open
women
supports suggestions
life
decisions
than
"women
that
simply
rather
choices
as
may
make
and
many men",
"the
(1992)
Bell
Nkomo
talk
a
woman's
of
mutuality
of
and
as career choices".
is
life
dimensions"
always
success
why
career
and
question
personal
and
professional
into
fit
do
lives
top",
the
to
"getting
career
neatly
not
when
women's
defined as
largely
"built
male
models
of
success
and
work".
on
theories

32

Gallos (1989) arguesthat


have
different
"perspective"of what careermeans
women
a
to them than men, a perspective which includes an expression their
of
relationship
and family needs. "The career is not as distinct an entity for them as it is for men,"
she states: "The boundariesbetweenprofessionalwork and everything else in life are
more permeable, allowing women to seerelationshipsand family as critical work and
reasonsto pace their professional lives differently from men."
Powell and Mainiero (1993) agreethat successat work and at home is important to
women, saying: "In attempting to strike a balance between their relationships with
others and their personal achievementsat work, women seeksome sort of personalor
in
both
subjective satisfaction
realms." For this reason, they conceptualisecareer
being
bank
describe
they
successas
on one
of what
as "the river of time" with, success
in relationships with others on the opposite bank, as shown in Figure 2.3.
Figure 2.3: Powell and Mainiero's cross-currentsin the river of time model

"Success" in Career

Emphasis on career

time

Emphasison relationshipswith others

"Success" in relationships with others

by
that,
development
any
at
their
saying
Mainiero
explain
model of career
Powell and
degree
versus
career
on
emphasis
of
may
a
particular
place
in
woman
time,
a
point
She
decisions.
in
her
or
career
emphasise
may
and
actions
others
with
relationships
between
the
balance
to
a
achieve
to
or
she
may
strive
extent,
greater
a
relationships

33

two (Powell and Mainiero 1992


and 1993). Moreover, while Powell and Mainiero
developed their
model in an attempt to conceptualise better career success for
women, they say that they believe it may also describe many men's careerstoo,
as
discussed in section 2.1.6: "As
lives
broaden,
the study of men's careersmay
men's
benefit from a "river of time" approachthat focuses the
on
effort to balancework and
non-work concernsover time" (Powell and Mainiero 1992).
2.2.2 Differences in work values between male and female
managers

The argument that women have different ideas than men about what
constitutes
for
them is supported by literature on managerial values, which
career success
suggeststhat women managersare likely to have attitudesand values relating to their
work which contrast with those held by their male colleagues(e.g. Major and Konar
1984,Beutell and Brenner 1986,McGowan and Hart 1992).
Managerial values, that is the values which managershold about their jobs and work,
fall into the category of competencevalues, as defined by Rokeach (1973), in his
human
the
study of
nature of
values. Competencevalues are said to be personal(that
is self-centred, rather than society-centred)and are not particularly concernedwith
feelings
leads
them
to
morality; violation of
of shameabout personalinadequacy,not
feelings of guilt about wrong-doing (Rokeach 1973).Examples of competencevalues
that Rokeach uses in his PersonalValues Index are ambitious, capable, imaginative,
independent and intellectual, which are instrumental values, that is they relate to
behaviour;
and a sense of accomplishment, sef-respect and social
modes of
desired
to
terminal
end statesof existence.
values, relating
recognition, which are
define
(1975),
Becker
by
Connor
done
following
(1984),
Powell et al.
work
and
work
desirable
beliefs
"global
and
attitudinal
underlying
end-states
about
as
values
behavioural processes". Beutell and Brenner (1986) similarly describe them as
between
desire
from
their
"qualities people
work, which reflect a correspondence
linked
inextricably
As
to
they
managers'
are
such,
satisfaction".
and
need states
"personal
(1974)
Lee
England
that
value
observe
success:
and
career
of
conceptions
individual
the
as
influence
as
well
success
and
organisational
perception
of
systems
defined
to
When
"success"
age,
relative
pay
as
managerial
was
their achievement".
had
found
"successful"
Lee
that
values which
managers
more
England and
high
and
creativity
ability,
as
productivity,
aggressiveness,
such
qualities
emphasised

34

competitiong whereas as less "successful" managerstended to


root their values in
conceptssuch as social welfare, trust, conformity, security and
equality.
Rokeach likewise concludes(1973) that
have
values
a motivational force, in that they
offer goals to strive towards, and are used as conceptualtools by people to
maintain
and enhancetheir self-esteem. As confirmation of this, Rokeach showedthat small
entrepreneursand salesmenplaced a higher value than other Americans on personal
based
individual
values
on
achievement,strivings for independence,material success
hedonism
and comfort,
and security of the family.
Writers considering the issue of women in managementftequently
suggest that
bring
into the workplace a different set of attitudes and values ftom male
women
(e.
managers g. Kanter 1977, Davidson and Cooper 1992). This is often presentedas
a problem for women managers,becauseit means that the predominantly "male"
culture of most organisations can feel alien to them and thereby puts them at a
disadvantageat work:
Pemberton(1992), for example, assertsthat women managersseetheir own diversity
"as something that is shed in order to be rewarded by the organisation". AlimoMetcalfe and Wedderburn-Tate (1993) similarly argue that women have to adopt a
"work personality" in order to fit in with male organisational culture. "For many
from
"the
in
they
women",
say,
sense of alienation arising
working
a masculine
environment, where there was an overriding emphasison competition and aggression,
did
if
in
they
that
they
not comply, meant
order
were strongly sanctioned
and where
to succeed,they had to behavein an unnaturalway".
Scaseand Goffee (1989) claim that aspiring managersmust fit in with the values of
for
believe
that
this
women
their superiors to succeedand
posesa particular problem
likely
do
to
the
"Those
the
experience
game
are
of
accept
rules
who
managers:
identities
to
to
they
acceptable
which
are
personal
attempt cultivate
personal stressas
"different"
"
For
this
values and
their male colleagues.
reason, women managers'
held
be
is
to
lack
an
now
cultures
many
comfort
with
organisational
of
consequent
"conventional"
to
careers
important explanation of why many women choose opt of
1992,
Marshall
1995).
Korabik
(Rosin and
investigates
the
whether women managers'work values
researchwhich
Nevertheless,
divided
is
in
its
Some
to
from
differ
studies
claim
somewhat
conclusions.
men's
do

35

show that all managerssharesimilar values, regardlessof their gender. For example,
Brief and Oliver (1976), in
in
a study of managers a US retail organisation,report no
significant differences in work attitudes "when occupation and organisational level
are controlled". Their findings have been corroborated since by Gomez-Mejia
(1990), de Vaus and McAllister (1991), Rowe and Snizek (1994), Lefkowitz (1994)
and Fagenson (1993), who, using Rokeach'sValue Survey, examined the values of
male and female entrepreneursand managers. She found that "occupationalrole, and
is
better
indicator
individuals'
gender,
not
a
of
value systems".
However, while there is broad agreement that men and women who occupy
managerial positions are more likely to be similar to each other in terms of their
in
than
men
values
and women general(e.g. Gomez-Mejia 1990,Mason 1994), other
important
differences
between male and female managers
that
researchshows
some
do exist. The cogency of these fmdings is strengthened by the fact that the
differences they report are closely related to the apparentdifferences between men
in
how
in
discussed
terms
they
their
of
conceive
own career success
and women
literature
2.2.1.
Much
the
on managerialvalues suggeststhan women set
of
section
by
values such as accomplishment,personal growth and respect,which
greater store
hand,
deftition
internal
the
other
of careersuccess;men, on
might underpin a more
hierarchical
income
importance
to
advancement,
and
on values related
place greater
idea
(e.
Beutell
focused
g.
and
of success
which would support a more externally
Brenner 1986, Nicholson and West 1988,McGowan and Hart 1992).
18
12
the
MBA
1986
Brenner's
In Beutell and
of
students,women rated
study of
knowledge
including
higher
than
of
use
accomplishment,
men,
surveyed
work values
The
the
that
values
six
intellectual
associates.
stimulation and congenial
and skills,
included
income,
on
highly
working
the
than
advancement,
women
men rated more
Hart's
McGowan
research
and
responsibility.
and
problems
central organisational
do;
they
than
women,
women
(1992) showed that men value prestige and salarymore
it
because
their
job
likely
be
to
with
consistent
was
a
choose
more
would
concluded,
to
higher
to
The
it
that
because
assign
appear
men
worth
paid
well.
than
values
been
has
also
women,
with
compared
opportunities,
salary and promotional
(1986).
by
Mottaz
(1984)
Konar
Major
by
and
and
confirmed
female
clerical
the
and
managers
and
of
male
patterns
of
value
Following a survey
for
important
discovered
the
that
(1994)
managers
women
value
most
Mason
staff,
Men
it
for
was
wages/benefits.
male
managers
whereas
respect,
with
was treated

36

also rated opportunity for advancement more highly than women did. In
a study of
accountants, Kaufman and Fetters (1980) found that the intrinsic values
which
women valued most were personal and professional growth and collegial
recognition,

whereas men valued most professional


professional job.

aura and doing a good

Similar differences in values between male and female


have
been found by
managers
many other writers, including Ryan et al. (198 1), Jacobs (1992), Powell et al. (1984)
Scase
Goffee
(1989). Their number adds weight to Posner and Munson's
and
and
(1981)
that "there are some value subsets which are perhaps more salient and
claim
more personally relevant to women in general than men, irrespective of occupation".

The difference between the sexesin terms of their managerialvalues is also apparent
when the connection between values and career "success" in traditional, external
terms is considered. Ryan et al. (1981) claim that certain values, such as obedience,
held
by
welfare,
employee
organisational stability and social welfare,
women
in
"success"
their
managers, are negatively correlated with
external terms. Other
by
individuality,
held
power and aggressiveness,
male managers,are
values, such
"success",
This
they
their
gives support
external
maintain.
positively correlated with
to England and Lee's conclusion (1974) that personal value systems influence
"achievement",discussedearlier in this section.
Differences between men and women appearto becomeeven more pronouncedwhen
life.
As
life
home
in
the
as well as work
context of
managers'values are examined
discussedbriefly in section 2.1.6, Chusmir and Parker (1991) found that, while male
to
have
their
female
to
relating
values
values,
work
similar
managersappeared
and
dual
different,
that
value
people operate
suggesting
their home life were quite
if
hierarchies
be
these
to
it
Thus
hierarchies.
separately
appropriate consider
may not
indeed
the
examine
or
one wants to give a complete picture of managerial values,
in
its
entirety.
concept of managerial careersuccess
to
influences
careers
Psychological
2.2.3
on women's attitudes
development
that
the
female
women
suggestion
strengthen
psychological
Theories of
internal
to
success,
career
tend
of
measures
subjective
emphasise
managers may
Writers
invoked.
"male"
traditionally
such
the
of
external
success
model
than
rather
"traditional"
1989)
(1984
Marshall
that
(1989)
career
argue
and
and
Gallos
as

37

Success, seen in terms of competitive


achievement within the organisation and
measuredby hierarchical position and level of financial
reward, representsan aspect
of male psychology to which females do not relate
easily. Since career theory is
largely based
on research into male managers, this idea of successhas become
established as an norm which may not apply to women, given their
different
quite
psychological development.
It is suggested that the differences between
male and female psychology can be best
represented as the contrast between the concepts of "agency" and "communion"
,
which Bakan (1966) introduces to characterise "the two fundamental modalities in
the existence of living forms". According to Bakan, agency, the
masculine psyche,
itself
manifests
as: self-protection and self-assertion; self-expansion; separation;
isolation, alienation and aloneness; the urge to
master. On the other hand,
communion, the feminine psyche, manifests itself as: the sense of being at one with
other organisms; lack of separation; contact, openness and union; non-contractual cooperation.

Gilligan (1980 and 1982), in her investigation of women'smoral development,agrees


finidamental.
Bakan's
distinction between the psychology of the masculine and
with
the feminine. As a result, she argues,like Chodorow (1974), that the genderidentity
is
tied to separation and individuation from others, whereas the gender
of men
identity of women is defined through attachment and connection: "For women,
identity is defined in the context of relationships and judged by a standard of
responsibility and care...instead of attachment,individual achievementrivets the male
imagination and defines the standardof self-assessmentand success"(Gilligan 1980).
Consequently, women find it difficult to see their own successin the competitive
terms in which men perceive theirs, and by which external organisational career
delineated.
Gilligan
doubt
been
Not
has
traditionally
casts
upon
surprisingly,
success
the validity of the concept of "competitive success"which men favour: "One question
but
have
be
conflicts about competitive success, why men show
may not why women
(Gilligan
to
and
of
adopt
celebrate
a
rather
narrow
vision
success"
such readiness
1982).
(1989)
Gallos
definition
(1989)
that
the
traditional
Marshall
and
agree
of the concepts
career
and
organisational
reflect
male
career
success
the
organisational
of
based
individuation
that
on
values
and
separation,
suggest
as a
and
psychological
find
it
harder
do
"Women
to
them.
may
not
managers
associate
with
women
result

38

have less career

motivation as much as a different perspectiveof what careermeans


to thern,," says Gallos (1989). Both
distinction
betweenmale/agency
the
writers use
and female/communion made by writers such as Bakan and Gilligan to discussthis
"different perspective"
demonstrate
the need for models of "career" and "career
and
success"which take account of female as well as male psychological development.
Marshall (1989) sums up the difference between the
psychological approachesto the
career typically seen as male and female as being that between independence and
interdependence: "The agentic principle works through
self-assertion, emphasising
its independence and competing with others for
resources, rewards and
importance-From. this perspective 'success' is demonstrable
individual.
and
Organisation promotion systems focus on the individual and reward them for these
impacts
Communion sees itself, including its actions, as part of a wider
perceived
...
interacting
influences. It tends not to assume personal accomplishment
context of
when events turn out favourably and is certainly less likely to be able to identify its
contribution ...Action based in communion may therefore go unrewarded by formal
organisational. systems." The masculine agentic approach to the career is epitomised
by Rosenbaum's description (1979) of career development as a tournament, with early
"winners" being more likely to achieve "success" later in their careers.

Marshall and Gallos's suggestion that women's psychological development leads


them to have different ideas about what constitutes career successfrom men is
(1992)
(1987),
Powell
Mainiero
Diamond
by
and
and
supported other writers, such as
McGowen and Hart (1992). McGowen and Hart claim that their researchfmdings,
discussed briefly in the previous section, show differences in men and women's
distinction
bearing
in
line
the
in
mind
with what one would expect,
career values
female
between
have
Gilligan
psychological
male and
made
writers such as
development. They found that women gave higher priority to flexibility of work
job
determining
in
satisfaction, whereas
schedule and personally meaningful work
"If
From
the
they
this,
higher
conclude:
value on salary and prestige.
men put a
to
the
which
careers
approach
of
self-identity
underlies
organisation
contextual
it
is
into
that
the
then
bring
need
more
women
workplace,
understandable
women
integration
the
to
of work
flexible schedules accommodate
complex, simultaneous
focus
is
It
the
that
on
also understandable
tasks and obligations of relationships.
hand,
for
Men,
the
takes
carry
with
other
women.
on
precedence
values
personal
Thus
the
to
their
priority
of
self
orientation
sense
competitive
and
the
separate
them
Hart
1992).
(McGowen
be
to
and
given salary and prestige"
for them would

39

The process of

adult development for men and women will be consideredin greater


detail in section 2.3.2.
2.2.4 The different reality of women
managers' careers
Not only do women managershave different ideas about
careersuccess,their careers
also often look very different from those of their male colleagues. In the UK, for
example, women still representa minority of those working in managerialpositions,
12.3% according to the Institute of Management's 1996 survey (institute of
Management 1996). Far fewer succeed in reaching the most senior positions in
organisations:the IM puts the number of female directors in the UK at 3.3% in total.
This dearth of women at the top of organisations has led some to postulate the
"glass
existence of a
ceiling", which prevents women from rising above a certain
level (Morrison et al. 1992,Davidson and Cooper 1992).
Women managersare likely to occupy different types of managerialjobs than male
hold
They
"specialist", support roles, in ftmctions such as
to
tend
managers.
line
(Davidson
"generalist"
than
personnel and marketing, rather
managementroles
is
line
Cooper
1992).
This
and
significant, since
managementroles are generally
higher status than support roles and experiencein line managementis said to be an
important factor in achieving hierarchical success as a manager (Larwood and
Gattiker 1987). Ohlott et al. (1994) concludethat organisationsmay not give women
"key assignmentsinvolving international responsibilities,negotiation roles, managing
in
business
Furthermore,
key
the
functions,
managers
women
units".
and
multiple
UK are clustered in certain business sectors, such as the public sector and service
1992).
Cooper
(Davidson
like
and
retailers
organisations,
Lagging behind men in seniority and meaningful promotions, as well as occupying
less influential positions, women managers enjoy less objective success than their
215
In
have
of
a
survey
career
paths,
complicated
more
and
male counterparts
Larwood
in
California,
firms
from
17
and
"successful" personnel
operating
major
had
in
found
their
the
that, compared with
sample, men
women
Gattiker (1987)

in
higher
in
line
and
were
often
positions
standing,
were
more
professional
greater
hierarchical
The
towards
than
was
success
departments
progression
women.
their
Gattiker
(Larwood
1987),
for
who conclude as a
and
women managers
less regular
between
differences
be
women's
career
men's
and
there
substantial
can
that
result

40

development.

This conclusion is endorsed by Nicholson and West (1988), who


discovered that
male managers had more "upward status" moves, whereas women
managers had more changes of employer, and, in particular, more what they describe
as out- spiralling moves". Because of the differences, they suggest that women have
an "immediate, value-driven, opportunistic" approach to job changing, compared
with men's "predominantly goal-oriented, targeting approach", and assert that women
do
who
reach a status equivalent to men's do so through different, more specialist
career paths.
In an investigation of career paths in the banking industry Morgan et al. (1993) found
that, despite the fact that banking is an industry with a majority of female employees,
in
their study experienced patterns of career development similar to those in
women
organisations where the majority of employees are male. Men reached middle
management quicker than women with fewer promotions; women had more lateral
held
Men
jobs
in
key
lending,
promotions.
also
more
areas, such as
whereas women
tended to be in support jobs such as customer service. Their findings are backed up
by Ragins and Sundstrom (1989), who infer that women are promoted less quickly
than men and need a greater number of promotions to reach the same rank.

There is also evidence that women managersare paid less than men, and that their
both
Cox
Harquail
(1991)
(1992)
Stroh
increase
and
and
et al.
more slowly.
salaries
in
having
lower
less
than
that
positions
men, as well as
women managersearn
report
female
US
1,029
hierarchy.
Stroh
's
the organisational
male and
et al. survey of
fell
female
found
500
by
Fortune
20
that
managers
companies
managersemployed
behind male managers in salary progression and geographic mobility, but not in
be
illusory,
latter
however,
They
the
that
since women
may
claim,
promotion rates.
job
likely
to
than
changesas promotion, and conclude
men characterise
seem more
is
to
following
traditional
secure career
the
sufficient
not
that
male career model
Cox
MBA
based
From
and
for
graduates,
of
sample
a
on
research
women.
success
Harquail found that women experienced lower salary progression than men of
in
The
their
sample
women
experience.
performance,
age
and
education,
comparable
fewer
had
but
in
total
terms
significantly
did not differ greatly
promotions
of
levels
in
lower
their
organisations.
and
were
at
promotions
management
in
be
development
between
considered
will
men and women's career
The differences
2.3.3.
in
detail
section
more

41

2.2.5 The
relationship between women managers' ideas of career success, their
psychological development and their
career paths

Whatever the
exact relationship between women managers'conceptions of career
success,their psychological developmentand the pattern of their
careerdevelopment,
it is clearly one
of complicated reciprocity. In all likelihood, the process of
socialisation of males and female, discussedin section 2.2.3, and their
experiencesat
work both have an impact on what women conceive careersuccessto be
and on the
shapetheir careersassume.
There is undoubtedly a link between the different
career paths which women
managersfollow, as described in section 2.2.4, and their view of careersuccessas a
more internal concept. The distinctive view of career successwhich women appear
to hold may offer at least a partial explanation for the different types of managerial
careerswhich they enjoy. If women do not seetheir own career successin terms of
hierarchical status and salary progression, it is difficult to imagine that they
be
will
driven to seek achievement in this way. As discussed in section 2.2.2,
women
managers' different values often make them uncomfortable with "masculine"
organisational cultures (Scase and Goffee 1989). This may help explain women's
more complicated career paths and frequent changes of employer (Nicholson and
West 1988).
However, it is unrealistic to see women's psychological developmentand the ideas
inculcate
it
in them as the sole explanation for the different kind
about success may
have.
Women
of managerial careerswhich men and women
managers'organisational
from
for
different
the reasonthat management
experiencesoverall are quite
men's,
has traditionally been perceived to be a "male" career (Schein 1973). Women still
hold a small minority of managerial positions in most countries (Davidson and
Cooper 1993, Adler and lzraeli 1994). There is general agreementthat stereotypes
(Powell
1993,
Kanter
1993,
"masculinity"
the
to
the
of
profession persist
relating
Davidson and Cooper 1992, Mills 1992), and that bias, however unconscious,still
female
managers.
exists against
looked
be
favourably
in terms of promotion, particularly
likely
to
Men are
upon more
be
key
be
filled
(Kanter
to
to
the
organisation's
operation
must
when posts considered
Asplund
1988,
1984,
Burton
1992).
have
better
They
Marshall
also
accessto
1993,
both
for
and
mentoring
relationships,
networks
considered
crucial
organisational

42

successful career development (Powell and Mainiero 1992). The "structure of


Opportunity" (Astin 1984) which women managershave to contend with at work is
therefore less favourable than that which men en oy,
and as such is likely to have an
adverseeffect on their careerdevelopment:while women's ideas about careersuccess
may partially determine the career paths they take, bias againstthem and the poorer
structure of opportunity which they encounter at work also influence their lack of
hierarchical successand lower levels of pay (Larwood and Gutek 1987,Larwood
and
Gattiker 1987, Stroh et al. 1992, Cox and Harquail 1991).
Furthermore, it is conceivable that women managers may, consciously or
unconsciously, adjust their ideas about what they deem to be career successfor
themselvesto be to suit the kind of "rewards" which they perceive organisationsare
likely to offer them (Posner and Munson 1981, Nicholson and West 1988, GomezMeJia 1991). Cox and Harquail (1991), for example, question whether gender
differences in salary expectationslead women to acceptlower salary offers than men
do
during
both
If
the
the
their
careers. women
start of and
at
courseof
would accept,
fit
ideas
to
their expectationsof what male-dominated
their
of career success
adjust
their
then
their
them,
well
as
organisational
experiences,
as
give
will
organisations
is
determining
in
in
development,
their
view of what success
play role
psychological
for them.
While it is not the main focus of this research,it is important to note herethat there is
less
them
that
to
women managers'aptitudes and skills make
suggest
evidence
no
is
Nor
1990).
Powell
1984,
there
(Marshall
than
men
suited to managerial careers
levels
believe
are
their
commitment
that
and
motivation
to
of
ambition,
any grounds
(1990),
by
Powell
is
for
lack
this
The
lower
up
summed
than
evidence
of
men's.
any
they
in
differences
nonare
"When
appear,
profiles
motivational
who concludes:
West
by
Nicholson
is
"
This
female
favour
and
supported
managers.
stereotypical and
themselves
more
found
they
the
that
(1988), who
surveyed considered
women
discovered
that
1990),
(1989
Goffee
Scase
who
and
the
and
than
and
men,
ambitious
higher
had
than
and
men
strongly
more
much
achievements
women rated career
levels
display
Other
that
of
women
shows
also
research
levels of ambition,
(Kaufinan
higher
those
than
to
men
to
of
or
work
similar
motivation and commitment
1990).
Powell
1980,
Hall
Donnell
1988,
Phillips
Freedman
and
1988,
and
Fetters
and

43

2.3 The effect


of age on managers' conceptions of career success
2.3.1 Career success
and age
Korman et al. 's research (1981), described in
section 2.1.2, showed that achieving
career success in organisational terms was insufficient to make many middle-aged
managers feel successful. Korman et al. suggest that, while these feelings of
alienation are partly the result of "a changing world", they are also influenced by the
intertwined processes of personal development and career development,
which
appear to lead managers to evaluate their own success differently as they get older.
The implication that managers' ideas of career success change as they and their
develop
is
by
careers
supported
other studies which have looked at managers in midIn
career.
particular, there is evidence that the importance of material success may
lessen, while the desire for a less tangible, more personal kind of success increases
(Nicholson and West 1988, O'Connor and Wolfe 1987).
Evans and Bartolome (1981), in a study of 532 (male) middle managers who attended
development
executive
courses at Insead, which they supplemented with in-depth
interviews with 22 of the managers and their wives, found that the managers showed
"some degree of career disengagement" after the age of 40. This "disengagement"
had
but
level
they
the
to
achieved
of organisational success which
was not related
family.
increased
linked
their
their
to
relationship with
emphasis on
an
rather
was
"The early forties", say Evans and Bartolome, "are a period of reassessment, of
begins,
lifestyle.
"
This
they
process
and
values,
achievements
questioning one's
life
in
for
in
their
the
outside work
the mid-thirties, when,
study,
managers
claim,
had
before.
The
had
it
that
central preoccupation of
to
not
started acquire a meaning
for
"the
therefore
their early mid-life
a meaningful and gratifying private
search
was
life", as they strove to integrate work and family better.

life
in
is
important
the
is
of a man
"What all this indicates a clear realignment of what
life
"Private
Bartolome
Evans
"
now occupies centre
(sic) at this time,
state.
and
for
The
the
special
calls
career
Consequently
changes.
self-esteem
source
of
stage.
depend
Senses
times
self-esteem
and
of
of
well-being
of
crisis.
at
attention only
life.
"
development
health
the
of private
and
fundamentally on
for
for
time
found
too,
that
remid-life was a
women managers
Marshall (1995)
brought
to
them
their
which
adjustments
and
making
meant
careers
what
evaluating

44

their working life more in line


with what they consideredto be important aspectsof
their identity. This
sometimesmeant a reduction in the importance they placed on
external measures of success: "The organisational
world had previously been a
significant value system for some. Severaltalked about no longer
its
using
markers,
such as salary, as measuresof worth. " Marshall's findings echo those Hennig
of
and
Jardim (1978), who discovered that
women who had been organisationally
"successful" put their careerson hold temporarily in
mid-life and attendedto other,
more "feminine" aspectsof their identity which they had previously neglected.
O'Connor and Wolfe (1987) confirm the existence
kind
of some
of mid-life turning
brings
point, which
about a changein managers'careerorientation. In a study of 64
male and female managersaged between 35 and 50, they found that the managers'
for
need
autonomy at work increasedas a result of what they describeas "a mid-life
transition". The idea of becoming more in touch with one's feelings and values, and
becoming one's own person also became important at the time of the transition.
However, O'Connor and Wolfe suggestthat for managerswho were less successful
hierarchically, concerns about "'stagnationand security" might be more prominent in
mid-life than a desire for autonomy.
Their findings echo those of Evans and Bartolome (1981), in that, for men, passing
through a mid-life transition meant a reduction in the investment they made in their
career. Women, on the other hand, had much lower levels of investment in their
before
they entered the period of transition, but as they passedthrough it,
career
increasedthe investment they made dramatically, to the point where, once they had
levels
investment
their
the
transition,
of
completed
were similar to those of men
(O'Connor and Wolfe 1987). The evidence for some kind mid-life "crisis" which
be
discussed
further
in
section
affects managers'conceptions of career successwill
2.3.2.
Nicholson and West (1988) also discovered that the period of "young middle-age",
between
36
for
in
45,
terms
they
and
was
a
watershed
managers
of what
place
which
Nicholson
during
West
from
their
that
this period
career.
and
claim
they wanted
for
for
from
before
declining
growth
and
need
rewards
work peak,
managers'need
"nearing
fulfilled,
"more
Managers
the
their
end of
career" are
relaxed,
thereafter.
less
On
they
the
less
and
are
concerned
with
material
say.
rewards",
ambitious
and
"opportunities
influence
to
hand,
they
concerned
more
with
are
and
contribute
other
(Nicholson
West
1988).
Their
those
and
support
conclusions
their
environments"
to

45

of Kalleberg and Losocco (1983), who found that income


and promotional
Opportunities were of less concern to older employeesthan they
were to younger
ones, and also concur with what Lynn et al. (1996) describe individuals
wanting at
different stagesof their
it
develops:
careeras
Dividing the career into three stages,
establishment,advancementand maintenance,
Lynn et al. say that in the advancementstage, "individual
concernsare focused on
upward mobility in the organisation, achievement and promotion", whereas at the
maintenance stage, "the individual becomes less competitive and focuses on
developing peer relationships and on strengtheningthe
organisation" (Lynn et al.
1996). In theory, an individual can pass through the three
stages at any age,
depending on when their career begins, but in practice, older
managersare more
likely to be in the maintenance stage. The process of career development
be
will
discussedin more detail in section 2.3.3.
Nicholson and West (1988) suggestthat, over the course of their careers,managers
may alter their needsto suit what they perceive organisationshave to offer them, and
thereby change their ideas about what career successis for them. Older managers,
longer
believe
that there are considerableopportunitiesfor high earnings
may
who
no
"make
in
and advancement,
adjustments the value they place on these factors and so
they continue to be fulfilled": "Desiring the unavailable is a recipe for frustration,
it
is
in
dissatisfaction,
therefore
one'spsychological self-interestto
and
alienation and
be
levels
"
to
achieved within organisational settings.
revise one's goals
which can
Scaseand Goffee (1989) agree with this conclusion, claiming that less "successful"
for
"by,
their
expectations and adapt psychologically
older managers readjust
by
interests
developing
outside work or even anticipating early retirement".
example,
This view is backed up by Mottaz (1986), who also believes that individuals adjust
be
to
they
value at work suit what may available.
what
from
different
in
The suggestion that older managers may view career success a
way
Clark
levels
by
into
is
et
work
satisfaction.
of
supported
research
managers
younger
Survey,
from
Panel
drawn
Household
data
British
that
the
(1996),
conclude
using
al.
for
job
is
U-shaped,
between
men.
especially
age and
satisfaction
the relationship
3
1,
job
declines
the
age of
after which
satisfaction
until
They found that, on average,
(1988)
findings
Scase
Goffee's
Their
that
conclusion
endorse
and
it rises again.

dissatisfied
than
more
older
ones.
are
managers
younger

46

The increase in
satisfaction with age which these studies show may be a
manifestation of the processof psychological adaptationdescribedby Nicholson
and
West (1988): Clark
et al. (1996) suggestthat one of the reasonswhy older employees
are happier at work could be that their work values are different from those of
younger people: income and promotional opportunities are of less concern to older
employees, they say, which means that they are less of a cause of dissatisfaction in
their working lives. (The fact that the pattern of women's
does
fit
the
satisfaction
not
U-shape as well may be explained, they say, by the
greater number of promotions
which men do receive, compared with women, and a "differential participation
effect": men's withdrawal from unsatisfying jobs is more concentrated in later life,
whereas women's may be spread out more evenly over the age distribution. The
effect of age on women's levels of career satisfaction will be considered further

below.)
Whilst the focus of this researchis on managerialcareersuccess,not motivation, it is
briefly
here
that any move away Eroman emphasison financial success
worth noting
by older managerswho have already achieved it may also be explained by the fact
that this aspectof career successcould operatepartially as a hygiene factor (Herzberg
1968), that is to some extent only desiredwhen it is absent. (The fact that Herzberg
does not view "advancement" as a hygiene factor but as a motivator illustrates the
between
the
relationship
conceptions of career success and
complex nature of
it
is
beyond
factors,
the scope of this study to
a relationship on which
motivational
further.
)
speculate
D-

from
their
into
that
managers
want
what
confirms
values
also
managerial
Research
found
(1990)
develop.
Gomez-Mejia
that
the
their
values
careers
careerschangesas
held by male and female managersbecomemore similar as the number of years in a
increases,
the
that
processof organisationalsocialisation
suggesting
given occupation
impinges on what managers find most important about their work. Posner and
Munson (1981) agree that the effects of organisational socialisation may make the
difference between men and women's work values less pronounced,concluding that
due
in
to a transcendenceof roles"
"value structuresmay shift, part,
in
is
that
women managers'experiences mid-career
However, there some evidence
1981,
(Korman
from
their
different
those
et
al.
of
male
counterparts
be
very
may
difficulties
1988).
It
West
they
that
the
experience
which
seems
Nicholson and
in
becomeeven
described
2.2.4,
this
greater
at
section
may
their
careers,
throughout

47

stage and may lead to a loss of satisfaction and self-worth. This is likely to have
an
important effect
on what women in mid-career perceive career success to be
(Nicholson and West 1988). Schneer
and Reitman (1994), in a longitudinal study of
M[BA graduates, found
differences
between men and women in career satisfaction,
no
perceived boss appreciation and salary early in their careers. By mid-career,
however, although men and women
still had the same levels of commitment to their
work, the women reported lower levels of career satisfaction and perceived boss
appreciation; they also on average earned 13% less than the men.

"Women may become disillusioned with the mores of organisationsand the quality of
life which results." Schneer and Reitman suggest. "After trying to fit the male
organisational mould, sometimes with success, women may reconsider the
desirability of that mould compared to other work patterns." While a larger study
(Schneer and Reitman 1995) failed to confirm that women in mid-career were
less
actually
satisfied with their careersthan men, it did show that women's level of
fallen
had
career satisfaction
since their early career,when they were more satisfied
than men: "Thus, although on the surface,it appearsin this study that women are as
pleasedas men with their careers,there are some suggestionsthat this equality may
This
is
(1995).
"
Schneer
Reitman
view supported
and
not necessarily continue, say
by the fact that, by mid-career, almost a third of the women had opted out of a
"a
21%
the
small
compared
with
women,
of
conventional managerial career:
become
had
further
9%
full-time
had
left
selfemploymentand a
percentage"of men,
found
The
that
women who remained within
also
study
second
employed.
hierarchy
in
far
the
did
and
organisational
as men
not progress as
organisations
"Women
by
to
less
19%
than
reach
appear
mid-career:
men
earned, on average,
further,
"
Schneer
but
by
levels
and
go no
of management mid-career
upper-middle
Reitman conclude.
by
the
(1989)
that,
Solomon
Bishop
by
middle of
Research
evidence
provides
and
Their
lost
have
their
senseof self-worth.
much of
their career, women managers
MBA
that,
managers
women
full-time
men
and
while
young
shows
students
study of
locus
by
locus
internal
of
mid-career women managers'
both have an
of control,
Male
internal.
is
and
become
more
has
managers'
male
while
external,
control
levels
their
to
both
in
of commitment
age groups showed similar
female managers
in
for
Solomon
the
that
women's
change
explanation
Bishop
an
suggest
and
career.
in
be
to
"older
career
obstacles
meeting
experience
women's
locus of control may
"that
is
"It
the
they
model
say,
generally
agreed",
advancement".
and
establishment

48

for success in
Pursuing roles modelled after
most organisations is a male model
.......
men might therefore present unique organisational, adjustment
problems for women.
Additional conflicts
are likely to be created for a woman in adapting to the masculine
value system inherent in many occupations and may cause undue delays in the
development of her
(Bishop
career"
and Solomon 1989).
2.3.2 The process of adult development

Evidence that managers'conceptionsof careersuccesschange


over the courseof their
career, especially as a result of some kind of "mid-life crisis" as describedin section
2.3.1, receives support from theories of adult development. They suggest that
adulthood is not a fixed state psychologically but one which is marked by evolution,
and sometimeseven revolution. As Levinson (1986) says:"The courseof life is not a
"
simple continuous Process. There are qualitatively different phasesor seasons.
Levinson (1978), following in the footsteps of earlier writers such as Erikson (1963),
as well as the work of Jung (Jung et al. 1964), arguesthat the developmentof the
human personality is a life-long process. His theory of adult development,widely
influential
life
the
the
acceptedas
most
modem exposition of
adult
structure,views
the course of adult development as a predictable sequenceof transitions and periods
individuals
framework
The
through
at
certain
which
pass
ages.
of relative stability,
for the developmental processis describedby Levinson in terms of four consecutive
"seasons": childhood and adolescence,which ends at around the age of 22; early
40;
lasts
the
age
of
middle adulthood, which ends at
until about
adulthood, which
1978).
(Levinson
late
60;
adulthood
about
and
The seasonsare broken up and separatedby a number of transitions as follows: an
from
the
start of
transition,
adolescence
childhood
and
separates
which
early adult
transition,
thirty
a
mid-life
adulthood,
early
punctuates
which
an
age
early adulthood;
heralds
the passageto middle adulthood,
transition, which ends early adulthood and
finally
in
the
fifty
and
transition
adulthood,
middle
mid
period
of
which
occurs
an age
(Levinson
from
late
divides
transition
adulthood
late
which
middle
adulthood
adult
a
during
development
which a person
1986). The transitions are periods of changeand
before
it
life
to
the
their
next
moving
on
currently
exists,
as
restructures
evaluatesand
have
life
they
the
they
created
structure
when
consolidate
stability,
phase of relative
for themselves.

A0
Ir.7

The two transitions likely to be


for
the development of managers'
particularly crucial
ideas about
career success are the age thirty transition and the mid-life transition.
Levinson believes that,
30
the
transition does not herald the beginning of a
while
age
new era, it can still be a time of crisis when a person evaluates "the flaws
and
limitations of the first
life
adult
structure" (Levinson 1978). He views the mid-life
transition as being especially important, because it is a time
when people reflect on
what they believe they have achieved so far in their life, and as a result may decide to
its
direction completely: "If a man (sic) at 40 has failed to realise his
change
most
dreams,
he must begin to come to terms with the failure and arrive at a new
cherished
set of choices around which to rebuild his life. If he has succeeded brilliantly, he
must consider the meaning and value of his success" (Levinson 1978).

Sheehy(1976 and 1996) supportsthe idea of the existenceof transitional periods or


"passages"at around these times in a person'slife. She characterisesthe passageto
the thirties as a period of "psychological shift on all fronts": "The challengeis to sort
from
blend
the
to
them with the
to
qualities we want retain
out
our childhood models,
distinguish
individuals,
fit
back
that
to
this
capacities and qualities
and
all
us as
together in some broader form" (Sheehy1976).
Sheehy(1996) also agreesthat the mid-life crisis, or "middlescence"as shecalls it, is
describes
"second
into
it
the
as
what she
entry
particularly significant, since signals
into
is
life
to
"The
transformation
a more stable
move
of middle
adulthood":
in
life
happens
our
psychological state of mastery, where we control much of what
habitually
the
to
than
the
world
whatever
react
world, rather
and can often act on
letting
it
the
go of our
throwing
old stereotypes,
throws at us.... means
off all
in
is
developing
our
relevant
most
what
about
real
clarity
and
outgrown priorities,
lives for the future" (Sheehy 1996).
development,
the
to
process of adult
While the periods of transition are central
during
developmental
that
identifies
periods of
occur
activities
Levinson (1978)
Levinson
terms
including
transition
thirty
the
The
to
age
and
up
too.
phase
stability
during
key
four
identifies
He
tasks
undertake
must
a
person
which
the novice period.
forming
forming
Dream;
an
occupation;
forming
relationship;
mentor
a
a
this time:
important,
be
is
family.
The
Dream
to
particularly
seen
and
forming
marriage
a
and
lead.
life
kind
live
to
they
inspires
to
the
to
want
of
is
strive
a
person
what
this
since
down,
the
is
an
which
of
decade
end
at
of
settling
a
period
as
seen
The thirties

50

individual

seeksa senseof "becoming his own man", (sic), that is achieving on their
OWnterms.
Levinson's original

study was carried out with a sampleof 40 men; sincethen he has


extended his work to include women too, although at the time of writing this thesis
his findings on women's career development had
been
not
published in the UK*.
Nevertheless, he was confident enough about the
results of his research into the
development of women to claim that it followed the
same pattern as that of men:
"This sequenceof eras and periods holds for men and women different
of
cultures,
historical
classesand
epochs," he states (Levinson 1986). However, many writers,
including Sheehyand Gilligan, do not agreeand have challengedthe
applicability of
Levinson's theory to the adult development of women (Sheehy 1976, Gilligan 1982,
Ornstein and Isabella 1990, Smart and Peterson 1994). If they are correct, then the
different developmentalprocesswhich women experiencecould meanthat their ideas
about career successchangeat different times and in different ways to those of men.
Sheehy (1976) claims that men and women will be out of step developmentally for
life:
"During
their
the twenties, when a man gains confidence, a
much of
adult
losing
is
had
the
superior assurance she once
married woman
usually
as an
down,
"When
"
thirty
to
a man passes
and wants settle
a woman
adolescent. she says.
is often becoming restless. And just at the point around forty, when a man feels
himself to be standing on a precipice, his strength, power, dreams and illusions
be
likely
brimming
him,
his
is
beneath
to
to
climb
with
ambition
wife
away
slipping
her own mountain. "

The difference in the psychology of men and women discussedin section 2.2.3 also
differ
development
too.
their
will
adult
suggeststhat the sequenceand process of
"male"
development
the
Gilligan (1980) assertsthat theories of adult male
emphasise
"female"
the
the
attachment.
of
psychology
of
expense
at
separation
psychology of
describe
be
to
to
they
that
adequately
able
For this reason she concludes
are unlikely
focus
insistent
in
lives
their
"Current
development:
on
men's
of
studies
women's adult
in
illumination
the
of
activities
spent
of
an
adulthood
scanty
provide
self and work
"
relationship and care.

in
Life
Woman's
Seasons
The
Library
British
was published
of a
*According to the
in
UK.
is
the
but
1996,
available
in
not
as
yet
US
the

51

Women's emphasis

on relationships, at the expenseof themselves,is highlighted by


other writers who have attemptedto analysewomen's development
using Levinson's
seasonsmodel. Bardwick (1980) suggeststhat, rather than
concentratingon finding a
Dream in their twenties, "women imagine future based
a
on relationships". She
concludes: "Despite the marked awarenessin young women's
awarenessthat they
ought to decide actively upon career goals there has been relatively little
in
change
...
regard to the priority of a committed relationship and a senseof self and
adulthood
developed within relationships." Likewise Barnett
and Baruch (1980) infer that, of
the four developmental tasks Levinson outlined for the novice
period, only the last,
forming a marriage and family, is important to
young women.
Following an appraisal of four pieces of researchwhich used Levinson's theory to
study women's adult development, Roberts and Morgan (1987) claim that women
have "split" Dreams, which are concernedwith relationships as well as
occupation.
Their Dreams are more complex and less motivating than the Dreams Levinson
describes the men in his sample having, say Roberts and Morgan, and consist of
"vague images of self in a particular kind of environmentor community, rather than a
image
in
concrete
of self
a particular occupational role". The fact that women's
Dreams are "split" makes it harder for them to achievesuccesseither in their personal
lives or at work, they conclude: "Women's dreams contained an image of self-indefined
in
husbands,
to
adult-world
relation others, such as
children and colleagues."
While Roberts and Morgan found evidence of the existenceof an age 30 transition
for women, during which their main developmental task was a reappraisal of the
family,
do
had
importance
the
thirties
to
they
not emerge
assigned careerand
relative
for
(Bardwick
1980,
Roberts
Morgan
down"
"settling
and
women
as a period of
1987). They are still likely to be struggling to "form an occupation" or if they have
feeling
"achievement"
done
their
the
threat
poses
are
anxious about
so,
successfully
"In
(1987)
Roberts
Morgan
the absenceof a
femininity.
to their
conclude:
and
lives
be
may
characterisedas conflicted and
specific occupational goal, women's
Thus,
"
into
young
throughout
age.
much
of
early
adulthood
middle
and
unstable
be
different
from
"male"
development
the
to
pattern
appears
very
adult
women's
Levinson proposesof alternating stableand transitional periods.
bring
for
different
developmental
tasks
the
men and
mid-life crisis may
Furthermore,
involves
it
their
to
For
reconsideration
career;
often
of
commitment
a
men,
women.

52

for women, this


be
can
a time when they may begin to take this aspectof their life
more seriously (Sheehy 1976, Bardwick 1980, Gilligan 1982). Bardwick (1980) says
that, in contrast to men at this stage,women "will be better
able to engagethe world,
experiencing themselves as initiators, having gratification as individuals". Her
conclusion echoesthe findings of O'Connor and Wolfe (1987), that women increased
their investment in their careerduring a mid-life crisis, as describedin section 2.3.1.
Therefore, if women managers'ideas about careersuccesschange this time flux
at
of
in their life, as men's do (e.g. Evans and Bartolome 1981,Nicholson and West 1988),
there is no reasonto supposethat they changein a similar way.
2.3.3 Men and women's career development
Any changesin managers'ideas about career successare likely to be influenced not
just by their psychological development,but also by their experiencesat work as their
development
Tbeories
have
traditionally proposed that
of career
career evolves.
in
organisational careersunfold
a set pattern, which entails particular developmental
tasks at certain fixed stagesof the career,closely related to age (e.g. Miller and Form
1951, Super 1957). This suggeststhat managerscould have different views of what
their career meansto them and how they perceive successat different stagesin their
West
1988).
(e.
Nicholson
and
career g.
All the classic models of career development identify a sequenceof similar stages
differ
develops.
While
it
theories
the
individual's
through which the
careerpassesas
in detail, they are all predicated on the notion that a careerconsistsof continuousfullimply
life,
that
for
the
particular career
result
the whole of
as
a
time work
and
adult
landmarks, such as initiation into the world of work, proving oneself and gaining
The
for
of
the
consequences
everyone.
age
same
roughly
at
occur
acceptance,will
detail
below.
in
discussed
be
more
this rigidity will
development
in
the
five
identify
the
for
1),
(195
of
Form
stages
Miller and
example,
career:
involves
15
lasts
This
the
an
and
age of
until
Preparatory work period:
ideas
the
through
the
of others.
world of work
introduction to
involves
18
15
between
This
the
partand
and
of
ages
occurs
Initial workperiod:
job.
full-time
for
a
a
preparation
as
time work

53

Trial work-period: This begins 18


last
at
and can
until 34; in this stage,one takes
one's first permanent job and, after trying several options, finds long-term
a
position.
Stable work period: This
begin
from the age of 25 and lasts until 65; this
can
stageinvolves long-term commitment to "the kind of work I've always
wanted" or
resignation to the fact that one will not find it.
Retirement period: This begins at 65.
Super's career development theory (1957)
also consists of five stages: growth;
exploration; establishment; maintenance; and decline. While the tasks of the these
stages are similar to those described by Miller and Form, Super's growth period
includes Miller and Form's preparatory and initial
work periods, and he distinguishes
between an establishment stage and a maintenance stage the
of
career in what Miller
describe
Form
and
as the stable work period. Unlike other career theorists, however,
Super claims (e.g. Super 1980) that the concept of career development should
be
not
restricted to the occupational career, but should include all of the roles played by a
during
lifetime.
His holistic approach to a life career and the roles
their
person
has
been
discussed
in section 2.1.6.
people play
already

Schein (1993), drawing on the work of Super (1957), divides the career into ten
he
is
far
less
stages,although
specific than earlier theorists about the agesat which
length
in
through
these
the
time
they
people pass
stagesand
of
may remain them: "A
career", says Schein, "consists of several meaningful units or stages that are
by
length
by
both
the
the
society, although
person and
of time associated
recognised
immensely
to
the
the
occupation
and
according
varies
each
unit
or
stage
with
individual in it. " In addition to career stagessimilar to those identified by the earlier
theorists, Schein's model also includes a stageof mid-career crisis and reassessment,
by
identified
to
the
writers on adult
period of mid-life crisis
which corresponds
development (e.g. Levinson 1978, Sheehy 1996). Schein believes that there is
kind
"some
through
that
of reassessment"when
most people go
mounting evidence
how
decide
into
to pursuethe rest of
them
to
their
career,which allows
they are well
in
The
to
enable
career
changes,
reassessment
may
result
major
their career.
individuals to follow a careerpath more in line with their underlying values and goals
follows:
Schein's
ten
1993).
careerstagesare as
(Schein

54

Growth, fantasy

This period is usually associated with


childhood and early adolescence. At this stage the career has little
meaning,
except in terms of occupational stereotypes and "a general goal of success".
2. Education and training: The length
of this period varies; it may include changing
and exploration:

and clarifying occupational goals.


3. Entry into the world of work: The key task this
of
stage is to adjust to the realities
of organisational life.
4. Basic training and socialisation: During this
period the organisation begins to

demands
to which the individual must respond. As a result, they will
make
evaluatewhether they wish to remain within the organisationor leave.
5. Gaining of membership: At this stage the individual is accepted as a full
contributor to the organisation.
6. Gaining tenure and permanent membership: During this stage,typically within
the first five to ten years of a career, the individual becomesaware of whether
they can count on a long-term future in the organisation.

7. Mid-career crisis and reassessment: The key tasks for the individual in this
in
to
they
period are consider whether
are the right career,whether their career
has lived up to their expectations,and how well it fits in with the rest of their life.
8. Maintaining momentum, regaining it, or levelling off.- The insights gained from

the reassessmentallow the individual to make decisions about how the rest of
their careerwill be pursued. During this period they enacttheir personalsolution,
far
ladder
"a
determination
"a
to
the
possible",
as
as
climb
which may consist of
"a
to
they
the
want pursue", complex assessmentof
areasof work
redefining of
how to balance the demandsof work, family and personal concerns",or simply
"levelling off'.
9. Disengagement: This period is one of slowing down, prior to retirement.

10. Retirement
identifiable
four
(1982)
that
there
within a professional
Dalton et al.
stages
are
claim
Their
for
individual
to.
different
to
not
tasks
the
stages
are
attend
career, each with
length
both
but
to
seniority
and
linked
to
service
of
connected
age
are
necessarily
development
Dalton
that,
career
other
unlike
suggest
al.
et
within an organisation.
is
their
following
to
the
model
age,
related
a
set
sequence
career
show
theories which
individuals
Not
four
through
will
all
stages.
all
passing
dependant
everyone
on
not
their
indicate,
they
as
altogether
stages
out
may
miss
fourth
some
and
stage,
the
reach
identify
four
The
they
develop.
are:
stages
careers

55

"
0
"

Apprentice: During this stage the individual must make the transition ftom
school to work and learn how to cope with organisational life.
Independent specialist: At this stage the individual builds competence, often by
developing a speciality.
Mentor: During this stage the individual becomes involved in managing the
work and development of others.

Sponsor: At this stagethe individual becomesconcemedwith the goals of the


organisation, as well as the activities of subordinates.

Becauseclassic models of career developmentare basedon the premise that a career


full-time
entails a pattern of
continuous working, during which certain tasks are
in
has
been
difficult
it
it
is
that
more
achieved a certain order at a certain age,
argued
to apply them to women's careers. (Most theories of careerdevelopmentare in fact
derived from initial researchinto men's careerse.g. Schein 1978,Dalton et al. 1982.)
It is clear that women, who are far more likely than men to take careerbreaksbecause
be
family
out of step with such orderly models of
responsibilities, may often
of
(1987)
Gattiker
life,
Larwood
and
which, as
progression through organisational
by
"are
traditionally
the
typified
expected of successful males".
careers
observe,
influence
"ignores
the
development
they
theory,
Classic career
of the unique
say,
demands
little
to
family
significance
situations of women and also attaches
social and
the
to
work environment".
external
on men
for
developmentally
is
lives
time
in
there no set
an
Giele (1980) claims that women's
in
the
have
development
take
to
does
set
formed,
place
be
to
career
nor
occupation
development
for
described
career
women's
consequently
traditionally
men;
pattern
is
tasks
the
on
writers
"crossover",
that
which
that
and
in
roles
be
terms
of
seen
must
fact
in
life
in
fixed
the
can
cycle
points
development
at
occur
assume
suggest
male
is
it
if
times
appropriate.
more
other
occur at
development
to
"classic"
is
it
models
to
career
possible apply
Somehave claimed that
for
duties
family
for
is
the
if
and
rearing
child
made
allowance
women's careers,
(1984)
the
that
Super
For
have
argues
to
example,
responsibility.
tend
which women
if
to
take
basically
marriage
to
modified
women
applicable
are
men
of
careerpatterns
by
Larwood
described
Nonetheless,
this
into account.
approach,
and childbearing
development,
"neo-classic"
remains
career
(1987)
of
model
a
as
Gattiker
and
does
the
it
because
accommodate
not
describe
the
women
of
careers
to
inadequate
different
work
at
have
opportunity
of
to
structure
with
a
contend
they
also
fact that

56

from their
male colleagues. This different structure of opportunity, which involves
factors such
as prejudice and stereotyping, as well as informal organisational barriers,
is a key influence
different
the
on
reality of women's careers, as discussed in sections
2.2.4 and 2.2.5. Marshall (1995), for
found
that many of the women she
example,
studied had "unclear" starts to their career, and only gained confidence later, to
become "deliberately
in
their late twenties or early thirties.
career-minded"
Because the pattern of women's career development,
unlike men's, is tied to the
constraints women face in the workplace, as well as family responsibilities, it has
been proposed that career development theory
describe
must
women's careers
from
(Astin
1984). Larwood and Gattiker refer to this as the "dual
separately
men's
development" model of career development. The dual development
model suggests,
they say, "that any understanding of the careers of men and women requires
consideration not only of family and competing demands external to the work
but
environment
of phenomena that may distinguish between men and women"

(Larwood and Gattiker 1987).


Astin (1984) proposes a model of career development based upon four constructs,
believes
highlight
factors
the
that shape women's careers: work
which she
motivation; work expectations; sex-role socialisation; and structure of opportunity.
Astin believes that men and women have the same work motivation, but women
because
from
different
their early socialisation
men, she claims,
make
career choices
face
different
from
those
they
the
are
which
opportunities
structural
and
experiences
includes
factors
(Astin's
such as sex role
concept of structure of opportunity
of men.
discrimination.
)
While
jobs
distribution
theory
this
of career
of
and
stereotyping,
development does identify some key factors which affect women's career
development, it has been criticised for not considering sufficiently the impact of the
(Gilbert
hours)
long
(for
careers
on
women's
example
working
work
of
structure
1984).

in
described
"river
(1992
1993),
time"
model,
of
with their
Powell and Mainiero
and
development
factors
influence
the
under
2.2.1,
career
which
women's
put
section
factors.
factors;
factors;
headings:
societal
and
personal
organisational
three main
for
lives,
have
in
their
their
two
career
overriding
concerns
that
women
They claim
friends
(family,
their
career
of
women's
and
so
on):
model
for
others
and
influence
incorporates
the
therefore
of personal, organisational and
development

57

societal factors to describe the balance between work and non-work aspects life
of
which most women strive to achieve.
Larwood and Gutek (1987)
propose that any theory of women's career development

must take account of five factors:


1. Career preparation: This determines how females
brought
are
up to view the
idea of a career and whether they believe they will have one
or not.
2. Opportunities available: Consideration must be given to whether they
limited
are
for women, compared with men.
3. Marriage:

Marriage is viewed as neutral for men, but harmful to the careers of

women.

4. Pregnancy and children: Having children inevitably causeswomen to take some


kind of careerbreak.
5. Timing and age: Due to factors such as careerbreaks,women's careersmay not
follow the samechronological pattern as men's. However, "a woman who enters
the work force at middle age is more likely to find her career limited than a
first
it
identical
entering with
credentials".
younger woman
Since women's careers are subject to many influences to which men's are not, it
likely
their
the
that
conceptions of career success will
nature
of
only
not
seems
diverge ftom the "male" model, but also the ftequency and timing of any
(1992)
Mainiero's
that
Powell
For
proposition
and
example,
reconceptualisations.
in
in
between
their
career and success
emphasising success
women may alternate
be
definitions
in
implies
may
that
success
of
career
women's
changes
relationships
by
than
driven
potentially
result,
as
a
and
men's,
circumstances
external
much more
ftom
different
is
development
The
that
ftequent.
so
career
women's
evidence
more
definitions
in
their
also
will
success
of
that
changes
qualitative
any
men's suggests
like
If
men's,
differ ftorn any "male" pattern.
women's careers are not continuous,
by
they
time
have
the
reach
crisis
mid-career
a
reached
then they will not necessarily
before
in
less
than
terms
to
them
external
success
see
career
causes
mid-life, which
Instead,
1981).
Korman
their
1981,
Bartolome
conceptions of
et
al.
(e.g. Evans and
it,
describes
(1980)
fact
Bardwick
that,
the
time
this
as
may
reflect
at
career success

before.
than
the
to
"better
ever
world"
engage
able
they are now

58

2.4 Conclusion
The literature on
managerial careers suggests that managers' conceptions of career
success cannot be represented adequately by external criteria such as level in the
hierarchy and pay (e.g. O'Reilly and Chatman 1994, Melarned 1995): there is
widespread evidence that external organisational success is not on its own sufficient
to make managers to feel that their careers are actually successful (e.g. Korman et al.
1981, Scase and Goffee 1989, Russo et al, 1991).

Just as the careerhas an internal as well as an external dimension (Schein 1978,Gunz


1989, Derr and Laurent 1989), so career successitself should include a subjective
internal dimension, as well as the objective external perspective from which it is
for
1986).
(Gattiker
Larwood
This
that,
means
managers,
and
generally viewed
based
both
be
on
objective external and
personal conceptions of career successwill
(1993).
by
described
Poole
internal
et al.
criteria, as
subjective
The failure of many managers to relate their own success to purely external
in
internal
1981)
(Korman
that
criteria may
subjective
suggests
et al.
achievements
definitions
individuals'
important
be
fact
of career
personal
part of some
a more
be
true
for
to
this
women
One
are
particularly
appears
whom
group
success.
for
1988),
Asplund
1984,
Marshall
1978,
Jardim
reasons
Hennig
(e.
and
managers g.
1982)
(Gilligan
their
development
and
their
to
psychological
probably related
1991).
Harquail
(Cox
and
organisational experiences
to
for
seem's
also
success
career
The relative importance of external material criteria
1988),
West
possibly
(Nicholson
managers
with
and
wane as managers grow older
for
autonomy
as
in
such
success
criteria
with
becoming more concerned
age
middle
1988).
West
Nicholson
1987,
Wolfe
(O'Connor
and
influence
and
and

be
cannot
that
success
career
managers'
evidence
Yet, despite the overwhelming
"one
(1993)
that
Poole
of
et
al.
terms,
in
one must agreewith
judged purely external
been
has
literature
in
adequate
an
the
success
career
the major shortcomings
been
has
there
In
no
'career
particular,
means".
success'
what
of
conceptualisation
kinds
different
to
managers,
of
means
success
career
what
to
conceptualise
attempt
despite
female
managers,
older
and
younger
and
managers,
and
male
such as
described
likely
to
as
age,
to
and
gender
according
exist
are
that
variations
evidence

59

above. (A major criticism made of careertheory e.g. Larwood and Gattiker (1987) is
that it has traditionally been basedon a uniform, all-male sample.)
The literature therefore points the way forward for the research "to raise the issue of
what is success" (Sekaran and Hall 1987) for managers. There remains a need for
research which conceptualises managers' personal definitions of career success,
taking account of the potential effects of gender and age, and showing the relative
importance of internal and external criteria for successfor different managers.

The form in which the findings of research into the internal career have been
indicates
one possible means of achieving such a conceptualisation.
presented
Writers such as Schein (1978), Driver (1982) and Deff (1986) have usedwhat Bailyn
(1989) describes as orientational categories, or typologies, to represent "an
in
data
differences
individual
that
subjective meanings".
reflects
aggregation of
Orientational categories, such as Schein's career anchors, "classify people according
hand"
(Bailyn
deal
topic
the
individual
that
at
to
with
specifically
predispositions
based
is
field
in
typology
badly
is
theory
1989). What
a
of careersuccess
needed the
define
how
describes
their
career
own
managers
which
categories
orientational
on
both
into
from
derived
is
of
managers
and
women
and
men
research
success,and
different ages.

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH STRATEGY


AND METHODS

60

CHAPTER

3:

RESEARCH

STRATEGY AND METHODS

This chapter discussesthe research


strategyand methodswhich were chosento carry
out the research. Section 3.1 considers the research strategy from both a
philosophical and a pragmatic perspective. Section 3.2 examinesthe researchdesign,
including the methods used, the researchsetting and the
selection of the managers
interviewed. Section 3.3 outlines the field work process at both
stages of the
research. Section 3.4 discussesthe approachtaken to data analysis,including the use
of computer software and the developmentof typological concepts.
3.1 Research strategy
Blaikie (1993) identifies two key influences on the choice of a researchstrategy: it
be
for
can
made
pragmatic reasons "to try to match a strategy to the nature of a
particular research project and the kind of research questions which have been
for
be
it
selected consideration"; and can madebecauseit reflects the "world view" of
the researcher,that is their personalpreferencefor a certain philosophical position on
the nature of social reality and how knowledge about it can be obtained. The first
influence is in a sensesecondaryto the second:whatever the motive for choosing a
its
choice nonethelessentails "the adoption of a particular set of
research strategy,
(Blaikie
1993).
ontological and epistemological assumptions"
This research aims to conceptualisemanagers'personal definitions of career success
between
female
differences
investigate
male and
and similarities which exist
and
how
in
they conceivetheir own
terms
of
managers,and older and younger managers,
based
is
for
The
the
on a realist
research
strategy adopted
career success.
the
the
as
means of enquiry.
methods
qualitative
use
of
and
approach
methodological
The decision to adopt this strategy was indeed influenced by both pragmatism and
for
to
the
Blaikie
the
the
secondary
are
choice
reasons
says,
philosophy: since, as
the
taken
the
philosophical perspective
entails,
approach
philosophical assumptions
first.
discussed
be
of the research will
3.1.1 Philosophical perspective
Key questions which the management researcher, as a social scientist, must consider
is
to
the
the
social
project
are
what
of
reality
nature
a
research
before embarking upon
be
knowledge
An
how
that
about
reality
acquired.
can
be investigated and

61

understanding of the ontological and epistemological issues surrounding the


proposed research is important for the researcher to feel confident that the
methodological approachwhich they chooseis likely to generatefindings that add to
the body of knowledge in their chosen field of enquiry. As Morgan and Smircich
(1980) say, "the choice and adequacyof a method embodiesa
variety of assumptions
regarding the nature of knowledge and the methods through which that knowledge
be
can obtained, as well as a set of assumptionsabout the nature of the phenomenato
be examined".
Historically, it has often proved convenient, for the purposes of credibility and
alleged rigour, to assumethat the reality of the social world is ontologically the same
as that of the natural world, governedby universal causallaws. If this is the case,it
is argued, then "facts" relating to social reality and knowledge of the social world can
be acquired through recourse to the methodological strategytraditionally utilised in
the natural sciences. This gave rise to a positivist methodological paradigm in the
knowledge
the
that
about the social world could
social scienceswhich entailed
view
directly
be
derived
from
An
objective social reality
observable.
what was
only
by
be
laws,
it
ascertained observation of
was claimed, could
consisting of general
involving
investigation,
the
typically
through
use of
empirical
phenomena
in
to
those
employed scientific research.
quantitative methods similar
The positivist tradition in social sciencehas prevailed becauseof a desire by many
derived
by
"knowledge"
findings
the
to
their
natural
as akin
researchersto position
its
Nevertheless,
that
the
social world
the
acceptance
natural world.
scientists about
is ontologically the sameas the natural world makes it highly problematic, since this
importance
themselves
ignores
the
and
the
social
actors
of
perspective
of
acceptance
inhabit:
the
they
the
natural world,
unlike
they
the meanings
world which
place on
believe,
inhabitants
its
in
the
is
and,
some
of
creation
sense
some
social reality
"already interpreted by the meaningswhich participants produce and reproduceas a
Morgan
1993).
(Blaikie
together"
and
their
activities
everyday
necessary part of
human
"whether
debatable
it
is
for
or not
Smircich (1980),
example, suggestthat
independent
is
knowledge
form
their
that
own
of
of
beings can ever achieve any
is
knowledge
through
the
they
which
agents
are
since
subjective construction,
perceived or experienced".
led
reality
social
a
aspect
of
meanings
vital
actors'
as
social
of
neglect
The positivists'
interpretivist
development
the
paradigm.
methodological
the
of
to
in part

62

Interpretivism arguesthat the


study of social phenomena"requires an understanding
of the social world which people have constructedand which they reproducethrough
0-their continuing activities" (Blaikie 1993). For the interpretivist, the
social world is
not objective at all, but a subjective entity, consisting purely of the perceptions
and
definitions of social actors: the only
in
it
way which can exist, they maintain, is "as
people experience it and give meaning to it" (Neuman 1994).

Knowledge about this subjective social reality is derived from describing


and
interpreting peoples' definitions of it, generally using qualitative
methods such as indepth interviewing and participant observation: as Morgan
and Smircich say (1980),
if the social world is entirely subjective, "scientists can no longer remain
as external
observers, measuring what they see; they must move to investigate from within the
subject of study and employ researchtechniquesappropriateto the task". To quote
Giddens (1976), for the interpretivist, "generating descriptions of social conduct
dependsupon the hermeneutic task of penetrating the frames of meaning which lay
draw
in
themselves
actors
upon constituting and reconstructingthe social world".
While interpretivism appears right to argue that the meanings human beings give to
their experiences and understanding are in some way an important part of social
it
is
difficult
to accept its argument that this precludes the existence of any
reality,
kind of objective reality at all. As Bhaskar argues (1979), societies are irreducible to
(1990),
To
Layder
the social world may exist objectively "as the
people.
quote
human
if
it
has
it
is
likely,
product of
objective
activity": of course,
an
reality,
given
the importance of social actors' meanings, that this reality is very different from that
different
from
kind
based
the
the
of
natural world, and very
of reality
on universal
laws
causal
positivists suggest exists.

The methodological position which has been chosen for this research,therefore, is
for
its
its
it
because
causalontology and neglect of social
attacks positivism
realism,
disputes
interpretivism's
is
but
that
there
also
argument
no such
actors' meanings
thing as objective social reality. Realism argues that subjective meanings are
important, but that there are "real" objective relations which underlie social relations:
least
fact
that social actors' conceptionsof reality make up at
the
part of that reality
if
building-blocks
"Even
its
the
does not rule out
objectivity:
of social science are
'interpreted' building blocks in a more radical and far-reaching way than are the
if
theory,
the
scientific
natural
and
of
even
structures
postulated
parts
component
be
for
in
tend
to
tentative
presented,
good
the
sciences
reasons,
a
way,
social
within

63

this does not prevent us asking questions


kind
of a realist
about these structures"
(Outhwaite 1978).
Realism suggests that the objective
social reality which does exist is much more
complex than positivism proposes (Neuman 1994). It describes it in terms of
underlying structures and mechanisms, consisting of multiple layers, rather than
phenomena and events. Bhaskar (1979), for example, argues that, ontologically
speaking, there are three separatedomains, the real, which is made up of entities and
mechanisms, the actual, which is made up of events, and the empirical, which is
made up of experiences. Outhwaite (1987) points out that, while connected,these
domains are distinct: "Events can occur without being experienced and, more
importantly, causal mechanisms can neutralise one another in such a way that no
event takes place."
The objects of enquiry within the realist paradigm therefore are the deep structures
and unobservable mechanisms which lie behind what is immediately observable.
This is not to say that realism believes that it is easy to capture these structures but
it
is
"meaningful
that
and pragmatically useful to posit the existence of such
rather
description"
(Outhwaite
1987).
The
of
scientific
realist
structures as possible objects
find
is
"explanations"
to
thus
which represent the
one of attempting
epistemology
According
Outhwaite
to
that
comprise reality.
generative mechanisms and structures
(1987), "we shall feel we have a good explanation if the postulated mechanism is
...
believe
in
its
have
(if)
to
the
good reason
we
phenomena,
capable of explaining
Realism
if)
(and
think
alternatives".
uses
good
of any equally
we cannot
existence,
devices
to
theoretical
the construction of
models and other similar explanatory
"real"
these
explain
underlying structures and mechanisms.

Since realism arguesthat the nature of the social world is very different from that of
importance
like
interpretivism,
1994),
the
(Neuman
of
accepts
the natural world
and,
for
be
different
it
that
appropriate
methods may
social actors' meanings, advocates
by
In
from
traditionally
those
realists
some
particular,
used
positivists.
social enquiry
have attacked quantitative methods as "predominantly descriptive and representative
lack
depth":
"There
with
associated
problems
are
explanatory
which
generalisations...
by
be
empirical
settled simply
the investigation of social reality which cannot
(1980)
Smircich
Morgan
1990).
that
(Layder
agree
any research
and
investigation"
itself
"merely
contents
with the production of narrow,
into the social world which

64

empirica snapshots of isolated phenomena at fixed points in time" does not do


complete justice to the nature of the subject.
In practice, taking a realist approachto researchmeans using
methods which seem
best suited to producing "knowledge" of the underlying structures and
mechanisms
which comprise reality. Outhwaite (1987), for example, statesthat the conception of
the object of inquiry will crucially determine the sorts of method which are
its
investigation: "The ethnomethodologicalapproachof conversation
to
appropriate
help
analysis will not
us understandthe rate of profit in a capitalist economy,nor will
the law of value explain how one can terminate a telephone conversation without
"
embarrassment. For social enquiry, qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews
will often be the most useful means of investigation since, for the realist, as
Outhwaite says, "common sensedescriptions of social phenomenacan and must be
taken as the starting point in social scientific theorising". The pragmatic arguments
in favour of qualitative methods for this research will be considered in section 3.1.2.
3.1.2 Pragmatic perspective
While the philosophical perspective necessarily underpins any piece of research,
influence
From
important
is
the
a
research
strategy.
on
choice
of
also an
pragmatism
being
the
the
considered and
research questions
nature of
a pragmatic point of view,
the essence of the subject matter under investigation must both be taken into account

in the choice of a researchstrategy.


The questions which this researchaims to answer are:
1. What do managers conceive career successto be for themselveson their own
terms?
for
is
different
have
them
ideas
2. Do women managers
about what career success
ftom men?
for
is
different
have
them
ideas
3. Do older managers
about what career success
ftom younger ones?
in
topic,
a
as
research
nature:
exploratory
essentially
are
The research questions
date
have
to
received scant attention
individuals' personal conceptions of success
how
known
little
is
1989)
Larwood
about
currently
and consequently
(Gattiker and
into
literature
The
that
their
judge
most
research
shows
success.
own
managers

65

careers has examined them from an organisational perspective (Herriot et


al. 1994)
and that career theory lacks a satisfactory conceptualisation of managers' own
definitions of career
(Poole
1993).
The questions thus attempt to
success
et al.
uncover what meanings managers themselves give to the concept of career success.
For an exploratory study of this kind, it is generally accepted that qualitative
methods
offer the most appropriate means of answering the research questions. Marshall and
Rossman (1989), for example, indicate that the kind of research questions most
amenable to qualitative methods are exploratory ones which examine "what are the
salient themes, patterns, categories in participants' meaning structures?": the
is
this
questions
research seeking to answer are quite clearly of this type. Neuman
(1994) argues that qualitative methods are frequently used to address exploratory
because
they tend to be "more open to using a range of evidence
research questions
discovering
issues".
and
new
Cassell and Symon (1994) agree that qualitative methods are more appropriate for

is
"qualitative
exploratory studies, since
research more concerned with emergent
themes and ideographic description". Gill and Johnson(1991) also concur that they
in
likely
findings
"more
to
area".
an under-researched
produce valid
are
Using qualitative methods therefore seemsto offer the best meansof producing data
little
light
deep
the
to
understood subject of
on
shed
and rich enough
which are
(Geertz
description
The
"thick"
definitions
of career success.
managers' personal
1973) and detailed analysis generatedby qualitative researchtechniquesshould yield
be
for
believe
to
the most accurateconceptualisationof what managers
careersuccess
themselvesand thereby answerthe researchquestions.
is
the
topic
The nature of the research
questions are posed also an
about which
in
the
that
influence
the
important
methods chosen
strategy,
a
research
of
choice
on
knowledge
likely
be
to
those
to
yield
most
to carry out the research must appear
for
(1987),
the
that
of
various
Outhwaite
merits
it.
suggests
example,
about
in
judged
be
these
"can
the
of
practice
only
approachesto social science research
to
to
the
they
to
to
public,
and
scientists
the
social
seem,
which
extent
and
sciences
the
social
world".
of
understanding
own
our
enrich
individual
to
the
the
concept of
give
managers
meanings
This research concerns
investigates
the
is
It
that
meanings
and
research
which
argued
widely
career success.

66

beliefs of individuals
be
can
carried out best with recourse to qualitative methods,
such as semi-structured interviews, rather than using quantitative methods, such
as
surveys. Easterby-Smith et al. (1991), for instance, suggest that using semistructured or even unstructured interviews is the most appropriate researchmethod
"it
is necessaryto understandthe constructsthat the interviewee
when
usesas a basis
for her opinions and beliefs about a particular matter or
situation".
Personal conceptions of career successrelate to deep-seatedvalues and attitudes held
by managers,and any researchwhich investigatesthem must use methodscapable
of
tapping this depth, rather than merely reporting superficial opinions. Gill and
Johnson (1991) believe that employing quantitative methods can impede rather than
aid the researchprocess: "Respondentsmight often be constrainedor impelled by the
interviewer
prompts of an
or the rubric of a self-completion questionnaire." They
lead
"This
them to make statementswhich, although fitting into the
conclude:
may
conceptual and theoretical proforma of the research,give little opportunity for the
in
he
to
the
respondent articulate
ways which
or she personally conceptualisesand
understandthe matters of interest."
The view that there are some areasof social reality, such as values and beliefs, which
is
by
statistics cannot measure, shared many writers on social research. As Okely
(1994) says, "peoples' beliefs, values and actions are not necessarilyrevealedby head
both
"quantification
Silverman
(1993)
that
can
conceal as well as
agrees
counting".
be
"
basic
that
qualitative methods may
social processes, and points out
reveal
be
the
topic
the
research
could
participants' views on
particularly useful when
have
"Do
topic
on
any
which await
attitudes
all
coherent
we
somewhat unformed.
the researcher'squestions?," he asks.
Silverman's opinion is especially pertinent to this research topic, since many
for
be
them,
constitutes career success, even
of
what,
conscious
not
managers may
Conceptions
it
the
time
of career success are
though they act on all
subconsciously.
likely to fall into the unit of social setting described by Lofland and Lofland (1984)
by
Inviting
is
the
that
participants.
"inarticulated
such
as
unrecognised
meanings",
as
is
in
fill
to
research
project,
as
part
of
a
quantitative
a
questionnaire,
simply
managers
(1989)
Rossman
beliefs.
Marshall
their
help
them
say:
and
surface
to
unlikely
behaviours,
feelings,
do
know
interactions
their
so they
not
and
"Subjects sometimes
"
For
this
to
to
the
them
purposes
respond
of
a
questionnaire.
cannot articulate
because
have
be
the
the
not
only
managers
not
reflected
on
case
this
may
research,

67

subject of career successbut also becausethe conventional description


of career
success as hierarchical position and level of pay still dominates
organisational life
and many undoubtedly feel obliged to pay lip service to it. The use of qualitative
methods seems most likely to overcome the problems of exploring "inarticulated
meanings"

The area of validity is one where those using quantitative


methods often claim the
superiority of their researchmethods. However, Lofland and Lofland (1984) argue
that "whatever the barriers to the validity of direct knowledge of others, they are as
nothing compared to the difficulties engenderedby indirect perception". If one
agrees,as the evidence suggests,that there are areasof social reality, such as values
beliefs,
and
which statistics cannot measure, then it can be seen that, while
quantitative data may be statistically significant, they are not necessarilyvalid. As
Mintzberg (1979) says: "The field of organisation theory has paid dearly for the
in
obsessionwith rigour the choice of methodology."
Much of the previous research examining career success from the individual's
has
in
fact
(e.
perspective
used quantitative methods g. Poole et al. 1993, Larwood
Gattiker
is
felt
1986
1988).
It
that the enduring (and probably misplaced)
and
and
have
popularity of quantitative methods may
underminedefforts to conduct research
in this area and could provide one reason for the lack of an adequate
individual's
from
the
point of view: the use of
conceptualisation of career success
far
to
more effective means of achieving such a
qualitative methods appears offer a
described
for
the
reasons
above.
conceptualisation
3.1.3 The choice of a research strategy
Philosophical and pragmatic considerationssuggestthat this researchis best carried
The
methods.
out within a realist methodological paradigm, using qualitative
between
the
to
use of qualitative methods
and
approach
research
a
realist
relationship
has already been mentioned in section 3.1.1: there is no ineluctable link betweenany
is
is
to
philosophical approach researchand a particular set of methods:what crucial
depends
that
how the methods are used, and
on the methodological stance of the
researcher.
knowledge
this
to
researchaims acquire
about managers'
Within a realist paradigm,
descriptions"
"common
the
of
success,
with
sense
of
career
personal conceptions

68

phenomenon as its starting point (Outhwaite 1987). It


employs qualitative methods
to elicit these "common
sense descriptions", in this case individual managers'
definitions of
career success, and, in keeping with its realist stance, uses them to
build a conceptual
model and a typology in order to explain the "reality" of
managerial career success, as described in Chapters 4,5 and 6. This
seems to be the
most effective way of explaining what career success means to managers, thereby
answering the research questions posed in Chapter 1.
3.2 Research design

The methods used to conduct this research will be considered in detail in the
subsequent sections. Before the exposition of the research process begins, it is
important to discuss a key issue relating to the researchdesign,that is the decision to
carry out the research in two discrete stages,the first, as it were, acting as a pilot
study, and the secondbeing informed by this and building on its findings.
This decision was taken for a number of reasons.As discussedin section 3.1.2,
managers'personal conceptionsof careersuccessare an areawhere little researchhas
been carried out to date. Much of the researchwhich does relate to this topic has
used quantitative methods (e.g. Gattiker and Larwood 1986 and 1988, Poole et al.
1993). It was felt that the use of a pilot study would confirm the suitability of the
in
qualitative methods chosen, an area of researchwhere there were few existing
demonstrate
It
the
to
studies guide
researcher. would
whether the methods enabled
the research participants to reflect on what career successmeant to them, a subject
discussed
in
have
they
previously considered,as
section 3.1.2.
which
might not
The second group of reasons for choosing to perform the research in two stages
how
degree
inexperience
the
of uncertainty about
and a
researcher'srelative
concerns
the research process would proceed. Marshall and Rossman (1989), for example,
he
(sic)
lend
that
"use
the
to
the
that
researcher'sclaim
credence
of a pilot can
state
how
difficult
it
hard
it
In
to
particular, was
gauge
easy or
can conduct such a study".
data,
that
to
the
two-stage
be
to
meant
research
relevant
and
a
approach
gather
would
in
be
ironed
in
the
the
out
second
might
occur
pilot
stage
could
which
problems
any
in-depth
data
the
For
main
used
was
method
of
collection
example,
stage.
interviewing, and the two-stage approach provided an opportunity to "tune" the
first
if
data
the
necessary,
after
stageof
analysiswas complete.
interview schedule

69

Despite early
caution, in fact it was necessary to make only minor changes to the
interview schedule for the
second stage of the research (see Appendices 1 and 2), and
it was possible to
combine the findings of both stages to develop the typology of
managerial career success, as described in Chapter 6. The field work process at both
stages of the research will be discussed in detail in section 3.3.
3.2.1 Research methods
The qualitative researcher has a choice of methods to draw upon, which can be
used
individually or in combination. These methods are summarised by Silverman (1993)

follows:
as
i) Observation
ii) Analysing texts and documents
iii) Interviews
iv) Recording and transcribing

Using methods i), ii) and iv), the researcheracts as a passive observerof social life,
by observing or recording situations relevant to the questions being researched,or
through the analysis of relevant texts. Such methodswere not consideredappropriate
for answering the research questions posed here: understanding managers' own
"interventionist"
research method.
conceptions of career successrequires a more
Conceptions of career successdo not tend to surfacein every day organisationallife:
issue
this
and those managerswho
many managersmay not often actively reflect on
keep
to
this private,
to
them
may well wish
are clear about what careersuccessmeans
in case their personal conception of success is at odds with that which their
organisation appearsto endorse.
Interviewing, on the other hand, allows the development of an active relationship
between the researcherand the subjects of the research. As King (1994) says, "the
interviewee is seen as a 'participant' in the research, actively shaping the course of the
interview rather than passively responding to the interviewer's pre-set questions".
interviewing
data
for
to
the
decided
therefore
use
It was
as
main method of gathering
+11,
Choosing
interview
format
important
the
most
appropriate
was
project.
this research
interviews
interviewees'
felt
that,
it
structured
whereas
would restrain
too:
was

interviews
the
same
way
as
a
questionnaire,
unstructured
would
much
in
responses
4.

70

make it difficult, both for the researcherand the participants, to focus


on the subject
of career success, where people may not have any "ready-made" definitions
or
conceptions to impart to the interviewer
Carrying out semi-structured interviews, incorporating
a number of specific prompts
and open-ended questions, appeared to be the best way of obviating these problems.
This view is supported by writers on qualitative research: Silverman (1993)
says:
"The aim (of qualitative research) is to gather an 'authentic'
understanding of peoples'
experiences and it is believed that 'open-ended questions' are the most effective route

towards this end."


Notwithstanding the decision to use semi-structured interviews, career success
remained a problematic area of research for three reasons: firstly, because the
11
idea
conventional"
of career successas hierarchical position and level of pay still
both
prevails
within organisations and without; secondly, becausemany managers
may not have voiced what careersuccessreally meansto them (even though they act
it
on subconsciously); and lastly, becauseit relates closely to researchsubjects'own
deeply held values and therefore could, to some, be construed as a sensitive and
discussion.
for
topic
personal

For all of these reasons,the structure of the semi-structuredinterviews to be used in


this research was thought to be crucial: it had to "enable" the subjects to consider
their own conception of career success. (The interview schedulesused for both
both
in
discussed
3.3.1:
the
copies of
schedulesare
section
stages of
research are
included in Appendices I and 2.) It was also decidedthat the researchprocesswould
be aided by giving all the interviewees some kind of preliminary "briefing" in the
form of a letter from the researcheroutlining the kind of topics which would be
if
in
they
in
interview,
them
they
that
the
advance,
wished.
could
reflect
on
so
raised
Whilst interviewing was the main data gathering method to be used, the observation
interviews,
during
behaviour
in
the
their
was
attitudes and
of the subjects, particular
it
To
important
be
this
the
to
end,
was
part
of
research
process.
thought
an
also
interview,
to capture what
decided to make notes about each participant after each
beliefs.
interviewees'
interviews
in
the
clarify
and
and
attitudes
it
was unspoken"

71

3.2.2 The research


setting

This research setting chosen for this


BT,
UK's
leading
the
research was
telecommunications company. The organisation and its recent history will be
described in more detail in section 3.2.3.
The decision that the researchshould be carried out within a single organisation,BT,
because
field
in
the
was made
performing
work this setting seemedto offer the best
data
likely
to
to answer the researchquestions. To quote
opportunity
gather
most
Lofland and Lofland (1984), the aim of qualitative researchis "to collect the richest
data possible". To obtain this data, qualitative researchusestechniquessuch as indepth interviewing with small numbers of people. In the caseof this research,it was
felt that if a small group of managerswas selectedfrom a variety of organisations,
there would be a dangerthat extraneousfactors, especiallythe culture of the different
findings
impossible
for
distort
in
the
the researcherto
a way
organisations, could
discern. As Miles and Huberman (1984) say, "social processeshave a logic and
treatments
to
that
usually
reduces
of
events
or
random
sampling
coherence
uninterpretable sawdust".
It is accepted that the best solution to this problem is to control the number of
best
limit
it
however,
to
For
this
the
seemed
research,
purposes of
research settings.
been
have
The
to
two
just
use
or
the setting to
would
alternative
one organisation.
be
to
the
relatively small number of managers
maybe three settings: given
interviewed, and the fact that this group must broken down further by sex and age
because of the research questions (this will be explained in more detail in section
if
have
two
"extraneous
even
3.2.4), the potential problem of
arisen
might
variation"
divisional
BT's
in
Furthermore,
terms,
size and
practical
or three settings were used.
interviewed
fact
3.2.3,
the
in
that
the
described
were
managers
and
section
structure,
drawn from all parts of the company, meant that the research setting chosen was not
by
been
have
using several smaller
dissimilar to that which would
provided
organisations.

limiting
in
the
is
that,
to
it
number of research
acknowledge
Nevertheless,
crucial
findings
lays
the
to
their
a
of
potential
charge
open
researcher
the
qualitative
settings,
(1989),
"selection
Eisenhardt
to
of an appropriate
quote
lack of generalisability:
limits
helps
define
the
to
of
generalising
and
variation
extraneous
controls
population
(1989)
Rossman
that
Marshall
study's
qualitative
admit
a
and
findings".
the

72

transferability or generalisability to
other settinjzsmay be problematic, even if it has
greater claim to validity than quantitative research. In defence,they
claim that such
"generalisability" is less important than the
consistencyof qualitative findings with
"a body of theory". Bryman (1988)
concurs with this view, saying that "the issue
should be couched in terms of the generalisability of casesto theoreticalpropositions,
rather than to populations or universes"
Even if one accepts that generalisability
poses a dilemma for the qualitative
researcher,the impact of the problem may be reduced in the case of this research,
since the research questions being asked concern individual managers,not groups
within the organisation or the organisation itself- the researchparticipants were
drawn from the different divisions of BT and many of the managersinterviewed had
in fact worked for other organisations too. It seemedlikely therefore that
a wide
perspective of views on careersuccesswould be representedwithin the BT setting.
Two other important issuesconsideredbefore BT was chosenas the researchsetting
were whether it would provide an environment conducive to answeringthe research
questions and whether prolonged accessof the kind required to carry out the research
forthcoming
be
(Marshall and Rossman1989).
would
From the point of view of being an environment conduciveto answeringthe research
had
BT
question,
many advantages.Whilst it has undergoneradical restructuring and
delayering in the past ten years, it is still acknowledgedto be a very hierarchical
organisation and one which continues to emphasisethe "traditional" idea of career
successas position and pay. It was thought that an organisationof this kind offered
the best backdrop to any investigation of managerial career success, since any
deviation from the "traditional" idea of success would be starkly portrayed.
Furthermore, compared with many other UK companies, BT has promoted the
development of women managers and employs a relatively large number of them.
This was thought to be important, since one aim of the researchwas to examinehow
ideas
differ
from
it
felt
that
the
about
success
career
men's;
was
women managers'
field work would be best carried out in an organisation where there were relatively
large numbers of women managers,from which to recruit participants.
issue
important
if
be
the
to
Finally, gaining accesswas an
all
researchwas
carried out
be
likely
BT
for
to
to
to
more
seemed
agree give access a study
in one organisation.
Cranfield
long-standing
have
BT
kind
than
companies,
since
other
a
many
and
this
of

73

relationship: Cranfield has run BT's managementdevelopment


courses for women
managers for ten years and there are strong links betweenthe two
organisations,both
in terms of practical
work with the organisation's women managers and previous
academic research.
In effect, the choice of BT as the
research setting fulfils Marshall and Rossman's
(1989) four criteria for the ideal site: firstly,
entry was possible; secondly,there was a
high probability that a rich mix of many the
of
processesthat might be part of the
researchquestions would be present;thirdly the researchercould maintain continuity
of presence for as long as possible; and fourthly, data quality and credibility of the
be
study could
reasonably assuredby avoiding poor sampling decisions. Choosing a
research location to carry out qualitative research inevitably involves some
for
this research,selecting BT as its setting was the best compromise
compromise:
available, and therefore this was the strategychosen.
3.2.3 BT
BT, or British Telecom as it was formerly known, is one of the UK's largest and best
known companies. It is the leading provider of telecommunications services in Great
Britain, although its strategy is increasingly focused on capturing a share of the
telecommunications market world-wide: in 1993 it launched a joint venture with US
The organisation, which employs 128,000
telecommunications company MCI.
billion
E14.5
turnover
people, achieved a
of almost
and profits of over 0 billion in
the financial year to March 31st 1996.

BT's origins date back to the last century, when, in 1879,the Post Office obtainedthe
because
level
UK
the
the
to
transmit
telegrams
exclusive right
within
of
of public
dissatisfaction with the service provided by private telegraph companies (Newman
1986). By 1912, the Post Office had assumedresponsibility for telephoneactivity in
the vast majority of Great Britain. As Part of the Post Office, British Telecom was a
Government department until 1969, when it was made a public corporation. This
it
to
that
the
that
enjoyed
an
organisational
culture
similar
of
recently,
until
meant
Civil Service, and as such was perceived as a company which could offer its
life-time
careers.
employees well-structured
it
is
known,
BT,
has
15
now
as
years,
Over-the past
undergonedramatic change. It
being
from
the
a monolithic corporation with a monopoly on
position of
has moved

74

supplying telecommunications servicesand


an entrenchedCivil Service mentality to
being a privatised, highly
competitive, customer-focused and profit-conscious
company. During this period it has shedhalf its workforce and subjecteditself to
an
almost continuous process of reorganisation and restructuring (Newell and Dopson
1995).
The process of change at BT began in 1981,
when the Conservative Government
abolished BT's monopoly and freed the organisation from the Post Office (Newman
1986). The abolition of BT's monopoly enableda rival company, Mercury, to
enter
the UK telecommunications market. More significantly, it was a precursor to
privatisation, which took place in 1984, when 51% of BT's shares were sold,
following a massive marketing campaign aimed at the generalpublic. At the time,
this was the largest privatisation which the Goverm-nenthad undertaken,and as such
by
the Conservative philosophy of fostering free enterprise,rather
was underpinned
than public ownership, and a desireto turn the British into a nation of shareowners.
As well as meeting the Government'sideological requirements,the privatisation of
BT was also seenas a meansof improving its efficiency through exposureto market
forces. Restructuring, change programmes and redundancy initiatives which have
taken place within the organisation since privatisation have been positioned as
important means of gaining such improvements in efficiency. These initiatives
in
from
BT,
to
the
served a particular purpose
make
shift
public utility to privatised
kind
but
in
the
they
company
also reflect
of changesmany
a competitive market,
in
improve
have
to
the
ten
their
past
years
other organisations
undergone
1.3.
discussed
in
Chapter
1,
1.2
sections
and
competitiveness,as
In 1984,27 geographical districts were formed to replace the telephoneareaswhich
had previously existed (Newell and Dopson 1995). Just six years later, the company
described
Sovereign,
Project
the
as a strategy
aegis of
was restructured again, under
This
1990).
(McClelland
it
the
time
geographical
more
competitive
aimed at making
districts were abolished and a new divisional structure,basedon the markets in which
in
basic
form
The
introduced.
this
BT operates,
of
structure still remains place; the
five
divisions:
divisions:
Global
has
three
customer-facing
organisation now
Communications,

National

Business

Communications

and

Personal

for
Systems,
is
the
and
which
responsible
communications;
infrastructure;
headquarters,
Group
includes
and
which
strategic
telecommunications
Network

finance
and personnel.
functions such as

75

Project Sovereign also meant a


levels
in
in
the managerial
the
reduction
number of
hierarchy and the disappearanceof between 4,000 and 5,000 managers'jobs (Newell
and Dopson 1995): over the past ten years BT has managedto reducethe number of
its employees by half through a voluntary redundancyprogrammeto its current level
128,000
of
employees.
At the same time as the restructuring and redundancy programmes, BT has
introduced a number of large-scalechangeinitiatives aimed at shifting the culture of
the organisation, to make it more customer-focusedand more competitive. In 1986 it
instituted a Total Quality Managementprogramme; in 1992 this was followed by a
Leadership Programme which extendedto 30,000 managerswithin the organisation.
Project Breakout was launched in 1994, with the aim of "re-engincering" the
in
BT,
"to
business
to
the
the
to
revenue
quote
maximise
order,
processes
company's
business and to reduce the costs, in order to enhanceBT's position as a world class
provider of telecommunications".
While BT is undoubtedly now a commercial success, the number of change
left
have
has
introduced
it
their
initiatives and the massive redundancy programme
by
is
It
by
the
many
acknowledged
those
privately
company.
still
employed
mark on
low;
the
levels
rate
at
rapid
are
that
motivation
the
and
of
morale
organisation
within
launched
initiatives
large
to
introduced
been
the
has
of
number
and
which change
its
feeling
left
effect.
real
have
about
sceptical
and
cynical
this
staff
many
achieve
hierarchical
is
BT
organisation,
For example, it is generally acceptedthat
still a very
in
terms
status,
and
grade
of
much
to
very
success
which continues position career
despite the changeswhich have taken place.
layers
the
losses
job
the
within
of
removal
and
Not surprisingly, the widespread
future
insecure
feel
their
about
that
hierarchy
now
managers
many
mean
management
Newell
develop.
how
and
their
will
careers
about
unsure
and
the
company
with
"the
found
BT,
that
Dopson (1995), in a study of middle managementcareers at
job
thoughts
have
lucky
careers
on
to
people's
most
clouded
a
feeling that one was
between
the
"a
opportunities
there
that
mismatch
a
was
They
BT".
concluded
and
hopes
by
their
and plans".
faced
career
personal
and
managers
middle
and constraints
levels
in
been
"has
affective
of
they
a
reduction
say,
this
mismatch",
"One effect of
(Newell and Dopson 1995).
commitment"

76

The potential

effect of such demoralisationon the managersto be interviewed for this


research and their ideas about career success could have militated against the
selection of BT as the setting for this research. However, it was thought that, since
many UK organisations have undergonesimilar redundancyand changeprogrammes
in recent years, the situation might be the
same, wherever the researchwas carried
out. The advantagesof choosing BT as the researchsetting consequentlyappearedto
outweigh this potential disadvantage. In the event, poor morale did not emergeas an
important issue during the interviews, and the consistency of the findings with
existing theory, discussedin Chapter 7, suggeststhat it has not affected the outcome
of the researchto any great extent.
3.2.4 The selection of the research participants

In order to answer the research questions, it was important that the groups of
for
interviewed
included
the
the
managers
pilot and secondstagesof
research
women
different
first
began,
Before
the
the
and men, and people of
ages.
stageof
research
therefore, a decision was taken to interview equal numbers of men and women in
three different age groups, the twenties, thirties and forties. It was acknowledgedthat
this plan might have to be changed in some way before the second stage of the
in
but
the
that
the
the
managers'
eliciting
pilot
stage
achieved
success
research,
definitions of career successmeant that this was not in fact necessary.
The decision to choose these three age groups as appropriate ones from which to
draw the participants was informed by the literature on adult and careerdevelopment.
There is strong evidence that, even though the developmental experiencesof the
developmental
kind
both
through
differ,
of
some
women and men pass
sexes may
ideas
40,
30
their
about career
transition at around the agesof
which may affect
and
1987,
Wolfe
O'Connor
1996,
1976
Sheehy
1978,
(e.
Levinson
and
and
success g.
less
forties
in
to
1987).
Managers
their
Roberts and Morgan
especially seem put
1988).
West
(e.
Nicholson
for
and
g.
success
criteria
external
emphasison
decision
fifties.
This
in
taken
include
their
partly
to
was
decided
managers
It was
not
developmental
later
for
transition
less
at
a
empirical evidence
because there was
has
development
50;
career
on
and
research
adult
much
of
the
age
around
for
reasons:
pragmatic
managers;
and
partly
younger
studying
concentrated on
increased
have
fifties
in
the
their
fourth
either
would
group of managers
including a

77

sample size considerably or would have meant fewer managersin


each age group
could be interviewed.
Some consideration was also
given to whether managers should be interviewed
according to the careerstagethey were at, as well as how old they were, sincethere is
some evidence that career stage influences conceptions of career successtoo (e.g.
Lynn et al. 1996). It was decided that this would have
made the selection of the
participants unnecessarily complicated. It is more difficult to discern "career stage"
in a managerial career, compared with a professional career, since there is
no real
equivalent to gaining tenure. Furthermore, managersaspire to reach different levels
in the hierarchy, so it is not necessarilyhelpful to comparethem according to a
rigid
set of pre-determined "stages", which may not representhow they see their own
development.
career
It was important that the selection criteria for choosing the managers to be
interviewed were kept as simple as possible, becauseit was agreedin advancewith
BT that it would recruit participants to take part in the research. At both stagesof the
by
the
research,
recruitment was carried out
members of BT's management
development team: accessto the organisationfor the researchwas negotiatedthrough
this department becauseof its existing links with Cranfield and its potential interest
in the nature of the researchproject. Allowing BT to handle the recruitment process
be
best
finding
to
the
of
participants, given the size of the organisation
seemed
means
it.
believed
be
It
BT
that
the
staff
was also
would
and
researcher'sunfamiliarity with
by
if
fellow
in
BT
likely
the
to
take
to
approached
research,
a
part
agree
more
first.
manager
In the event, finding the right number of "suitable" managers willing to be
interviewed was far more difficult than had beenanticipated,especially in the second
fortunate
it
the
that
were
main
age
the
gender
and
only
research, so was
stage of
for
in
(The
the
for
participants
recruiting
problems experienced
selection.
criteria
in
)
be
discussed
3.2.6.
the
section
researchwill
secondstage of
however.
included
for
the
the
as well,
managerswere
Two further criteria
selectionof
homogenous
(19
8
8)
West
group: as a
point out, managersare not a
As Nicholson and
be
to
felt
the
that
of
managers
a
certain
it
should
not
restricted
research
result, was
high-fliers
to
senior
managers,
potential
or
restricted
not
especially
grade, and
be
be
less
likely
in
(Older
to
graduates
managers
would
managers.
entry
graduate

78

any case.) In addition, while it was not specified which departmentsor types of work
the managers to be interviewed should represent,BT
briefed
to ensurethat they
was
were drawn from a variety of backgrounds. This again, it was hoped, would generate
as wide a range of views on careersuccessas possible. In fact, somerecruiter bias in
the selection of participants was evident, particularly in the pilot stage. This bias and
its potential effects will be discussedin the following sections.
It was decided to begin the researchprocessby interviewing 12 managersfor the first
stage of the research. Given the necessity for the participants to include men and
in
different
three
women
age groups, this seemedto be the minimum number that a
pilot study could consist of. No firm decision was taken in the early stagesof the
research about the number of managerswho would be interviewed in the second
it
it
be
interview
further
24 or even 36,
thought
that
to
stage: was
might
necessary
a
depending on the outcome of the pilot stage. The ultimate decision about the number
inevitably
based
between
the desire to
of researchparticipants was
on a compromise
limited
data
1984)
(Lofland
Lofland
the
the
time and
and
richest
and
obtain
possible
in
full
had
they
to
transcribe
that
the
conduct and
all
researcher,given
resources of
the interviews on their own (King 1994). In the event, the first stageof the research
further
for
interview
24
felt
it
it
to
that
managers
a
was only necessary
went well: was
the second stage of the research,and it was possible to combine the findings of both
develop
interviews,
36
based
the
typology
to
the
total
of careersuccess
of
on
stages,
6.
in
Chapter
presented
3.2.5 The participants in the first stage of the research
For the first stage of the research,the aim was to interview 12 managers:two women
in
two
their
thirties,
two
in
two
and
twenties,
their
men
women and
and two men
forties.
The
in
the
their
carried
was
participants
of
two
recruitment
men
women and
headquarters.
its
development
BT's
team
by
group
at
management
of
a member
out
before
intention
the
the
she
research project
She was fully briefed about
and scope of
in
the
The
take
to
were
research
part
agreed
who
managers
the
managers.
recruited
interview
for
location
to
their
time
to
by
the
and
arrange
a
researcher
then contacted

take place.
One
fitted
the
researchrequirementswith one exception.
The 12 managers chosen
be
interviewed,
in
fact
to
turned
for
twenties
the
out,
when
group
age
woman selected
in
had
from
different
that
the
she
managers
younger
other
(She
somewhat
was
30.

79

not graduated until she was 26 and had only been with BT for four years.) This has
been taken into considerationin the
interview
data.
the
analysisof

Table 3.1: The participants

in the first stage of research

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Sam

Female

20s

University

Personnel

Alex

Male

20s

University

Sales

Kenneth

Male

20s

University

Sales

Nicole

Female

30s

University

IT

Anne

Female

30s

Jeanette

Female

30s

Postgraduate:
Sloan MSc
University

General
management
IT

Phil

Male

30s

Personnel

Paul

Male

30s

Susan

Female

40s

Sarah

Fernale

40s

Colin

Male

40s

Dave S

Male

40s

Postgraduate:
MSc
Teacher
training
School;
MBA
Postgraduate:
MSc
Postgraduate:
MBA
School;
BSc

Personnel
Personnel
IT
General
management
Personnel

Biographical details of the managerswhich relate particularly to this researchand to


for
be
It
the
3.1.
that,
in
Table
in
noted
should
their careers general are summarised
been
has
BT
structure
the
grade
managerial
the
complicated
research,
purposes of
being
1
by
grade
sequence,
numerical
straightforward
a
simplified and represented
the
is
intended
This
to
of
comprehension
expedite
the lowest grade and so on.
indicates
"education"
The
hierarchical
column
grade.
findings, as far as they relate to
Where
managers
the
completed.
was
education
participants'
level
the
at which
is
later,
higher
this
left
they
education
and
went
onto
school
started work when
by
followed
"school",
their
postgraduate
or
graduate
by
the
word
shown
qualification.

80

Apart from the two


in
their twenties and one man in his thirties, all of the
men
managers were married or living with a partner. Only three
of the managershad
young children: one male in his thirties, one male in his forties
and one female in her
forties. (The other two
managersin the forties age group had grown-up children.)
Most of the managers'partners had jobs; the
exceptionswere the partners of two of
the women (one in her thirties, one in her forties), who were currently
unemployed.
Eight of the managershad spent their entire career
leaving
since
school or university
BT.
Four had worked for other organisationsas well.
with
A degree of recruiter bias appearsto evident in the choice of the
managers. There
was a preponderanceof managerswho worked in somekind of personnelrole (five),
which seems to reflect the fact that the selection of the participants was made by a
member of staff from this area. Fortunately, analysis of the data and comparisonof
the findings with existing literature suggestthat this had little effect on the outcome
of the research. The potential effects of recruiter bias on the findings will discussed
in more detail in Chapter 7, section 7.5, when the limitations of the findings are
considered.
3.2.6 The participants

in the second stage of the research

For the second stage of the research, it was specified that participants should be
drawn from all five divisions of BT, in order obtain the widest possible range of
did
(
It
do
the
to
organisation.
not seemappropriate
views on career successwithin
this for the pilot stage,given the small number of managersto be interviewed.) As a
development
by
from
five
the
the
staff
result,
participants were recruited management
divisions. Following the successof the first stage of the research, discussed in
Chapter 4, it was decided that only another24 managerswould be interviewed in the
in
36
been
had
36
the
BT
to
needed:
case
were
managers,
asked
recruit
secondstage.
final selection was therefore made by the researcherfrom a list supplied by BT, in
backgrounds
from
include
desire
to
as
managers
as wide a spreadof
accord with the
hierarchical
grades.
possible and an assortmentof
included
four
for
the
the
women
secondstageof
research
The 24 managersrecruited
four
four
four
in
in
their
thirties,
twenties,
their
women
four
and
men
and
men
and
in
Communications,
forties.
Six
in
Global
four
their
seven
worked
men
and
women
Business Communications, three worked in Personal
National
in
worked

81

Communications, four
worked in Group headquartersand four worked in Networks
and Systems. The managers' biographical background is surnmarisedin the
same
way as that of the pilot study managersin Table 3.2. It is interestingto
note that four
of the participants have researchdegreesthemselves,which suggeststhat people
who
agreeto take part in a researchproject like this may to someextent be a self-selecting
group: people who have research degreesare probably more likely to want to help
somebody else who is studying for one!
Fifteen of the managers were married or living with a partner;
had
these
eight of
young children, six men and only two women. Ten of the managershad partners
who also worked; five, including four men, had partnerswho did not work. The nine
included
two men and two women in their twenties, three women in
single managers
their thirties and two women in their forties, both of whom were separatedor
divorced. None of the single managershad children. Seventeenof the managershad
for
BT for their entire career;sevenhad worked elsewhereas well.
worked
It proved much harder to find 24 "suitable" managersto take part in the secondstage
of the research. This was probably partly due to the larger numbersrequired and also
because, while the recruitment was still co-ordinated by staff on the management
development team at BT's group headquarters,they delegated the selection of
individual
divisions.
One
division
failed
to
the
to ask the
participants
staff within
had
forward
they
the
put
as participants, with
permission of
employeeswhose names
the result that some of them were reluctant to take part in the research. Other
divisions took little care to check ages before recruiting managers: one manager
in
forties!
be
in
their
twenties
to
their
the
was
actually
whom
researcherunderstood
In addition, for some reason which BT never properly managedto explain, it asked
far more managersin their twenties than in their thirties to take part in the research.
This meant that, even though 36 managers had been recruited as participants and only
24 were needed, there were several "gaps" which needed to be filled, given the
in
for
their
twenties,
of
men
and
women
equal
numbers
researcher's requirement
This partly explains why, once again, the group includes more
had
be
discipline:
in
to
two
these
than
of
any other
personnel
managers who work
by
the
the
the
management
of
research
process
very
end
at
right
recruited
discussed
headquarters.
As
in
the
team
connection
with
pilot
at
group
development
forties.
thirties and

had
have
findings,
the
to
does
an
adverse
which
are
effect
on
seem
not
this
stage,
first
literature
findings
the
the
stage
and
career
success.
of
existing
on
with
consistent

82

Table 3-2: The participants in the


second stage of the research

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Lisa

Female

20s

University

Sales

Paula

Female

20s

School

Personnel

Sherelle

Female

20s

University

Systems
engineering
Finance

Stella

Female

20s

University

Darren

Male

20s

School

Dave H

Male

20s

University

General
management
IT

John

Male

20s

University

IT

Ran

Male

20s

University

Sales

Gill

Female

30s

University

Strategy

Jane M

Female

30s

University

Personnel

Kathryn

Female

30s

University

Strategy

Lyssa

Female

30s

University

Finance

Adam

Male

30s

School

Pravin

Male

30s

Male

30s

Postgraduate:
PhD
School

General
management
Marketing

Steve

Personnel
General
management
IT

Stuart

Male

30s

Angela

Female

40s

Female

40s

Female

40s

Postgraduate:
MPhil; MBA
Postgraduate:
MA
Postgraduate:
PhD
School

Female

40s

University

Personnel

Male

40s

School

Personnel

Male

40s

School

General

Elspeth
Jane S
Liz
Alan
Dave C
David
Tony

40s

Male

40s

Male
I

Postgraduate:
PhD
School;
BSc
I

General
management
Audit

management
Market
research
Personnel

83

As in the first stageof the research,


eachof the 24 participants eventually chosenwas
then contacted by telephone by the researcherto
arrangea time and a place for the
interview to take place.
3.3 Field work
The field work was carried out over a period of approximately eight months,
starting
July
1995 and finishing in March 1996. Most of the pilot stage
the
at
end of
interviews were conducted in August 1995; interviews for the second stage of the
began
research
at the end of November 1995 and finished in March 1996
3.3.1 Interviewing the participants
The field work process,basedon a seriesof semi-structuredinterviews, was basically
the samefor both the pilot and the secondstageof the research. The researcherwrote
to all the participants approximately a week before they weredue to be interviewed,
indicating the kind of areaswhich the interview would cover. It was felt that giving
the participants some information about the subjectmatter of the researchwould help
them to form their own views on what careersuccessmeant to them; in the letter, the
beforehand,
issues
if
to
this
topic
to
relating
reflect on
participants were asked
information
letter
A
the
the
about the researchsent to the
and
copy of
possible.
3.
in
is
included
Appendix
participants
The participants were reassuredabout the confidentiality of the interview and given
had
if
interviewer
they
the
to
the chance telephone
any queries about the research.
(No-one in fact choseto do this.) While the information the intervieweeswere given
indicated the general area of the research,they were not told in advance that the
in
interested
the
effects of gender and age on conceptions of career
research was
felt
their
it
this
that
response.
prejudice
might
was
success,since
be
interviewed,
by
location
to
the
managers
chosen
The interviews took place at a
be
(One
BT
to
preferred
in
meeting
room.
participant
a
or
their
office
usually
interview
)
Each
home.
took
their
semi-structured
approximately an
interviewed at
basic
form
interviews,
The
the
the
half
to
of
subjects which
complete.
hour and a
both
in
they
them
the
the
the
at
covered
was
same
pilot
which
order
and
they covered

84

and the second stage of the research. For the


second stage, however, minor
amendments were made to the interview schedule to take
account of both the
experience gained from doing the pilot interviews and the findings
of the first stage
of the research. The most important amendmentswill be discussedbelow. The
interview schedulesused for both
stagesare included in Appendices I and 2.
The first section of the interview coveredthe interviewee's
career. Respondentswere
asked to describe their career to date, picking out points when they had felt most
successfuland examining what they had wanted from their careerat various stagesof
it. The main purpose of this sectionwas as a "warm-up", to
interviewees
thinking
get
about their career and how they felt about it. (Nonetheless,some of the sample did
provide unprompted descriptions of how they saw careersuccessat this early stageof
the interview. )
The main difference in this section between the first and the second stage of the
research was that, for the second stage, interview prompts relating to career
satisfaction were not used: at the pilot stageit was found that theseprompts did not
help draw out the participants' ideas about their careersbut insteadtendedto confuse
and mislead them.
The secondand third sectionsof the interview dealt with work values and criteria for
The
interviewees'
the
career success.
second section sought
unprompted views on
what was important to them about their career. The prompts used in this section
remained the same in both stages of the research. The third section investigated
it
definition
thought
their
particular criteria which was
managersmight use as part of
knowledge
literature
based
through
the
on
of
of career success
a seriesof prompts
of
first
In
the
stageof the research,thesecriteria
career successand managerial values.
hierarchical
(pay,
divided
into
two
separategroups: objective external criteria
were
internal
benefits)
fringe
and subjective
position, promotional opportunities, and
intellectual
(challenge,
stimulation, personal
sense of accomplishment,
criteria
development and work satisfaction.) The first group of objective criteria was
intended to reflect the external aspect of career success, the second group of
internal
(Poole
1993).
the
of
aspect careersuccess
et al.
subjective criteria,
intangible
for
(being
the
a
group
research
of
criteria
success
an
In the second stage of
leaving
influence,
included
in
to
the
third,
one's
mark)
was
power
expert, respect,
interview.
This
findings
first
the
the
the
reflected
of
of
stage,
section
prompted

85

discussed in Chapter 4.

The groups of external and internal criteria were also


amended to take account of the findings of the pilot stageof the research: statuswas
included in the group of external
criteria; senseof achievement,enjoyment, interest,
and doing new or different things were included in the internal criteria, whereas
intellectual stimulation, work satisfaction
development
deleted,
and personal
were
because
the managerswho took part in the pilot stageof the researchdid not
either
place as much importance on them as on other criteria or becausethey were not
effective prompts.
After discussing the manager'scareer and the kind of criteria for successthey might
favour, in the fourth section of the interview the participants were asked finally to
how
they would define career successfor themselves. It was thought that
consider
they had been suitably preparedto do so by the previous stagesof the interview. (In
fact, by the time this point in the interview arrived, many of the interviewees had
described
) The participants were
their own conceptions of career success.
already
invited
discuss
to
also
whether their conception of successhad ever changed and
imagine
it
in
future.
This
they
the
could
changing
whether
sectionwas only amended
in
the secondstageof the research:prompts relating to satisfactionwere
very slightly
discussion
how
happy
the managers were with the
about
again not used, and a
highlighting
introduced
had
the
they
any
with
aim of
achieved was
success
dissonance which might exist between their apparent achievements and how
felt.
they
actually
successful
In the fifth and final section of the interview, the managerswere askedto reflect on
in
life
from
being
their
in
their
as
success
separate
careeras
whether they saw success
illuminate
intended
the
This
to
managerscould separate
not
or
whether
was
a whole.
1992).
Mainiero
Powell
1986,
Larwood
(Gattiker
and
these two concepts
and
Section five remained unchangedin the secondstageof the research.

full
in
transcribed
the
as
The interviews were taped, with
participants' consent, and
important
kept
The
interview.
tapes
of
source
as
an
were
each
after
soon as possible
in
tone
the
for
encapsulated
meanings
often
are
the
since
process,
analysis
reference
basic
data
interview
In
to
the
the
gathered,
addition
used.
words
as
of voice as well
data
biographical
This
interviewee
were collected.
biographical details about each
their
ages,partner's occupation,
children
of
and
number
status,
included age, marital
length
key
the
hierarchy,
time
in
company,
with
level
of
responsibilities,
job title,
Details
breaks.
the
of
education
and
career
length of time with other companies,

86

biographical data
collected are included in Appendix 4. Some of these details were
later stored in NUD. IST database in
a
order to aid analysis. The use of NUD. IST in
the analysis process is explained in section 3.4.2.
In addition to the data collected by the
process of interviewing, after the interview
had ended observation notes were made about
each participant and the impression
their interview made on the researcher. These notes were used to shed light on the
content of the interviews and help interpret what the interviewees had said, where
appropriate. They formed a useful first stage of data analysis, as discussed in more

detail in section 3.4.2.


3.3.2 Problems and successesof the interview process
The process of interviewing the participants generally went very smoothly. All the
interested
in
the researchtopic and keen to take part in the
managerswere extremely
They
study.
were also anxious to receive any feedbackwhich might be available on
the findings: they made it clear that this was a topic which they felt both they and the
for
benefit
from
knowing
they
organisation
worked
would
more about. Few of them
for
interview;
had
limit
them
taken
the
time
they
the
made available
many of
set a
on
the trouble to reflect on the researchtopic before the interview took place.
Nevertheless, some of the managersfound it more difficult to discussthe subject of
career success than others.

This is not surprising, given the potentially

"impenetrable" nature of this topic, consideredin sections3.1.2 and 3.2.L For those
define
harder
to
found
it
them,
to
meant
success
what
career
managers who
While
the
researcher'sprevious
was
required.
considerable patience and persistence
draw
here,
help
to
the
journalist
people
skills required
was of some
experience as a
It
from
different
those
reporter.
one would employ as a news
out were actually quite
formulate
their
time
to
important
the
to
own
views
participants
give
particularly
was
it
them
than
was
often
them,
which
to
unnecessarily,
prompt
rather
the
air
space
and
leaming
to
to
The
do.
stay silent was one
when
prompt
and
when
skill of
tempting to
improvement
An
field
the
honed
was
especially
progressed.
work
as
which was
lot
interviews,
that
more
a
in
revealed
the
where
analysis
of
stage
second
noticeable
been
had
data
gathered.
relevant
hard
draw
too
talked
to
much
about
out,
others
the
few
were
managers
"le
of
a
This
to
the
topic.
chiefly
was
a
relevant
research
particularly
not
were
subjects which

87

problem during the pilot stageof the research,when some of the managers
spent up
to half the interview on the first section of it describing their
careerto date in minute
detail, but giving very little information
ideas
their
about
on career success. In the
second stage of the research,this part of the interview was somewhatrestructured,
and participants were asked to describe their career so far only "briefly". This still
worked as an effective "warm-up" device but meant that it became possible to
generate a higher proportion of "useful" data from this section of the interview as
well.
On the whole, the women were easierto interview than the men. They seemedmore
had
ideas
articulate,
clearer
about career success,and could express them more
Those
concisely.
participants who talked too much and tended to stray away from
the research topic were generally male. The fact that the women were "easier" to
interview probably reflects the fact that the researcher/interviewerwas also female,
but possibly also relates to real differences in male and female styles of speaking
(Tannen 1991). The implications of the relationship betweenthe interviewer and the
interviewees for the researchfindings will be discussedin more detail in Chapter 7,
7.5.
section
Despite these minor problems, overall the interviews were consideredto be a success.
All of the managersproved able to formulate their ideas about what career success
first
in
the
The
the
stage
concepts generated
range and consistency of
meant to them.

had
been
the
the
than
of
research
the
second
stage
expected;
of
researchwere greater
in
but
drawn
the
also succeeded
pilot stage
at
not only supported the conclusions
developing and building upon its findings, to the extent that it was possible to
A
in
Chapter
6.
described
construct the typology of managerial career success
5.
in
Appendix
is
included
interviews
the
transcription
of
one
of
sample
3.4 Data analysis

build
to
intention
3.1.3
3.2.1,
this
the
researchwas
with
and
As discussedin sections
interviews:
in
from
data
1993)
(Blaikie
gathered semi-structured
theory abductively
follow
in
does
it
in
However,
this
respect
while
in that senseit is "grounded" theory.
be
it
1990),
(Strauss
Corbin
Strauss
claimed
Glaser
cannot
and
and
the tradition of
is
knowledge
it
to
grounded
pure
success
career
about
makes
that the contribution
by
building
data
theory
recommended
and
iterative
collection
of
process
theory: the
has
form
followed
been
that
this
the
has
research
Strauss
closely;
and
not
Glaser and

88

taken has been


strongly informed by existing literature on career successin a way not
advocated by proponents of grounded
research. As Bryman and Burgess (1994a)
point out, "there are relatively few genuine
cases of grounded theory": "Very often,
the term is employed in research
publications to denote an approach to data analysis
in which theory has
from
the data. Rarely is there a genuine interweaving
emerged
data
of
collection and theorising of the kind advocated by Glaser and Strauss"
(Bryman and Burgess 1994a).
3.4.1 The approach to data analysis

It is generally agreed that the basic process of qualitative data


is
analysis one of
abstraction, that is moving from the raw data by means of coding to more general
from
developed
higher level theoretical concepts,with which
categories,
which are
the framework of the theory itself is built (e.g. Miles and Huberman 1984). Ritchie
and Spencer (1994) see the analytic process as having five interconnectedstages:
jamiliarisation with the data, identifying a thematicftamework or index, indexing (or
coding), charting, where a picture is built up of the data as a whole, and mapping and
interpreting, where conceptsare defined and typologies created.
The approach to data analysis taken with this researchwas close to that describedby
Ritchie and Spencer,although in reality it did not feel so amenableto categorisation:
as Bryman and Burgess (1994b) observe,in qualitative researchthere tends to be an
between
different
"Analysis
in
is
the
overlap
stagesof analysis:
qualitative research
in
it
interweaves
that
continuous
with other aspects of the research process."
Nevertheless,while the progressmade in this researchfrom data collection to theory
defined
it
is
in
did
to
take
steps,
place clearly
possible to
generation
not always seem
identify different aspectsof the processwhich are similar to the stagesdelineatedby
Ritchie and Spencer.
data,
jamiliarisation
identifying
the
thematic
of
a
with
period
a
ftamework, or the development of an index whereby the interview data could be
in
keeping
data.
In
first
taken
the
the
the
with
views
of
step
analysing
was
coded,
interviewing.
She
index
took
(1994),
Okely
construction
place after
claims:
Following

for
is
be
the
taken
granted nor rigidly prearranged,so
classification
"Nothing can
field
(Okely
1994).
Burgess
(1994b)
Bryman
before,
work"
and
not
made after,
involves
to
the
"the
conceptualisation
which
application
a
either
of
extent
that
agree
derivation
the
the
of
emergent
concepts"
point
affects
at
or
which
priori categories

89

the first stages of


analysis can take place. In the case of this research,which was
concerned with exploring individual managers'definitions
of career success,about
which there is scant existing theory, there was little to guide the development
of a
coding system until a certain amount of data had beencollected.
After indexing, or coding, the next identifiable
phase of analysis resembled what
Ritchie and Spencer(1994) describeas charting: the data
as a whole was examinedin
the context of the themes which emergedfrom coding. The latter stages
of analysis
were akin to what Ritchie and Spencercall mapping and interpreting: it involved
integrating the concepts which emergedfrom the data in the
context of the research
questions, firstly to produce a model of careersuccess,basedon the criteria which the
managers used, which is discussed in Chapters 4 and 5, and secondly, and most
importantly, to create a typology of managerial career success,presentedin Chapter
6.
The development of this typology was central to the approach taken to data analysis
in this research. The use of typologies, schemes which conceptually classify
data
different
"types" which emerge from it, has been widely
to
qualitative
according
acknowledged as an expedient means of data analysis, particularly for research which

different
being
the
the
explores
meanings people place on
phenomenon
explored.
Ritchie and Spencer (1994), for example, suggestthat the creation of typologies is
for
different
"categorising
types of
research
particularly suitable
qualitative
aimed at
(1984)
".
Taylor
Bogdan
behaviours,
and
motivations etc.
agree that
attitudes,
typologies are "useful aids in identifying themes and developing concepts for
theory". Brymanand Burgess (1994a) confirm that the building of typologies and
taxonomies can be "an important component of analysis for the qualitative
in
identification
helpful
become
"can
devices,
"
"Such
the
they
of
say,
researcher:
differences in the data and can help with the elucidation of relationships among
concep sit.
for
is
typologies
development
The
research which
seen as especially pertinent
of
discussed
As
from
individual's
the
the
of
view.
point
career
of
the
concept
explores
from
has
2.1.4,
the
the
2,
career
in Chapter section
examined
much researchwhich
has
1986)
(e.
Schein
1978,
1982,
Derr
Driver
used
g.
individual's point of view
different
have
towards
their
the
attitudes
people
which
to
categorise
typologies
(1978
"occupational
1993)
Schein
the
For
and
range
of
captures
example,
career.
hold
his
their
through
about
career
anchors
careers
people
which
self-concepts"

90

categorisation: the career anchors he found different individuals held included a


technical andfunctional competenceanchor, a managerial competenceanchor, and
an autonomy anchor. Bailyn (1989) has called for the development of more such
typologies or orientational categories,which classify people "according to individual
predispositions" about their careers. One can best explore the internal career, she
suggests,by means of "an aggregationof individual data which reflects difference in
subjective meanings".
The aim of data analysis in this researchwas to build theory abductively from the
individual
(Blaikie
to
the
managers ascribed
concept of career success
meanings
1993). Using analytical concepts derived from qualitative data to build theory at a
higher level of abstraction is, as Ritchie and Spencer (1994) say, the part of the
involves
because
it
is
difficult
describe".
is
This
"which
to
a
most
processof analysis
deep
1994),
intuition
(Okely
understandingof
as well as a
measure of creativity and
formed
in
ideas
how
important
it
is
data.
Nonetheless,
to
theoretical
the
are
consider
(1994)
Spencer
the
Ritchie
this
processas
of
stage
up
sum
and
qualitative research.
follows: "Piecing together the overall picture is not simply a question of aggregating
for
issues,
dynamics
but
a
searching
the
and
of
and
salience
up
weighing
of
patterns,
"
than
a multiplicity of evidence.
structure, rather
be
to
the
is
issues
paid
also
While the salience of
crucial, some considerationmust
development
theoretical
data
in
concepts,
frequency
to
the
the
of
their
relevance of
issues
how
is
"It
994a):
(I
Burgess
clear
absolutely
Bryman
not
still
to
and
according
determining
The
finished
in
in
the
product.
to
ideas
written
up
end
order
emerge
and
it
is
factor,
is
frequency
if
the
frequency
critical
factor often seems to be the
...
in
few
qualitative
of
reports
percentages
and
there
counts
are so
surprising that
"
research.
be
to
in
"counting"
for
qualitative analysis
the
Others support the call
value of
"simple
that
for
counting
(1993),
Silverman
says
example,
acknowledged.
in
lost
data
ordinarily
the
"a
of
to
corpus
whole
means survey
techniques" can offer
for
the
this
theory
In
research,
the
generation of
intensive, qualitative research".
frequency
in
the
of
of
occurrence
particular
and
frequency of occurrence of concepts
their
important,
saliency.
as
well
as
was
concepts
of
particular relationships
been
have
data
the
to
would
to
analysis
statistical
apply
Therefore, while any attempt
did
influence
the
the
counting
simple
of
some
results
meaningless,
inappropriate and

91

theory building process. The consequences this for the


of
presentationof the research
findings in Chapters4,5
6
be
discussedin section 3.4.3.
and will
To assist the analysis process in this
research, in particular the coding stage of it, a
qualitative analysis computer software package, QSR NUD. IST (Non-numerical
Unstructured Data Indexing Searching and Theorising) was used. It
felt
that
was
there were several advantages in using a computerised system like NUD. lST: it
avoided the need for a paper-based filing system to accommodate coding; it
facilitated structured coding of the interview data by means of a "tree" index system
(Further details on how the index system for the pilot stage of the research was
developed are included in section 3.4.2.); it allowed easy and fast cross referencing

and searching of the index system.


By providing a "permanent" record of coding decisions and searches,NUD. IST aids
the preparation of a "trail of evidence", illustrating the soundnessof the analysis of
the data. The tree-structured index can help the researcher consider broader
data
fit,
the
thereby
the
assist
progressionof
coded
may
and
which
categorieswithin
the analysis process towards what Ritchie and Spencer(1994) describe as charting,
be
it
However,
that
interpreting.
while using
stressed
must
and
and mapping
NUD. IST does help greatly in the storage and manipulation of data and codes, and
the exploration of relationships within the data, a software packagecannot replicate
Mason
To
develop
intellectual
theoretical
to
quote
concepts.
the
processesrequired
(1994): "Computers can help in the indexing and retrieval functions of qualitative
data management but they cannot perform the creative and intellectual task of
....
devising categories, or of deciding which categoriesor types of data are relevant to
discussed
in
IST
NUD.
this
"
The
investigated.
being
researchwill
the process
use of
in more detail in section 3.4.2.
3.4.2 The process of data analysis

As
both
for
the
research.
stages of
The process of data analysis was the same
it
began
3.3.1,
in
discussed section
with the writing of observationnotes about each
be
finished.
These
to
had
interview
valuable
a
proved
notes
their
participant after
in
that
for
the
the
notes,
process,
analysis
ideas
of
rest
precedent
a
set
and
source of
became
1994a),
Burgess
(e.
Bryman
described
and
they
g.
sometimes
are
or memos as
important
theoretical
to
it
conceptualisation.
aid
an
as
emerged
and
a vital part of

92

Notes were made to

record points of interest and analytical possibilities at every stage


of the research process from data collection right through to theory building. They
were all dated and cross referencedto other relevant ideas which had been
recorded
previously, in order to make it possible to track the development
ideas
of
and
theoretical concepts as the analysis of the data progressed. The
value of extensive
note taking for qualitative analysis is widely acknowledged(e.g. Lofland and Lofland
1984): as Hughes (1994) says, "the quality of a
researchproject is not only the result
of the questions asked or the conceptsused, it is also the result of keeping rigorous
field notes".
The tape recorded interviews with the participants were transcribed in full by the
researcher as soon as possible after the interview had taken place. Making a full
transcription ensuredthat no potentially important data was overlooked; the process
of transcription also generatedsome extremely valuable ideas about how the data
be
might
coded and analysed (Lofland and Lofland 1984), which were recorded as
described above. In addition, it encouraged an improvement in interviewing
techniques for later interviews, since the most effective means of eliciting valuable
information could be identified.
The basic structure of the index to be used to code the interview data was devised
had
been
interviews
(Burgess
the
after
pilot stage
completed
and Bryman 1994a,
Okely 1994), following a period of immersion in the transcribeddata and reflection
data,
its
Familiarisation
it,
the
the
on
contents.
with
and
notes producedabout made

it possible to establish what the most relevant categorieswould be in order to code


the interview data most effectively.

The same index structure was used for the

described
below.
the
secondstageof
research, with someminor modifications
Index construction and coding were carried out with the help of the NUD. IST
With
NUD.
IST,
described
in
3.4.1.
the
section
qualitative analysis software package,
in
interviews
tree-shaped
the
to
stored
a
are
qualitative
content
of
codesused analyse
index system: it was found that developing the index systemin this way helped frame
later
helpful
for
in
that
stagesof the
this early phase of analysis a way
proved very
format
data
being
the
the
of
explored, since
were
process, when relationships within
NUD. IST encouragedthe organisation of codesinto generalcategoriesrelated to the
researchquestions.

93

At both the first


and second stagesof the research,the interview data were coded
within the NUD. IST system under one of three general
categories:values; success;
and attitudes. The "values" category contained all the coding
relating to the criteria
for career successthe interviewees
used; the "success" category contained all the
coding relating to their views on career successand life success. The "attitudes"
category contained coding on attitudes about subjectsrelated to careersuccess. Two
further general categorieswere also used: basedata,
where the interviews were coded
according to the biographical details thought to be important, such as age group and
gender; and people, where the individual interviews were stored within the index
system.

As the coding of the data took place, the general coding categories
were subdivided
into more specific categories, which were the actual codes used to index the data.
Each code employed in the analysis of the data becamea "node" in the NUD. IST
system, that is a branch of NUD. IST's tree-shapedindex system. Every node had its
own NUD. IST "address" in the index system, which meant that specific coding
categories could be accessed quickly, and cross-referencedwith other coding
if
categories required.
During the coding of the data during the first stage of the researcha total of 113
nodes were created; in the secondstageof the research,the index increasedin size to
1,68nodes. While the basic structure of the index remained the same for the entire
it
before
during
the coding of the second stage
research project, was modified
and
interviews, to reflect the experiencegained from previous data analysis,the findings
from
ideas
the second stage of the
the
of
which emerged
pilot stage, and new
"success"
The
the
the
coding
expansion of
research.
main changes made were
introduction
"attitudes"
the
the
of coding relevant
category and
coding category, and
to ways in which criteria for careersuccesswere emphasised.The increasednumber
larger
in
the
the
the
the
result
of
researchwas also partly
of nodes
second stage of
index
for
final
form
NUD.
IST
interviewed.
The
the
used
of
number of managers
in
6.
is
Appendix
included
in
data
the
the
research
secondstageof
coding
The construction of the index and the coding of the data were both carried out by the
have
involved
is
ideally
It
that
these
should
accepted
processes
alone.
researcher
in
data
to
the
the
order
given
additional support of
analysis
than
person
one
more
Unfortunately,
given the nature of PhD research,especially the
inter-rater reliability.
faced,
both
the
this
time
money
which
and
researcher
was
not
possible.
of
constraints

94

The potential effects of this on the


findings
in
research
are considered Chapter 7,
section 7.5.

NUD-IST aided data analysis in many ways: it encouragedthe generationof general


categoriesof ideas within the data whilst the coding index itself was being structured;
it helped cross reference index codes and highlight relationships between them.
However, as discussed in section 3.4.1, in the later phases of analysis, when
being
developed,
the computer program only played a
analytical concepts were
it
support role:
could not compete with conventional intellectual skills in the
developers
As
Richards
Richards,
NUD.
IST,
theory.
the
construction of
and
of
themselves say, "the task of theory discovery remains for the human researchers"
(Richards and Richards 1994).
The later phases of analysis involved reference to the codes and the data they
by
been
had
large
this
the
made
point,
which
notes
of
analytical
number
contained,
be
found
it
the
to
interviews
to
the
re-read
valuable
extremely
as a whole; was
and
interview transcripts in their entirety, as well as referring to discrete section of them,
The
theoretical
during
the
of
generation
analysis process.
on several occasions
intense
fashion.
Periods
in
did
of
and
orderly
a
rational
proceed
not
concepts
insights,
important
by
data
and
the
rewarded
sometimes
were
reflection about
ideas
interesting
The
unexpected
at
emerged
often
conceptual
most
sometimes not.
became
the
inconvenient
researcher's
times:
pen
and
notebook
a
and occasionally
constant companions!

define
their
to
the
the
used
managers
In the pilot stage of the research,
criteria which
between
through
them
analysis
that
the
emerged
relationships
own career successand
build
which
success,
career
data
to
managerial
of
model
a
were used
of the
its
The
dimensional
and
model
three
construct.
conceptualised success as a
the
In
4.5.
the
4,
of
Chapter
stage
in
second
development is described
section
the
interviews
of
pertinence
supported
the
data
of
round
second
of
analysis
research,
in
clearly
developed
more
be
it
even
showed
which
to
way
a
the model and enabled
The
the
be
of
reworking
conceptualised.
how managerial career successshould
5.7.
5,
Chapter
in
discussed
section
is
model
developed
drew
the
carried
data
analysis
and
on
which
analysis,
The final phase of
typology
the
managerial
of
constructing
with
concerned
was
build
the
model,
to
out
3.4.1,
in
the
discussed
6.
As
in
Chapter
section
presented
career success

95

development

of a typology of careersuccessis in keeping with other researchinto the


career from the individual's point of view: it is consideredto be
a practical way of
presenting researchfindings related to the kind of questionsbeing asked(Ritchie
and
Spencer 1994). Nevertheless, the decision to
construct the typology was also
informed by the process of data analysis itself. A
series of analytical patterns and
ideas, which emergedwhile the secondstageinterview data
being
were
analysed,led
the researcher inexorably towards building the typology. Its construction therefore
was the inevitable result of the data analysis process, and not just an attempt to
follow the example of previous research.
3.4.3 Presentation of the findings
The following three chaptersdiscussthe findings of this research. The way in which
they are presented is intended both to illustrate and support the process of data
analysis which has taken place. Marshall and Rossman (1989) rightly argue that
data
be
from
the analysisprocess."In fact,
writing about qualitative
cannot separated
it is central to the process," they say, "for in the choice of particular words to
data,
the
the
the researcheris engaging in the
summarise and reflect
complexity of
interpretive act, lending shapeand form - meaning- to massiveamountsof raw data."
At a macro level, the order and construction of the subsequentchaptersis intendedto
developed
during
in
the researchproject.
the
the
mirror
which
analysis was
way
Chapter 4 considersthe findings of the first stageof the research,which representthe
first period of analysis; Chapter 5 discussesthe findings of the secondstage of the
Chapter
6
the
the
second spell of analysis; and
results of
research, which are
introduces of the typology of managerial career success,the culmination of the
both
findings
builds
the
the
the
secondstage
pilot
and
of
on
analysis process which
in
best
findings
felt
this
It
the
that
the
way would
presenting
was
of
research.
illustrate the development of theoretical concepts and add thereby weight to their
cogency.
largely
findings
involved
in
the
level,
the problems
At a micro
related
were
reporting

large
The
describe
(1984)
"the
Lofland
Lofland
agony of omitting".
as
to what
and
interesting
by
interviews
the
the
data
and
stream
of
participants,
generated
of
amount
from
had
in
be
to
them
to
ideas
as
such
a
way
emerged
controlled
which
analytical
being
drawn
the
findings
to
researchquestions,without
relevant
unduly
best illustrate
Moreover,
(1991),
"one
Easterby-Smith
issues.
to
quote
et al.
of the
into subsidiary

96

most difficult problems to overcome in dealing with qualitative data is how to


communicate, in a systematic and honest manner, researchfindings to a readership
who may not be very familiar with the detailed context of the research". Thesetwo
considerations, of using data productively and pertinently, were of paramount
importance in the presentation of the findings; the qualitative researcherneedsto be
able to convey the richness of their findings, but at the same time make the key
theoretical points conspicuousand comprehensible.
One further mundane point relates to the presentationof the researchfindings at a
level.
discussed
in
As
importance
3.4.1,
micro
section
some
was placed on the
frequency, as well as the saliency, of issues which emerged during the analysis
it
For
this
process.
reason seemedappropriateto include somebasic numbers in the
findings,
the
report of
at points in the analysis where it had been consideredright to
"count" and where presenting the results of this counting appearedto support the
basis
Since
is
in
the
the
counting
research.
no wgy
sole
of qualitative
conclusions of
it
analysis,
was not always considered appropriate or relevant to this process:
did
the
not expressstraightforward or easily categorisable
managersoften
obviously,
in
including
Furthermore,
the presentation of the
every possible number
views.
The
detracted
from
have
findings
to
their
than
weight.
added
rather
would
research
imply
the
the
therefore
part
of
on
oversight
any
should not
absence of numbers
it
decision
but
that
was
was made about where
a positive
rather
researcher,
in
4,
included
Chapter
(Fewer
include
them.
which
numbers are
appropriate to
because
first
the
findings
the
the
small number
the
simply
research
stageof
of
reports
)
less
interviewed
relevant.
often made counting
of managers

CHAPTER 4: AN EXPLORATION OF
CAREER SUCCESS
MANAGERIAL

97

CHAYTER

4:

AN EXPLORATION

OF MANAGERIAL

CAREER SUCCESS

This chapter reports the findings

first
the
of
stageof the research,carried out amongst
12 managers at BT, as described in Chapter 3, sections 3.2
and 3.3. Section 4.1
describes the managers'own criteria for
identified
by the research.
career success
,
Sections 4.2 and 4.3 consider the differences found betweenthe
women and the men,
and the older and the younger managers,in terms of how they viewed their own
career success. Section 4.4 briefly discussesthe findings of the first stage of the
in
research the light of the literature reviewed in Chapter 2. Section 4.5 presentsa
model of managerial career success, based on the managers' criteria for career
success.
4.1 What do managers conceive career success to be on their own terms?
As discussed in Chapter 3, section 3.3.2, all of the managers were able to define
for
during
interview.
None of their
themselves
the
their
career success
course of
definitions were simple, however: for each manager, career success was a
by
influenced
a number of criteria.
multidimensional concept, consisting of and
(There was a commonality in the criteria used by the managers, however, which will
be discussed in more detail below. ) In particular, all the definitions went far beyond
the traditional external idea of career successas position in the hierarchy and level of
dimension
internal
had
For
as well
a subjective
pay.
all of the sample, career success
degree
dimension,
the
of emphasis placed on
although
as an objective external
different criteria for career success varied from manager to manager. (Certain
be
discussed
to
gender and age will
patterns of emphasis on particular criteria relating
in more detail in sections 4.2 and 4.3.)
Therefore, while position in the hierarchy and pay were important to many of the
internal
in
subjective
their
were
so
success,
terms
of
career
conceptions
of
managers
be
judged
henceforward,
to
be
to
they
were
Internal
referred
will
as
criteria,
criteria.
be
by
internally
the
managers and, as such, cannot
those which were experienced
be.
Internal
level
hierarchical
in
the
that
can
pay
and
way
measured objectively
included
definitions
their
of
success
the
of
as
part
reported
managers
criteria which
in
Alex
this
typical
respect.
interest,
was
of
achievement.
a
sense
and
enjoyment,
hierarchical
included
for
personal recognition and
career success
His criteria
but also enjoyment and variety, as illustrated by the following quote:
advancement,

98

"In Day own


personal terms, it would be to try my hand at everything, and get
recognised at being good at it, at everything.
Obviously, I'd want to rise
through the ranks
and get recognised that way ...and have enough money to
think, yeah, I'm comfortably
off now ...at the end of the day, the one thing
running through my life is I want to have a good time, so I would have
a good
time by just injecting plenty of variation into the
work life, by changing
things-so, yeah, that would be success." (Alex, 20s
man)
The findings of the first stage of the research
accordingly show that the traditional
external model of managerial career success, based on position in the hierarchy and
level of pay, cannot on its own describe adequately
what career success means to
managers themselves. Anne and Colin's definitions of career success, quoted below,
are good examples of the kind of ideas the managers had about how they saw their
own career success. As the quotes show, for neither of them was hierarchical
position or level of pay foremost in their personal definition of success:
"Achieving

whatever or running whatever successfully ...it's back to being an


expert ...running that really well ...you know, I'm the best whatever in the
country and everyone says well let's go and ask Anne ...would be success...(Anne,

30s woman)
"Career success I think I've got to launch a successful product that changes the
...
BT
it
is
doing
I
feel
"
(Colin,
40s
thinks
would
way
about what
very
successful.
...
man)

4.1.1
Internal
of
career
success
criteria
,
As described above, all of the managersused internal criteria to measuretheir own
internal
However,
the
criteria
most of
success,as well as objective external criteria.
the
on
contrary, patterns of similarity
were
not
used
unique;
which each manager
for
internal
found
interviews.
The
that
from
the
criteria
certain
study
emerged
definitions
to
the
success.
of
career
managers'
many
of
common
were
success
for
five
internal
key
identified
it
many of the managers
Altogether
criteria, which
These
definition
their
important
were:
of
career
success.
of
part
an
were
for
important
dimension
Enjoying
of career success
work was an
Enjoyment.
did
believe
These
they
that
the
would
see
managers
not
managers.
of
seven

99

themselves as a success unless they enjoyed their work. External criteria for
success such as level of pay and position in the hierarchy were seen to be
meaningless without the crucial factor of enjoyment:
"If I can look back and think I've actually had some sense of enjoyment from
the work, it hasn't just been something I've done to bring the money in, if I can
combine the money and the happiness, then that would mean being good at
I'm
doing...
I
I
think
what
and
would have been successful. " (Sam, 20s woman)
11 recognition of the organisation that you're worth something that's always
...
...
been relatively important at the back of my mind but more than anything else
...
it's about doing things that I actually enjoy doing, sort of personal
40s
(Dave
S,
"
man)
achievement.

Linked to the idea of enjoying work, was the concept of finding it


interesting. Five of the managers felt that if they did not find their work
interesting, they would not feel successful. (A total of ten of the managers saw

Interest.

both,
interest,
their
to
conception of career
central
as
or
either enjoyment or
success):
I'm
if
it's
just
I
bored
I
if
because
interesting
be
misery
......it really has to
am
...
...
it
in,
interested
I'm
do
day
hours
here
be
have
work
to
to
and not
a
seven
going
40s
(Sarah,
"
just
be
woman)
soul-destroying.
would
I
Did
things
bored?
I
make
back
think
ever
"And I would look
was
and
is
different,
there
I
things
bored
and made
different? If I could say I was never
30s
(Anne,
I
woman)
that
changed
something
.........
did
they
at
Getting
what
of
out
achievement
of
Sense of achievement.
a sense
for
II
the
of
all
almost
managers,
important
of
success
career
part
of
an
was
work
related
closely
For
often
was
this
them,
achievement
of
interviewed.
sense
those
the
of
is
result
usually
was
that
achievement
of
a sense
to the idea of challenge,
For
the
a
tasks.
managers,
of
nine
taking on and succeeding at challenging work
determining
in
important
them
least
to
as
at
was
achievement
sense of personal
had
been
as
such
criteria
felt
external
they
not,
as
or
successful
they
whether

hierarchical position:

100

"... being able to


constantly see myself as achieving and bettering my position. "
(Kenneth, 20s
man)
"I want to achieve things I
I've
to
this,
I've
this
this
want
achieved
say
and
...
...
done this, and I've had my name on this, and I'm
responsible for this. " (Sam,
20s woman)
Sense of accomplishment.

For five of the managers, part of career successwas


getting a sense of accomplishment from their work, that is feeling that they were
extremely competent at the tasks they had to undertake as part of their job. This,
for them, was central to their idea of career success:

(Career success) "would be sort of doing well at things, being able to do the job
knowing
it
well, having people come and ask you questions because you
well,
knew
information,
the
that
the
person
were

that sort of thing. " (Jeanette, 30s

woman)
"I found a degree of success has come the more time I spend in a job, so I'm
tempted to say [I felt successful] in the first job that I went into, because I was
there for such a long time ...you reach a certain standard where you are the
(Sam,
20s
"
I
did
then.
that
think
woman)
expert-I
Doing new things or doing things in a different way. For four of the managers,
in
doing
doing
things
involved
things
a
to
them
or
new
either
career success

different way from the way in which they had beendone before:
11 you've been seen to be somebody who's different, who's made a change,
...
doing
in,
for
to
of
the
ways
new
set
up
found
move
company
new ways
who's
20s
(Kenneth,
"
man)
things.
the
the
have
first
to
wind was
way
things
seen
actually
"And to do some
as well ...
by
broadly
before
they
things
embraced
actually
were
delivered
some
going and
40s
(Susan,
"
woman)
the business.

101

4.1.2 External
criteria of career success

The findings of the first


stageof the researchestablishedthat, despitethe importance
of subjective internal measuresof career successto the managers,external
objective
measures, such as position in the hierarchy and level of pay, were a part
of career
successto some degree for most of them too. External criteria for career
success
by
used the managersincluded hierarchical position, progressionthrough promotion,
level
and
of pay:
"I suppose it's got to have an element of hierarchy
have
to
you've
got
moved up
...
the ladder and be seen to be an influential person and that is delivered to
you
...
partly because of where you are in the organisation but also partly because of
your reputation. " (Phil, 30s man)
"If I join anything I go for a position, I go for a title, I go for some power, I
go
for higher up the tree where the decisions are made. " (Nicole, 30s woman)
"(Career success is) promotion, income and impact. " (Paul, 30s man)
4.1.3 Intangible criteria of career success

Criteria like those described in section 4.1.2 were not the only kind of external
identified
The
the
measures of career successwhich
managersused.
research
a
different
"material"
for
to
the
career success,very
separategroup of external criteria
level
delineate
hierarchical
to
traditionally
of pay
used
criteria such as
position and
important
These
but
the
to
criteria, whilst
managers.
all
extremely
career success,
in
"tangible"
the
to
the
sameway as pay or promotional
were
not
external
managers,
being
being
being
included
They
able
respectedand
regardedas an expert,
prospects.
to exert an influence. Criteria such as these were often central to the managers'
internal
like
despite
fact
they
the
that,
are
criteria,
success,
career
conceptions of
been
have
definitions
"traditional"
from
not previously
of success,and
excluded
identified as a separateand distinct group of successcriteria.
be
henceforward
these
this
referred to as
criteria will
research,
For the purposes of
distinguish
from
in
to
them
material external criteria such as
intangible criteria, order
be
to
to
hierarchical
which
will
as
external
continue
referred
position,
pay and
is
for
"intangible"
this
the
The
criteria
of
success
word
group
of
choice
criteria.

102

intended to reflect their most important aspect, that is,


while they are not internal in
the way that criteria like
sense of achievement and enjoyment are, nor are they
tangible or material in the
hierarchical
that
sense
position and level of pay can be
seen to be. The decision to treat them as a separate group of criteria is
an indication
both of their importance to the
managers' definitions of success and of their distinct
nature, when compared with the kind of external criteria traditionally used to define
career success.

The first stage of the researchidentified four intangible


criteria in particular which
many of the managersdescribedas part of their idea of careersuccess.Thesewere:
Being an expert. To be seen to be the sort of person everybody
look
would
up to
as one of the best in their field was a central part of career successfor six of the
managers, including five of the women. This was not necessarily linked to
hierarchical position but was perceived by the managers as a form of personal
recognition:
"Being seen to be top of the knowledge tree is equivalent to me to being at the
top of the managerial structure. " (Nicole, 30s woman)
"Now I want to be a different sort of expert, in a more generalist field, which I
suppose is what being a senior manager is ...respected because I can run
"
(Anne,
30s
it
happens
business
budget...
be,
to
unit or my
woman)
whatever
a
Respect. Just as Anne describes in the quote above, the idea of being respected
felt
Eight
being
linked
that
the
to
managers
of
expert.
as
an
seen
was often

feel
hierarchy
in
them
to
the
was not sufficient make
reaching a certain position
for
being
be
have
had
to
they
good at
a good reputation and respected
successful;
did
they
as well:
what
I
if
time
the
things
together
the
two
to
was
a
"I would have
as
at
same
match
......
be
being
I
thought
considered
director, people
was good ...and so success would
30s
(Phil,
"
man)
as good.
I'm
fairly
I
that
think
matters, what
respected,
and
well
"Generally speaking,
40s
(Colin,
that
man)
of
stuff.,,
sort
all
and
think
you
of
people

103

Influence. Eight
of the managers saw the ability to influence things at work as a
central part of their own career success: they were not interested in power for its
own sake, or status power, but the power to influence. For some, this influence
was not necessarily connected to their position in the hierarchy but was
valued in
its own right.
"I suppose what I realise from being in
a very hierarchical organisation is
sometimes if you want to do something that's really right and help to get
something through, it does help to have status
but I don't want hierarchical
.....
status for the sake of it. " (Anne, 30s woman)
"The need to be doing something that really makes a difference I'm
not
a
...
freak,
but sort of knowing that something that you're doing is really
control
"
(Nicole,
30s woman)
things.
changing
e

Leaving one's mark.

Doing something or achieving something at work by

which one would be rememberedin some way, either in BT or outside it, was a
key criterion for career success for five of the managers, including three in their
forties. This idea was often expressed as "leaving a mark" on the organisation.
"(Career success is) for me now to be given or to take on something I can see
through for the next four or five years, something that has some real, real value
S,
40s
"
(Dave
man)
added, a major project.
"The job I got was buildings investment appraisal it was different ...it was mine
...
I
like
it
before,
things
done
had
up and
setting
quite
and
ever
and nobody
40s
W.
"
(Colin,
did
I
is
I
things,
man)
mine,
and can sayThis
starting
4.1.4 Further evidence for the importance of internal and intangible criteria

based
on
that
The conclusion
managers'personal conceptions of career successare
internal and intangible criteria, as well as external criteria, by which career success
by
is
further
judged,
been
supported evidenceof conflicts abouttheir
has traditionally
the
evinced.
of
managers
some
which
own success
first
Some
in
the
the
the
of
older
stage
of
research.
emerged
Two types of conflict
in
high
despite
the
lack
their
felt
position
success,
relatively
personal
of
a
managers

104

BT hierarchy.

(This feeling seemed to apply particularly to two of the


most
outwardly successful managers interviewed, Colin and Sarah.) To them, their job

seemed to be relatively worthless and therefore the "success" they had


achieved was
not of value:
"This actually doesn't matter
a damn ...and the achievements you think are so
important are just irrelevant in the
scheme of things. It's a balance between
that knowledge, that I'm wasting my life just making a few
extra quid for BT,
and my own progression internally in BT, and I guess as I get older I get to see
more of the trivial nature of what we are trying to do. " (Colin, 40s man)

A secondkind of conflict was also observedamongstsome of the younger managers.


While they were considered successful by their families and peers becauseof the
positions they held and the money they earned, they did not themselves feel
successful:
"No, I don't think I've been that successful, although other people would say
that I had been my partner, my parents they all look at me and say she's
...
...
doing very well, she's doing very well. " (Sam, 20s woman)

It would seemthat for managerslike this, the "conventional", external idea of career
fact
be.
is
describe
in
to
they
to
conceive career success
success not sufficient
what
Their definitions of successaccordingly must include internal or intangible criteria as
well as external measuresof success.
4.2 The effect of gender on managers' personal conceptions of career success

Whilst all of the managers had conceptions of career successbased on internal,


intangible and external criteria, there were clear differences between the male and
female managers' conceptions of success. The differences can be summed up by
level,
hierarchical
for
were
the
pay
and
as
men,
external
criteria,
such
that
saying
important
than
they
their
far
success
of
career
conception
a part of
more
generally a
hand,
The
to
tended
the
success
for
career
see
on
other
women,
the
women.
were
interest
internal
in
terms
and
enjoyment,
as
and
of
criteria,
such
much more
being
the
than
men.
regarded
expert,
as
respect
and
as
an
such
intangible criteria,

105

For all the


men, their position in the hierarchy and promotional prospects was or had
been very important to them.
"I tried to pretend it
important
I tried to convince myself that it wasn't
wasn't
...
but of course it is, because it's part
of the greasy pole stuff. Nobody wants to be
left behind. " (Colin, 40s man)
"So I have been reasonably grade conscious in the way I've
progressed. I like
people to still acknowledge that I am a relatively senior manager in BT terms. "
(Phil, 30s man)

For the women this was far from the case. Three of the women did not see career
hierarchical
in
terms at all, and those who did aspire to hierarchical
success
advancementwanted to move up the hierarchy becauseof the things it would allow
them to do, not becauseof the statusit endowed.
"I know I'm not expressing it in terms of position, am I? I'm clear that it's
it's
ladder
the satisfaction
this
the
point anyway ...
not ...at
not about moving up
...
"
(Susan,
40s
do
from
that
to
things
woman)
are much more
with me.
comes
"I get my kicks from doing the work, rather than having the status. " (Anne, 30s
woman)
"I couldn't care less (about my position in the hierarchy)
(Sarah, 40s woman)

"
honestly.
quite

Of all the women, position in the hierarchy and promotional opportunities were most
how
had
Nevertheless,
important to Sam, the youngest.
already set a ceiling on
she
high she wished to rise within the organisation, unlike her male colleagues, since she
between
life
her
her
balance
and
to
work
easily
more
this
that
enable
would
perceived

home.
far
the
than
talked
interviewed
women and used
promotion
more
about
All the men
developed
had
how
describe
thought
their
they
or would
careers
different languageto
"ladders",
"goals",
"steps"
the
women appeared
whereas
talked
and
of
develop. They
Anne,
for
development,
the
different
their
example,
career
of
view
have
quite
to
a

106

most overtly ambitious of the women interviewed, saw her careerdeveloping in terms
Of "sets of challenges",rather than a hierarchical progression:
11 always to have the ability to see ahead, in that I have
a stepping stone to go
...
somewhere, because I think I'd become very disillusioned very quickly where I
couldn't see a way forward, where there were only sort of sideways steps."
(Kenneth, 20s man)
"I would prefer to have the interesting work than to just be in an office, penpushing and not enjoy the work, so a lot of the level 3 (higher grade) jobs don't
be
interesting.
" (Jeanette, 30s woman)
to
seem
so
There were also large differences betweenthe male and female managersin terms of
the kind of importance they placed on pay. For the men, recognition in financial
terms was crucial: all of those interviewed mentionedmoney without prompting from
the interviewer, compared with the women, only three of whom did so. While pay
for
four
it
to
the
the
central
all of
men's conceptionsof careersuccess,
was
of
women
irrelevant
how
(even
it
to
they
their
though
they
was
saw
own success
might value as
lifestyle).
their
a meansof supporting
I
by
I
I
targets
said,
right,
set myself salary
on, was very ambitious.
.....
that age I want to be earning this, and by that age...and I blew them all out of
the water, completely blew them out of the water ...I'd set myself 15 grand as a
from
I
20,22
be
that
I'd
target, and
point, so sort of moved
or something at
on
30s
"
(Phil,
targets.
to
targets
man)
grade
salary
"Early

I'm
for
I
terms
to
what
get paid
with
starting to come very much more
isn't
if
decision
the
that
the
freed
to
has
company
make
me up
worth, which
40s
S,
"
(Dave
I'll
man)
go elsewhere.
paying me,
"I'm

boss?
be
I
like
to
be
to
and
yep
my
"It would be quite nice
promoted ...would
...
...
30s
"
(Anne,
by
fine
for
that's
that,
me.
probably
if I didn't get any more money
woman)
I
I
I
take
I
don't
a pay cut,
need as much pay as get, so could
"Pay is useful but
"
(Jeanette,
30s
less
woman)
pay.
do
with
something
could

107

In fact the women


who were most interestedin the money they earnedwere interested
in it for its utility,
rather than its statusvalue, for example, Sarah,whose husbandwas
unemployed. This contrasts with the men, for whom the emphasis on pay
was more

related to the statusit could endow.


On the other hand, some of the internal and intangible
criteria of careersuccesswere
much more important to the women than they were to the men. Many women
emphasisedthe importance of enjoyable, interesting and worthwhile work as part of
their conceptions of careersuccess.
"I'd like to enjoy what I'm doing, feel it's worthwhile
lifestyle. " (Jeanette, 30s woman)

and have a comfortable

"I've got myself into a position where I've got an interesting, reasonably welljob,
that gives me flexibility, the most I can hope for, in terms of the rest of
paid
my life which means more to me than my job. " (Sarah, 40s woman)
The women were more likely to see career success in terms of being good at what
they did and therefore equated it with being regarded as an expert and being respected
in
in
than
terms
their
the hierarchy and how much they earned. In
rather
of
position
kind
the
short,
of career successthey emphasised was much more related to personal
for
in
Power,
than
to
terms.
the women, was
recognition
organisational
recognition
it
it
in
influence
them,
than
the
terms
the
status
of
permitted
rather
very much
conferred on them.

It is interesting to note, in the light of this emphasison being good at what they did
in
first
being
the
took
the
that
stageof
part
women who
all of
and
seenas an expert,
lack
in
in
her
20s,
Sam,
the
the research,except
of confidence
expresseda
only one
None
interview.
during
their
of the men
their abilities at work at some stage
feel
themselves:
this
to
about
way
appeared
"
(Anne,
30s
be
I
I
to
think
darkest
"In my
exposed.
am about
moments always
woman)

but
the
being
to
of
gaining
respect
all
one
expert
and
was
central
an
The sense of
(The
Sarah,
the
only
woman
career
success.
exception
was
is
of
conceptions
women
had
She
family
the
one
who
worked
a
much
only
part-time.
more
and
young
with a

108

utilitarian attitude to her work than the other


women - her partner was unemployed and expressed deep conflicts about the kind of career
success she had achieved and
the kind of career success
she would ideally have wanted: thus, the idea of career
success may no longer have had much importance to her.)
"..., so I think it would be that I
would have a whole something she specialises
...
in marketing and there isn't anything
about marketing she doesn't know and
she manages the marketing for X in BT. " (Susan, 40s woman)
11 and you feel that you're respected by them for doing,
...
a very, very good job,
looked
and
on by them as somebody they can go to, if they want something. "
(Sam, 20s woman)

On the whole, therefore, the male and female managershad quite different ideas
about what career successwas for them. This is not to say that the samecriteria for
did
success
not apply to both men and women. What differed was the degreeto
which the sexes emphasised them: there were men such as Phil who did relate
intangible
being
to
success
criteria such as
seenas an expert and being respected,but
these criteria were less central to their idea of success,just as external material
criteria such as money and hierarchical position appearedto be less central to the
womentsconceptionsof success.
Furthermore, the male and female managersappearedto differ in their attitudes to
in
life
female
in
The
their
their
success
career and success
as a whole.
managers
far
just
likely
to
a part of the successthey wanted to
were
seecareersuccessas
more
life
for
lives
in
the
their
men,
successwas essentially
achieve
as a whole, whereas
driven by careersuccess:
"There's just so much more to the rest of my life but even when I was working
...
full-time, in terms of how I viewed my life, work was still a very small part. "
(Sarah, 40s woman)
doing
because
it
the
thing
it's
"I think
you're
so
parcel
of
same
really...
part and
much

time,
the
youlre
of

in the office

from

half eight to half five, that's

isn't
it?
it's
difficult
life,
so
very
of
your
proportion
significant
...
(Alex,
20s
from
your career ambitions.
man)
life's ambitions

to divorce your

109

In addition, all but


one of the women expressedan interest in succeedingin other
parts of their life as well, somethingnone of the men did. This included their family
and personal life, but also time-consuming outside interests,such as counselling
and
politics. For example, Nicole, whose ambition was to becomean MP, saw her job at
BT as little more than a day job: her
ambition was all concentratedin her life outside
work. This suggeststhat women may have a broader definition of successin their
careers and in their lives as a whole than their male counterparts.
4.3 The effect of age on managers' personal conceptions
of career success

The managers'conceptions of career successvaried accordingto their age


as well as
their gender. The younger managersof both sexeswere more interestedin external
material career successthan the older managers:
"I mean that's the final measure of success, I suppose, isn't it, in terms of your
career, material possessions.......because it's recognition ...what you've achieved,
how valuable you are to your company, whichever company that might
be they've said that you're worth enough money that we're going to pay you x
...
20s
(Alex,
amount ......
man)
"(Success) would be to be in a position in the organisation where you have that
...
I've
been
the
the
money ...you could say, yes,
rewards,
responsibility and
"
(Sam,
20s
woman)
successful.

For the managers in their forties, on the other hand, conceptions of successwere
idea
intangible
based
the
of creating somethingat
criteria, especially
on
much more
leave
by
the
be
"theirs",
their
they
mark
on
that
would
which
seen as
work
would
in
interviewed
four
this
Three
the
age group expressed
managers
out of
organisation.
in
business
this.
desire
their
to
with
connection
own
set up
a strong
handle
I've
do
I
that
to
it
on
got my
"I describe
means
work
really as want
I
just
development
it's
to
want
management
significant
mine,
it's
something,
.....
40s
S,
"
(Dave
if
like.
I
leave
man)
you
that
my
mark,
can
means
something
"(What
guess.,,

I
I
did
look
back
that,
is)
to
to
on and say
I want
something
achieve
(Colin, 40s man)

110

"I've got this little dream that if I


take my pension at 50,1 can actually start to
manage myself... the chap across the road is a trainer and I've got
a chapel in my
garden ...he and I have got this idea that we could turn the chapel into training
accommodation I am moving closer and closer, knowing there are some things
...
I can do, some contributions I
"
(Susan,
40s woman)
can make.
There are indications Erom this research that
conceptions of success may begin to
in
change the thirties. Phil, the high-flying manager who set himself regular pay and
grade targets when he was younger, was now uncertain about what he wanted to

achieve in the future:


"Well you could argue that perhaps the ultimate goal I had when I joined
was to
become what was called an SMG, and I've got one more step to become what is
in
that
terms of me being able to do it, I've got no issue, of course I'll be
now
...
able to do it if I wanted ...but nowadays, 11 years on, I'm not really bothered.
I'm certainly less ambitious
I've stopped thinking in career terms at the
..........
moment. " (Phil, 30s man)

However, for the males in their thirties and forties who had not reachedsuch high
levels within the organisation, career successin terms of hierarchical position and pay
important:
still
very
was
got to the level which I thought
I
like
have
influence
I'd
to
that's
had
that
the
that
would
appropriate ...and
...
I
feel
influence,
but
don't
I've
lot
feel
I
frustration
though
got
a
of
as
part of my
...
that's backed up by my position really ...so I'd like to see those two balanced"
(Paul, 30s man)
"I'd

like

to feel that

financially

I'd

had
their
that
Many of the managersadmitted
changed
conceptionsof careersuccess
The
into
fell
life.
These
two
during the course of their working
separategroups.
first, which was wholly male, had shifted from seeingcareer successalmost entirely
important
intangible
internal
to
to
were
criteria
in external terms a position where
and
did
important
degree
they
to
(although
the
vary):
were
which
them as well
"It's

The
status and money were probably more
emphasis.
"
(Phil,
it's
being
more
recognised as an expert.
previously ...and now

different
a

important

30s man)

ill

"Hierarchy

was the measure and it isn't the measure now ...the measure has
changed in that sense and the success is there for me now, because I would
...
never have thought about running my own company I know now I can do it. "
...
(Dave, 40s man)
A second group consisted of mainly younger managers whose initial ideas of career
had
dissipated
had
they
success
altered
once
or
come to terms with the reality of
in
large
(They
for
had
working
a
organisation.
were all managers who
only worked
BT. ) Their conceptions of personal career success had changed to take account of
felt
in
they
their
about
careers relation to actual work experience, as opposed to
what
impressions formed before or shortly after they started work:
"When you start off in a career, you don't know what you're going to be aiming
I
A
like
be
think,
know
don't
the
to
must
yes,
you
work's going
what
at, you
...
"
30s
(Jeanette,
woman)
get promoted every couple of years.
TV
80s
boom
it
A
levels,
the
doing
I
"When
and you saw on
was
my
was
braces
in
City
in
young
off
well
the
very
red
around
wandering
everybody
...
learned
these
that
but
be
then
to
that
you
success
considered
you
people-so
...
banks
big
for
the
don't
half
them
burned
work
of
and
now,
out
people are
flying
the
around
I
think
was
to
success
money,
was
success
anymore ...so used
bit
like
that,
for
of
a
all
we'd
in
obviously
company
your
aeroplane
an
world
...
20s
(Ken,
"
different
things as you get older.
but you get a lot more from a lot of
man)
imagine
career
their
of
conceptions
personal
All of the younger managers could also
felt
it
this
form
that
change
The
future.
anticipated
in
the
was
success changing
future,
in
believed
the
that,
Some
the
the
women
of
group.
take
within
varied
would
than
important
to
them
become
more
actually
might
success
career
of
external criteria

they were at present:


the
I'd
to
so
far
way
that
I'd
have
all
go
want
time
so
got
...
"I think by that
in
it
I'm
I
levelly
the
seeing
bit
suppose
be
moment
at
more
a
(success) would
.....
business
director
be
if
to
a
of
imagine that
I
managing
get
but
you
micro steps,
I
get
the
be
you
as
I
to
suppose
company
of
chairman
want
now
...
say
you
unit,
fixated
jobs,
on
more
much
get
you
so
of
out
run
actually
you
more seniorg

112

wanting

that one at the moment I'm sort of moving onwards and upwards
....
with increasing challenges but one day I'll say I want that job. " (Anne, 30s
woman)
"I suppose it probably depends on the next area I end up in
it's
whether
an
...
area where I can get promotion in which case you'd feel I've got to get to be
promoted to get the success in this area. " (Jeanette, 30s woman)

There was in fact no evidence Eromthis researchthat women do begin to put more
emphasison external criteria for successas their careersdevelop and they get older.
Interestingly, however, both the men in their twenties anticipatedthat oncethey had a
family, their career would become less important to them and therefore their
balance
life
they
tried
to
their
conceptions of career successmight change,as
work
better with their home life:
"If it comes to the point where people have young families and they're at a
...
it
before
home,
important
is
the
the
whereas maybe
as
not as
work
point where
I
by
is
family,
the
is
idea
their
which
means
and work
of success now my
was ...so
I
be
job
that
home
therefore
success
will
ultimately
and
aid that success at
.....
have opportunities to quieten down the pace for an amount of time. " (Kenneth
20s man)
home
in
lot
interested
be
"I think at that stage you'll
what's going on at
more
a
the
do
I
have
to
is
to
'this
just
at
become
money
my
get
the
what
will
office
and
it
for
the
will
so
whatever'...
to
and
the
nappies
pay
month
end of
20s
"
(Alex,
life
man)
become maybe not so much of your
anymore.
...
4.4 Discussion

theory
in
fully
discussed
be
the
findings
existing
of
context
While the research
will
first
findings
key
the
the
it
7,
to
of
Chapter
in
relate
valuable
seems
on career success
fruits
the
they
briefly
literature
this
back
are
the
since
to
stage,
at
part of the research
keeping
in
is
the
This
data
with
analysis.
and
collection
of
phase
pilot
of a separate
in
findings
3.4.3,
the
3,
which
a
way
Chapter
in
presenting
of
section
described
aim,
Discussing
data
the
the
analysis.
developmental
of
process
of
aspect
the
mirrors
demonstrates
literature
their
light
in
the
the
existing
of
research
of
this
stage
of
results

113

strength and the firm base which they provide Eromwhich the second stage of the
researchwas conducted
The findings of the first
stage of the research clearly show that managerial career
success is a concept far more complex than many writers on careers have suggested
(e.g. O'Reilly and Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). It
be
in
cannot simply
represented
the external terms of hierarchical position and level of pay, because this is not how
managers themselves see it; in reality they use a far wider range of criteria to define
their own career success. This conclusion reflects the assessment of many writers
have
who
examined what career success means to individuals (e.g. Korman et al.
1981, Marshall 1984, Asplund 1988, Gattiker and Larwood 1986,1988 and 1990,
Russo et al. 1991, Poole et al. 1991 and 1993).
The findings support the importance of internal criteria of success for managers'
definitions of success, indicated by the research of Gattiker and Larwood (1986 and
1988), Peluchette (1993) and Poole et al. (1991 and 1993). Furthermore, they build
kind
internal
for
to
on earlier studies suggest what
of
criteria
successmanagers might
include in their definitions of success: the research found that important internal
for
included
the
managers
criteria of career success
enjoyment, interest, sense of
different
doing
The
things.
new or
achievement, sense of accomplishment and
by
borne
findings
is
internal
identified
the
the
of previous
out
criteria
cogency of
from
looked
at what managers wanted
research which examined managerial values or
their career: for example, Beutell and Brenner (1986) discovered that values
important
to women managers were accomplishment and use of
particularly
knowledge and skills; Marshall (1984) found that women managers sought to get
Erom
interest
their
work.
and
growth
challenge,
While internal criteria were an extremely important part of the managers' conceptions
their
"a
career
of
component"
necessary
remained
criteria
external
of career success,
that
1993).
However,
the
success
(Poole
external
showed
research
too
et
al.
success
found
It
that
is itself a more complex concept than previously acknowledged.
based
dimension
distinct
has
on
two
material
external
aspects,
an
external success
by
level
hierarchy
in
the
organisational
which
of
pay,
and
position
as
criteria such
1994),
O'Reilly
Chatman
(e.
judged
and
a
non-material
and
is
and
g.
success often
being
includes
dimension,
an expert,
criteria such as respect,
which
intangible

leaving
one's mark.
influence, and

114

Such intangible criteria


definition
in
their
were a vital element
of career successfor
most of the managers. The existence of this group of criteria, although hitherto
unidentified, does echo the findings of some earlier studies:Derr and Laurent (1989)
found that criteria related to influence were an important part of managers'personal
definitions of career success; Mason (1994) discovered that the value women
managersplaced most emphasison was being treated with respect.
The importance of intangible criteria such as being regarded as an expert and being
respected suggests that recognition in personal terms, rather than organisational
terms, may be more important in determining how some managers regard their career
intangible
be
linked
internal
In
to
to
addition,
success.
such
criteria appear
closely
in
definitions
some
of career success, since those managers who
criteria of success
internal
being
important
to them as part of their
criteria as
very
emphasised
likely
intangible
to
criteria too.
emphasise
conception of successwere
This was particularly true of the women managers, who had strikingly different
Their
Erom
their
male counterparts.
personal conceptions of career success
definitions of success were based more on internal and intangible criteria, rather than
the external criteria which were central to many of the men's conceptions of success.
Being regarded as an expert and being respected were central to most of the women
Interest
part
an
essential
also
were
enjoyment
and
of
success.
conceptions
managers'
important
to
Whilst
for
of
some
them.
were
criteria
such
of
many
of career success
had
for
they
them
have
the same significance
as
the men, on the whole they did not
far
dependent
for
to
the
greater
a
for the women. In contrast, career success
men was
hierarchy.
in
the
they
organisational
were
they
where
and
earned
extent on what

has
literature
the
examined
which
This finding reflects the assessmentof much of
1978,
Jardim
Hennig
(e.
from
and
their
g.
careers
what women managers want
in
Marshall 1984, Asplund 1988), that women see their own career success very
Mainiero
by
Powell
drawn
by
and
is
the
It
conclusion
supported
terms.
also
personal
internal
1993),
(1991
that
measures
Poole
subjective
1993)
and
et al.
(1992 and
and
to
important
than
be
to
men.
women
more
may
of career success
first
the
findings
from
drawn
the
be
research
the
of
stage
to
of
Thus a key conclusion
the
be
representing
of
capable
must
success
career
managerial
of
is that any model
the
While
female
they
both
same
share
by
managers.
and
male
favoured
success
be
to
them
very
they
the
appears
on
place
emphasis
for
success,
career
criteria

115

different.

The "traditional" model of career success, based on factors


such as
hierarchical position
level
and
of pay, is closest to how men perceive success,
although it still fails to capture every dimension of career successfor any
manager.
For women, a quite different
emphasison criteria such as respect, being an expert,
enjoyment and interest appears to exist. The differences between the male and
female managerscan be best summed in terms the kind
of
of recognition they seek
within the organisation. For the men in the first stageof the research,organisational
recognition, that is in terms of their statuswithin the organisation,largely determined
how successful they felt. For the women, personal recognition, that is in terms
of
how well they were regardedwithin the organisation,was central to their
conceptof
career success.
Equally important as the differences between the sexes in their conceptions of career
successappears to be the way in which these conceptions change over the course of a
manager's career. Although a cohort effect cannot entirely be ruled out as a possible
for
differences,
both men and women seemed to move from an
these
explanation
(to
degree
emphasis
some
or another) on external criteria for success towards a
forties
in
linked
intangible
their
the
position
where career successwas
with
criterion
leaving
of creating something of one's own, often expressed as
one's mark on the
interviewed
in
For
idea
the
this
this
managers
organisation.
many of
age group,
was
business.
to
their
own
connected with plans
set up

The likelihood that a cohort effect is responsiblefor these differencesis discussedin


detail in Chapter 7, section 7.4. However, the fact that the older managers
kind
in
had
the
their
that
of way
changed
conceptions of success
acknowledged
described above makes it an unlikely explanation: younger managerstoo anticipated
developed,
their
although
that their conceptions of successwould changeas
careers
form
less
take.
these
the
they
would
changes
certain
about
were
understandably
for
less
important
for
finding
older
The
that external criteria
career successwere
literature
has
by
that
is
criteria
material
external
shown
which
supported
managers
forties,
by
in
favoured
less
their
for successare
possibly as a result of a
managers
forties
(e.
Erom
the
to
the
time
g.
early
mid-thirties
transition which takes place any
1983,
Losocco
1981,
Kalleberg
Bartolome
Evans
1981,
and
and
Korman et al.
is
1995).
There
Marshall
Wolfe
1987,
1988,
O'Connor
West
and
Nicholson and
becomes
leaving
for
that
the
more
mark
one's
conclusion
research's
some support
West
(1988),
become
from
Nicholson
they
for
who
older
and
managersas
important

116

found that
managers in their forties were more concerned with "opportunities to
influence
and contribute to their environments".

The changes which influence the


way in which career successis defmed by older
managers, compared with younger ones, can be summed up as a
move away from
organisational recognition towards a view of successbasedmuch more on
personal
recognition, for personal achievements. Thus the difference betweenthe younger
and
the older managers in terms of the recognition they seek is
similar to that found
betweenthe male and female managers,as described
above.
4.5 Conceptualising

managerial career success

The findings of the first stageof the researchlead one to concludethat


a conceptual
model of career successmust be capable of showing the different kinds of career
success male and female managers emphasise at different ages. It should
demonstratethat, while the emphasismanagersplace on particular criteria for career
be
different, they all use the same kind of criteria. It should also
successmay
highlight organisational recognition and personal recognition as key concepts in
terms of how managersperceive their own careersuccess,as shown in Figure 4.1.
The model represents the complex nature of managers' personal conceptions of career
success. It shows that there are three basic dimensions of career success: external,
intangible and internal.
The dimensions are emphasised in different ways by
different managers: in particular, in this stage of the research, for women managers,
internal and intangible criteria have been found to be most important; for men,
For
to
their
older managers,
view of career success.
external criteria are most central
the importance of intangible criteria, in particular the idea of leaving one's mark, is
is
less.
importance
for
the
than
of external criteria
greater
younger managers and

The differences found between male and female managers,and younger and older
kind
distinction
between
be
they
the
of
recognition
up
as
a
summed
managers,may
described
in
4.4,
in
section
women and older managersappeared
seek their career: as
in
in
than
terms
terms
of personalrecognition, rather
to seetheir career successmore
has
by
traditionally
kind
recognition
which
career
success
of organisational
of the
in
hierarchy
level
Men
is
the
that
position
and younger
and
of pay.
been judged,
in
hand,
likely
terms
to
their
the
were
more
success
of
see
other
career
on
managers,

117

Figure 4.1: A
model of managerial career success

Personal recognition

Intangible criteria

Intemal criteria

Influence

Respect
Enjoyment o
Interest
Being an
expert

Level of
pay

Senseof
accomplishment
Senseof
achievement
Doing new
things

Leaving
one's mark

Promotion

Hierarchical
position

Extemal criteria

Organisational recognition

organisational recognition. These two perspectives of personal recognition and


from
organisational recognition,
which career success may be viewed, are therefore

included in the model.


The model demonstratesthat all criteria for careersuccessare part of the samewhole
distinct
interrelated
in
differences
The
in
to
terms
and, while
nature, are
each other.
how
found
first
have
been
is
in
the
the
of
stageof
research
career success conceived
differences in degreeof emphasis,not differences in actual kind. The model will be
further
light
findings
developed
in
the
the
of
of the secondstageof the
explored and
in
Chapter
5.
presented
research,which are

CHAPTER 5: DEVELOPING A MODEL OF


CAREER SUCCESS
MANAGERIAL

118

CHAPTER

5:

DEVELOPING

A MODEL OF MANAGERIAL

CAREER SUCCESS

This chapter presents the findings


of the second stage of the research,conducted
amongst 24 managersat BT, as described in Chapter 3, sections 3.2 and 3.3. The
study was informed by and seeks to build on the results of the first stage of the
research presented in Chapter 4: Section 5.1 describesthe kind of conceptions of
career successthe managerswho took part in the secondstageof the researchheld.
Section 5.2 examines the internal criteria for success
which they used, section 5.3
discussestheir intangible criteria, and section 5.4 their external
criteria. Sections5.5
5.6
and
consider the differences found between the men and the women, and the
younger and older managers, in terms of how they saw their own career success.
Section 5.7 developsthe model of managerialcareersuccessintroduced in Chapter4,
4.5,
intermediate
section
as an
step towards the creation of a typology of managerial
be
discussedin Chapter6.
careersuccess,which will
5.1 Managers' personal conceptions of career success

The findings of the first stage of the researchpresentedin Chapter 4 suggestthat


is
managerial career success a complex concept, based on three types of criteria:
hierarchical
external criteria, such as
position and level of pay; intangible criteria,
influence;
internal
and
criteria, such as enjoyment and senseof
such as respect and
between
individual
in
how
difference
found
The
terms
managers
of
accomplishment.
they conceived career successwas one of degreeof emphasisplaced on the criteria,
kind.
not one of actual
The results of the full-scale study support this conclusion. For all of the managers
interviewed in the secondstageof the field work, careersuccesswas a complex three
dimensional concept, rooted in internal and intangible criteria, as well as the external
dimension by which organisationalcareersuccesshas traditionally beenviewed. The
definitions
intangible
the
internal
to
importance of
of career
managers'
criteria
and
following
by
the
illustrated
is
quotes:
success
in
those
back
looking
be
something
achieved
you
and
saying,
yes,
"It would
by
the
the
seen
were
you
on,
projects
you
were
on
successful
were
you
roles,
I
have
to
and
the
asset
a
worked
with
good
you
as
companies
or
...
company
20s
"
(John,
it
has
be
key
to
thing,
the
man)
that's
enjoyed.
it
enjoyed ...

119

"In absolute terms I


would say it is not standing still. Success is progression, it
gets me closer to the map
the progression, I've expressed that as almost like
.....
recognition
that
is
recognition
as
someone
worthy
of
membership
very
much
...
...
the thing behind it. " (David, 40s man)
"I suppose I'd know I'd got to where I wanted to be
I
and loved what I was
doing I was good at what I was doing, and recognised for being
good at what I
...
was doing ...I suppose everyone else's opinions of me count more than my own
personal opinion ...I was earning a comfortable amount and was perceived
...
outside of BT as doing very nicely, thank you. " (Lisa, 20s woman)

The findings of the second stage of the researchalso endorsethe conclusionsof the
first stage that, for some of the managers,internal or intangible aspectsof success
far
important
than external criteria in their own definitions of career
were
more
This
female,
success.
group was mostly
which again concurswith the findings of the
first stageof the research:
"(Career success) is sort of personal satisfaction being able to balance that with
...
being
levels
do
tensions
to
things that you
things,
to
private
able
achieve
get
or
...
didn't think you would be able to do and at the end of the day you've enjoyed
...
it. (Lyssa, 30s woman)

"If I felt that my job was important, and met my criteria for being a good job,
that it wasn't a job that was just chasing pieces of paper round and round ...and
I could do that job well, then to me, that would be my definition of what career
the
to
being
it
getting
and
promoted
successmeant ... wouldn't necessarily mean
top of the tree. " (Jane S, 40s woman)
However, unlike the managersin the first stageof the research,in the secondstage
intangible
internal
to
criteria were most
and
whom
there were also some men
discussed
be
Stuart,
included
They
definitions
who will
important in their
of success.
in more detail in section 5.2.5:
I
I
did
that
have
to
had
to
would
something and say
pointed
"I would have
...
be
like
therefore
I
like
treated,
to
I
treated
and
would
everybody
have to think
I
had
that
looked
things
that
the
to
that
and
up
people
I
some-one
that was
...

120

done were actually


worthwhile, and life in general was slightly better for me
having done them than
not having done them. " (Stuart, 30s man)

The different kinds of career successfavoured by the


managerswill be explored
further in Chapter 6, where the findings of both
stages of the research will be
combined in order to build a typology of managerialcareersuccess.This chapterwill
concentrateon using the findings of the secondstageof the research:
to explore the three dimensions of career success, internal, intangible and
in
external,
particular in terms of how different managers emphasisethem,

to examine further the important effects of gender and age on managers'


perceptions of careersuccessidentified in the first stageof the research,
*

to develop the model of managerial career successintroduced in Chapter 4.

5.2 Internal criteria of career success


Career success for all the managers who took part in the second stage of the research
key
dependant
internal
Of
five
to
the
themselves
to
some extent.
on criteria
was
internal criteria for career success identified in Chapter 4, section 4.1.2, enjoyment,
interest, sense of achievement, sense of accomplishment and doing new or different
in
important
first
four
the
the
the
things,
of
second
stage
emerged as especially
four
important
took
to
the
(Doing
things
who
of
managers
was only
new
research.
below.
)
detail
in
be
discussed
finding
in
more
which will
part this stage, a
5.2.1 Sense of accomplishment
A sense of accomplishment, generally described as feeling that one was extremely
the
important
job,
the
to
of
exception
with
participants,
all
was
one's
competent at
Pravin
importance
lack
fact
In
the
of
Pravin.
a
sense
on
placed
of
one manager,
decision
deliberate
this
to
the
criterion,
value
not
a
result
of
was
accomplishment
in
did
he
being
the
felt
work
at
at
what
he
that
good
because
an over-emphasis on
hierarchical
his
had
hampered
progression
naivety
and
political
of
the
result
past was

in the organisation:

121

"Being diligent hasn't worked in my favour, they almost counted that


against
me ... so I've had to work on that, I've had to see an outside consultant on
that we were brought up working hard, we weren't brought up working
...
smart ...that's why I think my career hasn't moved as quickly as it could have
done. " (Pravin, 30s man)
Pravin stands out from the other managers in many ways in terms of his confusion

his
his
idea
true
about
work values and
of career successand will be discussedin
below
detail
in
Chapter
6,
6.6.
and
section
more
While a sense of accomplishment was important to all the managers except Pravin,
there were strong differences in the extent to which and reasonswhy they emphasised
it. Seven managers saw a senseof accomplishment as highly important and central to
their idea of career success, especially when it was linked to personal recognition of
their competence by those whom they worked with, in particular superiors and
internal customers. There were five women and two men in this group:
to me is that I'm good at something ...I never want to be bad
doing
by
I
then
be
I'd
but
be
I
suppose
good.
rather
average,
at anything ... can
.....
I
done,
'Well
that
is
good
was
that
say:
people
good,
as
perceived
something
think that is important. " (Lisa, 20s woman)
"What is important

have
the
to
therefore
job
high
and
"Being able to do a professional
quality
...
40s
"
(Liz,
I
the
I
support.
managers
all
the
and
with
work
people
respect of
woman)
important
related
very
was
accomplishment
to
The second group
whom a sense of
This
in
way.
some
did
achievement
to
they
personal
being good at what
a sense of
four
women:
group consisted of
it
job
do
really
I
anything,
on
do
things
shoddy
a
well ... can't
"I always want to
I'm
of
job
because
sense
a
do
and
rushed
to
have
I
if
a
shoddy
...
annoys me
because
that,
can
you
of
out
comes
satisfaction
personal
personal satisfaction ...
"
decision.
that
did
I
that
good
a
was
well,
yes,
look at something and say,

(Stella, 20Swoman)

122

"I think I would need to feel that I also felt I was doing a good job, because
there is a difference, because sometimes people think you are doing a good job,
and you don't actually think you've done it very well at all and so I'm probably
...
more critical of myself than other people are of me. " (Angela, 40s woman)
5.2.2 Sense of achievement
Getting a sense of achievement Erorn their work was a very important part of career
for
four
ten
the
of
managers, six women and
success
men. They were divided almost
between
the three age groups.
equally
Again, there was some variation in the way that the managers emphasised sense of
largest
five
The
of
managers,
group
six
women and one man, related
achievement.
level.
For
to
all of them, this
achievement
at
a very personal
career success a sense of
definition
their
of career success:
was an essential part of
"I think what would be successful is if I'd reached the point in whatever my
I
fulfilled
I
thought
had
I
be,
thought
to
turn
was
what
when
out
career may
...
30s
"
(Kathryn,
highest
woman)
potential.
probably my
"I think career success for me is something which I get a personal achievement
20s
A"
(Stella,
woman)
out
to
Angela,
Alan
forties,
in
achievement
of
a
sense
their
related
Two managers
and
for:
they
worked
leaving their mark in some way on the organisation
to
been
have
(for
achievement
"I think the criteria (sic)
career success) would
...
lives
that
done
have
something
have actually made a mark on the company and
40s
"
(Alan,
man)
On.
often
found,
was
achievement
of
sense
the
a
gaining
research
As the first stage of
taking
the
in
to
on
that
the
idea
managers,
the
sense
to
of
challenge,
related
closely
led
and
to
achievement
of
sense
tasks
a
often
or
roles
challenging
particularly
fact
to
In
achievement
of
ten
a
sense
whom
managers
all
feelings of career success.
find
their
it
to
believed
work
that
important also
essential
was
was particularly
in some way:
challenging

123

"Also

I think

I like to do things which I know are going to be difficult


sometimes, and to prove that things can be done... " (Angela, 40s woman)
"I think

a lot of it is personal challenge, as opposed to the sort of challenge


somebody else has given you it's more did you think you were capable of doing
...
something, have you been able to prove you were capable of doing it, when you
thought it was going to be very difficult and you had to overcome that. " (Lyssa,
30s woman)
5.2.3 Enjoyment and interest
Enjoyment and interest were criteria which were important to all the
managers,
except once again Pravin, who felt that, as with a sense of accomplishment, an overemphasis on getting enjoyment and interest out of his job had hampered his career
development at BT.
However the degree of importance placed by the managers on these two criteria
varied considerably. Ten of the managers saw enjoyment as a crucial measure of
their own career success, that is they would not feel that they had had a successful
if
did
four
This
they
their
career
not enjoy
work.
group consisted of six women and
between
divided
the age groups:
men and was
roughly equally
"It's part of having success on my own terms I want to be successful in the
...
fun
I
have
I'm
doing,
to
I
but
to
at
want
enjoy what
want
corporate culture,
40s
"
(Elspeth,
day.
in
forward
I
look
to
to
woman)
every
coming
work, want
just
being
do,
I
down
has
to
to
really
and ...
enjoying what
come
really
in
high
the
for
I
do,
career
possible
as
as
and going
successful at what
20s
(John,
"
best
do
it
to
trying
it's
really.
my
and
really enjoying
structure ...
man)
"It

definition
important
their
of
career
five
For
part
of
enjoyment
was
an
managers
other
hierarchical
for
job
felt
they
they
in
they
enjoyed
not
sacrifice
a
that
would
success
forties:
female
in
their
thirties
Four
these
and
were
and
all
managers
of
advancement.
I'd
do
but
I
like
bit
further,
far,
I
to
that
rather
get a
would
got so
"I'm happy
found
"
(Gill,
30s
I
satisfying.
woman)
that
and
enjoyed
something

124

"Yes, I'd

like the further

being
able to say I'm a personal
recognition of
contractor, I've got a car that BT have supplied me with, but not at the expense
of losing the freedom, the job I enjoy doing, living in the location I live in. "
(Jane S, 40s woman)
Interest was important to 11 managers in total, eight of whom also emphasised
between
link
the two criteria found in the first stage of the
the
enjoyment, confirming
research. Of the group of managers to whom finding their work interesting was
important, seven were in their forties and six were woman. To those who valued it
highly,
it
important
to them to find their work interesting
particularly
was often more
than to progress up the organisational hierarchy:
"If you could move into another area at the same level, that would be fine that
...
because
it's
still
wouldn't cause me any problems about not going up a grade,
interesting and it's something I want to do. " (Lyssa, 30s woman)
In fact, two of the women, Angela and Gill, had actually turned down a promotion
because they felt the job they were being offered was not interesting, suggesting that,
hierarchical
important
far
than
interest
to
them
in
more
was
as the case of enjoyment,
progression:
job,
for
I
back
a
a
apply
"A couple of years
now, my manager suggested
I
in
it
into
the
looked
I
had
end
it
and
that
and
up
come
was,
promotion
...
do
it,
I
didn't
I
think
that
behind
that was not
could
decided not to the reason
...
important
the
is
job
the
as
the
interest
didn't
as
but the job
content of
me...so
felt
it
I
if
job
level
higher
take
I
it,
it
to
if
fact
a
in
not
would
comes
status, and
40s
(Angela,
"
do.
to
woman)
I
want
wouldn't
really
was something
5.2.4 Identifying

internal
criteria
sub-groups of

internal
important
different
in
doing
things
way emerged as an
a
Doing new things or
This
first
the
in
for
the
research.
the
of
stage
for
managers
success
career
criterion
had
doing
that
four
things
Only
in
saw
the
managers
stage.
second
the
case
not
was
for
this
them
idea
of
all
their
and
before
success,
of
career
done
of
part
as
been
not
from
their
which
work,
achievement
of
a
sense
getting
and
to
challenge
was related
their
important
success:
career
of
aspect
an
for them was

125

"It's

something completely new really, it's a challenge when I look back to


...
when I started here, I was completely on my own, I didn't know anything about
what I was going to be doing so in 18 months we've actually achieved a lot. "
...
(Gill, 30s woman)
Doing new things or doing things in a different
way therefore appears to be closely
related to sense of achievement rather than a distinct criterion in its own right.
Likewise, there are other criteria for successmentioned by the
managers which, while
they are described as separate criteria, are also closely linked to senseof achievement
in a similar way. These include creativity, intellectual stimulation
learning,
and
as
well as meeting a challenge, already discussed in section 5.2.2. For example, to four
of the managers, learning things and getting a sense of achievement from that related
to their ideas about career success:
"I like the learning, I like the challenges that go with that learning about new
...
things, I guess that's very important to me. " (Kathryn, 30s woman)
Similarly, three other managers found the concept of achievement as personal
development extremely important:
"Also I think

I
haven't
is
internal
touched
upon
an
another element which
journey I mean, sometimes people come in with a view, and I did as well, that,
...
don't
here's
but
I've
the
these
all
me
you
realise
qualifications,
right,
got all
...
baggage you come in with, and to me, making discoveries along the way, being
"
(Pravin,
30s
is
thing.
discovery,
by
that
man)
a powerful
enlightened
In the way that a group of criteria for career success appear to be related to sense of
linked
is
to
the
there
concept of
similarly
of
criteria
another
group
achievement, so
job
includes
through
This
a
as
seeing
such
criteria
group
sense of accomplishment.

from beginning to end and meeting objectives. The idea of meeting objectives was
important to five of the managers:
been
done
I've
in
there've
the
I
actual projects
"I think
measure success
...
I've
been
in
Xve
had
to
write
present
or
control
which
of..
projects
particular
I
been
those roles, projects which
so
can
see
they've
successful,
within
reports ...
20s
(John,
"
man)
have gone well.

126

Likewise a third
group of criteria important to the managers are related to enjoyment
and interest, already linked by the findings of the first stage the
of
research. These
include variety
of work and job satisfaction. For seven of the managers, variety
either in terms of the type of work they did during their career
or in terms of the
content of a particular job was essential:
"I would be disappointed, I think, to
carry on doing the same sort of job as I'm
doing now all the time, so as long
there
as
are opportunities at the same level to
...
do different things, then I shall be quite happy. " (Angela, 40s
woman)
"And it gives me a lot of variety and a lot
interaction
that's
of
the
with
people
...
...
sort of enjoyment I have, because that then brings variety with it I'm never
...
sure what will happen, what will come in. " (Paula, 20s woman)
Job satisfaction was very important to nine managers, eight of whom
were women, of
all ages:
"I think that job satisfaction is quite high for me I like to enjoy what I do and
...
I've
normally
always enjoyed it ...it's when I don't like my job that I start looking
around for something else." (Jane M, 30s woman)
"I think career success...in the definition there will certainly be the theme of
enjoyment, personal satisfaction, call it what you want. 'I (Ran, 20s man)
It therefore appears that it may be more useful to view internal criteria for successnot
but
belonging
distinct
level
individual
to
the
at
of
criteria
as
and separate sub-groups
have
been
identified
far,
linked
Three
the
sub-groups
so
one closely
within
category.
to the concept of sense of achievement, one related to the concept of sense of
based
interest.
For
the
the
one
on
concepts
of
enjoyment
and
and
accomplishment,
henceforth
be
therefore,
these
to
this
research,
groups
will
referred
as
purposes of
See
Table
5.1
accomplishment
criteria and enjoyment criteria.
achievement criteria,
below.

identified
by
the managersas important fit thesethree sub-groups,
Not all the criteria
important
further
internal
Two
groups
of
however.
criteria relating to the managers'

from
first
The
the
emerged
success
second
career
stage
research.
of
of
conceptions

127

group of criteria, which can best be described as integrity criteria, relates to the
importance of the
feelings
managers'
about their own worth and the worthwhileness
of the work they were involved in. The criteria they used as part of their definitions
of career success included helping people through their work, putting something back
into the business, having good relationships with
staff, worthwhile work and
integrity. The second group, balance criteria, in fact consists
of only one criterion,
balance with home life. This relates to the importance placed by'
some of the
managers on having the ability to balance their career with their home life.
See
Table 5.1.
Table 5.1: Internal criteria of career success

Achievement

Accomplishment

criteria

criteria

Sense of

Sense of

achievement
Meeting a
challenge
Doing new or
different things
Intellectual

accomplishment
Seeing a job
through
Meeting

Enjoyment criteria

Integrity criteria

Balance criteria

Enjoyment

Integrity

Balance with
home life

Interest

Good

Job satisfaction

relationships
Worthwhile work

Variety

Helping

obj ectives

stimulation
Learning

Putting something
back

Creativity
Personal
development

5.2.5 Integrity

criteria

five
12
important
the
to
Integrity criteria were very
managers, seven women and
of
The
in
thirties.
forties
in
their
the
their
including
the
men
all
and
women
all
men,
important
did
in
through
helping
was
work
at
one
what
way
some
others
concept of
five
for
them:
idea
the
of
success
of career
to eight of the managers, and a core part of
be
to
taking
terms,
away what everyone else perceives
"if it was on my own
"
I'm
because
I'm
I'd
needs.
peoples'
meeting
then
successful
say
successful,

(Steve, 30s man)

128

"To me, success means helping other people become successful, and so I can
become successful... " (Pravin, 30s man)
Feeling that what one did at work was worthwhile was a crucial part of career success
for four of the managers, in particular, for Stuart, who, at one level below director,
was the most senior manager interviewed for the research. Stuart's philosophy of life
different
during
his
interview
he
from
the
that
was quite
of
other managers:
expressed
described
dream
his
a cherished pipe
strong political convictions and
of giving up
for
BT
Labour
Party,
to
the
going
with
and
work
should they win the next
career
likely,
his
idea
influence
It
therefore,
that
seems
of career success as
election.
through doing worthwhile things is more the result of strong values rooted in his
his
than
seniority:
political convictions, rather
"I don't want to be NW, it's not that kind of thing ...(it's in terms of) that I'm a
if
feel
kinds
feel
to
I
things
for
that,
those
to
as
of
people, want
good role model
...
I made a difference and it was worthwhile, a good for the world in general ...it is
know
I
don't
is
just
but
BT
in
BT,
yet what
a company ...so
not exactly missing
30s
(Stuart,
"
is.
man)
my good
in
defined
5
(grade
and above, as
In fact, for all but one of the senior managers
Chapter 3, section 3.2.5), integrity and having good relationships with the people who

key.
for
them
were
worked
for
to
I
to
for
work
say want
"... feeling that the people who work
me... used
in
be
I
to
for
to
they
want
that
me
be
than
vote
it
need
to
now
more
...
me... needs
...
it's
being
for
as
to
seen
be
me
vote
prepared
...
a position where people would
30s
(Adam,
"
leader.
man)
their
5.2.6 Balance criteria

influenced
tempered
life
home
"successful"
and
The desire to balance a careerwith a
four
For
the
all
ideas
managers,
of
at
work.
success
about
the
managers'
many of
balance
their
being
to
Stella,
with
career
Lyssa
Kathryn,
able
and
Angela,
women,
definition
their
important
of
of
part
an
actually
was
effectively
life
work
their
outside
career success:

129

"Again

it would be am I balancing my private life with


my work life and
achieving at both of them? I don't want to be perfect at both of them, but I'd
...
like to be able to balance them both I think (career
be
having
success)
will
still
...
a career that's worthwhile in about ten year's time if I choose to have
children ...I think that would be a definition of career success for me. " (Stella,

20s woman).
5.3 Intangible criteria of career success
A key finding of the first stageof the researchwas the existenceof a
group of criteria
for career successwhich were external to the managers,but not material in the
sense
of pay and level in the hierarchy. These intangible criteria, discussedin Chapter4,
4.1.3,
included
being an expert, respect, influence and leaving one's mark.
section
The importance of these criteria to managers'conceptions of career successwas
in
confirmed the second stage of the research,which found that all of the managers
least
valued at
one such criterion as Part of their idea of career successto some
degreeor another.
In addition, the second stageof the researchshowedthat, as is the casewith internal
for
fall
intangible
important
into
distinct
the
to
the
criteria
success,
criteria
managers
intangible
identified.
first
Two
is
The
groups.
separategroups of
criteria were
a
includes
being
regardedas an expert and
group of personal recognition criteria, which
in
first
identified
the
stageof the research,as well as other personal
gaining respect,
in
identified
the
the
research,personalrecognition
second
stage
of
recognition criteria
itself, being valued, and reputation. The second is a group of influence criteria,
first
in
identified
leaving
itself
influence
the
includes
stageof
one's mark,
and
which
identified
in
impact,
business
the
the research, and responsibility, autonomy, and
be
henceforward
to
These
as
the
referred
groups will
research.
second stage of
5.2:
Table
See
influence
criteria.
personalrecognition criteria and

130

Table 5-2: Intangible criteria of career success

Influence criteri

Personal recognition criteria

Muence

Personal recognition

Responsibility

Respect

Leaving one's mark

Being an expert

Business impact

Being valued

Autonomy

Reputation

5.3.1 Personal recognition criteria

Whilst not discussedas a separatecriterion for successin Chapter 4, in the second


for
important
itself
criterion
emerged as an
stage of the research personal recognition
it
in
Of
20
large
total.
this
for
the
group, was
managers,
group of
a
career success

15
important
be
to
managers,nine women and six men,
particularly
considered to
four in their twenties, five in their thirties and six in their forties.
important
it
highly,
or more
To those who valued personal recognition
was as
important as a criterion for their own career successthan organisationalrecognition
in terms of pay or hierarchical promotion. The recognition that the managerssought
valuable
and
being
competent
a
was
who
some-one
as
acknowledged
generally meant
manager:
being
financial
successful, other
aspect of
"I think apart from the material and
by
team
be
to
as
important
my
recognised
so
and
peoples' opinions are very
...
by
by
other
my customers,
being very good at what I do, being recognised
20s
H,
(Dave
"
is
I
think
of
success.
a
measure
the
organisation,
people within
man)
I
is
to
go
where
theme
the
success
career
of
recognition,
on
"I think that staying
for
I
in
the
recognised
am
and
company
players
senior
of
a network meeting
40s
(Tony,
"
I
bring
to
the
man)
company.
the
do
value
I
and
what

131

This desire for personal recognition as


approbation was sometimes taken to an
extreme, for example, by Alan:
"What's

success is achieving things and being held up as somebody who is


really ...if I was in a rock band, I'd want to be the singer, I'd want to be the
person who wrote the things, I wouldn't want to be the bass player or the
drummer. " (Alan, 40s man)

For other managers,personal recognition also involved specific feedbackin terms of


being
for
winning awards,
singled out
special attention such as an invitation to attend
being
thanked. Seven of the managers
a prestigious conference, or even simply
talked about recognition of this kind, six of whom were women, three in their 20s and
three in their 30s. It was particularly important to Lisa, a female managerin her 20s,
high
levels
that
of personalrecognition.
she strongly craved
who admitted
"If somebody says to me we'd like you to do this job, that's such a great ego
boost for me, purely ego I will do it if somebody says to me we want you to do
...
...
I'll
have
it,
bought
for
it,
I've
the
job
because
think
this
right person
you are
we
two! In an ideal world people will come to me and say you're very good at this,
has
I
job
I'd
thank
career
my
suppose
much
you
very
say
we'll give you this
.....
...
been dictated by other people flattering my ego." (Lisa, 20s woman)

be
to
really
The idea of being recognisedas an expert, somebodywho was considered
This
for
15
the
did,
managers.
of
success
they
career
of
part
a
was
good at what
three
distributed
the
throughout
age
men,
eight
group consisted of sevenwomen and
in
described
terms
whose
some-one
of
Being
often
was
regardedas an expert
groups.
opinions were sought out and valued:
kind
look
to
lot
because
of
a
as
me
people
of
a
feel
"I
reasonably successful now ...
business
say
and
the
up
you
few
ring
things
people
around
a
quite
on
...
expert
...
30s
"
(Stuart,
I
to
talk
man)
you.
so and so suggests
Paula,
to
talk
input
for
she'll
say
people
when
your
"It is being recOgnised
...
talk
to
it
I
like
and
me
important
to
come
will
people
when
me
that's
know, yes,
...
20s
"
(Paula,
woman)
something.
on
opinion
to me and ask my

132

Related to being
consideredto be an expert at work was the idea of being respected
for being really
good at one'sjob. This was important to 17 of the managers,ten
women and seven men, distributed throughout the three age groups. (A group of
eleven managers, six women and five men, valued all three of the personal
recognition criteria discussed so far: personal recognition, being an expert and
respect.)
For those who valued respect,it formed a crucial part of their idea of career
success.
To the managers,respect generally representedan affirmation of their ability to do
their job well and as such was closely related to the importancethey placed on their
discussed
in section 5.2.1 as a senseof accomplishment.
own competence,
"Obviously

to earn a lot of money is successful, but I think that it's equally


important to get the respect of people around you to say that you're a successful
person. " (Dave H, 20s man)
"(Career success) would be things like I get respect from the people I work with,
I get a sense of achievement out of my job, I'm doing something which interests
I
doing
better
I'm
I'm
doing
than
and
which
perceive
well
and
something
me
(Stella,
20s
"
woman)
anybody else could.
To Stuart, however, the idea of being respected was linked to the importance he
integrity
his
as a manager:
personal
placed on
"I want to feel when it's finished that people can say, yes, he made a difference,
I'm
that
to
he's
like
him,
be
I
model
role
to
a
good
me
example
good
a
want
yes,
...
for people. " (Stuart, 30s man)
being
important
to some of the
Two other personal recognition criteria emerged as
five
important
to
for
the
was
Being
work
at
made
one
contribution
valued
managers.
managers:
I
line
is
feel
the
managers support, my
when
successful
"What does make me
board
taken
that
they've
and
contribution
my
on
recognise
customersq show,
40s
"
(Liz,
forward...
helped
things
to
them
it's
that
move
actually
it,
and
valued

woman)

133

A separate group
of three managers believed that the reputation they had earned was
part of their own career success:
"Hierarchy

in the sense not of grade or of the physical trappings of status, but


in terms of what I'm known for, the teams I'm
a member of, what they've
achieved, what people think of me, what I can do, what resources I have to
deploy. " (David, 40s man)
5.3.2 Influence criteria

Influence criteria for career successas defined above were important to all of the
in
managers the second stageof the research. Being able to influence things at work
by
was valued everyoneto someextent, but was vital to a group of nine managers,for
it
whom was a crucial part of their concept of career success,far more so than their
in
the organisational hierarchy and the status which that endowed. This
position
group consisted of six men and three women, spread throughout the three age groups:
"I think I'm driven by a desire to influence the world I'm in I want to move
...
further in the company, I am quite ambitious, and I get very frustrated when I
feel there's more I could be doing, but I'm not getting the chance to do it. "
(Elspeth, 40s woman)

David in particular tried to trace the importance he placed on being able to have an
influence at work back to his schooldays:
"When I was at school we had the cadet force ...they used to have these field days
joined
in
hierarchical
it
you
when
when you'd go off orienteering ... was really
...
hate
I
this
junior
to
the
fourth
form
would
we
used
the
most
you were always
...
...
formers,
the
the
and
sergeants
this
sixth
all
exercise
orienteering
go off on
...
knew
they
mug
poor
as
a
had
the
going
were
we
they
where
and
map
stuff,
...
just
idea
back,
be
the
where you were going,
beginner you'd
no
stuck at
is
I
the
to
I
that
it
that
then
see
I
want
think
what
realised
following
was
...
draw
decide
the
have
I
even
map
or
on
if
go
we
either
where
say,
any
map ...and
I
for,
that's
I'm
think
I
that's
think
first
shooting
in
the
what
place ...so
the map
hell
idea
I
the
is
that
and
going
we're
of
where
want
some
driving
me,
...
what's
I
level
fundamental
that's
what
in
at
a
and
why,
and
go
we
where
have a say

134

want out of my career, some control and some understanding. "


man)

(David 40s,

Closely linked to being able to influence things at work was the idea of having
responsibility, which was particularly important to a group of II managers (including
five who also valued influence). Two kinds of attitudes to responsibility emerged
Erom the research: One group of six managers aspired to attain greater responsibility
in their work roles and therefore saw it as part of career success; they tended to be
further
to
people who were seeking move
up the organisational hierarchy:
"I think (career success) is performing a role that has a level of responsibility,
that requires you to be the sort of person that can cope with the pressure, is
fulfilling
capable of

do.
(Sherelle,
20s
have
"
to
woman)
whatever you

A secondgroup of five managers,four of whom were in their forties and one in their
important
being
more
thirties, saw the responsibility a particular work role entailed as
how
hierarchy,
in
in
they viewed their own career
terms
the
than their actual grade
of
in
BT:
hierarchical
the
did
their
(Their
of
position
age
not necessarily reflect
success.
five, only one, Tony, could be described as a senior manager.):
it.
"
do
to
for
the
than
grade you are
"It's more about what you are responsible

(Gill, 30s woman)


influence
in
terms
and responsibility
of
Those managers who saw their career success
Autonomy
degree
was
work.
at
likely
autonomy
of
to
a
value achieving
were also
influence
or
important to a group of ten managers, eight of whom also saw
Six
for
the
autonomy
valued
who
them.
managers
of
responsibility as part of success

forties:
in
their
were
degree
it's
but
it's
of
for
a
power
not
me
"Its freedom and autonomy really ...
be
the
than
decisions
victim
to
the
rather
make
ability
independence, autonomy,
40s
(David,
"
man)
decisions.
of
in
that
you're
it's
control,
the
you're
really,
autonomy
"It's the independence,
20s
"
(Paula,
has
that
woman)
responsibility.
who
seen as someone

135

Two further intangible


having
leaving
impact
business,
the
and
an
a mark
criteria,
on
are also considered to fall within the group of influence criteria. The idea of leaving
a mark at work, that is doing something by which one would be remembered as a
manager, was very important to eight of the managers, five of whom were in their
forties. Part of their career success was to achieve something for which they would
be remembered:
"What you would like to say at the end of your career is that I have actually
made a mark ...OK, it may not be something where somebody remembers you
personally, or you're remembered personally for doing something, but you have
had an effect on the organisation. " (Angela, 40s woman)
"I suppose there is an element of having done something, having left a mark. "
(David, 40s man)

Related to the idea of leaving a mark on the organisationwas the idea of having an
impact on the business, something which was a criterion of success for 12 of the
in
five
three
age groups:
all
and
women,
seven
men
managers,
"I would have to be able to make a really good impact, to change things and do
things, and move things on. " (Alan, 40s man)
"I think the key (criterion) for success would be that I've made a contribution, a
that
that
the
to
contribution
and
organisation,
contribution
positive
personal,
it's
to
in
that
the
added
the
been
to
have
respect
organisation,
valuable
must
BT's profits. " (Ran, 30s man)
5.4 External criteria of career success

by
level
hierarchy
in
the
which alone
of pay,
and
External criteria such as position
for
of
most
success
career
is
of
part
a
were
measured,
careersuccess often commonly
is
It
degree
to
this
another.
or
in
some
the
research
of
stage
second
the managers
for
the
first
in
the
however,
the
even
that,
research,
stage of
as
important to note,
their
of
career
favoured
conception
of
as
part
strongly
criteria
such
managers who
At
define
the
their
to
their
other
success.
own
on
sufficient
not
they
were
success,
importance
they
at
all
any
scarcely
of
were
for
managers,
of
group
another
extreme,

136

in their definition of career success. The significance of such differences in


managers' conceptions of career successwill be explored further in Chapter 6.

As with internal and intangible criteria, external


criteria for career successfall into
distinct groupings, those associated with hierarchical
position, both present and
future, that is hierarchical position itself, promotion
and status, which will be
describedhere as grade criteria, and those associatedwith
in
reward, particular level
of pay, describedhere as reward criteria. SeeTable 5.3.
Table 5.3: External criteria of career success

Grade criteria

Reward criteria

Hierarchical position

Levelofpay

Promotion

Status

5.4.1 Grade criteria


The level of importance placed on grade criteria as part of the managers' conceptions
from
three
that
managers at one
a
group
of
of
enormously
varied
of career success
heart
for
Darren,
their
the
John
Adam,
of
at
criteria
were
such
whom
and
extreme,

defmition of success,to that of a group of three managersat the other extreme,Liz,


how
in
they
terms
for
S,
Jane
Angela and
of
unimportant
whom grade criteria were
saw their own careersuccess.
hierarchy
the
through
as a part of career
The idea of promotion or progression up
hierarchical
(18),
larger
by
than
position
of
managers
a
group
valued
success was
is
This
their
not
itself, which 14 of the managers saw as a part of
own career success.
hierarchy
for
the
the
organisational
up
moving
of
managers,
many
since
surprising,
but
it
for
itself
in
the
means
a
as
rather
endowed,
status
or
valued
was not seen as end

interesting
finding
had
influence
they
work.
the
or
more
increasing
of
in
that
fresh
bring
so
new,
and
something
challenge,
a
would only
"Promotion
40s
(Tony,
"
important.
is
man)
it
respect

137

"It depends on how you define promotion taking on more responsibility


...
higher profile to me would be a promotion. " (Sherelle, 20s woman)

and a

Of the 14 managers who saw their position in the hierarchy as an important part of
their idea of career success,ten were men (four in their twenties, three in their thirties
and three in their forties) and four were women (two in their twenties, one in their
thirties and one in their forties). There were large differences amongst them in terms
hierarchical
to
the
extent
which
position was emphasised as part of career success
of
for
For
Adam,
Darren
this
three
the
emphasis.
group
of
men,
and
and
reasons
one
John, all in their twenties or thirties, achieving as high a level as possible in the
Career
heart
hierarchy
their
the
was at
of
conception of career success.
organisational
director,
BT
being
in
for
terms
them
or
either at
of
a company
was seen
success
elsewhere:
"Well, I want to be a director of a major company, really BT is it. " (Adam, 30s
man)
(career
that
be
to
turn
for
to
"I think at this stage
round and say
able
me
...
it
I
if
BT
that,
director
Buckley,
it's
Darren
got
is
if
whatever,
of
success)
.....
I'd
in
terms
back
time,
be
the
it
what
it,
of
be
on
pat
would
really
would really
20s
"
(Darren,
be
I
to
be
has
to
success.
do,
that
consider
to
what
got
so
wanted

man)
important
hierarchical
part of career
position was an
To a group of four managers,
dimension
had
this
felt
of
they
because
they
on
but
out
missed
for
them,
more
success
C
Dave
Alan
three
far.
This
and
men,
of
in
consisted
group
success their careers so
junior
and
his
managers,
in
Steve
thirties,
relatively
still
in their forties and
who were
because
important
hierarchy
in
her
the
was
M,
Jane
to
position
whom
one woman,
higher
to
the
None
echelons
this
aspired
group
of
felt
overdue.
was
promotion
a
she
did:
the
in
that
group
the
previous
way
of management
I
I
think
time
the
age
in
my
at
the
been
wrong
at
place
wrong
"I've probably
...
"
in
the
in
terms
company.
further
grade
and
of
rank
on
have
moved
should

(Dave C, 40s man)

138

"I don't think I


would like to leave BT at 50-odd at this level, I think I can leave
at a higher level. " (Steve, 30S man)
Two managers, Elspeth and David, believed that their hierarchical
position was
highly important to them, but for the influence it would
have,
them
to
allow
rather

than for the sakeof statusalone:


"It is quite important

because it is a major influence on how well you can do the


organisational/political
game in BT .....it's for the visibility and the fact that it
doors.
"
(Elspeth,
40s woman)
opens
The group of ten managers to whom hierarchical position was a small or unimportant
definition
their
of
part
of career success consisted of eight women, two in their

twenties, three in their thirties and three in their forties, and two men, one in their
thirties and one in their forties:
Six of these managers valued hierarchical position to a limited extent and then only
for the influence it gave them and what it allowed them to do. Their attitude was
less
Elspeth
David
they
to
that
attached
and
outlined above, although
of
similar
importance to the idea of hierarchical success:
in
level
the
terms
the
to
grading simply
of
of
seniority
nice
reach
because people take you more seriously, a lot of people are very grade
...
"
it
doesn't
to
hierarchical
me.
much
matter
no,
whereas,
conscious and
......
"It's

(Stuart, 30s man)


to me in the sense that there are some people you can't get to
if
impact
have
do
just
not
a
you're
on
any
things
any
or
cannot
you
and some
30s
(Kathryn,
"
woman)
certain grade.
"It's important

important
job
their
the
or
was as
content of
To the other four managers,all women,
how
in
hierarchy
in
they
terms
the
than
their
them
of
to
important
position
more
even
success:
their
career
own
viewed
important
is
it
feeling
how
I'm
is
more
job
much
about
and
about
the
"What
in
in
it
hierarchy,
the
does
the
it
does
of
scheme
sit
where
pay,
how
much
than
40s
(Liz,
"
woman)
things.

139

To 18 of the managers, the idea


of progression through the organisational hierarchy
or promotion was a part of their idea of career successin some way. Those managers
who valued it most highly not surprisingly were the same group as those to whom

hierarchical position itself was most important: Adam, John


Darren:
and
"I'm doing all right I'm still at that stage where I'm
the
pulling
myself
out
of
...
pack ...I'm a little bit out of it, but my next promotion will, I think, start to
identify me more strongly as one of the people that might win the
"
(Adam,
race.
30s man)
"I want to be a business manager, and I believe I've got the potential to succeed
at the highest level ...I'm not sure that BT's geared up to do that I could be a
...
level 2 in another five years and that really is just too slow. " (John, 20s man)

The same group of three older male managers,Dave C, Alan and Steve,who valued
hierarchical position strongly, also all saw being promoted as part of their definition
largely
because
felt
far
they
their
that
of careersuccess,
careersso
were not a success
in hierarchical terms:
"At this point in time, success now for me in the next ten years will be getting
I'd
have
been
I
in
if
I'd
a couple of
career,
a
achieved what wanted
promoted .....
levels up from where I am now. " (Alan, 40s man)

Six managers,three women and three men, believed that progressingthrough the
hierarchy was a part of their idea of careersuccessbut not at any cost: they were not
lives
job
their
they
the
enjoyed or
which
content of a
prepared to sacrifice either
in
outside work order to get promotion:
I'd be prepared to trade promotion in BT and extra
important
is
it
interests
having
to
other
my
give
up
against
responsibility
.....
I
is
terms
but
to
because I do want
go on,
a part of wanting success on my own
...
to
but
I'm
for
BT,
time
to
do
like
to
ride
my
I'd
make
going
still
more
that
say
"
11
be
till
to
at night and working at weekends.
working
horse, I'm not going
"I really don't think

(Elspeth, 40s woman)

140

Four managers, Lisa, Paula, Dave H


M,
Jane
and
saw promotion as part of their
career success, not as an end in itself, but rather in terms of a form of recognition they
might deserve for being good at their job. For them, therefore, it was closely linked
to the idea of seeing career successin terms of personal recognition:
"That would be the next achievement for me, in terms
of actually moving up to
the next layer of management I think it's the promotion would be further
a
...
...
recognition. " (Paula, 20s woman)
To six managers, promotion or being able to progress up the organisational hierarchy
was not a part of their conception of career successat all at the present time, although
three of them, Kathryn, Lyssa and Stuart, did not rule out the possibility that it might
become so in the future. The other three managers, Angela, Liz and Jane S, all in
their forties, felt that the content of their job was far more important to them in terms
how
they viewed their own career success than the ability to move up the
of
hierarchy:

"I think

I can get a lot of interest from doing different roles, and if the
opportunity arises to do things at a different level, I shall take it ...it doesn't
it
happen
I
feel
has
failed if
that
that
may not
worry me
shan't
my
whole
career
...
that doesn't come off. " (Angela, 40s woman)
"Some people might say that unless you're continually. pushing at developing
I
but
don't
haven't
then
actually see
got
a
career,
you
and moving on and up,
that, because I can move on and develop my career without necessarily getting
further up the promotion ladder. " (Jane S, 40s woman)

Six of the managersreported that they had actually turned down a promotion at some
had
done
John,
Elspeth
Two
that
they
in
these,
so
their career.
said
and
of
point
becausethey felt that the position they were being offered would not help them
further their career. Two of the managers,Angela and Gill, had not beenpreparedto
Two
hierarchy.
found
interesting
the
to
they
women,
move
up
which
work
sacrifice
life
home
have
disrupted
felt
S,
their
that
unduly,
Stella and Jane
promotion would
it
involve
to
the
travel
the
relocate.
necessity
or
in
of
would
amount
terms
of
either
is
idea
hierarchical
the
of
position and progression
Related to the grade criteria of
in
the
the
the
to
was
a
of
research
managers
second
stage
of
some
status, which

141

criterion for career success. Not surprisingly, those managers to whom status was
particularly important were those who also valued hierarchical position and
promotion highly: Adam, Darren and John:

"I believe that is what I should be going for, leadership those are the skills that
...
I really look up to in people Napoleon sounds a bit obsessivebut the fact that
...
he could stand up and all his troops rallied he came out of exile and, bingo, he's
...
got a 50,000 strong army... it's having that ability that I would really feel was
"
(Adam,
30s man)
successful.
For all three of them, the importance of status extendedbeyond their work lives to
their lifestyle at home. John, at 26, already supplementedhis income by renting out
four houseshe had bought, but he was at pains to point out that he would not want to
live in them:
it's a terraced house, lovely little house all
"I bought a house in Warrington
...
...
decked out, lovely it's a lovely house, but I wouldn't enjoy living there ...lots of
...
is
bigger,
do
I'm
lots
something
which
seeking
of people
people would and
...
20s
"
(John,
higher
I've
just
man)
ambition.
got
grander scale...

Stuart,
that
four
five
At the other extreme,
stressed
man,
women and one
managers,
least:
in
did
the
they
not value status
here
it
het
who
" Status and grade, I'm just not that
up about ...we've got people
job,
doing
the
if
to
them
before
a
they
you're
speak
will ask someone's grade
...
job's important-,,

(Gill, 30s woman)

5.4.2 Reward criteria


interviewed
to
important
the
to
managers
all
Reward criteria, in particular pay, were
Pay,
lifestyle.
finance
their
in
to
the
terms
necessity
of
some extent or other,
for
the
all
of
managers,
of
eight
only
success
however, was a central part of career
forties.
in
their
in
three
thirties
in
their
two
twenties,
their
and
Three
were
them men.
in
this
For
John.
the
Darren
Adam,
included
group,
people
and
Once again this group
it
life
financing
an
just
their
was
work:
outside
than
of
means
of
more
pay was
their
success:
career
of
important measure

142

"Money and bonuses


always make me feel good ...I'm a real tart when it comes
to (money). " (David, 40s
man)
"The next time I
felt
like a million dollars was kind of the time I
really
got
married ...I was 28 years old I made a couple of monster sales,
which netted
...
me-you know I didn't think people paid pay checks like I was getting, I didn't
think companies would actually pay me the
money ...going on our honeymoon
and the fact that I could pay for it, no-one had to pay for my wedding, that
gave
me a massive amount of satisfaction I really felt that the kind of holiday
we
...
had, looking at the other people (there), the
other people were all in their
years or in their 40s...that gave me you know, you've done very
...
"
well. (Adam, 30s man)
retirement

For two of the younger managersin this group, Darren and John, their idea
of career
depended
long-term
their
success
on
earning potential rather than their current
income which they were preparedto sacrifice to someextent in order to developtheir
careers in such as way as to maximise their income later on:
"I could move to other companies now and get a higher salary, but potentially
within BT I've got a lot greater long-term potential in terms of the various
things which turn me on in my job, of which quite high in that are grade and
money. " (Darren, 20s man)
To the other managers, pay was of lesser importance to them in terms of how they

for
their
than,
perceived
career success
example, the enjoyment they derived from
their job or the personal recognition they receivedfor what they did at work:
"It just makes so much difference if there are people that are nice that you're
intelligent
have
an
conversation
working with, and are supportive, and you can
I
that's
just
to
think
you
can
actually
relate
so
much
more
somebody
with,
...
I'd take a cut in salary to achieve that, and a more rewarding job. "
important
...
(Sherelle, 20s woman)
(career
because
I
it's
lower
down
the
success)
guess
slightly
of
...
I
but
I
don't
to
to
I
get
promotion,
still
want
more,
list
get
paid
want
want
still
...
it's
if
I'm
job
that
into
pays
more
and
gives
me
promotion
not something
to go
a
I
doing
think some people can only go for the pay and
happy
be
to
going
...
"It

is a part

143

promotion,
worthwhile

but I think it's got to be something that I think is valuable and


to do. " (Dave H, 20s man)

5.5 The effects of gender on personal conceptions of managerial career success


The findings of the second stage of the research support the conclusion drawn in the
first stage, discussed in Chapter 4, section 4.2, that there are differences in terms of
how career success is viewed by the male and female managers in that external
far
criteria are
more central to men's conceptions of career success,whereas women

in
internal
intangible
terms
seesuccessmuch more
of
and
criteria.
This is not to say that the male and female managerswho took part in the second
fall
into
demarcated
the
research
stageof
clearly
stereotypicalgroups. There are men
to whom internal and intangible criteria are a far more important part of their career
highly
there
than
external criteria, and
are women who value
success
external criteria
for success. What the second stage of the researchshows, however, is that those
in
definition
their
of career
managers who strongly emphasise external criteria
favour
internal
likely
be
those
to
and
managerswho
male, and
successare more
intangible criteria for successare more likely to be female.
5.5.1 The differences in emphasis on external criteria

define
how
in
female
they
terms
between
The difference
the male and
of
managers
is
for
themselves
particularly marked when external criteria are
career success
there
5.4.2,
5.4.1
in
discussed
a
group
As
was
extreme
at
one
and
sections
examined.
heart
the
for
John,
Darren
Adam,
at
were
criteria
such
whom
and
of male managers,
internal
did
include
definitions
While
their
idea
success
career
of
their
of
success.
of
less
the
than
them
for
they
too,
on
intangible
emphasis
placed
success
criteria
and
other managers:
in
back
to
that
I
keep
degree
financial
is
a
to a
one
going
"(Career success)
...
...
in,
how
importance
the
the
then
one
works
BT,
area
of
like
grade
place
...
30s
(Adam,
BTT'
long-term
doing
I
the
to
man)
is
of
aims.
am
important
what
Angela,
S,
Jane
Liz,
female
three
and
managers,
of
a
group
was
extreme

At the other
how
in
their
they
terms
own
saw
of
unimportant
were
criteria
for whom external
career success:

144

"(Career

success) is doing a good job well ...so the first part of that is the good

job, so you have to have


job
a
do it
you believe meets your criteria
then
and
...

well. " (Jane S, 40s woman)

Most of the men, ten, believed that the position they


attained in the organisational
hierarchy was an important measureof their career
success,comparedwith only four
of the women. Promotion was also more important to the males in the sample, II of
whom saw it as part of their idea of career success,compared with seven of the
women:
"A

measurement of success is how far I've got in the corporate


environment .....ideally I'd like to own a company and employ people so a
...
measure of success would be how big that company was and was it a successful
in
company? ... terms of myself, I would measure how successful I was by how
high, if I was a chairman, director or general manager, how far I'd got up in
...
the career I chose. " (John, 20s man)
"Playing in the next league, in the next team, is what it is about not that there's
...
anything wrong with this league or this team ...but it's the next team, the next
league up. " (David, 40s man)

Some of the women on the other hand were at pains to point out how irrelevant their
in
how
hierarchy
terms
to
they
the
progress were
of
position in
or opportunities

job
did
For
they
the
the
them,
their
actual content of
was
viewed
own careersuccess.
-Clin
described
5.2.3,
As
determining
important
in
their
section
careersuccess.
far more
..

four women, Gill, JaneS, Angela and Liz, felt that they would not sacrifice a job they
for
hierarchical
advancement.
enjoyed
"It would depend what the job is really .....I wouldn't go for it just because it was
lead
to
be
job
I
have
to
it
me
would
actually
a
could see
which
a grade ... would
be where I wanted to be at the end of the day ...something I could cope
"
(Kathryn,
30s
I
woman)
with ...something enjoyed.
division
because
in
division,
being
the
the
promoted within
"I wouldn't consider
don't
be
I
to
an
the
audit
want
me
are
managers,
and
above
grade
people at
S, 40s woman)
(Jane
"
auditor.

145

Liz in particular
was at pains to stress how unimportant her position in the hierarchy
was to her and told the story of how she felt about the appointment of her boss,
once
her junior within the
organisation, to illustrate this point:
"My boss at the moment is some-one
few
together
a
years
ago
we
worked
as
...
colleagues, and then for a while when I was promoted, I was senior to her now
...
she's my boss, and when that happened I remember because I'd been in that
...
position myself with a colleague I remember how much it meant to me when
...
that colleague came along and saw me and said that it wasn't a
for
him
problem
and he was happy to support me in my new role, and I really appreciated that,
and I thought I'll ring Jenny because we're old pals and say the same thing, and
she was appreciative of it ...I didn't know at the time how I was going to feel
for
about working
somebody who had been my equal, even my junior at one
five
stage, who was
or six years younger than me...but I can say now with
absolute confidence, having done it for 18 months, that it has not been a
in
fact it's been one of the happiest times in my working life, because
problem,
have
we
a good working relationship ...I don't sort of feel bitter and twisted ...I'm
pleased for her because she's done well ...it didn't affect our dealings with each
I've
living
doesn't
bother me particularly
that
it didn't
that
other ...so
got
proof
...
spur me on either to think, A well, if Jenny can get promoted, then I'm going to
(Liz,
"
40s
get promoted.
woman)
Just one of the men placed no emphasis at all on external criteria in formulating his
described
in
Stuart,
5.2.5,
This
who, as
section
was
conception of career success.
influence
having
for
himself
on the organisation, whilst
as
a positive
saw success
his
integrity.
He
his
attitude to the outward trappings of
made
retaining
personal
his
in
interview:
the
other managers craved very clear
successmany of
"We don't have a lavish lifestyle ...we've got a fairly decent sized house but like,
I'm not fussed about flash cars and stuff ..things like a decent car, a decent
house I managed to acquire ...I don't like status symbols. " (Stuart, 30s man)

be
Stuart
between
to
the
other male managersseems
related to the
and
The contrast
he
those
to
espouses,
are
which
values
which
perhaps
closer
set of strong values
share.
the
women
of
some

146

As in the first
stageof the research,strong differences emergedbetweenthe men and
the women in terms of why they
valued grade criteria for career success,as well as
differences in terms
degree
the
of
of emphasisthey gave them. The women who
valued hierarchical position and promotion as part of their conception
of career
successtended to do so not for reasonsof status, but either becausethey
associated
these criteria with the influence and responsibility they
sought to get from their
careers, such as Elspeth, or becausethey saw them as the "just desserts" the
of
competent manager,like JaneM, who aspiredto a promotion which shebelieved
was
long overdue:
"At the moment it's important to me to
get upgraded to another band it may
...
happen
but I want to make the effort at least to tell them I'm
not
...
not very
...
happy so that's come up higher, I suppose, in
my personal priorities than it
...
normally is. " (Jane M, 30s woman)

The men, on the other hand, saw hierarchical positions much more in terms the
of
statusthey endowed and as goals and targets to be aimed for, almost as if work was
kind
some
of competitive game:
"I think

achieving a personal contract grade within BT within nine years is


quite good ...in fact it's rare ...the average age of my colleagues is at least 40, so in
terms of how high I am in the hierarchy already, I'm proud of it, and other
people look on in disbelief at times. " (Darren, 20s man)

In fact, the men were much more likely to have set themselvessome kind of work
oriented goals, compared with the women. The three males with the most external
had
detailed
Adam,
Darren
John,
conceptionsof career success,
and
all
goals clearly
for
future
in
Of
their
the
careers.
contrast, nine admitted to
mapped out
women,
having no work goals of any kind. Sevenwomen, comparedwith three men, had had
from
findings
These
idea
they
they
wanted
a career when
started work.
what
no
in
first
the
the
conclusion made
stage of the researchthat men were
concur with
in
likely
"goals",
"steps"
"ladders".
their
to
terms
see
careers
such as
and
much more
The use of the languageof competition also provided a distinction betweenhow the
in
female
their
the
the
managers
spoke
about
careers
second
stage
of
male and
in
how
the
two
the
Seven
talked
men
and
of
of
women
some way about
research.
influenced
instincts
in
The
discussed
their
careers.
Men
particular
their competitive

147

their career advancement in terms of winning a competition or game,


or playing "in
the big league". Yet again, Adam and Darren were at the extreme of this tendency
and both described how intensively competitive they felt about their careers:
"I want to compete with good people, I want to beat
good people ...so there's
satisfaction in playing in a big enough game, so that's what job satisfaction
means to me. " (Adam, 30s man)

The two women expressed their competitive instincts somewhat differently. To


them, it was important not to get left behind, especially if they saw people they did
being
higher
level. Their idea of competition,
to
not rate as competent
promoted a
therefore, was more basedon the idea of equity, rather than a view of the workplace
as a gamewith winners and losers in the way that the men saw it:
"At the same time I am quite competitive I think why's that berk over there an
...
R and I'm not-that

drives me a bit. " (Elspeth, 40s woman)

The group of women to whom grade criteria were most important were in their
twenties: all four women in this age group placed a good deal of importance on
findings
first
is
This
the
the
stageof the research
of
not surprising, given
promotion.
important
for
that
careersuccessare more
external material criteria
which suggested
to younger managersof both sexes (Seesection 5.6.1). Nevertheless,unlike someof
their male colleagues,the young women saw their careerprogressionvery much in
incremental terms, focusing on the next move up, rather than aiming at an
lack
in
her
for
believed
Paula
this
that
the
of
casewas a
reason
overarching goal.
confidence:
I'm
that
the
thought
it,
I'm
that's
don't
"I
not
think
what stops me.....
capable of
20s
"
(Paula,
to
bright
woman)
enough, whatever, progress...
clever enough,
5.4.1,
in
described
the
that,
interesting
to
managers
is
of
six
It
section
as
note
also
for
five
two
down
having
turned
of
and
women,
were
a
promotion,
talked
about
who
interest
had
been
fact
the
to
that
they
not
prepared sacrifice
them this related to the
hierarchy.
The
from
the
to
they
man
who
only
move
up
work
got
and enjoyment
because
he
did
"it
John,
down
that
wasn't
so,
turning
said
a
promotion,
talked about
going anywhere".

148

In terms of reward criteria, the group to whom level of pay was most important in
relation to how they saw their career success consisted of eight men. At the other
extreme, there was a group of four women to whom money was relatively
unimportant in this regard. This pattern, which concurs with the findings of the first
stage of the research, reflects the overall difference between the men and the women
in their attitudes to their pay: whilst all the managers agreed that money was
important to them in that it helped them to finance their lifestyle, the women
idea
less
to
their
generally saw pay as
central
of career success than the men and
its
different
it
for
its
in
This
than
the
status.
was strongly evoked
utility rather
valued
kinds of stories the men and the women told about money and pay: for the men to
important,
increasing
their salary was seen as part of the
whom money was extremely
for
the external material successwhich they thrived on at work:
competition
"I used to travel around on aeroplanes it used to irritate me, I was sat in
...
business class - I'd always travel business, that was the company policy just
it
in
here
business
lowest
I'm
I
bet
the
used
thinking
class, and
paid person
to annoy me ...I had a friend in sales and I could see that sales people earned
30s
(Adam,
"
do.
I've
to
that's
I
man)
got
what
more, so thought really
he's
bit
than
little
is
brother
got a
me,
"If you look at my
younger
a
who
I
life,
to
very
was
whilst
different
and
approach
and
set of values
completely
had
the
I've
I
he
always
in
suppose
so
and
not
was
ways,
many
materialistic
...
20s
(John,
"
that.
the
desire
to
and
all
money
the
get
and
succeed
ambition and
man)

hand,
told
about
Liz,
the
stories
like
Lisa
similar
other
Some of the women,
on
and
how little they related their own successto what they were paid:
I
didn't
make a very
why
I'll
I
if
this,
get
thinking
sell
wasn't
in
I
my
pay
with
up
ended
me...what
I was a sales managerg to start with
"That's

I
I
good sales person ... wasn't motivated,
for
know,
didn't,
it
just
U00
you
another
...
didn't
I
when
with
argue
even
and
packet,
...
I
for
three
I was paid nothing
months and

20s
(Lisa,
"
it
it
woman)
they'll
out...
work
they'll
out,
work
kept thinking
in
the
I
the
level
paid
worst
was
management
of
my
at
where
"There was a stage
I
because
the
that
was
I
thought
afterwards
about
only
district,
and
.....
entire
hit
it
really
knew
never
I
and
was
paid,
else
everybody
what
manager
personnel

149

me until that period of time was over that I was the lowest
paid of the lot ...it
didn't occur to
me to go and bang on the boss's door and say hang on a
minute!... " (Liz, 40s woman)

It is interesting to consider whether this difference in


attitude towards pay between
the men and the women may be explained by the fact that the
men still occupy the
traditional role of bread winner in their family. While this is
certainly true for some
of the men, such as Adam and Darren, it is also true for many of the women. For
example, of the four women in their forties interviewed for the secondstageof the
research, all could be considered to be the main financial providers in their
household. Jane S is the main bread winner in her family, Liz's husband is
retired,
Angela is divorced and Elspeth has recently separatedfrom long-term
a
partner.
Nevertheless, three of these, Jane S, Liz and Angela, fall into the
four
group of
women who place least importance on money in terms of how they seetheir career
success. This explanation alone, therefore, doesnot appearto be sufficient to justify
the difference between the men and the women in terms of their attitudes towards
pay.
5.5.2 The differences in emphasis on internal criteria
While external criteria for career success were more relevant to the majority of the
men, the women were more likely to emphasise internal and intangible criteria as part
definitions
Of
internal
for
their
the
of
of success.
criteria
career success,
in
accomplishment criteria
particular were more important to the women than the
men. Nine women, compared with only two men, saw being really good at what they
did as being central to their conception of career success. This was often linked with
in
being
their
terms
personal recognition of
accomplishment,
of
valued as an expert
job:
their
or respected as some-one who was really good at
"It's nice to do something well, isn't it? I like doing it for my own self-esteem I
...
don't like doing a bad job, and if somebody recognises it, that's even better. "

(Jane M, 30s woman)


"A sense of personal satisfaction comes out of that, because you can look at
did
I
decision
I
that
that
yeah,
well,
say,
was
a
good
can
really
something and
...
hold
head
high,
because
I
I
did
is
that,
that
thatq
my
can
up
a
with
go
tremendous motivation

for me I like recognition as well


I like somebody to
...
.....

150

come up to me and say, yeah, that was really good, thank you for that. " (Stella,
20s woman)

For the other women who valued accomplishment


criteria, it was becausethey saw
their own career successin terms of achievement at a very
personal level. Not
surprisingly, these female managersalso emphasisedachievementcriteria as a key
part of their definition of careersuccess:
"... that I feel that I've achieved something, I've actually been
successful at ...it is
being able to change something, being able to deliver
a product on time,
something like that. " (Lyssa, 30s woman)

The men, on the other hand, were more likely to feel that being good at their job was
important only in that their basic self-confidence partly derived Erom their
competenceat work; it was not related to their conception of career successin any
way:
"I need to know I'm good at my job, I need to really know, I need to believe I'm
really good at what I do ...it's really me I'm interested in, not anyone else."

(Adam, 30s man)


Likewise, the men who valued achievement criteria were also less likely than the
definition
likely
to
their
to
them
to
of
and
women see
as central
careersuccess,
more
in
instrumental
their organisationalprogression.
regard achievementas
Enjoyment criteria were important to both the men and women interviewed in the
idea
those
the
of
men with a very external material
second stage of
research; even
felt
John,
Darren
Adam,
they
that
success
achieved
career
any
and
career success,
did
Nevertheless,
did
if
be
they
they
at work.
not enjoy what
meaningless
would
larger
be
highly
important
interest
to
to
a
group of
were considered
enjoyment and
far
Job
too
ten,
was a
more
compared with seven.
satisfaction
women than men,
important criteria for successfor the women than it was for the men: of the nine
it
definition
their
of career success,eight were
as part of
managers who valued
female.
felt
derived
from
interest
that
the
they
their
five
enjoyment
and
who
Of the
managers
level
four
in
hierarchy,
important
to
them
than
their
the
were
more
were
work

151

women; two had even been prepared to sacrifice an opportunity for promotion to do
work they considered to be more interesting. This endorses the conclusion drawn in
Chapter 4, section 4.2, that enjoyment criteria
be
may
generally more central to
women managers' ideas of career successthan to men's:
"(Career

success) would just come down to something really anodyne like


continuing to have fun and enjoy what I was doing, and getting some
for
it. " (Elspeth, 40s woman)
recognition
"That to me is something to do with success, just enjoying what you're doing. "
(Kathryn, 30s woman)

Furthermore, women were much more likely to emphasise achieving a balance


between career and home life as part of their idea of careersuccessthan the men: the
four managerswho included balance criteria in their definition of successwere all
female, Angela, Kathryn, Lyssa and Stella:
"I think it's combining several things at once as well, being able to have your
have
interests,
the
time
at
as
other
personal
and manage them
same
career
your
letting
down,
I
if
that
think
anyone
you've achieved all of
without
altogether ...
then you'll feel more successful than people who've concentrated on one. "
(Lyssa, 30s woman)
5.5.3 The differences in emphasis on intangible criteria

Of the intangible criteria for careersuccess,personalrecognition criteria tendedto be


the
ideas
they
to
than
their
the
to
were
own
success
about
women's
more central
first
findings
the
the
the
stage
of
of
supports
men's, a conclusion which once again
linked
to
An
an
often
was
criteria
recognition
on
personal
emphasis
research.
A
5.5.2.
described
in
internal
group
section
accomplishmentcriteria, as
emphasison
key
highly
three
the
all
of
valued
women,
of
whom
were
six
managers,
of eight
being
for
being
respected
and
seen
as
an
expert,
success,
criteria
recognition
personal
For
itself,
this
of
group
criteria.
as
accomplishment
well
as
personal recognition
heart
their
the
of
career
conception
of
at
criteria
were
recognition
personal
managers,
success:

152

"(Career success is) being in


I'm
draw
full
to
the
able
a role where
on
range of
experience and skills that I've got, and where the contribution I make doing that
is recognised and valued and respected, and, yes, being
remunerated
accordingly, but that is second. " (Lizq 40s woman)
Personal recognition criteria were relatively unimportant to six of the
managers, four
men and two women. When one examines the reason for this an important difference
between
the men and the women. Three of the men, Adam, Darren and
emerges
John, all had conceptions of success deeply rooted in external criteria, that is they
saw their own success in terms of organisational, rather than personal recognition:
"I like people to know that I'm good at my job, but only because of what one
achieves through them knowing that you know what you're talking about
(Adam, 30s man)

The two women who did not value personalrecognition, Angela and Lyssa,had quite
different
a
reason: they were managers who saw career successmuch more as
internal
their
own
personalterms, rather than through the recognition
achievementon
and acknowledgementof anyoneelse:
do like to feel that what I've done has been useful to somebody ...not
feel
just
internal
it,
but
thing,
to
for
to
as an
get particular praise
necessarily
that I've helped. " (Angela, 40s woman)
"I

The emphasis that certain managers, in particular women, place on personal


how
in
their
they
may
well
terms
success
career
own
view
of
criteria
recognition
in
to
in
they
that
lack
basic
their
are
unable
own abilities,
of confidence
relate to a
feel that they are good at what they do or successfulin any way unlessthey are given
feedback which confirms this in some way. Although this researchproject was not
did
lack
the
women
directly concerned with this subject, a
of confidence amongst
4,
in
Chapter
discussed
first
in
the
issue
the
section
as
research,
stage
of
emergeas an
4.2. This was not as apparentin the secondstage:of the managerswho emphasised
levels
her
low
Paula,
talked
about
one,
success,
part
of
as
career
personal recognition
Steve,
M
Jane
in
5.5.1,
described
two
and
others,
and
section
as
of confidence,
in
their
lack
careers.
earlier
ambition
of
to
alluded a

153

Influence criteria for successseemedto be


important
to the men than the
rather more
women in the secondstageof the research. This may reflect the fact that, for many of
the men, having influence was inextricably linked with reaching a certain level in the
hierarchy. The fact that the women who did value influence as
part of their idea of
career successsaw it as far more important than the statustheir hierarchical position
gavethem supportsthis conclusion:
"It isn't the level that's important to me I think it's influence, where you
...
feel you don't have to be at a high level, but if what you're doing is important
...
to something else..." (Lyssa, 30s woman)
One type of influence which was valued more by the women than the men in the
second stage of the researchwas achieving successvicariously. A group of eight
five
managers,
women and three men, saw achieving successfor other people as part
of their own careersuccess:
"I get much more of a buzz about perhaps sorting things out so that other
develop
do
they
to
to
their
careers or suddenly realise what
need
people can
develop their careers, than sometimes even being successful in the day to day
job. " (Angela, 40s woman)
It is interesting to note that two of the men who believed that achieving success for
by
both
Asians
important
their
own career successwere
part of
other people was an

race:
formal
basis,
into
back
the
"... to try to put things
on an
company, not on a
it's
Indian,
I'm
because
it's
helping
informal basis, where
whether
an
people,
helping more junior people within the company if they've got a problem,
(Ran,
"
into
back
the
like
be,
I
things
to
company.
the
put
may
case
whatever
20s man)
had
have
it
to
focus
on
While race is not a main
of this research,the effects appears
6,
in
Chapter
briefly
be
considered
the managers'personal conceptionsof successwill
6.7.
section

154

5.5.4 Women's "broader"

definitions of success

One conclusion drawn in the first stageof the researchwas that the female
managers
had a much broader defmition of successin their lives
as a whole than the men: they
were more likely to see career successasjust a part of the successin their lives as a
whole they wanted to achieve, and therefore more likely than the men to expressan
interest in succeedingin other parts of their life as well as their careers. In the fullscale study, such a difference did not manifest itself in this way: almost all the
(20),
both
managers
men and women, saw career successas just one part of life
success.
However, four of the women included the criterion of balancing careerand home life
in their definition of success, and, of six of the managers who could imagine
developing their careers outside a conventional business environment, five were
ideas
The
like
they
to do in the future ranged
women.
women's
about what
might
from teaching to running a hotel; the one man, Stuart, was considering a career in
is
between
While
fact
there
these
two
that a
the
considerable
overlap
politics.
groups,
total of seven out of the 12 women interviewed either included balance in their
definition of successor were considering other career options seemsto support the
in
for
in
the
too,
the
that,
the
success
research
second stage of
women
suggestion
their careerswas defined more broadly as a part of successin their lives than it was
for men.
5.6 The effects of age on personal conceptions of managerial career success

drawn
in
the
findings
the
The
conclusion
researchconcur with
of the secondstageof
Chapter4, section 4.3, that managers'conceptionsof careersuccessvary accordingto
external
on
emphasis
more
placing
managers
younger
with
age as well as gender,
intangible
in
terms
for
of
more
success
seeing
managers
older
and
success
criteria
leaving
idea
their
the
organisation.
on
a
mark
of
especially
criteria,
5.6.1 The decline in emphasis on external criteria
found
to
that
the
central
more
criteria
were
grade
research
The second stage of
hierarchy
in
the
a
was
part
career
success:
position
of
conceptions
younger managers'
four
in
the
for
their
twenties,
the
of
with
compared
of
managers
six
success
of career
important
idea
forties;
to all of the managers
the
in
promotion
their
of
was
managers

155

in their twenties, compared with only five of the managers in their forties. The
managers in these two age groups who saw hierarchical position as a particularly
unimportant part of their view of career successwere almost all women, two in their
twenties and three in their forties, Angela, Jane S, and Liz, who also placed little
value on promotion. (This is not surprising, given the conclusions drawn in section
5.5.1 that grade criteria are generally less important to women managers'conceptions
of careersuccessthan they are to men's.)
While the difference between the numbers in the two age groups may not seem
is
there
particularly striking,
a much bigger variation between the two sets of
managers when the reasons why they value grade criteria are considered. The
younger managersto whom such criteria were important were much more likely to
directly
in
them
to
as
see
related careersuccess terms of their associatedstatus:
"That's where the challenge is for me, to break that very hard barrier of the
job
BT
is
lot
directorship
a
non-directorship
executive
within
a
more
...
I
I
be
for
but
I
think
the
then
getting
success
can
me,
would not
achievable
20s
"
(Darren,
man)
achieve.
The only managers in their forties, Alan and Dave C, who valued grade criteria for
had
believed
the
they
that
those
material
achieved
this reason were
not
yet
who

deserved
they
at work:
successwhich
I
haven't
done
I
have
further
have
than
I
I
"Ten years ago thought could
got
...
tree,
be
the
for
to
be,
I
to
up
move
so overall success me would
got where wanted
40s
C,
(Dave
"
bite
better
the
man)
to get a
cherry.
of
their
forties
in
of
part
as
criteria
their
grade
The other three managers
who still saw
level
higher
influence
increased
because
the
did
a
idea of career success
of
so either
for
it
the
because
the
not
pose,
would
job would allow them or
greaterchallenges
of
hierarchical
position alone:
statusof
because
believe,
don't
I
bring
me greater responsibility,
"Promotion wouldn't
it
lot
has
job
that
in
of responsibility ...what would
a
a
I'm already
in
fresh
bring
so
and
new,
something
challenge,
a
only
would
bring? promotion
...
40s man)
"
(Tony,
important.
is
it
that respect

156

Two of the women in their forties


who now saw grade criteria as unimportant, Liz
and Jane S, in fact believed that they had been much more important to them when
they were younger:
"I've noticed since
drive
I remember
.....
up with ambition, I
is, it didn't happen
important
more

being the wrong side of 40 a distinct drop in the ambition


for a couple of years in the early nineties almost being eaten

still wanted to make that next move up ...and what I feel now
and I think so what? ...I enjoy what I'm doing, and that's
now. " (Liz, 40s woman)

Of the all-male group of managerswho valued reward criteria for successhighly,


there were same number in their forties as in their twenties. Nevertheless,as with
grade criteria, they were more central to the younger managers'ideas about career
for
in
them, they related to status,whereasthe older managerssaw the
that,
success,
in
they
earned
particular more as a means of maintaining a
amount of money
lifestyle:
if and finally, career success, if I retire and can look back on my career and say
I not only took it to the limits, but it's given me all that I need now for the
40s
(Tony,
life.
"
half
man)
of my
second

While reward criteria are generally less central to the women's concepts of career
forties
in
to
their
three
the
whom grade criteria were unimportant,
women
success,
Angela, Jane S and Liz, also put least emphasis of all on pay, as part of their
There
in
for
distinct
this
definition of success,setting a
age group.
women
pattern
differed
She
Elspeth.
fit
did
this
in
pattern,
not
was one woman this age group who
She
too.
in
senior
a
more
female
was
from her
respects
other
several
group
peer
for
influence
in
terms
her
which,
work,
at
of
success
career
own
managerwho saw
While
hierarchy.
by
best
the
reward
her, could be achieved
organisational
moving up
her
important
to
idea
her
they
to
more
were
success,
of
career
central
not
criteria were
longfrom
had
because
her
a
separated
recently
she
age
of
than to the other women
house.
large
the
had
a
of
purchase
as
such
expenses
entailed
term partner, which
intangible
importance
in
increase
criteria
of
5.6.2 The
in
decline
criteria
the
on
material
emphasis
a
suggested,
first
research
of
As the
stage
increase
by
be
to
an
accompanied
seems
managers
older
amongst
for career success

157

in the importance
placed on intangible criteria for success,in particular influence
criteria. Four out of the nine managerswho saw being able to influence things
as
central to their own career success were in their forties. (They were all also
managers,like Elspeth, who still saw promotion as important in that, for them, this
was a meansof gaining greaterinfluence):
"As a kid I always took my toys to pieces, so that I
could understand how they
worked, and I think that's what I would like, that I could be involved in
something where I understood the entirety of what's going on and had some
control over it perhaps, some influence. " (David, 40s man)
Related to having influence, autonomy was also a much more important
part of the
older managers' ideas of career successthan it was for their younger counterparts. Of
the managers who valued autonomy highly, six were in their forties, compared with

two in their thirties and two in their twenties.


One particular influence criterion for success which was especially favoured by
in
forties
idea
leaving
their
the
managers
was
of
a mark in some way on the
for.
do
Being
they
to
this was at the heart of the conception
organisation
worked
able
for
five
of career success
of the managers in this age group. Leaving a mark was
doing
in
"live
terms
usually seen
of
something worthwhile which would
on" after the
however,
had
left
first
Unlike
the
the
the
stage of
research,
none
manager
company.
in
forties
in
the
the
their
took
the
of
research saw
part
second
stage
who
of
managers
this in terms of setting up their own business:
"(Career success is) to have actually made a mark on the company and done
has
done
least
have
that
lives
to
that
operationally
something
at
on .....
something
benefited the company. " (Alan, 40s man)
for
that
the
The second stage of
personal recognition criteria
research also suggested
Whilst
important
become
they
to
man
only
one
older.
get
more
men
as
successmight
in
their
three
men
in his twenties saw personal recognition as part of career success,

)
This
important
to
(Personal
did.
ages.
forties
women of all
recognition was equally
less
for
to
to
tendency
the
emphasis
on
put
men
counterbalance
a
as
may operate
in
form
for
they
the
as
get
of
success
external
criteria
recognition
organisational
less
first
hand
in
tend
to
the
them
the
place.
Women,
emphasise
other
on
older.

158

5.6.3 The differences in


emphasis on internal criteria

There was also evidence that

internal
for
some
criteria
career successbecome more
important to managers
as they get older, in particular, enjoyment criteria. The
managersin their forties appearedto place more importance on enjoying their job
or
finding it interesting than the
younger managers did. For example, of the five
managerswho thought that the enjoyment they derived from their work
was more
important than material success,three were
women in their forties:
"I know that if I moved I could get
more money, but at the end of the day I
don't know that I would necessarily get the
same job satisfaction. " (Jane S, 40s
woman)

Those managerswho believed that finding their work interesting


was a part of their
careersuccesswere far more likely to be in their forties than any other age group: for
seven out of the eight managersin this age group, this was the case,comparedwith
one managerin their twenties and three in their thirties:
"I want interesting work and new challenges. " (David, 40s man)
"I want to continue to enjoy myselL.. on the whole I'm happy and I enjoy what
I'm doing and I'm interested in it
think the day it doesn't feel like that
...I
anymore, I shall toddle along to my boss and say any chance of an exit
I've
had enough. " (Liz, 40s woman)
package?,

In contrast, accomplishmentcriteria for successseemedto be rather less important to


older managers than they were to younger managers:only two managersin their
forties valued them highly, comparedwith four managersin their thirties and four in
their twenties. This may reflect an increasein confidence in one's ability to do one's
job which comeswith age.
5.6.4 Evidence for changes in managers' conceptions of career success
As in the first stageof the research,there were indications that managers'conceptions
begin
in
for
to
the
thirties,
those
may
change
particularly
managers
of career success
degree
Five
to
that
the
have
some
of
external
success
up
point.
of
achieved
who
in
feeling
the
took
the
talked
second
part
stage
of
research
about
at
who
managers

159

some sort of cross-roadsin terms of how they viewed their careers:four of thesewere
in their thirties and
forties.
A
in
in
her
had
their
thirties
early
sixth
manager
one
already revised her ideas about career successas part of a wider re-evaluation of her
life goals. For all the managers,this processof re-evaluation seemedto stem from a
deeper understanding of their personal values and a clearer perception of what a
career meant to them at the individual rather than the organisational level. It also
related in part to a realisation.that work life had to be balancedwith home life in
some way.

"If you'd asked me five years ago, I would have said it was about not
...
being
at the top of the company, but I would have said it would be
necessarily
being
influences
that
the person who is at the top (now) I
a
position
about
.....
jobs
been
I
have
describing
that
those
myself
some
of
realise
might
are not what
I want... " (Kathryn, 30s woman)
"Now I'm thinking why is it I want this? Partly it's that I'm just changing what
I really want, and other things become more important it's partly age as well,
...
isn't it?... you look at your life in totality, and you think do I want to go all out to
high.
"
becoming
too
I
think,
the
are
costs,
go all the way up? ...at what cost?...
(Gill, 30s woman)

had
he
the
For Pravin, who was trying to reject totally
aspectsof career success
he
the
them
know
to
did
but
with,
in
replace
wanted
what
not
as yet
valued the past,
between
he
torn
emphasisingcareer
was
transition was one of crisis proportions:
in
level
internal
terms
it
in
terms
personal
a
very
at
seeing
and
external
very
success
far
felt
had
he
for
he
eluded
the
so
success
his
external
own achievement; yearned
of
he
form
internal
drawn
to a very
him, yet he was also
of careersuccess saw almost as
spiritual enlightenment:
"There's

conflict

between

what

I'm

doing

and

how

see things

30s
(Pravin,
"
I'd
huge
man)
say.
conflict,
a
philosophically,
ideas
believed
their
forties
that
in
about
thirties
their
and
Twelve of the managers
The
these,
had
in
of
they
majority
had
older.
got
as
way
some
changed
career success
for
less
career
criteria
they
that
on
external
emphasis
put
now
in
total,
said
eight
to:
they
used
than
success

160

"As I progressed,
I
as got older, being happy in what I was doing, enjoying what
I was doing became
more and more a sort of dominant feature of coming into
work. " (Tony, 40s man)
For three of the managers,
who were all recruited to BT as postgraduates to do highly
specialised work, Elspeth, David and Stuart, career success had moved
away from
wanting to be considered as an expert in an area of work they found extremely
interesting to being able to influence things through
what they did as managers:
"When I started it was going to be intellectual
achievement in my professional
specialism of mathematics ...that was the only thing that mattered to me. "
(Elspeth, 40s woman)

Only one of the managersin their thirties and forties, Steve,now believed that he had
a more external definition of career successthan he had had when he was younger.
Steve,38 years old and still at the most junior level of managementin BT,
was unlike
any of the other managers interviewed for this research. He had very few formal
qualifications and, until recently, had had little ambition to progress. The attitudeshe
expressedthroughout his interview were very different from those of his colleagues,
best
be
and can
summed up by saying that he appearedto seework much more as a
job than a career. In this sense,he is probably not a typical manager, and therefore it
is not surprising that his views are not typical either.

Three younger managershad revised their ideas about careersuccessrelatively early


in
on their careers. For two of them, Stella and Ran, this was prompted by marriage:
lives
lives
desire
balance
home
better
in
future
their
their
the
to
a
work
with
meant
that they did not want to progress up the organisationalhierarchy at all costs. The
third, Dave H, like some of the young managerswho took part in the first stageof the
his
idea
into
his
had
to
take
of career success
account of
own
changed
research,
in
fact
in
his
H
Dave
basic
the
experience of working.
was
only man
values after
based
largely
had
twenties who
a conception of career success
on internal and
intangible criteria:
when you come in, you look at the organisation, who's at the
I
I've
they're
think
therefore
successful
maybe
changed
my
views
top and
...
...
feeling
happy
to
hierarchical
measure
of
success
about myself and
from the
(Dave
H,
20s
"
man)
I
achieve.
can
what
"I think initially

161

Of the managers in their twenties


and thirties, seven could envisage that their
conception of career successmight change in the future, all of them women. For
those of them who could imagine what form this changewould take, four
managers
anticipated that in the future external criteria of successwere likely to becomeeven
less important to them that they were at the moment. Only
Lyssa,
thought that
one,
they might become more important, as her personal financial responsibilities
increased.
5.7 Developing a model of managerial career success
The findings of the second stage of the researchare consistentwith the conclusions
drawn in Chapter 4, that managerial career successis a three dimensional concept,
basedon internal, intangible and external criteria for success. The three dimensions
are emphasised in different ways to varying degreesby individual managers:the
difference between managers in terms of how they view career success for
themselvesis therefore one of emphasis,not of actual kind.
The second stage of the researchalso concurs with the findings of the first stage,in
that it demonstrates that particular groups of managers are likely to emphasise
favour
kinds
tend
to
a conception of
of career success:women managers
particular
for
based
internal
intangible
and
criteria
success,whereasexternal
on
career success
ideas
for
to
of career success;younger
men's
success are more central
criteria
managerstend to put more emphasison external criteria, whereasolder managerssee
intangible
in
terms
criteria.
of
careersuccessmore
That is not to say that the differences observed between the male and female
in
be
them
to
stereotyped any
managers,and the older and younger managers,allow
fit
the
While
such
as
perfectly,
there
patterns
above
who
are
some
managers
way.
defmitions
have
fact
in
S
Liz,
Jane
there
John,
of
Darren and
personal
otherswho
and
ftom
different
what one might expect:
successquite
his
be
interviewed,
to
H,
own career successvery
the youngest man
sees
Dave
his
job
being
in
getting
considerable
good
terms
extremely
at
and
of
much
from
this
research
a
view
of
success
as
a
result,
which
recognition
personal
"female"
than
be
male.
to
more
appears

162

Stuart, who has already been discussedin detail in section 5.2.5, has a definition
of career successbased on internal and intangible criteria. This is probably the
result of his strong personalvalues.

Elspeth, a woman in her forties, is still very keen to progress up the organisational
hierarchy, although this is for the influence she hopes to gain, rather than any kind
of status which she is seeking.

Such variations in the themes which have emerged in this researchonly serve to
emphasisethe personal and distinct nature of managers'own conceptionsof success.
The differences exhibited by the managerswho appearto be at odds with their peer
detract
from
is
than
the
that
group strengthen rather
conclusion
career success a
in
but
inter-related
dimensions,
described
three
complex concept, grounded
separate
here as internal criteria, intangible criteria and external criteria.
Figure 5.1: A model of managerial career success

Intemal criteria

Personal recognition

Intangible criteria

Influence

Respect (
l
Enjoyment
Interest
Being an
expert

Level of
pay

Senseof
accomplishment
Senseof
achievement
Doing new
things

Leaving
one's mark

Promotion

Hierarchical
position

External criteria

Organisational recognition

first
that
in
drawn
the
any
conceptual
the
was
research
of
stage
A key conclusion
illustrating
be
the
of
wholeness
complex
of
capable
must
success
career
of
model
is
it
ideas
have
different
is,
success,
about
may
that
managers
while
career success,

163

the degree of emphasis which differs,


not the criteria: see Figure 5.1. (It was also
suggested in Chapter 4, section 4.5, that a model should highlight organisational
recognition and personalrecognition as important conceptsin terms of how managers
perceive their own success. This idea will be consideredin more detail later in this
section.)
As the model shows, the first stage of the researchidentified
particular criteria for
career successcommon to many of the managerswithin the separategroupings of
internal criteria, intangible criteria and external criteria. For
example, it found four
key intangible criteria, being an expert, respect,leaving one's
mark and influence, and
five key internal criteria, enjoyment, interest, sense of accomplishment,
sense of
achievement and doing new things. The second stage of the researchhas shown,
however, that managers'criteria for career successmay be viewed more usefully
not
level
individual
but
the
distinct
at
of
criteria
as part of
sub-groups within the
categoriesof internal, intangible and external criteria, as shown in Table 5-4:
Table 5.4: Managers' criteria for career success

Internal criteria

Intangible criteria

External criteria

Accomplishment

Influence criteria

Grade criteria

Personal recognition
criteria

Reward criteria

criteria
Achievement criteria
Enjoyment criteria
Integrity criteria
Balance criteria

for
found
type
illustrates
the
career
Table 5.4
of criteria
sub-groups
within each
in
5.2,5.3
in
detail
described
the
in
the
sections
stage
of
research,
as
second
success
for
the
The
at
career
success
5.4.
of
managers'
considering
criteria
usefulness
and
is
level
individual
threefold:
the
than
level
criteria
of
rather
sub-group
integrity
to
the
it
conceptual
component parts of managers'
greater
Firstly,
gives
As
described
in
5.2,5.3
5.4,
the
many
of
and
sections
success.
career
of
conceptions

164

individual criteria by which the managersdescribe their own career successare in


fact variations on distinct themes. This is equally true for internal, intangible and
external criteria. For example, careersuccessis commonly seeninternally in terms of
form
but
be
in
this
some
of achievement,
sense of achievement can
expressed
different ways, including meeting a challenge,doing new or different things, learning
and creativity. Likewise, successin terms of personal recognition can been seenas
gaining respect,being seenas an expert and being valued as a manager. The cogency
is
in
Table
borne out by the fact that managerswho
5.4
the
sub-groups shown
of
likely
favour
For
to
one
emphasise
criterion within a sub-group are
others as well.
being
three
personalrecognition criteria,
example, eleven managerssaw all
an expert,
itself,
definition
their
recognition
as part of
of careersuccess.
respectand personal
Secondly, it allows a distinction to be made between sub-groups of criteria within

between
differences
When
the
the
managersare
similarities
and
each category.
is
it
apparent that, while some managers may emphasise one sub-group
examined,
between
within a criteria category, others emphasise another, with no great overlap
for
intangible
For
the
criteria
the two sets of managers.
category of
example, within
influence
two
there
criteria and personal recognition
sub-groups,
are
career success,
influence
being
things
to
Of
was
to
work
at
the
able
whom
managers
nine
criteria.
A
too.
four
important,
similar
criteria
recognition
personal
valued
only
extremely
both
is
criteria,
achievement
and
criteria
accomplishment
when
apparent
variation
to
Of
ten
the
internal
managers
the
criteria category, are examined.
of
sub-groups
five
idea
to
their
only
success,
career
of
central
was
whom a sense of achievement
four
these
who
too,
women
were
of
idea
and
the
of a sense of accomplishment
valued
in
did
way.
some
to
achievement
being
they
personal
of
a
sense
good at what
related

be
links
to
made
Thirdly, treating criteria for career successas sub-groupsenables
be
more
would
otherwise
which
criteria
types
of career success
across the three
intangible
that
findings
the
The
pilot study suggested
of
difficult to conceptualise.
because
internal
managers
many
to
be
criteria
more closely related
criteria may
definition
in
their
success.
of
to
criteria,
external
them,
opposed
as
emphasised
be
to
this
the
relationship
in
the
enabled
research
of
stage
second
Using sub-groups
in
terms
of
Many
success
fully.
the
career
saw
who
managers
of
more
explored
for
their
accomplishment.
to
this
recognition
personal
getting
related
accomplishment
for
intangible
in
internal
for
criteria
them
and
rooted
was
That is, career success
in
recognition
personal
and
criteria
accomplishment
but
particularly
more
success,
for
the
full-scale
in
links
the
example,
study:
emerged
also
Other
similar
criteria.

165

group of managers for whom grade and reward criteria defined career success also
considered enjoyment criteria as part of their definition, even though they had little
interest in any other internal criteria for career success.
Thus considering criteria for career successat the level of sub-groups within the three
categories of internal, intangible and external criteria seemsto offer the best means of
illuminating

the various kinds of success managers favour. In Chapter 6 this


develop
illustrates
kinds
be
to
typology
the
a
approach will
which
of career
used
important
different
In
to
the meantime, the conceptual
groups
of
managers.
success
include
in
be
for
Figure
5.1
the criteria
to
must
career success shown
redrawn
model
in
Figure
5.2:
shown
sub-groups, as
Figure 5.2: A model of managerial career success (2)

Intangible criteria

Intemal criteria

:
Per
Personal
EnlJo
Enjoyment
Influence
Oyment
yment
recognition
reco
(Acco,
cnte
criteria
n ten
naa
criteria
criteria
cr
ient
criteria
A
Acluevem
clievement
ccntena
riteria
Inte ny
Integrity
It
criteria
lance
Balance
Grade
tena
criteria
Reward
e ar
criteria
criteria

Extemal criteria

have
intangible
to
from
boundary
criteria
the
criteria
external
The arrows crossing
grade
especially
criteria,
indicate
that
external
value
somemanagers
been included to
to
For
those
in
whom
themselves.
example,
than
end
as
an
for
other
reasons
criteria,
to
in
terms
important
criteria
highly
grade
of
is
see
success
may
personal recognition
form
further
hierarchy
in
level
the
representsa
promotion
in
their
or
that
some extent,

166

of personal recognition, albeit paradoxically in organisational terms. Likewise


managerswho see successmainly as influence may also see grade criteria as part of
their idea of career successbecause of the additional influence greater
seniority
within the organisation would give them, not from any desirefor recognition.
The first stageof the researchsuggestedthat an important distinction between
groups
of managersmay be that some managers,in particular women and older managers,
seecareer successmore in terms of personalrecognition than in terms of the kinds of
by
organisationalrecognition
which careersuccesshas traditionally beenjudged, that
is position in the hierarchy and level of pay. This distinction was representedin the
model of managerial career success introduced in Chapter 4, section 4.5, and
in
Figure
5.1. The findings of the secondstageindicate, however, that
reproduced
the differences between various groups of managersmay in fact be more complex
than a simple distinction between seeing career successeither as organisational
recognition or personal recognition.
There are indeed managers, a predominantly female group, including younger women
like Lisa, as well as older women like Liz, who see career successmainly as personal
including
Adam,
Darren
There
also
managers,
all-male
are
an
group,
recognition.
Nonetheless,
define
John,
career success as organisational recognition.
and
who
there are other managers who do not appear to see career successprimarily in terms
but
in
kind
rather terms
of recognition at all, either personal or organisational,
of any
fall
into
These
two
to
their
groups: a group,
appear
managers
own achievement.
of
kind
Kathryn,
includes
Angela
that
of personal
sees career success as a
and
which
is
that
their
personal achievement, and a group
own achievement,
satisfaction with
including Elspeth and Stuart which associates their own career success with what
influence.
These
is
two
that
the
organisational
they can achieve within
organisation,
different
four
to
the
of
to
views
give
model
are
added
success
new views of career
5.3.
in
Figure
in
total,
as shown
career success

167

Figure 5-3: A
model of managerial career success (3)

Personal
achievement
Intemal criteria

Intangible criteria

Organisational
influence

(Acco

Influence
criteria

Enjoy'men't",
criteria
mplishment
cr
criteria
cl
Achievement
criteria
Integrity

Personal
recognition
criteria

Personal
recognition

criteria
Balance
Grade

crit ria

criteria

External criteria

Reward
criteria

Organisational
recognition

The four views of careersuccessrepresentedin the model will be discussedin detail


in Chapter 6, where they will be used to develop a typology of managerial career
success.

CHAPTER 6: BUILDING A TYPOLOGY OF


MANAGERIAL
CAREER SUCCESS

168

CHAPTER

6:

BUILDING

A TYPOLOGY

OF MANAGERIAL

CAREER SUCCESS

This chapter usesthe analysis of the findings both


of
stagesof the researchto build a
typology of managerial career success. Section 6.1 usesthe
model presentedat the
end of Chapter 5 to introduce the typology. Sections6.2 to 6.5 discussin detail the
four types of managerthe researchshows
exist. Section 6.6 considersthe managers
whose definitions of career successdo not appearto fit the typology. Section 6.7
suggestswhat kind of manager is likely to see successas each type, with particular
referenceto genderand age.
6.1 Four types of manager

While this researchhas establishedthat every managerhas a distinct


subjectiveview
of how they perceive career successfor herself or himself, it has also revealed
important areasof commonality betweenmanagersin terms of how they
seesuccess.
There appearsto be a finite number of groups of criteria by which they judge career
internal
success,
ones such as accomplishment criteria or enjoyment criteria and
intangible ones which include influence criteria and personal recognition criteria, as
well the external criteria of grade and reward by which organisational successhas
traditionally been measured. More importantly, the researchhas shown there to be
distinct clusters of managers who view successin a particular way. Patterns emerged
in both stages of the research, which revealed the existence of groups of managers
for
in
who emphasised certain criteria
career success a specific manner. For example,
in the first stage it emerged that men tended to see their career success in terms of
it
in
terms
external criteria or organisational recognition, whereas women saw more
in
internal
intangible
In
the
personal
recognition
of
criteria,
particular,
criteria.
and
less
distinction
between
the
the
second stage,
clear cut, with
sexes was somewhat
findings
had
been
the
to
the
of
pilot stage,
some men emphasising what, according
idea
This
"female"
be
to
more
success.
suggests, not that
a
of career
considered
distinctive groupings do not exist, but rather that there is no stereotypical division
between men and women in terms of how they regard career success. (That is not to
likely
in
in
to
that
more
see career success
certain ways and women
men are
say
be
discussed
in
detail
in
6.7.
)
will
section
others, something which

in
it
the
larger
the
used
second stage of
Indeed, the
sample
researchmade easierto
how
in
the
terms
they viewed
four
groupings
among
discern
managers
of
particular
Abriefly
in
Chapter
5,
the
the
as
outlined
success,
model
end
of
at
career
own
their

169

when the principal ways in which different types of managers see


successwere
summarisedunder the headingsof four views of careersuccess,that is
organisational
recognition, personal recognition, organisationalinfluence and personalachievement.
The manager who sees career success in terms
of organisational recognition is the
manager for whom external criteria are an extremely important part of how they
judge their own success. The group of three
men identified in the second stage of the
research, Adam, Darren and John, who saw career success mainly in terms of their
level in the hierarchy and the amount of money they
is
earned, typical of this type of

manager.
The manager who equatescareer successwith personal recognition is the
manager
for whom personal recognition criteria are central to their definition
of success. A
group of women in the secondstageof the research,including Liz, JaneS, Paula and
Lisa, who judged their own careersuccessby the amount of personalrecognition they
for
did
they
received
what
at work, exemplifies this type of manager.
The manager who associatescareer successwith organisational influence is the
for
influence
important
definition
the
their
manager whom
criteria are
most
part of
of
A
from
the second stage of the research which includes Stuart,
success.
group
Elspeth and Alan typifies this kind of manager.
The manager who sees career successin terms of personal achievement is the
for
heart
idea
the
their
manager
whom achievementcriteria are at
of
of success. A
in
the second stage of the research, including
group of women who participated
Angela, Kathryn and Lyssa, is typical of this kind of manager.
(Further analysis of the data gatheredin the first stage of the researchalso showed
that there were managerswho took part in it who saw career successin terms of
influence
to
or
personal
achievement,
as
opposed
organisational or
organisational
)
personal recognition.
These four views of career successprovide a useful shorthand summary of the
definitions of successput forward by most of the managersin both the first and
(There
be
discussed
in
the
research.
are
exceptions,
which
will
second stage of
) Yet while these categories offer a valuable means of
below.
6.6
section
is
in
itself
their
the
views
on
success,
managers'
succinctness
a
encapsulating

170

limitation.

More particularly, this approach to conceptualising career success does


not give a full picture of the complex nature of career success on managers' own
terms: it disregards much of the rich detail the analysis so far has revealed; it ignores
criteria for success which may be important to the managers, disregards the
relationships between the criteria which are important, and overlooks the significance
of those that are not. The richness of the managers' own descriptions of career
is
success a key finding of this research, and therefore it is vital that success is not

presentedas a one dimensional concept,but shown to be the complex entity that it is,
basedon a range of internal, intangible and external criteria. For this reason,the four
views of career successwill not be used to describewholly how different managers
but
their
see
own success
employed as a useful bridge between the model and a
detailed
typology of managerialcareersuccess.
profounder and more
A typology consisting of four different types of managerwill be usedto illustrate the
diverse kinds of career successthat this researchhas found managerspursue. Each
type is linked to and developedfrom one of the four views of careersuccessshown in
the model. The four types will be introduced briefly here and describedin detail in
the following sections,together with caseillustrations of "typical" managersof each
type.
The four types of managersfound in this researchare as follows:
The Climber. The Climber's primary view of careersuccessis as organisational
in
terms
their
This
of
type
much
very
own
success
sees
of
manager
recognition.
been
has
traditionally
by
the external criteria
which organisationalcareersuccess
definition
Nevertheless
their
of
judged. They are often very status conscious.
include
likely
it
is
to
based
is
criteria:
external
on
wholly
usually
not
success
it.
important
in
of
part
internal
an
as
criteria,
enjoyment
particular
criteria,
some
The Expert.
recognition.

The Expert's primary view of career success is as personal


This type of manager centres their idea of success on

for
them
success
career
criteria:
recognition
personal
and
criteria
accomplishment
lot
job
their
of
a
they
getting
and
that
at
feeling
competent
are
really
is
but
important
too,
fact.
They
for
that
as
criteria
see
external
well
may
recognition
form
for
is
being
them
of
another
given
a
pay
rise
in
or
that
promoted
getting
only
personal recognition.

171

The Influencer.

The Influencer's primary view of career success is as


influence. This type of manager sees success in terms of having

organisational
important
for.
business
They
influence
they
the
an
work
on
may seek to do this
regardless of their hierarchical position, but if grade criteria are part of their
definition of success,they want a more senior position within the organisation for
the greater influence it will allow them to have and not for the status they will
gain as a result.

The Self-Realiser.

The Self-Realiser's primary view of career success is as


personal achievement. This type of manager sees success very much on their
have
terms:
they
own personal
a very internal definition of career success,
They
emphasising achievement criteria.
may value personal recognition or
but
desire
for
level
influence
their
successat an extremely personal
organisational
will override this.

Before the four types of manager are described in detail, it is important to note two
in
from
been
derived
have
because
the
Firstly,
the
types
and
are
grounded
points.
described
be
in
data,
the
took
the
as
research can
part
managers who
most of
research
definitions
four
However,
the
types.
subjectivity of
not surprisingly, given
one of the
less
to
categorise.
there
easy
were
who
exceptions
some
were
success,
career
of
Generally, this was not because they had a conception of successtotally at variance
fit
to
because
but
their
more
appeared
success
types,
of
the
view
rather
with any of
both
in
terms
for
personal
of
than one category,
example, they saw career success
these
detailed
that
Further
of
most
revealed
analysis
recognition and achievement.
likely
to
definition
had
was
fact
which
in
one
success,
career
of
a
primary
managers
dominate their thoughts and actions related to their ideas about successat the expense
for
For
who
definition
managers
example,
success.
career
of
of any other secondary
likely
to
this
definition
in
was
included personal achievement their
of career success,
For
the
have
their
success.
ideas
own
they
about
might
which
override any other
is
definition
considered
it
is
which
this
success
of
this
primary
research,
purposes of
impossible
it
to
for
(There
was
whom
were two managers
to be most important.
be
they
will
determine even a primary deftition of career successwith any certainty;

)
6.6.
in
detail
in
discussed
section
they
as
older,
get
as
change
may
success
of
Secondly, since managers conceptions
fall
into
5,
the
Chapter
the
4
now
managers
Chapter
which
groups
in
and
discussed
to
is
a
It
that
life.
emphasise
for
change
manager
could
any
fixed
possible
are not

172

different

type of success during their career (although particular changes are


especially likely - the relationship of age to the typology is discussed in more detail in
section 6,7). The second point relates to the first point in that it could offer a partial
explanation of why it was impossible to describe two managers as any one of the four
types. It may be the case that the managers who do not fit any of the types well
in
are

fact in the processof transition betweentwo of the them.


6.2 The Climber
For the Climber, career success is seen very much in terms of external
criteria, that is
the grade criteria of hierarchical position and progression through promotion and
reward criteria, especially level of pay. The Climber's view of success is thus closest

to the "traditional" concept of organisational career successand is often expressed as


levels
the
reaching
most senior
of management:
"I have ambitions to succeed at the highest level what that will be I don't
...
know... 1 don't really want to say what it is, because I don't know but it's to
...
high
(level)
director or general manager, a high level in
achieve at a
either
...
business, or set my own business up. " (John, 20s man)

The name Climber has been chosento describethis type of managernot just because
they aspire to move up the organisational hierarchy but also becausethey seek the
in
believe
Seeing
them.
this
they
will give
careersuccess terms of some
statuswhich
kind of status is an important characteristic of the Climber: having an influence at
have
feel
for
is
they
to
them
to
achieve a perceived
successful,
not enough
work
in
in
be
terms.
This
too.
social
or
organisational
either
expressed
status
status can
Phil, for example, likes to be acknowledgedas "a relatively senior managerin BT
his
this
own
terms" and relishes the trappings of
seniority, such as a secretaryand
felt
he
had
how
to
detail
in
described
He
work
obliged
recently
when
unhappy
office.
in an open plan office environment:
I
I
because
from
I
said
"I got myself moved
where
was and given an office
little
being
in
to
I
felt
a
relation
and
uncomfortable
also
concentrate
couldn't
...
.....
I'm
little
I
but
it's
don't
like
that,
true,
so
a
am,
status conscious -I
.....
it
I
but
little
being
stems
partly
and
am,
conscious,
a
status
about
uncomfortable
itself
targets,
these
the
still
organisation
and
from the idea of setting yourself
30s
"
(Phil,
man)
being very status conscious.

173

The Climber's emphasis


high
level
on a
of material reward as part of career successis
often related to the importance to them of their perceived social
status too. Those
managers identified as Climbers in this research sometimes talked
about what career
success would mean for them in terms of the kind of lifestyle they
aspired to lead.
John was typical in this respect. When asked
about how he saw the kind of success
he wanted to achieve he said:
"In terms of what's tangible, it does sort
of fall out ...it would be a nice little
farmhouse somewhere, and a host of properties here
and abroad, sort of things
like that, being able to send your kids to private
school, and having a nice car. "
(John, 20s man)

The Climber tends to be very goal oriented in terms of their attitude to their
career
progression. The managers who fall into this category as a rule set themselves
regular stretching goals and targets relating to their level of pay and their position in
the hierarchy. Kenneth, for example,describedwhat he wants from his careeras
"to be able to sort of set myself goals that I can achieve and set the goals just
...
out of reach, so that I have to really go to achieve them ...and just every time I
get somewhere to think, well, OK, how much further can I go? so I have that
...
eternal, ongoing realisation of a goal. " (Kenneth, 20s man)
Related to this emphasis on career goals, the Climber often has a strong competitive
instinct. Those managers described in Chapter 5, section 5.5.1, who saw work as an
intensely competitive game with winners and losers, are all Climbers, such as Darren,
back
his
his
traced
to
who
competitiveness
childhood:
"I swam to a high standard, did a lot of sport to a very high standard, English
I
for
in
Scouts,
I'd
force,
I
the
the
shot
cadet
was
win
national standard ...
it
didn't
be
I've
it
I
had
there
to
always
matter what
was,
competition camp ...
.....
been very, very competitive. " (Darren, 20s man)
Climbers are also managers with strong positive feelings about the organisation they
because
idea
is
their
for,
to
own
of
career
success
very
close
successas
perhaps
work
it.
defines
As
Adam
it
in
Climbers
the
this
summed up, most of
the organisation
study were

174

"intensely proud to work for BT. " (Adam, 30s man)


Nevertheless, Climbers do not rely on external criteria alone to define their
career
success. They need to enjoy their work to feel that they are successful, and
enjoyment criteria therefore are an important part of their idea of success. Like John,
they feel that any material success they achieve is meaningless if they do not enjoy
do.
However,
they
their goal orientation, their competitive instinct and their
what
feelings
positive
about the organisation they work for mean that Climbers are highly
likely to enjoy working in the corporate environment.
"I believe that ultimately that if it was apparent that earning more money meant
didn't
life,
I wouldn't do it but I've not found that so far I enj oy
enjoy
you
...
...
being in business. " (John, 20s man)
For Climbers, other types of internal and intangible criteria are not important in terms
how
by
Accomplishment
they
criteria are only valued
of
see career success.
Climbers in that they see competence as a basic requirement to be able to perform
their job; achievement is seen in terms of external success and not cherished in its
because
being
Personal
seento
recognition criteria are appreciated merely
own right.
be good at what they do at work should lead to further organisational recognition in
the form of promotion or a pay rise. While Climbers may see gaining influence as a
importance
is
the
they
the
to
this
their
external
place
on
secondary
success,
part of
level
hierarchical
of pay.
position and
criteria of

interviewed
36
Climbers,
the
identified
This research
managers
all men, out of
seven
Climbers
Phil
Kenneth
John,
Darren,
Adam,
in total. Five of them,
were classic
and
kind
different
C
Paul,
Dave
Two
described
of
them,
a
rather
were
and
of
above.
as
Climber and will be discussedin more detail below.
distinctive
in
John
group of managers
Darren
Adam,
particular emergedas a very
and
in the second stageof the researchwho all put a strong emphasison external criteria
in
high
level
for successand saw achieving at as
as possible the organisational
a
Material
heart
their
being
the
conceptions of career success.
of
hierarchy as
at
important
they
the
to
them,
status
as
was
extremely
were
money
especially
rewards,
Darren
both
bring,
the
was
organisationand outside.
within
believed that this would
in
this respect:
typical

175

"I like the idea that people think I'm successful


is,
another
example
we chose
.....
to live in Formby on Merseyside because most people would
say Formby is the
place to live in the Merseyside area with a family, Formby is the place because
...
there is a status symbol there so outside of the business, (there is) the
...
recognition, that people perceive me as successful. " (Darren, 20s man)

From the first stageof the researchtwo classic Climbers emerged,Kenneth


and Phil.
Kenneth had a clear idea of what he wanted to achievein the future:
"In the longer term I'd like to be a senior manager in BT, as senior as I could
be, wherever that is. " (Kenneth, 20s man)
Phil on the other hand was not so certain. While his defmition of careersuccesswas
still primarily that of the Climber, he was unclear about his future ambitions. He had
been very goal driven in the past, gaining rapid promotion, but could no longer see
he
for
future.
in
When askedwhat his personalgoals
to
the
clearly what
wanted aim
he
were at work
said:
"I think at the moment primarily to enjoy myselL.. it actually isn't much more
than that I've stopped thinking in career terms at the moment. " (Phil, 30s
...
man)

Phil's explanation of this was that he was less work oriented than he had been in the
life
his
had
become
life
because
his
as a whole.
a more significant part of
past,
social
However, unlike the other Climbers, his definition of success also included an
for
him,
longer
sufficient
element of personal recognition: external criteria were no
This
he
how
that
this
suggests
though
success.
saw
career
was still primarily
even
Phil's ideas about successmay be in the process of changing, and that he may not
define successas a Climber for much longer.
Adam
in
fact
discussed
five
The group of
relatively young;
above were all
managers
hierarchically
is
That
36.
to
that
young
ambitious
say
all
not
the
at
oldest
was
how
he
has
fact
in
Adam
Climbers
being
talks
they
about
get
older;
as
stop
managers
However,
the
two
"in
that
oldest
be
stronger
gets
and
stronger".
a
way
to
successful

his
forties,
in
late
in
his
Dave
C,
thirties,
were
and
who was
Climbers, Paul, who was
described
five
from
the
different
managers
above.
rather

176

They were both still relatively junior managers for their age and reflect a trend
identified in Chapter 4, section 4.3, and Chapter 5, section 5.6.1, that for men in their
thirties and forties who have not achieved hierarchical success, external criteria are
defmitions
For
important
in
their
often very
of career success.
some of them, there is
frustration
in
that
they
their
which
means
see
a
progress,
career success terms of
with
this one dimension. Furthermore, unlike the younger Climbers described above,
Dave C and Paul did not aspire to reach senior management but saw the promotion
incremental:
desired
far
they
as
more
which
I
but
by
their
standards ...
see me as successful
my wife's
don't see that as successful at all, not at all I think ten years ago I had expected
...
"My

family,

friends,

C,
40s
"
(Dave
further
tree.
the
have
to
man)
up
moved much
myself
While they may differ from Adam or John, managers such as Dave C or Paul are
its
issue
The
define
how
in
Climbers
they
terms of
of age and
career success.
clearly
be
in
this
chapter
will
typology
to
the
outlined
success
career
of
relationship

discussedin more detail in section 6.7.


To summarise,the Climber:
in terms of external criteria

defines career success primarily

is status conscious

is goal oriented and competitive

definition
in
their
success
of
includes
enjoyment
often

Case illustration:

Adam

likeable
person,
Adam
and
outgoing
interview
a
confident,
came over as
During his
that
frankness
of
many
himself
self-awareness
and
a
talk
with
to
about
who was able
is
the
of
he
to
ranks
At
36,
senior
lacked.
most
reach
poised
the other managers
it
do
though
determination
to
even
so,
BT
powerful
a
shows
and
within
management
high
cost.
personal
be
a
at
might

177

Adam started work at 21 when he dropped out of university becausehe could no


longer seethe point of completing his degree. He describedhis university careernot
as a period of academic achievementbut as an opportunity to make "lots" of money
and position himself against his peers. At the time he left university he evaluated
himself in terms of the difference betweenhim as a 21 year old and "the guy who was
director
to
going end up as managing
of whatever...Shell or something", and decided
that there was none. His first job was in a technical post with a telecommunications
his
background,
but
his
company, reflecting
educational
since
career goals at this
financial,
he
point were mainly
switched to a salesrole at a hardware manufacturer
becausehe perceived that this was more likely to offer him the kind of rewards he
craved.
As a salesman, he was extremely successful in two organisations, at which point he
left to set up his own company with two brothers because "I thought the easiest way
for me to become a millionaire was to set up my own business". This proved to be a
transition point for Adam. While the business was successful, he found that he did
level
dealing
high
lacked
because
it
his
job
the
at a
status and power of
not enjoy
from
he
him
led
large
This
to
a career
wanted
re-evaluate what
organisation.
within a
intellectual
do
I
did
the
"I
decided
the
he
that, whilst
money, also want
want
and
and
in
fish
big
tiny
big
fish
in
be
than
to
sea".
a
a
medium
sea,
rather
a
a
stimulation and
hunter
head
from
favour
in
him
led
to
The result of this realisation
a
a
call
BT.
interview
with
acquaintance and get an
four
In
BT.
he
job
the
years
Within three days he had procured the sales
wanted at
below
levels
just
that
two
four"
to
"three
has
he
grades a position
or
risen
since then
Services.
Carrier
for
International
BT
business
head
director,
generation
of new
as
of
the
"pulling
in
pack" and
terms
of
out
Adam now sees career success
myself
of
he
I
think",
is
"My
he
45.
by
level
will,
time
director
the
promotion
next
reaching
"
the
that
the
race.
win
identify
might
people
"start
of
one
to
as
me more strongly
says,
In fact, he appears to have his own personal route through the race course clearly
his
hurdle
has
the
his
promotion,
in
next
of
overcome
already
and
mind
mapped out
fact.
in
if
in terms of planning and political manoeuvring, not actual
"race"
his
in
his
key
to
personal
strengths
Adam's political skills are clearly one of
have
its
hard
is
to
"working
he
that
you
own,
on
not
enough
top:
realises
the
reach
boss
his
is
him
it
for
knows
He
to
that
and
please
not
enough
well".
work smart as

178

his customers,which he obviously does: "I have this view that I have to
considermy
boss'sboss rather than my boss I feel, if they're on a desertisland
have
they
to
and
.....
have three people they bring with them, they would pick me
as one of those three
people....when I say on a desert island, I don't mean becauseI'd be great fun to be
with, although hopefully I would ...I meanthat if you want to get off the desertisland,
you want someonethat you know is going to pull their weight."
Adam's determination to reach the top has not diminished his interest in measuring
successthrough the amount of money he earns, although since the experience of
his
business
this is no longer his sole criterion; he now wants status,
own
owning
During
his
interview he was keen to talk about what he
and
power
position
as well.
had earnedin the past and what he expectedto earn in the future with a breathtaking
openness, given the usual reticence of British managers on the subject of
has
himself
He
financial
remuneration.
set
as well as grade goals, namely to have
fI in in liquifiable assetsby the time he is 45.
Adam attributes a lot of the successhe has achievedso far to a basic security about
himself as a person which makeshim extremely confident. This he tracesback to his
both
of
childhood, and strong relationships with parents, grandparentsand siblings,
him
firm
him.
His
than
moral standardswhich
upbringing gave
whom are younger
he believes prevents him Erom seeking to achieve the successhe desires by any
led
him
integrity
(Adam's
to work
also
securepersonality and
unscrupulousmeans.
has
longer
he
he
in
time
to
this
the
Samaritan
that
the
pursue
no
regrets
and
past,
as a
)
"career".
alternative
Nevertheless,the career successwhich Adam wants so badly may not be attainable
he
that
is
Adam
three
admits
and
small
children
married with
without personal cost.
his wife, who does not work, finds it difficult to tolerate the long working hours and
do
for
I
job
"I'm
his
home
from
frequent absences
not really proud of what
entails:
Caroline," he says. He seeshis next promotion, which will mean a move abroad,as
life
balanced
hold
desire
his
but
her
back
to
to
too,
a
onto
whether
giving something
be
to
determination
his
to
the
seen.
is as strong as
win
organisationalrace remains
6.3 The Expert
high
level
in
is
terms
of competencyat
of achieving a
For the Expert, success seen
do,
be
it
in
for
being
being
they
personally
good
at what
job
recognised
and
their

179

terms of being seen to be an expert or winning the respect of the people they work
with, in particular superiors or internal customers. The Expert's conception of

success is therefore grounded in both internal accomplishment and intangible


personal recognition criteria:
"I want to be good at what I'm doing and recognised as being good, and have
that feedback. " (Sam, 20s woman)
This affirmation of their accomplishment is central to Experts' perception of career
It
forms.
Like Sam, Experts may need to be given positive
take
many
success. can
feedback that they are doing well at work in order to feel successful. Like Lisa, being
thanked for their efforts may be crucial:
"I suppose I believe that if I'm doing something that's good and working hard, I
like someone to say well done I don't actually ask for a lot I've got three pieces
...
...
I
because
I've
I've
BT
been
think
them
thank
got
all
at
and
you since
of written
they're all really important. " (Lisa, 20s woman)
External criteria are far less important in terms of how Experts conceive career
S
Jane
Experts,
For
intangible
internal
and
as
such
than
many
criteria.
and
success
Liz, grade criteria for career successare not part of their definition of successat all:
"I see people like the guy in the Bristol office who's younger than me and
in
the
terms
that's
direction
to
in
different
promotion
of
up
and
me,
a
moving
him
in
any more
ladder, but I don't see that that will necessarily
my view make
40s
S,
(Jane
"
I
than
woman)
am.
successful
definition
in
their
include
do
external criteria
Other Experts, especially younger ones,
form
because
them
personal
but
of
they
another
as
see
only
of career success,
in
that
in
the
terms
because
them
way
they
than
absolute
value
recognition, rather
Climbers do.

kind
by
Experts
is
of
as a
Getting a promotion or a pay rise
seen

their
good performance:
of
validation
your
and
you
of
perceptions
peoples'
with
in
"I think
all
I've
to
deputy
director
say
and
ideally
me
up
come
would
my
achievement ...
be
job
do
that
I
this
to
things
would
you
want
you,
about
heard really great
...
(Lisa,
20s
"
job.
important
woman)
like a really
it

ties

180

However, Experts do not set themselveswork-related goals in the way that Climbers
do. They often appearpuzzled when questionedabout this subject, perhapsbecause
they are aware that they differ from other managersin this respect:
"The problem I have is... and talking to other people as well is they say do you
...
have a career plan? where in two years I want to be doing this, then in three
...
I
be
doing
I
don't really have that it worries me a little bit. "
to
that
years want
...
...
(Paula, 20s woman)

In fact, the Expert is likely to be the kind of managerwho has few tangible ideas
forties,
her
from
in
Liz,
they
their
they
career when
want
about what
start work.
describedfeeling as if she is "still waiting to find out what I want to do when I grow
have
it
If
they
work goals at all, they relate them to getting more personal
up! .
like
Sam:
recognition,
"It's being respected by other people for what you do, being in a team where
feel
the
that
feel
the
with
at
ease
you
and
with,
you're
people
at ease with
you
feel
that
to,
for
that
the
and
you
work
you
people
you and
people working
by
looked
job,
doing
for
by
them
on
and
a very, very good
you're respected
20s
"
(Sam,
if
they
to
woman)
them as somebody they can go
want something.

in
the
important
do
is
their
than
job
position
they
the
Experts,
To
the content of
more
hierarchy or their status within the organisation. For this reason, they value
highly,
for
especiallyjob satisfaction:
success
enjoyment criteria
hours
long
I
to
tend
when
work quite
"Job satisfaction is important to me, so
30s
M,
"
(Jane
it.
into
lot
of effort
I'm doing something I enjoy and put a
woman)

for
doing
job
they
enjoy
Indeed Experts often are not prepared to sacrifice a
because
for
dilemma
them
This
the
a
pose
can
organisation.
within
advancement
is
how
is
success
organisational
that
progression
promotional
they perceive
in
justifying
difficulty
their
have
on
position
own
they
therefore
can
and
recognised
this matter:

181

"Recognition

is more important, the self satisfaction I get from the job is


very
important, the fact that I've
got a lot of responsibility ...is very important so
...
those things are more important than getting a PCG (higher
grade) job that
might take all those things away from me. " (Jane S, 40s woman)

While Experts do not necessarily desire high levels


influence
of
at work, many of
them, particularly older Experts, see the influence criteria of responsibility
and
autonomy as part of their idea of career success. For them, being given greater
responsibility or autonomy at work allows them to gain an even greater senseof
accomplishmentfrom what they do:
"Being allowed responsibility and freedom is important to me I sometimes
...
think, A wouldn't it be nice to just come into one office every day and sit with a
team of people, working with a team of people? but I don't know that I would
...
like
that, because my job does give me a degree of freedom. " (Jane
necessarily
S, 40s woman)
This research identified nine managerswho could be described as Experts, seven
women, Jane M, Jane S, Jeanette,Lisa, Liz, Paula and Sam, and two men, Dave H
Steve.
heart
For
defmition
them,
the
their
and
all of
at
of
of careersuccesswas the
idea of being really good at what they did and being seento be so.
Since seeing career successin terms of Personalrecognition was identified as typical
in
it
is
the
the
the
pilot stageof
of
women managers
research,
not surprising that this
included
largely
female.
is
in
Experts
The
three of the
the
group
women
group of
five women in their twenties who took part in the research,Lisa, Paula and Sam,plus
in
30s,
Jane
S
from
M
Jeanette
drawn
Jane
their
the
and
and
age range,
across
others
least
being
in
Expert
for
in
40s.
This
Liz
that
their
an
somemanagersat
suggests
and
terms of how one seescareer successmay be more fixed than being a Climber or a
Self-Realiser(see below). There were differencesbetweenthe older and the younger
female managers:not surprisingly, the younger women Experts were more likely to
both
for
important
Indeed,
the
than
the
success
as
older
ones.
see external criteria
Experts in their forties, Jane S and Liz, admitted that external criteria for success,
had
been
definition
their
the
more
central part of
of career success,
while never
important to them when they were younger:

182

"I enjoy what I'm doing


important
that's
and
more
now ...than this sort of
overpowering obsession with I want to be this grade or that grade I don't know
...
whether that's common in middle aged ladies, or whether I've just come to
terms with I am where I am, and I might as well
enjoy it, which I do, rather
than eat myself up striving for something which may
never happen. " (Liz, 40s
woman)

The fact that there were two men, Dave H and Steve,who
were Experts too confirms
that, while men may more likely to emphasisecertain kinds of career success
and
women others, they cannot be stereotyped. Dave H did seesuccesspartially in terms
of moving up the hierarchy and earning more money, but for him his primary
definition of careersuccesswas that of an Expert:
"Jo be good at what you do) is probably the most important thing If you don't
...
feel happy within yourself, a lot of other things aren't going to nobody will
...
if
respect you you don't respect yourself... if you don't feel happy with what you
do, you're not going to have the confidence then to go on and try and influence
people and bring them round to your way of thinking. " (Dave H, 20s man)
38 year old Steve, who was still at the most junior level of management,whilst he
saw career successprimarily as an Expert, paradoxically believed that he now had a
definition
more external
of successthan he had had when he was younger and that his
level of ambition was higher. In fact he and Dave H appearedto be the least
interviewed
during
help
the
the
this
confident of
men
research:
could
provide an
in
how
Experts
terms
they see career
explanation of why some managers are
of
success.
It may be that their perception of successas being really good at their job and getting
leads
linked
lack
Experts
is
basic
for
to seek
to
this
confidence
which
a
of
recognition
high levels of personal affirmation. In fact, some of the Experts talked openly about
the effect a lack of confidence had on their behaviour at work, like Paula in her
feel
her
successful:
explanation of why personalrecognition made
"I think

it's the fact that you're respected and other people recognise your

thought
they've
thought
this
about
they've
you
and
actually
person can
skills ...
because,
is
I
I
don't
have
in
job,
the
capable
as
say,
much
confidence
cope with
...

183

myselt.. but obviously other people do you think, oh yes, they obviously respect
...
me and think I'm capable. " (Paula, 20s woman)

To summarise,the Expert:
e

defines career success in terms of accomplishment and personal recognition


does not value external criteria or regards them as another form of personal
recognition

is not goal oriented

job
the
its
their
than
values
content
of
more
status
9

Case illustration: Jeanette


First appearancessuggestedthat Jeanettemight be a hard manager to interview.
While interested in the subject matter of the researchand eagerto oblige, she seemed
it
her
future
the
path
own career,and especiallyuncertain about
very confused about
but
just
job,
She
take.
she said,
she appearedunsure
a
wanted a career not
might
it
became
interview
her.
As
the
to
this
clear
progressed,
actually meant
about what
that this doubt was less related to actual uncertainty and more the result of Jeanette's
for
that
the
those
organisation she worked
values which were often at odds with
far
her
Not
removed
conception of career successwas also
surprisingly,
promoted.
from the traditional organisationaldefinition basedon external criteria.
Jeanettejoined BT as a graduatenine yearsago. At the time, shehad little idea about
do.
Her
kind
to
from
wanted
she
of
work
what
even
or
a
career,
she
wanted
what
decision to apply to BT was the result of a belief that working for large organisation
her
boyfriend
fact
in
her
flexibility
that
the
her
was
career
and
some
would allow
her
began
)
Jeanette
been
has
(He
there.
redundant.
made
since
working
already
her
link
felt
because
there
in
university
BT
with
a
was
she
partly
computing,
careerat
because
to
had
the
open
option
degree,
other
partly
enjoyed,
and
she
which
maths
did
have
"years
more study", which she
meant
her, to become an accountant,would
not relish.

184

Since shejoined, Jeanette'scareerhas developed


very much as that of the "specialist"
manager. She is proud of the skills she has gained as a programmer/analystand
described in detail the training she had received to
work on the various computer
systemsBT uses. Where that training had been lacking for whatever reason,she felt
she was "at a bit of a disadvantage": "It does make you feel a bit inadequate,
particularly when you are doing a maintenancejob, becauseyou've got people ringing
up with questions,and you don't really understandthe answers." Knowing that sheis
really accomplished at what she does is thus an essentialpart of Jeanette'sidea of
career success. She also appreciatesthe opportunity to see a piece of work through
from beginning to end, even though she admits that this rarely happens. While
is
she
currently contemplating a move to another area within BT becauseof a perceived
lack of opportunities to progressin the field of IT at present,Jeanetteseesany
change
she might make very much in terms of gaining a new specialism, "to move into a
different areaand feel that I'm doing that well", rather than developingher careeras a
more "generalist" manager.
During her career at BT, Jeanette has been promoted once and also given
for
A particular
responsibility
certain key projects within her department.
achievement for her was being made team leader of BT's light user scheme project at
its inception. This allowed her to gain a valued expertise in a particular area: I felt I
in
be
I
to
was
control and people would come
me and ask me questions, and would
her
"
The
them
to
recognition of
able
confidently give
answers.
personal skills that
the promotion and the extra responsibility represented is extremely important to
Jeanette, who relates all her feelings of success at work to occasions when she was
"doing something well and it seemedto be recognised".

Jeanettesets a high value on finding her work interesting, enjoyable and worthwhile,
does
being
her
influences
not seeas
views on promotion and pay, which she
and this
job
have
interesting
her.
She
than
to
important
to
to
seek
an
prefer
would
particularly
level
jobs
lot
higher
BT
believes
fact,
it.
In
for
that
the
at
of
a
she
sakeof
promotion
doing
kind
involve
the
task-related
and which makes
of
work she enjoys
would not
her feel successful: "A lot of the level three jobs don't seemto be so interesting.....it
just seemsto be meetings all the time, dealing with documentationand things, so I'd
determine
be
it
job
lot
the
to
know
getting
worth
more
about
whether
would
to
a
need
"
the promotion.

185

Related to that is Jeanette's


attitude to pay. She does not judge her successby the
amount of money she earns at all and indeed would be quite preparedto take
a pay
cut to move to another areawhich she found more interesting or worthwhile. This is
despite the fact that her partner is currently
unemployed and she is the sole bread
winner in the household. One of the careerpaths she is consideringembarking upon
at present involves developing her interests outside work into a job, perhaps on a
basis:
"Maybe a move to part-time work would be a useful thing to
voluntary
do and then I could have the ordinary work which brought in the
main money and
...
somethings which I enjoyed working at, which might not pay very much."
This ties in with the growing importance of her out-of-work
activities to Jeanette,
imagine
who can
what she values about work changing in the future because
"certainly I value my leisure time more". She is an enthusiastic vegetarian,
who,
interviewed
for this research, was about to take a course in public
when she was
speaking about vegetarianism. She is also an active and committed member of BT's
women's network, who was keen to discuss the "problems" for women managers at
BT. Perhaps it will be through developing her expertise in one of these areasthat she
will achieve personal recognition which she really values and thereby attain true
career success on her own terms.
6.4 The Influencer
To the Influencer, career successmeans being able to do things at work which have a
tangible and positive effect on the organisation they work for, regardless of their
is
in
in
hierarchy.
idea
The
Influencer's
thus
the
of career success
grounded
position
influence criteria for success such as leaving a mark or having an impact on the
business:
"If I was in a job where I couldn't influence the stuff I felt mattered, I'd go
barking mad-I accept certain political realities, because the art of negotiation is
knowing what you can change and what you can't, but my idea of hell is being
in a job where I'm just there to carry out orders. " (Elspeth, 40s woman)
The way in which Influencers perceive they may achieve influence varies, although
here
Influencers
influence
the
as
criteria
saw
several
of
those
classified
all of

idea
5,
5.3.2,
For
Chapter
to
their
in
as
section
central
of career success.
identified
idea
leaving
in
is
the
their
Influencers
of
particular,
a
mark
on
organisation
older

186

extremely important, and is often linked to gaining autonomy at work, particularly for
those managers who have not reached senior levels in the managerial hierarchy:
"I also want the sort of job where I can earn sufficient respect
and trust to take
it in my direction so I want to stamp me. " (Susan, 40s woman)
...
For younger Influencers, or those who wish to progress up the hierarchy, influence is
frequently seen as attaining a level of responsibility within the organisation, and,
as
such, something to aspire to as their career develops:
"To me I like to feel that I'm still progressing and going forward, for me a
is
I
that
reflection of
what grade am at the moment ...associated with that is the
level of responsibility
is
role
probably

I'm
that you have
looking for a more responsible
so
.....
...
more appropriate than promotion. " (Sherelle, 20s woman)

Influence is also often described in terms of having an impact on the businessby


Influencers of all ages. Alan has tried to achievethis throughout his careerby getting
involved in activities outside the normal remit of his job, which have allowed him to
have
him:
levels
his
influence
than
actual gradewould
permitted
of
gain greater
"I think making an impact is important to me, and making an impact not just
by producing personnel guidance, but by having an impact on the business
40s
(Alan,
"
man)
more.

While some Influencers, like Alan, seek influence regardlessof their hierarchical
because
hierarchy
keen
Anne,
the
like
Elspeth
to
progress up
are
and
grade, many,
be
level
influence
they
higher
the
the
they are,
will
of
they perceive that the
greater

able to exert:
"I think

I'm

it
bit
into
that's
more quantifiable ..... probably
a
success
now

it
but
crudely
no,
not
status
status
with
relates
crudely
...
...
30s woman)
(Anne,
"
responsibility.

level
of
relates with a

Climber
differs
from
how
illustrates
Influencer
the
the
to
well
Anne's reference status
believe
hierarchical
The
Influencer
that
they
may
position.
value
in terms of why
it
for
influence
important,
but
is
is
theml
hierarchy
the
this
in
the
allows
their grade
fact,
In
it
Influencers
them.
the
for
the
at
pains
were
of
many
gives
status
than
rather

187

to Point out how much they abhorredthe idea of status,like Colin,


who took his fight
against it to extreme lengths:
"I've got to the point where I can do
something about it. We're meeting here
(the canteen) because I don't have an office,
although I should have an office by
rights. I've formed a small team to do what we're doing and we've got a corner
of a room and we all sit together
this caused all sorts of problems internally I
.....
...
be
in
should
one of the offices with a secretary next door. " (Colin, 40s man)
Internal criteria for career success are important to Influencers too, in
particular
achievement criteria for success. Influencers value achievement criteria because to
them career success relates to what they can achieve within the organisation, rather
than the position which they reach. For Influencers, status is in terms of
organisational achievement, not rank. As a result it is often crucial for them to find

their work challenging or difficult - the harder the task, the greaterthe achievement
and the greater the level of organisational influence which will be attained if they
succeed:
"I want to feel occasionally, A Christ, I've done it this time, because that's what
buzz,
being
the
that
gives me
on the line where there is a possibility of failing
but there's a possibility of being successful. " (Susan, 40s woman)
For many Influencers, enjoying their work or finding it interesting is also a measure

is
idea
influence
For
their
that
to
this
the
of
success.
some,related
gaining an
allows
them to enjoy their job, particularly if it is achieved by using their creative skills:
"Things that end up with people thinking, wow, that was a good idea and he's
important,
interesting
to
it
in
that's
coming
you
people
up
way,
a really
put over
(Stuart,
I
it...
"
like
it
different,
God,
that
was really
was original,
and saying,
30s man)

While influence criteria for successare central to Influencers' conceptionsof success,


they may seepersonal recognition criteria as a secondarypart of their view of success
like
influence
be
their
to
because
they
and achievement
recognisedat a personal
too,
having
because
level, and
a good reputation will allow them to gain more influence in
the long run:

188

III want a job that's going to give me enough of a feeling of something to


achieve,
something to unravel and problems to fix, to keep my interest I also want, if
...
I'm doing a good job, to be in a position where there is recognition for doing
that job. " (Tony, 40s man)
Influencers formed the largest group of managers in this research, II in total, six
Alan,
Colin, Dave S, David, Stuart and Tony, and five women, Anne, Elspeth,
men,
Nicole, Sherelle and Susan. Of the group, the largest number, seven, were in their

forties, including all the men except Stuart. Three were in their thirties, including
two women, Anne and Nicole, and one, Sherelle,was in her twenties.
It is not surprising that a majority of the older managers(seven out of 12) were
Influencers, since one of the findings of the first stageof the research,discussedin
Chapter 4, section 4.3, was that the managersin their forties often describedcareer
leaving
in
in
for,
the
terms
they
of
a mark someway on
organisation
worked
success
influence
for
in
Chapter
5,
5.3.2,
the
main
criteria
section
as one of
recognised
different
have
in
Muencers
Some
the
way
may well
seensuccess a
older
of
success.
Tony
Dave
S
The
they
talked
that
they
what
about
and
way
when
were younger.
both
for
in
from
they
that
the
their
were
past suggested, example,
careers
wanted
Climbers in their twenties and thirties:
"At 35 (career success) was about going up the hierarchy, that was about getting
be
(is)
to
for
to
(career
I
far
or
tree
given
the
now
me
success)
as could .....
up
as
has
it
five
four
for
the
I
through
years, and
or
next
take on something
can see
"
development.
some real value added ...a major project within management
(Dave S, 40s man)

had
forties,
in
Stuart,
thirties
their
or
Three of the managers,David, Elspeth and
all
highly
BT
postgraduate
all
with
specialists,
qualified
their
as
careers at
started
highly
from
had
their
developed,
they
degrees. As their careers
moved away
their
become
surprisingly,
not
to
managers:
generalist
more
specialist roles
Expert
from
the
that
had
too,
of
probably
changed
success
career
conception of
in
Experts
(although
are not necessarilymanagers specialist roles, something which
below):
6.7
in
discussed
be
section
will
I
important
I
did
thing
the
being
never
most
was
joined
what
I
at
good
"When
...
(career
influence
success)
we
started
when
and
power
about
thought
.....
really

189

was going to be intellectual

achievement in my professional

specialism of

mathematics. " (Elspeth, 40s woman)

Some managers, however, remain Influencers for all of their career: there was
no
evidence in their interviews that Alan or Colin had ever had a different idea of what
constituted career success for them. In fact Alan's conception of successhad recently
begun to focus more on grade and reward criteria, because at 41 he had started to

he
had missed out on hierarchical successin some way and that his
that
perceive
influence was reducedas a result:
"I think I'd want to be more in a position of influence, where I can change
things at the moment I don't feel I I do it on a lower level but I'd like to be
...
...
...

it
higher
"
(Alan,
do
level.
40s
to
able
on a
man)
The youngest Influencers were all women, Anne, Nicole and Sherelle. Anne and
Sherellewere keen to move up the hierarchy and gain high levels of influence; Nicole
influence
field.
in
While
the
to
achieve
political
none of them valued status
wanted
for its own sake, all three of them saw successas being related in some way to
becoming famous for what they achieved in their career. This interest in a rather
for
important
it
implied
form
their
to
them
that
was
of personal recognition
extreme
influence to be acknowledgedin a very public way:
"(Career

for
me) probably
success

(is) being famous isn't that frightful? "


...

(Anne, 30s woman)


To summarise,the Influencer:
0

defines career successin terms of organisational influence

hierarchical
may seek

influence
to
gain greater
advancement

responsibility;
seeks
younger
when

leave
their
to
mark
when older wants

influence
increasing
of
as
a
means
achievement
organisational
e values

190

Case illustration:

Stuart

Stuart was an intriguing managerto interview: at one grade below director level, he
was the most senior managerto take part in this research,yet his ideas about career
successwere far removed from those of the Climbers describedin section 6.2. His
approach to his career was founded upon strong moral values rooted in left-wing
political convictions and a deep desire to balance his work life with his home life,
themeswhich underpinnedeverything he said.
Stuart joined BT as a statistician after a highly successfulacademic career, during
he
in
BA
Cambridge
University and an Whil in statisticsat
gained a
which
maths at
Yale University in the USA. Before he joined BT, Stuart had beenuncertainwhether
he wanted to remain an academic or to embark upon a career in business. The
he
position
was appointed to at BT was an ideal compromise in that it gave him an
opportunity to continue working on statisticsin a businessenvironment.
For the first nine years of his career with BT, Stuart was an internal consultant, at
first in a management science consultancy unit and latterly in BT's organisational
from
deal
he
Over
this
to
more with
period
mathematical analysis
moved away
unit.
"softer" organisational issues. His desire to make this switch coincided with another
in
his
for
MEBA.
At
this
time
consultancy career
an
various points
period of study,
Stuart was offered the chance to take a more "mainstream" job in BT. On each
influential
because
he
he
to
this
remain an
preferred
rejected
opportunity
occasion
"morass".
he
into
being
drawn
the
than
organisation's
saw as
what
outsider, rather

involved
heavily
Stuart
internal
his
Towards the end of
was
consultant,
career as an
in shaping a major reorganisation at BT, Project Sovereign. After that he continued
him
into
the
brought
level
high
most
of
some
with
contact
to work on
projects, which
in
him
the
At
in
two
time
this
the
above
people
company.
senior managers

looks
back
He
this
in
Stuart
both
left,
leaving
period
on
charge.
unit
organisational
how
doing
"We
felt
he
about
stuff
some
were
successful:
time
particularly
when
as a
taking
the
to
and
organisation
run
global sales and global service
you might want
...
board
listening
taking
them
what you
on
and really
that to very senior people, and
"
directors
like
that
that
nice.
quite
was
and
stuff
managing
were saying,
...
be
involved
desire
driven
by
to
to
a
Stuart's decision remain a consultantearly on was
became
developed
he
As
his
also
career
in interesting and challenging work.

191

concerned with being able to influence the way BT operated, and getting recognition
for being "the guy
"I'm
doing
it".
not a particularly good backroom person,"
on stage
he explains. This means that he often tries to use novel
highly
and
creative means to
achieve his ends, doing "things that end up with people thinking, wow, that was a
idea
good
and he's put it over in a really interesting way".
During the period when he was a consultant, Stuart was promoted rapidly,
reaching
his current senior level in his early thirties. Despite this hierarchical
he
success,
he
has never seen his own career success in terms of status, which he
that
maintains
dislikes, and is adamant that he did not press for promotion. "It just kind of came
he
"
"I'm
fussed
along,
explains.
not
about hierarchy. I want to feel I want to come to
feel
I
to
work, want
when it's finished people can say yes he made a difference I

don't seeit in terms of I don't want to be managingdirector"


..
Stuart'sdefinition of career successas making a difference and his lack of interest in
organisational status meant that he was ideally suited to his role as an internal
decided
he
he
Nevertheless,
that
consultant.
eventually
wanted to move outsidethat
job.
decision
in
This
environment and seeka generalmanagement
was made order to
develop his career, which he perceived would reach a position of stalemateif he
left
longer.
Stuart
As
the organisationalunit to
a result,
remained a consultant much
become head of carrier pricing, dealing with the issue of what BT charges rival
he
has
helped
he
believes
its
for
In
three
the
years
past
network.
companies
using
bring "order and far better quality thinking to BT" in the way it sets its interconnect
he
is
has
he
influence
fact
that
the
the
that
regardedas
now means
prices, and relishes
industry
expert.
somethingof an
However Stuart is uncertain about the future direction he wants his careerto take. It
is extremely important to him to balancehis life, especially since he has a 15-month
from
journey
he
has
50
to
to
Even
daughter.
though
work each
get and
a
mile
old
he
if
He
by
be
7.30
that
home
day, he still managesto
realises
every evening.
he
balance
be
it
BT,
the
to
director
becomesa
seeks,and
possible achieve
may not
of
home:
"I've
leaving
is
to
he
the
for this reason
company work nearer
considering
I
life
BT
devote
I
to
time
in
as
and
of
my
as
much
my
career
where
the
point
reached
he
"
to,
says.
want
his
deep
further
by
his
future
is
his
values and
compounded
Stuart's dilemma about
in
his
he
him
feel
important
is
It
to
to
that
achieves
what
very
interest in politics.

192

career not only "makes a difference" but is worthwhile too, "a good for the world in
general", in a way that he doesnot perceive working for BT to be. This is linked to a
desire to be seenas a good role model and a managerof integrity. As a result, Stuart
is contemplating whether or not he should take a job with the Labour Party, should
they win the next election, perhapsin some kind of advisory role: "Whatever kind of
think tanks (Tony Blair) has, I could seemyself doing that." It may be, therefore,that
he will decide career successfor him is to "make a difference" in a wider and more
important arenathan BT could ever offer him.
6.5 The Self-Realiser

For the Self-Realiser, career successis very much an internal concept, basedon the
idea of achievementat a very personal level, sometimesin a way which meanslittle
to other people. As a result internal criteria for success,especially achievement
important
Self-Realiser.
for
They
the
to
are
most
criteria,
may value other criteria
influence,
but
desire
their
to achieveon their
personal
recognition or
success,such as
in
the
they
them
their conception of career
terms
value
own
will override
place on
far
idea
is
from
The
Self-Realiser's
thus
external
of success
as
removed
success.
fulfilment:
to
the
notion of personal
managerialsuccessas possible and closest
"If you've been able to express your best ability, and you've enjoyed yourself,
then I think you've got a successful career ...without both of those it wouldn't be
20s
"
(Ran,
man)
successful.
Accomplishment criteria for success may also be valued by the Self-Realiser, since
do
being
from
they
at
good at what
they sometimes obtain a sense of achievement
jobbe
for
Self-Realiser
the
the
However,
result of specific
can
success
while
work.
describing
in
difficulty
their
have
like
Stella
very
they
may
related achievements,

in
terms
idea
at all:
organisational
of careersuccess
personal
financial
I
to
controller, or
"I cannot point
something and say, yes, when am a
"
for
define
I
I
that
that,
me.
success
career
I
this,
as
would
am
when
or
when am

(Stella, 20s woman)


Self-Realiser
the
that
seesas career successmay
Getting the senseof achievement
Selfdifficult.
find
For
this
they
reason,
which
challenges
personal
to
relate meeting
in
level
is
it
find
their
that
work challenging at a personal
essential
Realisers often

193

some way. Meeting a challengenot only addsto their senseof achievementbut helps
them develop as managers,something which many Self-Realisersvalue. Lyssa, for
example, seesher own careersuccessin terms of meeting setsof personalchallenges:
"if you've accomplished things you didn't think you could do or
you've got to a
level that initially you hadn't thought of getting to that you'd been
challenged
...
as well at a different sort of managerial level ......they are the measures (Of career
"
(Lyssa,
30s woman)
success).

Other Self-Realisersassociatefeelings of successwith learning new skills or working


in new areas,like Gill:
"Part of what moves you on is you get to the point where you think I can do this
now, there's nothing new here, whereas it was really difficult at the beginning. "
(Gill, 30s woman)

For Self-Realisers,a vital part of their idea of career successis achieving a balance
between their work life and their home life; they are usually managersto whom it
both
in
that
they
matters
succeed
spheresof their life on their own personal terms.
This may be becausethey have family responsibilities, like Kathryn and Sarah,who
both work part-time, or it may be because,like Angela and Gill, they believe that
there is a lot more to life than their dayjob:
"I would like to feel that I had a full work life and a full life out of work, to be
like
feel
I
had
I
do
to
that
I
do
things
to
to
the
actually
and
would
wanted
able
...
40s
in.
"
(Angela,
I
the
woman)
sphere was working
achieved something within

Perhapsbecausethey see successin terms of their own personal achievementSelfRealisersoften find it easierthan other managersto imagine changingthe direction of
different,
doing
totally
their career completely and
such as running their
something
follows:
her
dream
described
Stella
business.
as
own pipe
own
like
I'd
income,
I
have
be
to
Richard
"When
perhaps
a partner and
enough
gets
like
I'd
I'm
to
those
thinks
own
really
do
people
one
of
who
else
to
something
.....
in
do
because
I
love
like
that,
to
I'd
people
my
entertaining
hotel,
really
a
20s woman)
(Stella,
"
life.
personal

194

Enjoyment criteria for successcan be a componentof the Self-Realiser'sdefinition of


career success,especially interest andjob satisfaction. Finding their job interestingis
usually far more important to them than their position in the hierarchy, perhaps
becauseit is not possible to gain any satisfaction or senseof achievementin a job
has
has
intrinsic
interest.
Sarah
having
interesting
job
which
no
always valued
an
as
her
idea
part of
of careersuccess:
"Given that I've got to work, then having a job which is well-paid, interesting
is,
flexible
I
best
I
hope
for. " (Sarah, 40s woman)
the
suppose,
and
can

While Sarahespecially values the amount of money she is paid becauseher husband
is unemployed, to most Self-Realisers,external criteria for successare unimportant
how
do
In
Self-Realisers
to
their
they
see
own careersuccess. particular,
with respect
hierarchy
judge
in
in
the
terms
they
the
of
grade
organisational
or
success
reach
not
the statuswhich this might give them, but rather in terms of their individual personal
likely
If
to
these
to
they
are
relate
personal
set
career
goals,
achievement.
landmarks:
than
organisational
achievementsrather
"Career success is an individual thing I don't think you can say career success
...
is being managing director of ICI paints or whatever ...people may have a career
in designing clothes or whatever the case may be...so in terms of your own
if
in
they've
the
terms
got, and
skills
of
career, everyone's got their own ability
the
taken
best
the
all
to
of
those
advantage
of your ability and
you've exploited
20s
(Ran,
"
been
have
successful.
come your way, you've
opportunities that
man)
it
because
they
down
perceive will
Like Experts, Self-Realisers may turn
a promotion
have.
from
they
than
less
otherwise
would
they
career
a
them
want
what
of
give
it
have
it
job
because
made
the
entailed would
Stella turned down a promotion
have
Gill
Angela
life.
Both
her
balance
her
for
rejected
difficult
to
and
extremely
interesting
believed
they
because
and
that
they
were not sufficiently
higher level jobs

challenging:
it
I
didn't
because
think
it
down
I
turned
was
and
"I was offered promotion
.....
I
level,
higher
job
doing
be
just
I'd
the
different,
and
a
at
same
be
to
any
going
30s
"
(Gill,
interesting.
different,
woman)
do
more
to
something
wanted

195

Self-Realisers

may value highly intangible criteria for success, such as personal


recognition and influence. However, in their definition of career success they
will
always put greater emphasis on succeeding on their own personal terms than being
recognised as successful or having an impact on the organisation they work for. Ran,
for example, felt that at present he was more
of a success organisationally than he
was personally:
"I know that I've got a lot more to give yet I've got lot
to
a
more
ground
cover
...
in
terms of my career changing but in terms of my own development
yet, not
as
well. " (Ran, 20s man)

Sevenmanagersemergedas Self-Realisersin this research,six women, Angela, Gill,


Kathryn, Lyssa, Sarah and Stella, and one man, Ran. The managersare drawn from
all three age groups, with Angela and Sarahin their forties, Gill, Kathryn and Lyssa
in their thirties and Stella and Ran in their twenties.
Since it has already been identified in Chapters 4, section 4.2, and Chapter 5, section
5.5, that women are more likely than men to base their conceptions of career success
internal
intangible
it
is
like
Experts, most of the
that,
on
and
criteria,
not surprising
Self-Realisers are women. However, unlike the Expert, the Self-Realiser is more
likely to have moved towards their idea of successafter a period of transition than to
have held it from the beginning of their career. Many of the Self-Realisers in this
how
had
had
different
idea
in
talked
they
study
about
a
of career success the past.
Angela and Stella had moved from seeing success more as Experts earlier in their

careers:
"I don't think in the early days of my career I'd even thought about what was
job,
I've
do
I
to
to
always
and
wanted
a
good
always
wanted
career success...
later,
I
job
these
the
get
a
suppose,
when
you
came
some
of
other
aspects
enjoy
...
bit more experience and knowledge about what business and careers are
40s
(Angela,
"
woman)
about.

Gill, Kathryn and Ran had all had a more external idea of careersuccessin the past:
I'm
job,
I'm
the
thinking
getting a reasonable salary and
managing
and
life
have
to
a
outside, which is important to me...how much
I'm managing
30s
"
(Gill,
to
I
do
woman)
go?
further
want
"I'm

196

What the Self-Realisers all share is an understandingthat what matters to them is


career success on their own personal terms and an appreciation of the value of
personal achievement. Since balanceis often also a part of their idea of success,their
definition may be one which they have arrived at after a period of reflection about
life
from
by
they
their
want
as a whole, prompted a life changesuch as marriage
what
having
family,
doubt
or
a
or as a result of
about their careerdirection. For example,
the group of Self-Realisers included the two women who took part in the research
in
bringing
family,
to
their
their
who worked part-time order combine
careerwith
up
Kathryn and Sarah,two young managers,Ran and Stella, who had married in their
twenties and were in the process of deliberating how they could best continue to
family
life,
Lyssa,
and
who was about to marry a partner who
combine career and
lived abroad. It also included Gill, who was currently consideringwhether or not to
take her careerin a totally different direction becauseshewas not getting the senseof
had
in
her
Self-Realisers
What
desired
from
these
careerat present.
achievementshe
it
had
that
they
that
they
what
was
carefully
some
examined
all at
point
common was
her
following
Kathryn
from
the
explanationwhen askedwhy
gave
a career.
wanted
idea of careersuccesshad changed:
"Because I realise myself that some of those jobs I might have been describing
I
don't
but
do
I
them,
know
I
don't
I
whether or not could
are not what want ...

I
the
lifestyle,
think,
the
and
actually want what goes with
...
bit
focused
I
have
I
think
don't
that
on
I
just
more
a
want
responsibility ...
...
30s
(Kathryn,
"
I'd
I
woman)
enjoy.
what
and
need
what
myself,
them

definition
his
had
he
in
of career
changed
Ran, the only man the group, accepted that
full
the
However,
that
his
not
Climber
was
from
that
marriage.
since
of a
success
had
his
Sikh
devout
Ran
his
in
religion
and
a
was
the
views.
shift
explanation of
it
the
It
that
his
life.
in
of
effect
bigger
was
bigger
appeared
begun to play a
part
and
brought
had
life
rehis
a
in
about
which
the
circumstances,
change
this, as much as

Self-Realiser:
him
from
his
he
a
made
and
career
wanted
what
evaluation of
has
life
in
I
kind
the
I
my
of success want
because
yes,
"I think
am religious,
be
I'd
I
if
because
I
maybe
wasn't,
kind
at
work
the
want
success
of
influenced
...
I
but
to
Porsche
driving
me,
be
I'd
there
a
stockbroker,
a
as
...
very cut-throat.
(Ran,
"
20s
like
that.
be
man)
someone
don't want to

197

To summarise, a Self-Realiser
0

defines career success in terms of personal achievement

values personal challenge, self-development and learning

wants to achieve balance

imagine
can often
changing the direction of their career completely

Case illustration:

Kathryn

The impression that Kathryn gave during her interview was that, although she was
direction
her
her
the
to
take,
very open-minded about
she wanted
career
conception of

firmly
fixed. Self-assured and articulate, she had a deep
career success was
herself
understandingof
and a clear perceptionthat, for her, successwas fulfilling her
highestpotential as sheherself choseto define it.
After studying electrical engineering at university, Kathryn decided not to pursue this
because
became
"where
Instead
that
she
as a career
she couldn't see
would go".
a
believing
her
by
default,
that
this
to a
would expose
management consultant almost
idea
her
hoped
industries,
a clearer
of what she
which she
would give
wide range of
do.
to
really wanted

Kathryn enjoyed the work at the consultancybecauseit was highly challenging and
learning
that
curve: seeking challenge and
meant
she was on an almost constant
learning opportunities is a constant theme throughout her career. However, while she
found the job very stimulating, she eventually decided that the long hours which were
balance
life
her
in
her
time
was
when
were too much of a strain at a
expected of
becoming more important: she had recently married and moved out of London.

job
leave
to
the
take
at
At this point she chose
consultancyand
a corporate strategy
in
by
her
husband
BT.
This
working
BT.
who was already
move was prompted partly
her
Kathryn
in
the
her
After
management consultancy,
saw corporate strategy as
time

be
because
job
BT,
the
that
in
to
the
she
perceived
similar
would
career niche
left:
be
just
"I
had
to
the
wanted
a
strategy
person,
strategy
was
she
enjoyable one

198

i to stay, and that was going to be my career." However, what she


place I was going
has struggled to
come to terms with since is that, within BT, corporate strategy is not
perceived as a specialist career in its own right, but as a career step for generalist
managers.

Her career has developed somewhat reluctantly therefore


and she is still unclear
whether she would prefer to continue in some kind of specialist role or become a
more generalist manager. She has changedjobs not for any positive reasonbut more
as the strategyfunction itself has changed,to the point where she is now working in a
marketing department: "I've never actually applied for a different job since I joined
BT, " she explains. "I moved with the organisation,things have moved around
me,
job
is
dramatically
different I've sort of gonewith the flow. " Nevertheless,
and my
.....
has
find
to
she
continued
challengeand a senseof accomplishmentin the projects she
hasworked on, and has had a good deal of personalrecognition for her achievements:
"There are various awards and things that come round which I've been nominated
...
for or have got." This personal recognition for what she does has become
increasingly important to her.
Kathryn has been promoted twice as her career at BT has unfolded. She describes
in
neither promotion
particularly positive terms; they were both based largely "on the
fact that the job I was doing was already at the grade above", she says. Nor would
further
because
it
it
"just
have
taking
she consider
a
promotion
was a grade": would
to be a job she found enjoyable, which "would actually lead me where I wanted to be
her
balance
her
life.
day",
As
to
the
the
a manager,
at
end of
and which allowed
Kathryn sets little store on the status of her grade, which she values only for what it
her
do
to
permits
at work.
Balance has become a critical issue for Kathryn since she had her daughter two years
be
to
taken
She
to
seriously as a
continue
and
struggles
part-time
works
ago.
now
her
level
does
to
in
at
managers
not
encourage
which
environment
an
manager
for
her
family
is
Her
when she
a vital consideration
choose this pattern of working.
life
in
have
future
I
"I
her
think
to
general, not
career:
would
put my
contemplates
just my job, in the basket...I'm faced now with a number of trade-offs I have to
"
make.
doubtless
Kathryn
is
the
to reflect
one of
reasons which prompted
Having a child
is
her
Nonetheless,
factors
for
true
there
success.
career
were other
deeply on what

199

involved too. Having seen successmuch more in organisational terms when she was
younger, "not necessarily being the top of the company, but I would have said it
would be about being in a position that influences the person who is at the top", she
began to realise that perhaps this was not the kind
of career successshe really desired.
While she still wished to realise her full potential at
work, she became aware that she
wanted to reserve the right to define what form that might take, given her own

abilities and interests,and her desireto balanceher life.


While Kathryn has now arrived at her own very internal idea
of career success,
"fulfilling what I thought was probably my highest potential, and still be
coping with
it", she is still uncertain what this might mean in terms of her
actual career. "I
like
to say what it is I will be in ten years, 20 years time but I'm fairly
wouldn't
...
have
I'll
job
certain
a
of some description, and I want it to be somethingthat brings
...
have
I
the
things
today." She may even decide to leave the businessworld:
some of
is
she considering studying for a postgraduatedegree and taking up a new career,
perhaps as a teacher. Whatever she choosesto do will be based on the deeper
understandingof herself she feels she now has: "Anything I do in the future will be
built
very much
on the experienceI've gained, and hopefully a balancedknowledge
I'm
finding
them out now."
of my strengthsand weakness...and
only
6.6 Problematic managers
While most of the managers who took part in this research are one of the four types
described above, according to how they define career successfor themselves, not all
did
in
Alex,
be
Pravin
Two
this
the
them
men,
and
not
way.
of
of
could
classified
is
important,
described
It
therefore, to
the
types
to
as
above.
any of
correspond well
failure
fail
fit
to
this
the
typology
to
they
correspond
and
whether
consider why
in
its
conceptual robustness any way.
affects

Pravin has already been discussedin Chapter 5, becauseof his consciousrejection of


longer
he
he
had
in
In
the
past. particular, no
valued
aspectsof career successwhich
felt he could value the idea of enjoying his work, becomingvery good at what he did,
because
he
believed
that
an overemphasis
as
a
recognition
result,
and getting personal
dilemma
had
impeded
development.
his
The
in
the
real
past
career
these
criteria
on
he
in
he
that
to
however,
faced,
he
was unsurewhat wished put their place, with
was
he
interviewed,
had
Pravin
was
no coherentconception of what
the result that, when
between
in
He
torn
was
seeing successmuch more
for him was career success.

200

external terms, which on one level he felt might help him achievethe organisational
successhe still craved, or in deeply personal, almost spiritual terms, as a journey of
personal discovery. For this reasonit was impossible to describehim as any one of
the four types.
Pravin's dilemma was partly due to a dissatisfaction with the progress he had
made so
far in his business career. After a successful academic career, culminating in PhD
a
Cambridge,
he
had
at
assumed that success at BT would be attainable equally easily
with the same approach. Thus he had diligently acquired an impressive series of
business qualifications, worked tremendously hard and waited for promotion to
follow. He now realised ruefully that this approach was misguided: I joined with a
have
but
have
don't
have
to
to
view
a career,
career
a
you
simply
qualifications as I
have, you don't simply work hard as I have, but you do a lot of other things, you
being
influence
in
to
the right circles, being
manage yourself,
able
people, moving
being
it.
to
able network,
ruthless about "
However, his lack of clarity was largely the result of an ongoing reappraisal of what
he wanted more generally Erom his life and from his career. At 34 Pravin was
his
home
lives
better
desire
both
balance
to
work and
and to provide
conscious of a
financial security for himself and his family: "The money, where I live, what I do,
the balanced life, having a healthy perspective on things, become more important. "
That managers' conceptions of career successmay go through a transition while they
likely,
is
discussed
in
It
Chapter
5,
5.6.4.
been
has
in
thirties
their
section
already
are
therefore, that Pravin's view of career success was going through such a period of
his
in
BT,
held
had
he
ideas
from
that
the
career at
which were
earlier
change,
future
Expert,
to
the
to
those
and as yet unknown conception of
a
of
probably closest
in
Self-Realiser
both
Influencer
the
the
and
of
career success: there were elements
define
he
is
to
it
that
he
will eventually come
probable
said about success;
what
in
two
these
ways.
of
success one
does
four
the
describing
Pravin
types
the
in
moment
The difficulty
at
as any one of
how
but
therefore
typology
the
managers'
some
exemplifies
rather
not undermine

During
in
thirties.
their
transition
period
of
a
undergo
success
career
of
conceptions
in
for
define
is
loss
be
them
to
any
career success
what
at a
this time, they may
be
Pravin
is
to
the
this
at.
appears
stage
which
and
way,
coherent

201

Alex was equally


problematic to align with any one of the four types but for quite
different reasons than Pravin. His
conception of career success veered from a
definition based on
internal
very
criteria, such as feeling that he was really good at
what he did, which he described as being "able to shine", being happy, and achieving
his maximum potential, to one based
on the external criteria of grade and reward
which some of the other young men emphasised.
At 23, Alex had only worked for BT for two years and
still had very little idea about
what he was looking for from a career. This lack of understanding about what a
career meant to him seems to offer one explanation for his very mixed ideas about
career success. The first stage of the research found that some the managers went
through a transitional period at the beginning of their working life, when their ideas
about careers and career success developed and changed; interestingly, Alex was the
youngest manager interviewed in this study, and it is therefore conceivable that he
was going through such a phase.
Alex had joined BT after being sponsored by the company to take an electronic
engineering degree: his one criterion for his first job was that it was not a technical

it
fulfilled
this, it was clear that relying on this criterion alone was not
post, and while
sufficient to guaranteehim job satisfaction. Alex did not particularly enjoy his job as
"It's
a systemsengineer:
not really a stressfuljob, but the very fact that you have to
into
come
work every morning, you know you're going to have customers ringing you
up and they've got problems ...and dealing with people that you don't actually
like you still have to smile at them and be pleasant to them it's all, not grinding me
...
...
down, but it's something that if I had a choice I would try and escape from. " This
important
his
definition
because
the
part of
of career success
was unfortunate,
most

have
"to
a good time"
was
In reality, he seemedvery uncertain about whether it would be possible for him to
from
"escaping"
BT
the
the
theme
this
organisation was one
of
at
all:
at
achieve
less
his
interview.
He
to
throughout
and
seemed
committed
which recurred
interestedin his careeras a managerthan his contemporaries. He had no careergoals
have
his
job
in
tolerable
the short
towards,
he
to
made
that wanted strive
which might
for
failure
ideas
Alex's
the
The
about career successto
of
term.
other explanation
four
he
is
interested
in
the
types,
therefore,
that
to
or suited
was not
correspond any of
he
had
hard
BT
found
it
to
at
which
chosenand as a result
to the career as a manager
kind
in
job.
is
If
that
this
the
of
career
success
at
all
any
case,
achieving
envisage

202

then it is not surprising that he does not fit any of the four types described in this
chapter.
6.7 Climber, Expert, Influencer and Self-Realiser: what kind of manager is
likely to see success as each type?

The differences between male and female managers, and younger and older
in
managers, terms of the criteria they use to define career successfor themselves
have been discussed in detail in Chapters 4 and 5. To summarise the findings
it
there,
presented
appearsthat men are more likely to seetheir own careersuccessin
terms of external criteria, whereaswomen perceive theirs more in terms of internal
intangible
and
criteria; younger managersfavour external criteria for successmore
than older managers,whereas older managersthemselves are more likely to view
in
intangible
terms
careersuccess
of
criteria, especiallyinfluence criteria.
The potential effects of these differences on the kind of manager who might be
expectedto see successas each type, according to the typology outlined above, are
therefore as follows: the Climber seescareer successprimarily in terms of external
be
largely
be
therefore
to
this
male; the
criteria and
group of managerscan expected
Expert defmes career successin terms of internal accomplishment and intangible
likely
be
is
to
thus
this
group of managers
personal recognition criteria, and
intangible
female;
Influencer
to
the
relates career successprimarily
predominantly
influence criteria, and therefore this group of managersis probably older rather than
internal
in
Self-Realiser
terms
achievement
of
sees career success
younger; the
female.
be
be
to
mainly
criteria and so this group of managerscan expected
The composition of the groups of managerswho fall within eachtype in this research,
is
the
described
and
gender
of
effects
potential
with
consistent
generally
above,
as
is
Experts
is
Climbers
the
here:
identified
the
group of
all male;
group of
age
in
the
is
female;
there
of
group
managers
older
of
a
preponderance
predominantly
Influencers; and the group of Self-Realiserscontainsonly one man.
factors
directly
than
is
the
other
of
effects
with
While this research not concerned
it
is
to
consider
necessary
of
career
success,
conceptions
managers'
on
age
genderand
differences
fully
in
influences
to
to
according
order
explore
briefly other possible
define
is
likely
kind
build
to
the
to
who
of
of
manager
picture
a
and
age
gender and
found
differences
four
Based
to
the
in
the
according
on
ways.
of
each
success
career

203

gender and age, an attempt will be madeto pinpoint some of the common traits of the
managerswho define careersuccessin eachof the four ways The other factors which
will be consideredare grade* within the BT hierarchy, educationalbackground,work
area and race. They were chosen becausethey are considered to be particularly
relevant to the issue of what kind of manager might define career successas each
type does.

*The grading structure used in this Chapteris a simplified version of the one in

in
use

BT, as describedin Chapter 3, section 3.2.5.


The composition of the four groups of managersin this research,according to the
type of careersuccessthey favoured, is as follows:
Table 6.1: The Climbers

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Adam

Male

30s

School

General

Darren

Male

20s

School

Dave C

Male

40s

School

John

Male

20s

University

management
General
management
General
management
IT

Kenneth

Male

20s

University

Sales

Paul

Male

30s

Personnel

Phil

Male

30s

Teacher
training
Postgraduate:
MSc

Personnel

204

Table 6.2: The Experts

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Dave H

Male

20s

University

IT

Jeanette

Female

30s

University

IT

JaneM

Female

30s

University

Personnel

JaneS

Female

40s

School

Audit

Lisa

Female

20s

University

Sales

Liz

Female

40s

University

Personnel

Paula

Female

20s

School

Personnel

Sam

Female

20s

University

Personnel

Steve

Male

30s

School

Personnel

Table 6.3: The Influencers

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Alan

Male

40s

School

Personnel

Anne

Female

30s

Colin

Male

40s

Dave S

Male

40s

Postgraduate:
Sloan MSc
_
Postgraduate:
MBA
School; BSc

General
management
General
manag ment
Personnel

Male

40s

Market

management
IT
Systems

David
Elspeth
Nicole
Sherelle

Female

30s

Postgraduate:
PhD
Postgraduate:
PhD
University

Female

20s

University

Female

40s

Susan

Female

40s

Stuart

Male

30s

------Tony

Male

40s

School;
MBA
Postgraduate:
MPhil; MBA
School; BSc

research
General

engineering
Personnel
General
management
Personnel

205

Table 6.4: The Self-Realisers

Name

Sex

Age

Grade

Education

Work area

Angela

Female

40s

IT

Gill

Female

30s

Postgraduate:
MA
University

Kathryn

Female

30s

University

Strategy

Lyssa

Female

30s

University

Finance

Ran

Male

20s

University

Sales

Sarah

Female

40s

IT

Stella

Female

20s

Postgraduate:
msc
University

Strategy

Finance

The most distinctive feature of the composition of the groups is that three of them are
dominated by a single sex, as described above. While the Influencers consist of equal
groups of men and women, the Climbers are all men, and the Experts and SelfRealisers are predominantly women. It has already been noted that this division

findings
do
key
that
this
the
of
research,
women
not tend to view their
reflects one
by
it
being
based
the
external grade and reward criteria
which
on
career successas
has traditionally been defined within organisations. Women in general therefore
less
be
Self-Realisers
likely
Experts
far
than
to
men and as such much
or
more
seem
inclined to defme their own career success in terms of any kind of organisational

be
likely
Climbers
far
hand
influence;
to
the
or
more
are
other
men on
status or
Influencers, who see their career successmore in terms of organisational status or
do
Self-Realisers,
Experts
influence,
than
not.
who
or
organisational
This should not be taken to mean, however, that male and female managerscan be
has
found
Experts
lines:
two
this
these
and one male
male
research
stereotyped along
female
indicates
fact
half
Influencers
the
that
the
Self-Realiser, and
are
group of
of

ideas
While
have
about career success.
very similar
that some men and women
it
is
be
Climber
typical
a
woman
manager,
would
not
of
as
a
success
career
seeing
in
define
their
this
there
that
who
own
success
are
some
women
still conceivable
way.

206

As already acknowledged,
age also is a crucial factor in determining which type of
career success a manager favours. In this research, most of the managers who see
success as Climbers are relatively young, which is consistent with the conclusion that
external criteria are more important to younger managers. It has been suggestedthat
many of them will change, choosing to emphasise external criteria for success less
intangible
and
criteria more as they grow older: the large proportion of men in their
forties (five out of six), who are Influencers bears this out. Given that
do
managers
not usually reach the most senior positions within organisations until they are in their
forties or fifties, it is conceivable that some managers will remain Climbers for
most
however,
their
this research indicates that older managers who are
of
careers;
Climbers are often still at lower grades within the organisation and thus have yet to

hierarchical
the
achieve
successwhich they seek. This was discussedin detail in
Chapters 4, section 4.3, and Chapter 5, section 5.6.1.
As noted above, the Influencers are predominantly an older group than the others,
influence
the
that
supporting
suggestion
criteria for success,especially leaving a mark
on the organisation and autonomy, are particularly important to managers in their
forties. Four of the group, however, including three women, are still in their twenties
be
One
is
kind
Influencer
thirties.
this
that
the
the
explanation of
younger
or
may
of
levels
but
has
high
Climber,
to
those
the
ambition
of
similar
of
younger
manager who
influence
in
their
terms
of
rather than status or material
own success much more
sees

for
in
This
the
three
presenceof
women this subexplanation would account
reward.
in
define
do
their
tend
to
careersuccess externalterms.
group, since women not
The group of Experts includes three of the five women in their twenties who took
define
be
inclined
to
in
that
the research, suggesting
more
young women may
part
been
has
factor
One
in
for
this
themselves
already
which
way.
career success

discussedin Chapters4, section 4.2, and Chapter 5, section 5.5.3, which may explain
lack
be
likely
to
to
is
this that women appear
confidenceat work than men; they
more
is
If
this
their
to
performance.
seek constant affirmation of
may therefore need
be
beginning
they
their
the
could
career,
when
true
of
at
women
of
particularly
lead
do
job
them
to
this
to
their
their
might
well,
ability
about
especially concerned
large
in
terms
until
recognition
of
getting
amounts
of
personal
their
success
own
see
(However,
the
their
group of
competence.
become
about
confident
more
they
does
forties,
in
their
thirties
their
includes
and
which
suggest
women
Experts also

207

that, for some women, seeing career


success as an Expert may be permanent, rather
than temporary. )
Thus the research findings show that
younger men are most likely to be Climbers,
and older men Influencers, whereas younger women are most likely to be Experts,
and older women Experts, Self-Realisers or Influencers.
This endorses the
suggestion that managers tend to emphasise intangible criteria for success more and
external criteria less as they get older. This appears to be especially true of the male
managers, since the women put less emphasis on external criteria in the first place.
When the managers' grade is taken into account as well, however, the
is
picture more
The
Experts are at relatively lower grades, regardless of their
complex.
age,
compared with the other groups. It is beyond the scope of this research to speculate
here whether this reflects their vision of career successor causes it it
be
may
again
connected to the issue of confidence - but it is interesting to note the contrast with the
Self-Realisers:
there are no junior managers in this group. It has already
group of
been acknowledged that becoming a Self-Realiser often appears to be the result of
kind
some
of transition experienced by the manager, perhaps as a result of life
changes. It may be that this process is partly triggered by reaching a career stage as
life
well as a
stage.
Grade appears to be less of a factor in determining whether a manager is an
Influencer. This may seem a little paradoxical, because it can be seen that some of
the most senior managers who took part in this research belong to the group of
Influencers. However, it is not only managers with high levels of influence who see
in
Four
Influencers
the
this
are still at one of the two most
career success
of
way.
junior management grades, including two men in their forties. The large number of
both
highly
indicate
in
Influencers
that
to
this
group seems
some
present
very senior
just
in
terms
they
the
seek
of grade or reward,
see
success
never
ambitious managers
become
from
being
Influencers
Climbers
they
to
that
as
get
change
and
others may
older.

When one examines the work areasof the managerswho took part in the research,it
is interesting to note that the sevenmanagerswho work in generalmanagementroles
Experts
SelfInfluencers.
In
Climbers
the
or
and
contrast,
all
of
either
are all
Experts
in
the
the
organisation:
number of
specialist positions within
Realisers are
is
(five)
is
It
in
to
those
particularly
noticeable.
easy
see
why
personnel
who work

208

who have an inclination towards seeingsuccessas an Expert, that is in terms of being


good at what they do and getting personal recognition for it, may find personnel a
suitable area to work in: they will often be in a position to offer "expert" advice to
line managers, for which presumably they will receive some kind of personal
recognition. Nonetheless, being attracted do a job like personnel work does not
guaranteethat a manager will see successin this way: this researchalso shows that
there are managers working in personnel who are Climbers and Influencers. The
Self-Realisers,
hand,
includes the only managersinterviewed
the
group of
on
other
for the researchwho work in finance and strategy. One possible explanation of this
be
that these are areaswhich can involve large amountsof formal and informal
may
learning, and thereby provide Self-Realisers with opportunities for the particular
kinds of personal challengethey thrive on.
There are also apparentdifferences betweenthe four groups of managersin terms of
their educational background. On the whole, the Climbers seemto have receivedthe
least amount of formal education; only three of them have a university degree,and
has
kind
In
these
contrast,the
attained any
of postgraduatequalification.
only one of
Influencers appear to be the best educated managers. Not only does this group
fourth,
degrees,
(the
four
interviewed
three
the
with research
managers
of
contain
Pravin, was impossible to describe as any of the four types), but it also includes all
MBAs
business
have
three
the managerswho
and one
qualifications,
postgraduate
Sloan MSc. (It is worth noting in addition that three Influencers who startedwork
leavers
degrees.
None
have
the
from
school
of
since gaineduniversity
school
straight
in the other groups have achieved this.) All of the Self-Realisers have had a
have
Experts
(three)
the
third
not.
of
university education,whereasa
is
it
to
focus
is
this
comment
necessary
Finally, whilst race not a main
research,
of
in
the
took
how
had
have
the
it
part
who
briefly on the effects may
managers
on
Lyssa,
Asian,
Three
the
were
participants
research
of
success.
research see career
had
felt
their
how
their
they
The
affected
talked
two
race
Ran.
Pravin and
about
men
he
the
felt
to
in
that
organisation
Ran
within
succeed
BT:
wanted
particular
careersat
Asians;
Pravin
for
was more
other young
in order to act as a good role model
felt
he
because
that
his
his
especially
the
career,
on
race
of
effects
negative about
brought
I
him
had
Asian
politically naive: was never
made
being brought up as an
how
to
brought
I
understanding
with
up
wasn't
streak,
ruthless
up with a particularly
in
that
the
all
right
circles,
all
getting
yourself
yourself,
promote
and
market yourself
did
"
Lyssa
hard,
keep
brought
to
not
I
nose
clean.
your
work
up
was
stuff
sort Of
..

209

mention the subject of her race at all during her interview: for her, the main issue in
her life was her forthcoming
marriage to a fiance who lived in India, in that she did
not know whether shewould be able to continue her careerat BT at all.
Both Lyssa and Ran were Self-Realisers, Ran being the
only man in this group.
Whilst he shared many of the Climbers' values, his idea
of career success superseded
those for him to see career success as achievement very much on his own personal
terms. As described in section 6.5, the reason for this was largely the effect of his
Sikh religion on his life and values: "In terms of my religion, I do believe in
destiny if it's in my destiny, I will get there. "
...
Pravin, one of the managers who was impossible to place in one of the four groups,
did not overtly discuss his religion in the same way as Ran, but did allude to how part
his
of
somewhat confused view of success was as "spiritual enlightenment" and
"inner peace and balance", suggesting at least some closeness to the position of the
Self-Realiser, possibly for the same reasons as Ran. For the two male Asians at least,
have
to
and
race
religion appear
a strong effect on their conceptions of career success,
in that they seemed less eager than their white male contemporaries to see successin
primarily external material terms.
To conclude, in this research the main characteristics of the managers who fall into

be
follows:
four
the
eachof
groups can surnmarisedas
Climbers:
9

are male
tend to be younger, or less hierarchically successful older managers
degree
likely
have
least
to
a university
are the group
in
a general management position
may work

Experts:

e
"
"
"

are mainly women


lower
in
be
grade positions
younger or
tend to
degree
have
university
a
not
may
may or
in
roles
specialist
work

210

Influencers:
may be men or women
are likely to be older, especially men, and could be in very senior positions
tend to be highly qualified academically
work in generalmanagementor specialistroles
Self-Realisers:

"

are predominantly women


tend to be middle to senior managers

"

have university degrees

"

work in specialist roles

"

In the Chapter 7 the typology of managerialcareersuccessand the differences found


between managersin terms of how they define career successfor themselveswhich
back
linked
be
to
to the theory on career success
are
gender and age will
related
discussedin Chapter 2.

CHAPTER 7: SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION


OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS

211

CHAPTER

7:

SUNIMARY

AND DISCUSSION OF THE RESEARCH FINDINGS

This chapter relates the key findings of this researchback to career successtheory
demonstrates
the contribution which they make to it. Section 7.1 summarisesthe
and
findings.
how
7.2
Section
the career success typology, which
research
shows
how
different
define
their own success, expands our
managers
conceptualises
knowledge of managerial career success. Sections 7.3 and 7.4 link the differences
found in the researchbetween men and women and younger and older managersin
terms of how they view career successto existing literature in these fields. Section
7.5 considersthe limitations of the findings; section 7.6 makes suggestionsfor future
findings
build
here.
the
presented
on
researchwhich would
7.1 A summary of the research findings
The purpose of this research was to answer the following questions:

1. What do managers conceive career successto be for themselveson their own


terms?

for
is
different
them
have
ideas about what career success
2. Do women managers
ftom men?
for
is
them
different
ideas about what career success
3. Do older managers have
ftom younger ones?

definition
has
of career
their
own subjective
It has shown that, while each manager
how
in
of
groups
particular
similarity
of
there
are recognisable patterns
success,
developed
has
a
the
Using
these
research
patterns,
managersview career success.
form
1989)
typology
(Bailyn
to
managerial
of
a
series of orientational categories
different
to
managers.
describes
means
success
career
what
careersuccess,which
how
in
they
terms
see
different
four
of
types
identifies
manager
of
The typology
Climber
follows:
briefly
the
success
be
sees
as
summarised
can
which
success,
career
but
they
also
achieve,
level
pay
and
seniority
the
in
organisational
of
terms
of
chiefly
defines
Expert
the
this
enjoyment;
with
success
material
to
combine
often wants
for
do
recognition
they
being
personal
getting
and
at
what
good
as
primarily
success
the
their
amount of
Influencer
with
success
the
associates
this accomplishment;
in
defines
terms
Self-Realiser
the
success
influence they achieve; and
organisational

212

of their achievement at a very personal level, which usually involves personal


challenge and self-development.
The research has shown that, although it is not
possible to stereotype individual
managers, women tend to see career success in a different way from men. They are
likely
to be Experts and Self-Realisers, and less likely to be Climbers. Men,
more
conversely, are more likely to be Climbers and Influencers than Experts and SelfRealisers.
It also suggests that age affects managers' defmitions of career success too. For
example, older managers, especially men, are more likely to be Influencers; younger
likely
be
Climbers, and younger women Experts.
to
men are most
In sections 7.2,7.3 and 7.4, the particular contributions the research makes will be
discussed in detail and related back to relevant literature in the field of career success.
7.2 What career success means to managers
While career successhas traditionally been seen purely in the external, organisational
terms of hierarchical seniority and salary level (O'Reilly and Chatman 1994,
Melamed 1995), widespread evidence suggests, firstly, that this is not how managers
themselves perceive it (e.g. Korman et al. 1981, Nicholson and West 1988), and
both
is
be
if
to
to
the
that
of any value at all
concept of career success
secondly,
individual managers and to organisations, then it is how managers define successfor
themselves which matters most, not an external perception of successbased solely on
1994)
As
Gattiker
Herriot
1993,
(Poole
et al.
et al.,
objectively measurable criteria
personnel
"Any
(1986)
Larwood
effective
and
of
career
paths
say:
understanding
and
is
if
is
the
subjective side of career success
substantially reduced
management
ignored. "
This research therefore responds to calls for studies which examine the concept of
(e.
the
than
from
the
g.
organisation's
rather
of
view,
manager's
point
career success
Gattiker
Larwood
According
1989).
Hall
Sekaran
to
1994,
and
Herriot et al.
and
individual
"the
perceptions of achievement, which are
(1990),
examination of
differently
feel
individuals
their
that
they
because
about
might reveal
important
been
has
than
a
popular
not
expect,
unfortunately
might
outsider
an
accomplishments
"one
Poole
(1993)
in
that
less
this
is
of
concur
area".
et
al.
research
there
subject, so

213

the major shortcomings in the career


literature
has
been an adequate
success
conceptualisation of what career successmeans"
One reason for this "shortcoming"
be
to
the ease of use wholly external
appears
definitions of success afford those
researching careers and career development (e.g.
O'Reilly and Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). As Bailyn (1989)
"on
the whole
notes,
it is easiest to assume that external definitions
coincide with internal ones. It is
instructive. for example, to note how readily one falls into the
presumption that
)
upwardly mobile careers are experienced as successful". The aim of this research
was to attempt to overcome such presumptions and fill a clearly identified gap in
career success theory, that is, examine how managers define career success for
themselves. In doing so, it pays heed to Bailyn's call for research into the internal
career, to produce "an aggregation of individual data that reflects differences in
.
sub9ective meanings" (Bailyn 1989).
Thus, this research explores managers' personal definitions of career success and
categorises them according to patterns of similarities which emerged from the data.
In total, it identifies four different types of manager, each of whom regards their own
in
distinctive
four
The
Climber,
Expert, Influencer
types
career success a
way.
are
and Sef-Realiser, as described in section 7.1 and in detail in Chapter 6.
Of the four types identified, only one, the Climber, has a view of career success
in
idea
"conventional"
it
the
which
any way resembles
of organisational success as
has traditionally been defined by position in the hierarchy and salary level (e.g.
Rosenbaum 1979, O'Reilly and Chatman 1994). Only seven of the 36 managers
interviewed for this research could be categorised as Climbers; the vast ma ority (29)
far
definition
had
therefore,
the
of career successwhich was
a personal
of
managers,
Even
idea
Erom
"traditional"
the
the
of success within organisations.
removed
Climbers' definition of success was somewhat broader than the narrow criteria of
hierarchical position and pay: it was common for Climbers to believe that they would
job,
if
did
they
their
they
of
regardless
what
themselves
a
success
not
enjoy
as
not see
hierarchy.
in
the
they
organisational
were
earned or where
in
the
the
the
findings
career
The
accordingly
view
expressed
research
support
of
in
describing
the external material
managerial career success wholly
literature that
does
feel
hierarchical
about
not represent what managers
position and pay
terms of

it
is
despite
This
the
that
common
assumption
conclusion
should.
their own success,

214

exemplified by Korman et al.'s research (1981) which showed that many


hierarchically successful
managers did not in fact feel that they were a success, and
studies by Keys (1985) and Subich et al. (1986) which demonstrated on the other
hand that individuals who were not hierarchically
feel
that they
successful could still

had achieved careersuccess


The main contribution of this research, however, is that it illustrates what kind of
criteria managers actually do use to define their own career success (as opposed to
those which they don't use). While the typological categorisation it employs is new,
it is interesting to note that some of the characteristics of the four types of managers
it
describes
do
findings
in this field. This suggests
to
which
relate previous research
that, although innovative, the typology has roots in existing career theory, a further
its
endorsement of
soundness.

As discussedabove, the Climber's conception of careersuccessis closestto the idea


described
it
has
been
in
level
in
the
traditionally
terms
of
of organisational successas
hierarchy and rate of pay (e.g. Rosenbaum 1979 and 1989, Gould and Penley 1984,
O'Reilly and Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). All of the Climbers in this research
"traditional"
it
is
the
that
model of careersuccess
perhapsnot surprising
were men, so
has been identified as representinga typically "masculine" idea of success,reflecting
(e.
Gilligan
1982,
individuation
based
and separation g.
on
male psychological values
Marshall 1989, Gallos 1989). The managerswho are Climbers in terms of how they
be
highly
to
tend
their
competitive and goal-oriented, and as such
own success
see
have an approach to planning their career described by Marshall (1989,1995) as
ideals,
is,
"forward-looking,
"agentic", that
often
goal-directed, pursuing external
been
has
to
This
1995).
to
(Marshall
said
often
career
time
a
approach
scales"
against
it
(e.
Climber
is,
the
idea
"male"
g.
"traditional"
sees
as
much
success
what
of
entail a
Powell and Mainiero 1992).
do
Climber,
is
they
Expert
the
that,
not
In contrast, a key characteristic of the
unlike
dimension
the
to
In
they
of
this respect
other
have work-related goals.
correspond
(Marshall
"communion-based"
careerplanning
Marshall's model of career planning,
focuses
but
forward-looking
is
1989,1995). Communion-basedcareerplanning not
inner
listening
the
to
is
"open
need
to
next
opportunities,
"largely on jobs" and
is
it
1989);
(Marshall
longer
term
approach
an
consequences"
about
without concern
Experts
fact,
"female".
In
the
is
typically
of
group
as
seen
to a career which
between
found
female:
differences
the
largely
the
male
in
this
was
study
identified

215

and female managersin terms of how they saw career successwill be discussedin
greater detail in section 7.3.
The main criteria for career successwhich the Expert uses, accomplishment
and
personal recognition, reflect the findings of earlier research, again in particular
studies which compared what men and women wanted from a career. For example,
Beutell and Brenner (1986) found that women rated accomplishment and use of
knowledge more highly than income and advancement. Mason (1994) discovered
that women managersparticularly valued the idea of being treated with respect and
White et al. concluded (1992) that one of the outcomesthat the "successful"women
in
took
who
part their study were seekingfrom their careerswas personalrecognition
of their achievement. There may also be a connection between managerswho are
Experts in terms of how they seecareersuccessand those with a technical/functional
identified
by
Schein (1993). Scheinsaysthat such individuals "build
careeranchor as
identity
a senseof
around the content of their work" and value "the recognition of his
her
from
than
or
professional peers more
uninformed rewards
members of
in
Experts
(1993).
All
this
the
management"
of
managerswho were classified as
but
kind
individual
indeed
in
the
of position an
specialist roles,
research were
determine
how
define
its
be
does
they
their
to
to
sufficient on own
occupies
not seem
in
similar specialist positions were also
own career success: managers working
Climbers, Influencers and Self-Realisers.
The largest group to emerge in this research was that of the Influencers, suggesting
that, for many managers, being able to have a real influence on the organisation they
finding
This
idea
important
for
is
their
of career success.
part of
an extremely
work
by
definitions
of career success carried out
reflects a quantitative study of personal
Derr and Laurent (1989), which found that, of a list of 36 items which might
determine career success, the three ranked most highly all related to the amount of
influence a manager could exercise. The importance of influence to some managers
discovered
they
the
(1992),
that
White
by
women
of
many
who
et al.
was also noted
highly.
influence
interviewed valued
and autonomy

for
linked,
be
influence
to
particularly
closely
This research showed
and autonomy
This
be
likely
Influencers.
to
supports
especially
were
who
older managers,
increase
for
(1987)
that
autonomy may
managers'need
O'Connor and Wolfe's claim
ideas
in
The
kind
success
of
career
crisis.
variations
of
mid-life
some
of
result
a
as
fact
be
discussed
in
The
7.4.
different
that
section
will
ages
found in managersof

216

some of the most senior managerswho took part in the researchwere Influencers,not
Climbers, further endorses the
hierarchically
that
conclusion
successful managers
may not in fact seetheir own career successin hierarchical terms (e.g. Korman et al.
1981), and suggests that many managers wish to move
up the organisational
hierarchy to increase their influence rather than their status. There
be
link
may
a
between both Climbers and Influencers, and those managers Schein identifies
as
having a general managementcareer anchor: as he describesit, "the most important
forms of recognition for managerially anchoredpeople are promotions to positions of
higher responsibility" (Schein 1993). In fact, all of those interviewed for the research
who were working in general managementroles were either Climbers or Muencers.
Once again, however, it is clear that any relationship between the career anchor
classification and the career successtypology is not straightforward: this researchhas
shown there to be some managerswho do not "view specialisationas a trap" (Schein
1993) and have remained in specialistpositions, yet who seetheir own careersuccess
Climber
either as a
or as an Influencer.
Rather like the Expert, the characteristicstypifying the Self-Realiser'sdefinition of
career success,personal achievement,challenge and self-development,concur with
being
by
investigating
identified
"female"
the
typically
attributes
as
research
some of
from
(Again,
like
Experts,
the group
their
the
managers
want
careers.
what women
female:
differences
largely
in
Self-Realisers
the
this
researchwas
of
which emerged
found betweenthe men and the women will be explored further in section 7.3
-)
A number of studies (e.g. Hennig and Jardim 1978,Donnell and Hall 1980,Marshall
1984, Asplund 1988, Alban-Metcalfe 1989) have indicated that women see career
than
in
terms
advancementand
challenge
and
growth
of personal
successmore
(1978)
Jardim
Hennig
that
For
women
conclude
and
example,
remuneration.
internal
in
their
growth
process
of
as
a
almost
careers
success
achieving
see
managers
"towards an intensely personal goal which the individual alone canjudge whether she
has achieved". Asplund (1988) found that women were "more likely to be motivated
by psychological factors and a desire for self-realisation".
balance
desire
is
their
Self-Realiser
to
the
successfully
a
An important attribute of
literature
finding
life.
that
This
home
an
proposes
which
their
endorses
career with
is
increasingly
home
in
affecting
interest in balancing success a careerwith successat
1993,
1989,
Kimmel
Goffee
(e.
Scase
and
career
success
g.
of
conceptions
managers'
for
believe
for
(1989),
Scase
Goffee
that
1995).
Pemberton
example,
and
Herriot and

217

many managers, "conceptions of personal successhave become more broadly defined


in that they incorporate
non-work criteria according to which the costs and benefits of

career successare measured". Other writers (e.g. Marshall 1989 and 1995, Gallos
1989, Powell and Mainiero 1992 and 1993) have suggestedthat balancehas
always
been an important part of women managers'definitions of careersuccess,in that, for
them, as Gallos (1989) says, "the boundaries between professional work and
in
everything else life are more permeable".
The research consequently demonstrates that the criteria managers use to define their
diverge
own career success
widely from the criteria such as hierarchical position and
level
by
salary
which it has traditionally been measured. It also shows that there is a
difference
divergence
in the kind of criteria employed to
qualitative
as well as a wide
define success. While criteria such as position and pay are external to the manager
be
and as such can
objectively assessed,many of the criteria by which the managers
judge their own success are internal and subjective: like the career itself, career
has
internal
dimension
(Hall
1976,
Schein
1978,
success
an
as well as an external
Gunz 1989).
The kind of subjective internal criteria which the managers use to measure their own
from
include
their
work,
a
sense
of
accomplishment
getting
career success
from
important
Expert,
they
to
the
what
of
achievement
a
sense
getting
particularly
do, central to the Self-Realiser's conception of success, and enjoyment, which many
Climbers see as crucial for their own feelings of success. In all, the research
identified five separate groups of internal successcriteria, which formed a crucial part
of many of the managers' conceptions of career success: accomplishment criteria,
balance
integrity
criteria.
criteria and
achievement criteria, enjoyment criteria,

internal
kind
identifying
in
has
the
of
While the contribution the research
made
dimension
internal
importance
is
the
the
for
of
new,
employ
managers
success
criteria
Gattiker
field
(e.
in
by
this
is
theory
and
g.
existing
acknowledged
of career success
1993).
1993,
Peluchette
1991
1990,
Poole
and
Larwood, 1986,1988 and
et al.
"a
(1986)
for
that
Larwood,
person's own assessment
Gattiker and
example, conclude
internal
by
influenced
be
concepts".
career
his/her
subjective
strongly
may
success
of
internal
further
that
to
(1993)
measures of career
subjective
suggest
Poole et al.
go
determinant
than
criteria,
objective
success
of
career
vital
more
even
success are an
in
findings
is
by
that
Their
this
the
for
research,
of
endorsed
view
women.
especially
likely
be
to
those
types
put
who
manager
of
most
as
emerged
women managers

218

greatest emphasis on internal criteria for career success,that is the Expert and the
Self-Realiser.
Although external criteria for successwere not on their
own sufficient to define how
any of the managerswho took part in this researchsaw their own career success,for
some, notably Climbers, they were a central part of their idea of success. This
finding supports Poole et al.'s conclusion (1993) that, despite the importance
of
internal measuresof career success,objective external criteria remain a "necessary
component" of careersuccess.
A far more interesting finding made by this research,however, is that a secondtype
of external success criteria exists, not previously identified in the career success
literature. These criteria, while external to the managers,are not material or tangible
in the sameway as hierarchical position or salary level. Such criteria include getting
personal recognition, perhaps in the form of positive feedback for achievements,
idea
Expert's
being
have
influence
to
the
to
crucial
of career success,and
able
a real
defined
by
to
the Influencer. There appearsto be a clear
at work, central successas
important
in
difference
kind
between
the two types of external criteria: managers
and
for
do
in
terms
who seesuccess
of personalrecognition,
example, not necessarilyalso
hierarchical
in
level
it
in
terms
or pay.
see
of organisationalrecognition as manifested
Success criteria of this kind have therefore been named intangible criteria to
distinguish them from material external criteria for success,such as pay or position:
two groups of intangible criteria were identified, personal recognition criteria and
influence criteria.
It is clear that the three types of criteria managersuse to define their own career
linked
inextricably
to each other: managers'conceptionsof successare
successare
different
between
distinguish
the
do
the
of
nature
not necessarily
seamless and
As
Poole
1993).
1988,
Poole
1986
Larwood,
(Gattiker
al.
et
and
and
criteria they use
between
interaction
the
subjective
(1993)
and
external
objective
observe,
et al.
internal measures of successis very complex. In consequence,any model which
be
the
showing
of
capable
must
seeks to conceptualise managerial career success
intangible
internal,
kinds
between
criteria,
and
external
of
particular
relationship
by
Climber,
different
degrees
the
different
in
the
to
ways
they
emphasised
are
since
5,
4
in
discussed
As
Self-Realiser.
the
and
Influencer
chapters
and
Expert, the
that
the
the
means
which
for
same
all
part
of
whole,
are
success
career
criteria
differences
how
of
managers conceive career successare
differences in terms of

219

emphasis,not differences in actual kind. Conceptualisingcareer successholistically


with different dimensions reflects the notion of the careeras a conceptwhich entails a
"dynamic interaction" (Derr and Laurent 1989) between
an internal and external
perspective(e.g. Hall 1976, Schein 1978, Gunz 1989,Derr and Laurent 1989.)
7.3 The differences between male and female managers' ideas of career success
This research identifies some important differences between men and women in
terms of how they define their own career success. It shows that women are more
likely to be Experts and Self-Realisers, and less likely to be Climbers than men.
Men, on the other hand, are far more likely to seesuccessas Climbers or Influencers
than as Experts or Self-Realisers. As Experts, women seecareersuccessin terms of
accomplishment and personal recognition, as Self-Realisers,personal achievement.
As Climbers, men see success primarily in terms of hierarchical and financial
achievement,as Influencers, organisationalinfluence.
The distinction betweenmale and female managers'conceptionsof careersuccesscan
therefore be summed up as follows: women are far less inclined than men to measure
their own successby the external criteria of hierarchical position and level of pay,
traditionally equated with career success,and far more inclined to base their own
intangible
internal
criteria, such as achievementand accomplishment,and
successon
do
lesser
influence.
If
to
men
extent,
criteria, such as personal recognition and, a
judge their successby internal or intangible criteria, the onesthey use are most likely
to be related to influence, not to accomplishment, achievement or personal
in
is
for
terms,
Thus,
seen
organisational
usually
men, career success
recognition.
in
for
influence;
through
women, success
either through organisational recognition or
in
defined
intimately
terms
is
of
and
conceived,
generally much more
a career
personalrecognition and achievement.
The difference between the male and female managers'views of successwhich the
(1992
Mainiero
both
by
Powell
found
the
has
and
made
suggestion
reflects
research
1993)
(1991
that
Poole
career
of
perceptions
women's
1993)
al.
and
et
and
and
internal
dependent
than
be
a
claim
men's,
of
success
measures
on
more
successmay
in
failed
but
their
1993)
to
(1991
corroborate
attempted
Poole
and
al.
et
which
research.

220

Women managers'lack of comfort


"traditional"
with a
model of careersuccessbased
hierarchical
on
position and salary level has also been widely noted in the literature,
which shows that men rate income and advancementmore highly than women:
Nicholson and West (1988), for example, conclude that women managersare less
concerned with material rewards and more concerned with fulfilling a "need for
growth" than men. Beutell and Brenner (1986), Alban-Metcalfe (1989), McGowan
Hart
(1992)
Mason
(1994)
found
that men valued external criteria for
and
and
all
successmore than women. Conversely, Subich et al. (1986), Keys (1985) and Russo
(1991)
et al.
showed that women who were not hierarchically "successful"did in fact
feel that they had achieved career success,suggestingthat the criteria they used to
measuretheir own successwere not relatedto their position in the hierarchy.
This researchsupports such findings, in that it showedthat women were not only less
inclined to define careersuccessprimarily in hierarchical terms, like the Climber, but
likely
have
down
in
favour
to
than
turned
also were actually more
men
a promotion
found
lower
Furthermore,
the
to
they
women who were
enjoyed at a
grade.
of ajob
did
do
because
for
they
not
so
saw
success
some
emphasis
on
external
criteria
put
for
in
they
the
terms
of
status;
either
viewed promotion
sake
of advancement
success
Muencers
dessert"
"just
they
the
the
who wished
were
competentmanageror
of
as
to progress up the organisational.hierarchical to gain greater influence, and thereby
finding
job.
This
interesting
themselves
adds
and enjoyable
with a more
provide
"are
(1988),
talk
to
Asplund's
that
to
about
not
so
ready
women
statement
weight
It
the
in
attitude of
terms
with
a
contrast
provides
also
power".
of status and
careers
in
by
the
their
they
Climbers,
the
position
of
means
achieved
status
who saw
male
hierarchy as a measureof their careersuccess.
Similarly, while the research showed women to be interested in the amount they
it
indicated
their
lifestyle,
they
that
their
valued
earned as a means of supporting
in
that
the
way
for
level
of
success,
this utility, not as a status-orientedmeasure
salary
(1992),
that
Hart's
McGowan
did.
This
assessment
and
the
endorses
men
some of
it
is
because
than
their
job
likely
values
to
with
consistent
a
choose
more
are
women
(1994),
that men value wages/benefits
Mason's
becauseit pays well, and
conclusion
importance
on
respect.
highly,
most
place
women
whereas
most
is
do
job
they
the
for
the
more
of
content
that,
managers,
women
implication
The
literature:
Hennig
in
finds
it
the
support
important than the statuswhich endows also
do
jobs
they
the
that
of
as
a
source
(1978)
regard
women
suggest
Jardim
and

221

satisfaction in their own right, rather than a means to develop their career. Marshall's
research (1984) showed that women were most interested in the potential challenge,
interest and growth
within an individual job, and only thought about moving on to a
new position when they felt that this source of interest had been exhausted. Asplund
(1988) intimates that "men want a career,
do
to
women want
something interesting".
One of the central contributions of this research, however, is that
does
it
not only
describe how women managers' conceptions of career success differ from
it
men's,
demonstrates
the variety of ways in which women define their own success,
also
based on internal and intangible criteria. As described in section 7.2, aspects of the
Expert's and Self-Realiser's definitions of career successreflect the findings of earlier
investigated
female
studies which
what
managers wanted from their careers.

The Self-Realiser'sconception of success,basedon the idea of achievementat a very


level,
in particular echoesmuch of this earlier research,which showedthat
personal
women managers wanted challenge and personal growth from their careers,rather
than external material success(e.g. Hennig and Jardim 1978,Donnell and Hall 1980,
Marshall 1984, Asplund 1988, Nicholson and West 1988, Alban-Metcalfe 1989,
White et al. 1992). The literature concludes,as Marshall (1984) says,that "challenge
job"
importance
in
"recurrent
than
to
are of more
women
and satisfaction a particular
for
its
promotion
own sake".
While this may give the impression that women's conceptions of success are as
"traditional"
the
organisational model of career success men are
stereotypical as
is
demonstrate
findings
that
favour,
this
this
the
not
clearly
research
of
supposed to
in
likely
terms
to
They
that
of
success
the case.
see
more
are
women managers
show
internal and intangible criteria than men, but they also indicate that the criteria
literature
the
to
personal achievement, as some of
women use are not always related
might suggest.
Experts,
in
found
the
that
this
largest
who
of
Indeed, the
study was
group of women
it
but
in
terms
viewed
did not see their career success
of personal achievement at all,

been
has
less
While
about
written
personal
recognition.
and
rather as accomplishment
literature
in
indications
for
the
there
of
these
are
importance
success,
criteria
of
the
(1978)
Jardim
Hennig
that
them:
claim
and
the value some managers place on
Beutell
to
that
job
they
well;
perform
can
show
opportunity
an
as
treat
each
women
knowledge
found
they
that
(1986)
of
use
and
valued
accomplishment
Brenner
and

222

more highly than men. Mason (1994), Alban-Metcalfe (1989) and Kaufman and
Fetters (1980) all suggest that
kind
getting some
of personal recognition is very
important to women, a view endorsed by White
(1992)
et al.
who concluded that
being given feedback and recognition for their achievement
was crucial for a number
of the women who took part in their research.

This researchhas also shown that, while men were more likely to seetheir successin
organisationalterms, the number of women who were Influencers was in fact almost
equal to the number of female Self-Realisers and Experts, suggesting that there are
some men and women who have very similar ideas about success. Indeed, White et

found
(1992)
influence
desirable
that
al.
and autonomy were seenas
careeroutcomes
by their sample of "successful" women. It is not surprising, however, that the group
is
Climbers
definition
in
the
of
exclusively male, since
of careersuccess the external
terms which the Climbers primarily use has, as described in section 7.2, been
described as typically "masculine" by writers such Gallos (1989) and Powell and
Mainiero (1992).
The issue of goal-setting and competition in a career emerged from the research as an
differences
between
female
and
managers were notably apparent,
male
area where
in
Men,
Climbers
Experts
the
the
the
are compared.
and
attitudes of
especially when
likely
far
Climbers,
than women to set themselves workmore
were
particular
has
to
the
to
success
arena
where
competitive
place
as
a
work
view
oriented goals and
be "fought" for; women, especially Experts, were unlikely to have any work goals at

kind
is
"male"
The
that
of competition, with winners and
a career a
attitude
all.
losers,reflects the traditional concept of careerdevelopmentwhere "success"equates
Gould
Penley
1984,
hierarchy
(e.
the
and
g.
organisational
with reaching the top of
O'Reilly and Chatman 1994, Melamed 1995). Rosenbaum (1979) for example,
being
"winners"
"tournament",
development
depicts
early
with
as
a
career
actually
between
The
in
later
"success"
their
careers
likely
contrast
to
careers.
achieve
more
1995)
(1989
by
Marshall
described
is
and
driven by goals and careerswithout goals
"communion-based"
"agentic"
between
which
difference
planning,
career
and
the
as
female
between
difference
to
largely
as
is
careers,
attitudes
believes
and
male
a
she
discussedin section 7.2.
less
that
the
to
findings
the
notion
support
obvious
researchgive
of
However, the
just
inclined
be
than
to
a
part
as
success
men
see
career
more
may
women managers
1989,
Bell
(e.
Gallos
life
in
their
to
they
g.
as
whole
achieve
a
want
of a wider success

223

and Nkomo 1992, Powell and Mainiero 1992


and 1993). In the pilot stage of the
research, there was some evidence that this might be the
case: it emerged that the
women did see their career successasjust one part of a wider concept life
of
success,
whereas the men perceived career success as something which generally determined
how successful they felt in their life
as a whole. It was not easy to discern a similar
difference in the second stage
of the research, where most of the managers
interviewed saw career success as simply
one part of life success, and there was no

distinction
betweenthe men and the women in this respect.
clear
The conclusion which should be drawn from this is not that writers
such as Gallos are
wrong in their attemptsto depict women's attitudesto careersuccess- the researchin
fact endorsestheir opinion and shows that women managersdo
seecareersuccessas
just one part of a bigger picture representinglife success but that men
like
are
more
women than they suggest,in that they too tend to see career successas part of life
success. This finding concurswith the work of Sekaranand Hall (1989), Herriot and
Pemberton(1995) and Scaseand Goffee (1989), who claim that all managersare now
more than ever drawn to their personallives as a sourceof satisfactionand as a result
are less likely to sacrifice successin their life outside work for career success. Hall
(1990) and Kimmel (1993) also suggest that men who achieve success on
"traditional" terms often feel that somethingis missing from their lives.
Yet this researchdoes provide some evidencethat successin areasof life other than
for
important
is
likely
than
to affect their
work remains more
women
men and more
definitions of career success. Of the seven Self-Realisers,five of the women saw
balancing their careerwith their home life as a vital part of their definition of career
believed
desire
for
that
two,
the
success,and
a
other
one woman and one man,
balance tempered their idea of success;it is interesting to note that this desire for
balance does not just relate to the practicalities of bringing up a family, since only
two of the Self-Realisershad children. This reflects the belief discussedin section
7.2 that, for women, a career "is not as distinct an entity as it is for men" (Gallos
...
1989).
Furthermore, the women who took part in the researchwere much more likely than
doing
direction
imagine
totally
the
their
be
to
changing
of
careerand
the men to
able
business
different,
This
conventional
outside
a
environment.
completely
something
have
(1995)
Marshall's
"many
that
to
suggestion
more
women
support
also appears

224

open sensesof career than do many men", and that "women may make decisions
as
life choices rather than simply
as careerchoices".
It is interesting to consider why men's and
women's conceptions of career success
be
to
appear
so dissimilar: it is likely that the divergent ways in which they perceive
successrelate both to the process of socialisation of men and women and to their
organisational experiences:
It is recognisedthat the psychological developmentof males and females is different.
As Gilligan (1980 and 1982) describes,the developmentof women's genderidentity
is linked to attachment and connection with others, whereas men's is tied to
separation and individuation. As a consequence,men are more likely to see their
in
own career success terms of competitive achievement,much as the "traditional"
model of organisational successdescribes it (e.g. Rosenbaum 1979, Chatman and
O'Reilly 1994, Melamed 1995). Women, on the other hand, will find it hard to
associatewith a notion of successwhich emphasisesa degreeof competition that they
have not been brought up to value (Marshall 1989,Gallos 1989).
As discussedabove, the researchshowed that men, especially Climbers, were much
development
inclined
to
their
career
as some sort of competitive game,
view
more
if
losers,
"successful",
they
offered them a chanceto
which,
were
with winners and
help
league".
big
They
"in
them
targets
to
the
out
goals
and
also
often
mapped
play
less
hand,
Women,
"success"
the
they
the
were
on
other
craved.
competitive
achieve
likely to have had any clear idea at all about what they wanted from a careerwhen
(1995)
finding
Marshall's
This
that
they started work.
many of
conclusion
reflects
the women she studied had "unclear" startsto their careers. It also endorsesresearch
"male"
development
the
has
to
model
tried
with
compare women's adult
which
developed by Levinson (1978) (e.g. Bardwick 1980, Barnett and Baruch 1980).
forming
Dream
found
for
than
(1987),
that,
Morgan
a
Roberts and
rather
example,
Dreams
in
future
twenties,
their
split
were
their
women's
occupation
concernedwith
betweenwork and relationships.
females
the
for
development
to
greater
explain
seems
The process of psychological
found
in
to
the
a
achieving
on
place
were
research
managers
the
women
emphasis
Gilligan
lives
too:
their
says
as
balance between their career and other aspectsof
by
judged
identity
"in
define
the
their
a
context of relationships and
(1980), women
for
fact
for
It
that,
the
some
care".
may
also
account
and
standard of responsibility

225

women, success experienced vicariously through


others, was as important to them as
their own success.
The effect of the process
of psychological development on the conceptions of career
success male and female managers hold is doubtless heightened by the very different
career development experiences they enjoy in the workplace. Women managers have
to operate within a poorer structure of opportunity
at work (Astin 1984) than men,
with management still being perceived to be a "masculine" career and bias against
women as a result persisting (Powell 1993, Mills 1992). There are far fewer women
managers, usually in less senior, more specialist positions, and often earning less than
their male counterparts (e.g. Davidson and Cooper 1992, Larwood and Gattiker 1987,
Morgan et A 1993, Stroh 1992, Cox and Harquail 1991).

In this research,while a deliberate attempt was made to interview managersacross


the range of grades,of those who were in the most senior positions (defined here as
5
grades and 6), four were men and only one was a woman. There were also more
men than women in general management jobs, generally acknowledged to be of
higher status (Davidson and Cooper 1992). While it was not the subject of this
research, some of the women who were interviewed were anxious to talk about what
they perceived to be the "problems" for women managers within BT.
The fact that the women tended to occupy specialist roles may partially explain why
they were more likely to see career successas Experts; the connection between being
an Expert and having a technical/functional career anchor (Schein 1993) has already
been discussed in section 7.2. It is interesting to note, however, that the SelfRealisers found in this research were also all in specialist roles: type of position alone
how
is
determine
does
clearly
success viewed.
not

It may be, as some writers have argued (e.g. Cox and Harquail 1991), that women
for
ideas
believe
is
them to
they
their
about what
career success
managers adjust
do
believe
Thus
"rewards"
kind
they
them.
they
the
organisationscan offer
of
match
hierarchical
because
do
is
in
that
this
it
they
terms
seniority
not perceive
of
not see
is
if
It
for
the
that
them.
also
conceivable
nature of women's
achievable
do
in
development
that
they
terms
of
means
not
success
see
career
psychological
hierarchical progression and salary growth in the first place, they will never be driven
in
likelihood
is
Nonetheless,
in
there
this
all
way.
no single explanation
to achieve
female
definitions
between
differences
male
and
managers'
of careersuccess:
for the

226

they are the result of the relationship of complicatedreciprocity


which exists between
their psychology and the pattern of their careerdevelopment.
For example, women's managers'more "open" senseof career (Marshall 1995)
be
can
linked both to their psychological development and the pattern their
follow.
careers
The emphasis they place on relationships and their lack of competitive instinct
(Gilligan 1982) means that it is more important for them to balance their work with
the rest of their lives, and easier for them to imagine changing the direction of their
career completely. The relative lack of opportunities they encounter at work is likely
to reinforce these tendencies: as Schneer and Reitman (1994 and 1995) demonstrate,
by mid-career women are likely to be less satisfied at work than they were earlier in
their careers.

The apparent lack of confidence of some women, found in this researchparticularly


in
first
be
the
took
the
amongst
women who
part
stage,may also partly the result of
their psychological development,which makesthem uncomfortable with the idea of
"competitive" organisational success,and partly the result of their organisational
have
"an
they
to
often painful new awareness
may
contendwith
experiences:at work
less
likely
in
(Marshall
1984)
than their
and are
of oneself as a woman a man'sworld"
for
future
"success"
have
their
to
endorsed.
organisational
suitability
male colleagues
Lack of confidence is one factor which may make a manager see successlike an
Expert, in that they need the reinforcement of their competenceand ability that
feel
feedback
form
in
to
them
the
successful.
gives
of positive
personal recognition
This may explain why young women, who enter the work place less well equipped
idea
the
to
than
of successas a competition
young men countenance
psychologically
(Rosenbaum1979), are most likely to be Experts. The differencesbetweenolder and
in
be
discussed
how
in
they
perceive career successwill
younger managers terms of
detail in section 7.4.
7.4 The effect of age on managers' conceptions of career success

ideas
different
hold
to
has
that
about career
This research
managersappear
shown
be
Influencers.
likely
to
different
are
especially
men,
managers,
older
ages:
at
success
SelfInfluencers,
found
amongst older women, who were
More variation was
be
Climbers,
to
tended
Experts;
whereasyounger women
younger men
Realisers and
is
in
This
be
Experts.
that,
effect
cohort
strong
a
to
suggests
unless
inclined
were
be
discussed
below,
of
conceptions
managers'
will
of
which
the
possibility
operation,

227

career success change as they grow older. Older managers, especially men, are less
likely to emphasise
external criteria for success and more likely to base their
definitions of success
intangible
on
criteria, chiefly those related to organisational
influence.
There is considerable support from the literature for the idea that
external success
criteria, such as hierarchical position and salary level, become less important to
managers as they grow older, particularly once they are in their forties (e.g. Kalleberg
Losocco
1983, O'Connor and Wolfe 1987, Lynn et al. 1996, Clark et al. 1996).
and
Korman et al. (1981) demonstrated that achieving career success in external
organisational terms was insufficient to make many middle-aged (male) managers
feel successful; Evans and Bartolome (1981) found that (male) managers showed
"some degree of career disengagement" after the age of 40. Nicholson and West
(1988) concluded that the period of "young middle-age" was a watershed for
managers, after which their need for growth and need for rewards from work
declined.

Less has been written about how managers conceptualise successwhen external
be
to
of value to them: Nicholson and West (1988) suggest that
criteria cease
managers "nearing the end of their career" are "more relaxed, fulfilled, and less
less
instead,
they are more
ambitious and are
concerned with material rewards";
influence
"opportunities
to
and contribute to their environment".
concerned with
O'Connor and Wolfe (1987) suggestthat managers'needfor autonomy increases,as a
result of a mid-life transition.
This supports the conclusions of this research, in that it found that an interest in
in
by
terms
to
tendency
more
of
success
see
career
a
criteria
was
replaced
external
intangible criteria, especially influence. In particular, managersin their forties often
"outlive"
them:
most of
to
would
at
work
which
related success achieving something
them were very concernedwith finding an opportunity to undertakea task or a role
in
leave
to
their
them
that would enable
mark on an organisation some way; some,
in
in
first
this
terms
the
the
took
saw
research,
stage
the
of
who
part
managers
notably
likely
in
business.
Managers
this
age group were also more
of setting up their own
having
degree
to
of autonomy,
a
than younger managers associatecareersuccesswith
(1987)
Wolfe
O'Connor
suggest.
and
as

228

The research findings likewise indicated that managersin their forties placed
more
importance on internal criteria for career success,especially enjoyment criteria,
such
finding
their work interesting. Furthermore, personal recognition appearedto
as
become a more important measureof successfor older men. This may
reflect the
view of some writers (e.g. Nicholson and West 1988, Scaseand Goffee 1989, Clark
et al. 1996) that, as managers'careersdevelop, they alter their needsto suit what they
perceive organisations have to offer them, changing their ideas about career success
as a result. This is likely to mean a reduction in the emphasisput on external criteria
for successand an increasein the importance assignedto other criteria. For example,
Nicholson
say
and West (1988), older managers,who perceive that there are no
longer opportunities for high earnings and advancement,"make adjustmentsin the
factors
be
fulfilled"
they
these
they
to
place
value
on
and so
continue
An interesting subsidiary finding of the research was the existence of small group of
in
their late thirties or forties, whose ideas about career
managers, consisting of men
did
follow
described
They
the
success
not
general pattern as
above.
were managers
had
hierarchical
financial
in
"success"
their
not actually achieved much
who
or
had
date;
for
kind
this
the
to
they
careers
presumably
reason,
not made
of transition
described above, and either still saw career success as Climbers, or placed a greater
for
The
their
than
other managers of
age.
success
emphasis on external criteria
(1987)
is
O'Connor
Wolfe's
this
and
conclusion
group
consistent with
existence of
that, for managers who are less successful hierarchically, concerns about "stagnation
desire
for
in
be
important
than
autonomy.
mid-life
a
more
and security" may
The research also showed that the pattern of changes in women managers' ideas about
from
Climber
"typical"
to
transition
the
the
male
same as
career success was not
Influencer. This is not surprising, given that female managers' conceptions of success
in
discussed
7.3.
first
in
from
be
different
the
section
tended to
place, as
men's
be
likely
Experts,
to
7.3,
As described in section
young women managers were most
has
It
in
terms
recognition.
and
personal
their
of
accomplishment
success
own
seeing
been suggested that an emphasis on these particular criteria for successcould relate to
discarded
it
that
If
then
this
the
women
lack
mean
might
case,
were
of confidence.
a
increased
levels
improved
their
as a result of
confidence
this idea of success when
Marshall
for
"success".
their
of
approbation
amount
certain
a
and
accomplishment
for
foundation
be
"the
that
a
achievement at work can
(1984), for example, agrees
found
later
(1995),
for
in
her
that
she
research
women;
base of personal confidence"

229

',self-confidence came later" for


some of the women she studied. This conclusion is
endorsedby evidence from the researchwhich showedthat accomplishmentcriteria
for successwere less important for
older managersthan they were for younger ones,
and that, by the time they were in their forties, women were as likely to be Influencers
Self-Realisers
and
as they were Experts. It is interesting to note that the idea of
leaving a mark on the organisation was
as potent for the women in their forties as it
for
was
men, whether or not their primary view of career successwas that of the
Influencer.

Someof the women in their thirties and forties talked about how their

confidenceand
had
increased
ambition
as they got older. Their attitude addsweight to O'Connor and
Wolfe's (1987) conclusion that women invest more in their careersduring
and after a
mid-life transition than they do before. On the other hand, the poorer structure of
opportunity women face at work (Astin 1984), as described in section 7.3,
undoubtedly also affects women's ideas about successas they grow older. Severalof
the women interviewed who were in their late thirties and forties doubted that they
further
could move
up the organisationalhierarchy, even if they wantedto. This may
relate to Schneer and Reitman's assertion (1994 and 1995) that women's levels of
satisfaction at work drop as they get older, and Bishop and Solomon's conclusion
(1989) that women in mid-career have an external locus of control, comparedwith
women earlier in their career,whose locus of control is internal.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the pattem of changesin women's ideas about
career success which emerged was much less clear than the pattem for men.
Nevertheless,while external criteria for successwere generally less important for
for
in
first
than
they
the
women
were
men
place, the oldest women interviewed were
the least interested in them and often reported having been more interestedin them
in
This
this respect, the women managers
they
that
when
were younger.
suggests
less
in
for
that
they
to
the
men,
emphasisedexternal criteria
success
as
were similar
they got older, albeit from a starting point where they placed less emphasison them
in the first place.
As discussed above, one possible explanation for the differences in managers'
be
has
found
to
the
research
may
conceptions of career successaccording age which
develop,
managersalter their needsto suit what they believe the
that, as their careers
(Nicholson
West
1988).
However,
differences
has
them
to
the
and
offer
organisation

230

can also be elucidated by reference to adult development theory and career


developmenttheory:
Levinson (1978) and Sheehy(1976 and 1996) both proposethat adults passthrough
periods of transition in their lives, in particular at aroundthe age of 30 and the age of
40. These transitionary periods allow individuals to evaluate their life as it is and
it,
restructure if necessary. The transition at 30 can be a time of flux during which a
"the
flaws and limitations of the first adult life structure" (Levinson
person evaluates
1978). The transition at 40, described by some writers (e.g. O'Connor and Wolfe
1987, Schein 1993) as a mid-life or mid-career crisis, is seen as particularly
because,
Levinson
(1978) says"if a man (sic) at 40 has failed to realise
significant,
as
his most cherisheddreams,he must begin to come to terms with the failure and arrive
at a new set of choices around which to rebuild his life". Sheehy(1996) claims that
the age 40 transition entails "throwing off new stereotypes,letting go of outgrown
developing
is
priorities, and
real clarity about what most relevant...for the future".
Schein (1993) alludes to a period of transition as the career develops which he
designatesas a stage of "mid-career crisis and reassessment".During this stage,he
key
for
individual
in
the
tasks
the
they
to
are evaluate whether
says,
are the right
has
lived
how
it
fits
in
their
to
their
expectations,and
career,whether
career
up
well
in
determination
life.
"a
This
to climb
their
the
reassessmentmay result
with
rest of
the ladder as far as possible" or a "levelling off'. Marshall (1995) provides evidence
for a similar mid-career "review" affecting women's conceptions of career success,
in
in
becoming
believes
more tune with their own
often results women
which she
inner needsand less concernedwith organisationalvalues.
This researchdid yield evidencethat somemanagers,especiallythose in their thirties,
kind
had
through
through
some
alreadypassed
or
were aware that they were passing
from
their
during
they
they
transitionary
wanted
what
re-evaluated
which
process
of
life and their career; the process generally involved a reformulation of their ideas
becoming
described
kind
to
The
they
usually related
of
changes
success.
about career
level
deep
important
to
them
and placing
at a
personal
more aware of what was most
less emphasis on external successthan they had in the past. Other managerstalked
forties.
in
later
had
their
to
their
how
on,
their
own
success
changed
attitudes
about
individual
describe
development
their
the
to
and
is
of
every
It
clearly not possible
have
development
development
theories
in
of
adult
and
career
the
way:
same
career

231

been rightly attacked for not taking account of the dissimilarities of women (e.g.
Roberts and Morgan 1987) and the discontinuities and difficulties of their career
development (e.g. Astin 1984, Larwood and Gattiker 1987). In fact, the research
findings suggest that an important reassessmentof what women want from their
career may actually occur earlier than in mid-career: the Self-Realisers,who had an
extremely internally focused idea of career successand were most concernedwith
balance
have
in
lives,
to
their
tended
achieving
arrived at their conception of success
deep
by
doubts
triggered
after a period of
an
event
such
reflection
as marriage or
direction
in
late
their
thirties
their
their
twenties. This may
career
about
early
or even
balancing
in
(1992)
Powell
Mainiero's
to
that
and
success a career
relate
assertion
important
it
is
in
life
to men.
to
than
women
remainsmore
and success one'spersonal
It is of course conceivable that the attitudes to career successheld by managersat
different agesmay be at least partly the result of cohort effects within the group. For
by
held
be
levels
to
the
conceptionsof success
more central
of pay could
example,
leave
because,
they
their
today,
all
university
predecessors,
unlike
young managers
Furthermore,
loans
the
debts
large
to
of
managers
number
a
repay.
student
and
with
in their forties talked about how they had struggledto view their work as a career,not
just a job; this was not mentioned by any of the younger managers,who all saw their
for
described
Given
the
of
awareness
managers'
above
evidence
career.
as
a
work
do
however,
a
providing
of
transition,
capable
seem
not
effects
cohort
periods of
different
how
in
found
for
ages
the variations
managersof
complete explanation
conceivetheir own careersuccess.
1968)
(Herzberg
factor
hygiene
may
is
which
There
effect
a
also undoubtedly
for
they
in
that
ideas
once
people,
some
influence managers'
about career success,
hierarchy
in
the
and a certain salary
have achieved a particular position
organisational
This
beyond
them.
older
desire
why
explain
have
may
level, they
to
progress
no
financial
hierarchical
place
still
have
success
and
achieved
not
managers who
Nevertheless,
the
definitions
in
their
of success.
importance on such external criteria
Schein
1978,
Levinson
(e.
development
g.
literature on adult development and career
differences
for
the
1993) suggests that this cannot provide a complete explanation
for
is
the
there
to
evidence
strong
age:
found in ideas about career success according
influences
transition
kind
which
mid-career
or
of
mid-life
existence of some
O'Connor
(e.
them
to
and
g.
means
success
career
what
of
perceptions
managers'
interwoven
is
it
that
the
of
adult
therefore,
process
One
must conclude,
Wolfe 1987).
the
the
to
what
of
reality
development,
a
sensitivity
with
combined
and career

232

organisation may be able to offer the individual, which underpins the variation in
attitudes men and women hold abouttheir careersuccessat different ages.
7.5 The research findings in a wider context
As well as linking the findings to earlier research concerning career success, it is
important to consider them from a broader organisational and social perspective too.
Managers' ideas about career successdo not arise in isolation but should be set within
the wider political, organisational. and socio-historical context in which they exist. In
findings
in
light
kind
the
the
the
this
of
of organisational
section considers
particular,
"new"
discussed
in
Chapter
1.2
1.3,
1,
the
and
and
sections
changes which were
has
between
arisen as a
organisations and employees which
psychological contract
in
It
the
also explores questions and
organisations.
position of women
result, and
it
from
to
the
answer.
not
able
which
was
research
complexities arising
7.5.1 Organisational

"new"
the
psychological contract
change and

As discussedin Chapter 1, sections 1.2 and 1.3, the organisationalcontext in which


has
ten
develop
the
years.
past
over
changedconsiderably
managerial careersmust
in
hierarchy,
flattening
by
have
"delayered"
their
Many businesses
managerial
has
for
The
this
reason
ostensible
grades.
management
middle
removing
particular
but
decision
been to improve communication and speed up
undoubtedly
making,
for
BT,
In
desire
by
driven
to
been
have
example,
cut costs.
a
these changes
also
in
levels
just
the
there
management
six
now
are
this
out,
carried
was
research
where
before
12
the
1995),
Pemberton
restructurings
(Herriot
hierarchy
with
compared
and
has
the
the
time
3.2.3;
the
3,
reduced
Chapter
company
describedin
same
at
section
jobs
five
four
between
thousand
half
by
managers'
its
and
employees
number of
Dopson
(Newell
and
disappeared in the Project Sovereign reorganisation alone
1995).
far
in
there
for
are
the managerswho remain organisations,
that,
Clearly this means
less
to
thus
hierarchical
for
chance
and
advancement
limited
opportunities
more
defined
been
historically
has
it
by
in
terms
the
which
external
achieve success
fewer
their
Far
1994).
those
careersas ambitious
Chatman
start
who
of
(O'Reilly and
hierarchy
the
to
be
the
to
same
near
anywhere
scale
today
able
will
young graduates
lower
in
For
trapped
those
middle
and
currently
could.
their
predecessors
as
extent

233

management positions, the outlook is, in terms of their potential progression through
the hierarchy, equally bleak.
In addition, other aspects of the changes which have taken place in organisations
serve to exacerbate further the demise of the traditional hierarchical career. Not only
do managerial careers today offer less opportunities for progression, they are also far
more precarious. The future appears to be one where companies will employ just a
being
brought
in on a temporary basis, as
small core of permanent staff, with others
(Handy
1989).
and when required

Managers who have survived redundancy


future
insecure,
having
their
to
programmes not surprisingly see
own
as very
whilst
increasing
(Herriot
1995).
is
Pemberton
The
cope with an
workload
and
career now
boundaries
independent
(Arthur
"boundaryless"
a
entity,
of
organisational
as
seen
1994); as such, responsibility for its development rests not with the organisation, but
individual,
have
the
to acquire the right mix of skills and competencies
who will
with
to survive in this new "freelance" environment (Kanter 1989).

In consequence,there has been a profound shift in the psychological contract between


the managerand the organisation. In the past organisationsoffered managersin their
job
training
things,
and
promotion
prospects,
security,
other
employment, amongst
loyalty,
trust
in
development;
them
and
commitment
offered
managers
return
and
(Herriot and Pemberton 1995). The psychological contract betweenorganisationand
is
be
to
likely
is
the
to
today
prepared
organisation
where
one
much more
manager
is
in
for
to
job,
the
than
expected
employee
return
which
a well-paid
offer no more
tolerance
long
hours,
of
and
of
skills,
wider
range
a
responsibility,
additional
offer
1995).
Pemberton
(Herriot
and
changeand ambiguity
defme
their own career success
how
The effect of these changeson
managersmight
in
took
the
part
is potentially huge. Many of the successcriteria which
managerswho
delayering
be
the
context of organisational
this study used could
seenas a responseto
For
between
employee.
and
"new"
organisation
contract
the
psychological
and
idea
the
as
of
accomplishment
sense
the
of
a
emphasised
managers
example, some of
As
idea
success,
of
measure
their
a
success.
important
career
of
of
part
an
be
to
their
important
be
to
career
perceive
who
managers
more
may
accomplishment
1989)
(Kanter
those
that
is
it
who
in
managers
that
acknowledged
"boundaryless",
do.
be
they
to
at
what
competent
extremely
in
need
will
this
environment
succeed
be
being
in
terms
closely
also
may
expert
an
of
success
idea
career
The
of seeing
this.
to
related

234

Likewise, it is possible that getting a senseof achievementfrom what one does at


work, a criterion which many of the managers used to define their own career
success,may become the only thing by which successcan truly be judged in an
environment where the boundarylesscareeris the norm and careersuccesscannotbe
in
computed organisationalterms at all.
Equally, other success criteria which the managers used could be perceived as
"alternatives" to the traditional criteria of career success based on hierarchical
it
be
that they chooseto emphasisethese in their defmitions of
advancement: may
because
they realise, consciously or subconsciously,that hierarchical
career success
is
longer
is
(Nicholson
1988).
West
lf
to
them
this
the case,
success no
available
and
then changes in definitions of career success may be the result of a refrom
in
the organisational.context, as well as the
shifts
conceptualisationresulting
development.
processof adult and career
Examples of criteria which might be seen by the managers as "acceptable"
include
traditional
to
the
personal recognition,
criteria of career success
alternatives
believe
is
likely
It
that
influence
to
that
need
many
managers
autonomy.
and
respect,
feel
for
in
be
to
them
their achievements at work will
some way
recognised
in
terms
of personal recognition and respect might
seeing
success
successful:
in
by
the current organisationalclimate they
that
therefore reflect an awareness some
their
to
achievement, as
of
recognition
achieve organisational.
are unlikely
hierarchy;
they
by
the
through
place
as
a
result
organisational
represented progression
know
is
their
kind
they
the
within
still
of recognition
greater emphasis on getting
invited
being
to
in
is
terms,
awards,
winning
as
such
grasp,that recognition personal
feedback
being
achievements.
about
given
and
conferences
attendprestigious
like
influence,
intangible
in
responsibility
terms
Viewing career success
criteria
of
in
"success"
feasible
is
It
that
in
a similar way.
and autonomy may operate
in
influence
become
increasingly
a
likely
is
to
of
criteria
with
equated
organisations
for
little
hierarchy
"flattened"
in
opportunity
with
a
operate
context where managers
for
that
interesting
is
to
managers,
It
younger
ambitious
example,
note,
progression.
the
their
organisational
within
advancement
represented
often
especially women,
for
Likewise
the
in
than
managers
increase
status.
rather
responsibility,
context as an
for
intangible
the
internal
external
of
at
expense
success
criteria
and
who emphasised
dimension
important
frequently
success,
career
of
as
an
seen
was
autonomy
ones,

235

perhaps because they realised that achieving the level in the hierarchy which
traditionally would have given managersgreater autonomy by right was no longer a
possibility.
This was particularly true of the older managers,for whom internal and intangible
criteria for career success were generally more important than external criteria,
influence
especially
criteria such as autonomy and leaving a mark. This may be
becausethey have greaterawarenessof and sensitivity to the organisationalcontext in
which their careers are set, thanks to their age and experience; it may also, as
discussedin section 7.4, reflect the fact that, whatever the prevailing organisational
climate, managersalter their needsas their careersdevelop to suit what they perceive
they are likely to be offered (Nicholson and West 1988). (Of course women
likely
too
to emphasiseinternal and intangible criteria for career
managers were more
success;the wider social and organisationalcontext which may influence this will be
discussedin detail in the next section.)
If the organisational context of delayering and the "new" psychological contract lead
for
internal
intangible
to
and
criteria
success, rather than
managers
emphasise
four
the
three
types of
to
this
of
explain why
may go some way
external ones,
Self-Realiser,
Expert,
Influencer
identified
in
the
the
the
this
and
research,
managers
had conceptions of career successfar removed from the traditional model of success
36
hierarchy,
in
the
level
the
managers
and why only sevenof
as
of pay and position
interviewed saw successin predominantly externalterms, as Climbers.
The kind of successthe Expert espousesmay reflect what career successmeansin a
boundaryless career, where, as described above, it focuses very much on the
individual's skills and competencies, recognition of which will probably be in
held
Likewise,
the
terms.
conception of career success
personal, not organisational
by the Self-Realiser, as achievement at a very personal level involving personal
keeping
in
is
the
where
of
a
career
context
with
also
self-development,
challengeand
little.
Career
the
is
as
success
means
very
organisational success unattainable or
influence
they
it
in
the
describes
terms
can
Influencer
amount of organisational
of
little
is
to
there
opportunity
to
is
where
achieve suited an organisationalenvironment
but
hierarchy
through
to
extending
succeed
every
chance
organisational
move up an
flatter
in
influence
structure.
organisational
a
of
one's sphere

236

Yet there are indications that it is necessaryto proceedwith caution when discussing
the extent of the effect of the organisationalcontext on how managersconceivetheir
own career success. Although it is acknowledgedthat managerscan achieve career
in
success terms of salary level within the "new" psychological contract (Herriot and
Pemberton 1995), relatively few of the managerswho took part in this researchsaw
the amount of money they earned as a measureof their career success. This is in
strong contrast to the fact that level of pay has traditionally been seen as part of
organisational success (O'Reilly and Chatman 1994).
Furthermore, the research showed that some managers continued to value and expect
hierarchical advancement, despite the current organisational climate. There were
indications that older male managers who had not achieved success in external terms
despite
do
lack
to
the
so,
were particularly anxious
apparent
of opportunities to
further
hierarchy;
borne
by
the existence of two older
the
this
up
out
progress
was
Climbers in the study. In addition, other managers, who were Experts or Influencers,
form
because
it
further
hierarchical
too,
they
of personal
saw as a
success
valued
in
for
influence,
not
reasons of status the
recognition or a means of gaining greater
did.
Climbers
that
the
way

These findings, taken together with the work of earlier researchers,such as Korman
in
between
found
differences
distinct
(19
8
1)
the
men and women managers
and
et al.
this study in terms of how they conceived success,suggestthat the organisational
but
influence
"new"
delayering
the
psychological contract may
and
context of
define
in
does
the
career
various ways which managers
not wholly explain
probably
for
success themselves.
7.5.2 Women in organisations
in
in
While changes
the organisational envirom-nent which managerial careers
develop may have affected the way in which managersconceive career success,as
formed
been
have
ideas
always
described above, women's
about career success
from
that
different
context
backdrop
and
social
organisational
quite
a
the
of
against
Just
the
of
organisational
climate
as
current
experience.
their
colleagues
male
which
to
them,
so
to
lead
means
success
what
career
conceptualise
re
managers
changemay
to
that
they
in
come
mean
may
operate
careers
women's
which
context
the particular
level
it
the
in
of
pay
and
as
of
notion
conventional
unlike
define success ways
hierarchy.
in
the
position

237

As discussed in Chapter 2,
sections 2.2.4 and 2.2.5, the structure of opportunity
which women managers must contend with at work is quite distinct Erom that which
men enjoy. Management has traditionally been perceived to be a "male" career
(Schein 1973) and stereotypes about the masculinity of the
profession continue to
persist (Powell 1993), despite the best intentions of organisational equal opportunity
programmes and the like. This is borne out by the fact that in most countries women
still occupy only a minority of managerial positions, especially ones at a senior level:
in the LTK, 12.3% of managers and just 3.3% of directors are female (Institute
of
Management 1996). It has been argued that a "glass ceiling", which prevents
women
firom rising above a senior level, still exists in a majority of organisations (Davidson
Cooper
1992).
and

It is acknowledged that the persistence of stereotypes about the masculinity of


managementas a profession and the continuing male dominanceof senior positions
within organisations mean that men are likely to be regarded more favourably for
promotion, particularly when key positions need to be filled (Kanter 1993, Burton
1992); in addition, they have better accessto organisationalnetworks and mentoring
be
for
to
relationships, considered
essential
successfulcareer development (Powell
is
Mainiero
1992).
It
and
not surprising, therefore, to discover that, comparedwith
their male colleagues, women managers enjoy fewer "meaningful" promotions,
less
less
influential
throughout their careers(Larwood and
occupy
positions and earn
Gattiker 1987, Morgan et al. 1993, Stroh et al. 1992, Cox and Harquail 1991). Thus
the organisational context in which women managers' careers develop is very
different to that of their male counterparts.
It is not difficult to imagine how this might affect the way in which women arrive at
their own defmitions of career success. If they perceive that the traditional model of
is
level
hierarchical
to
based
not
readily
available
of
pay,
and
position
on
success,
ideas
their
to
in
then
they
them organisations,
of what success
might choose refocus
internal
less
tangible
criteria, such as
them
and more
on other
means to
believe
be
they
to
accomplishment, achievement and personal recognition, which
do
for
the
much
samereasonas some suggestolder managers
more easily attainable,
(Nicholson and West 1988); people alter their needsin terms of what they conceive
believe
them,
in
they
be
to
with
offer
organisations
can
match
what
to
order
success
fulfilment.
(1991),
degree
Cox
Harquail
of psychological
and
the aim of ensuring a
have
different
to
that
women come
expectations about salary
for example, argue

238

levels, which leads them to acceptlower salary offers than men would accept,both
at
the start of and during the courseof their careers.
The effect of the organisational context in which women's careers develop could
therefore provide at least a partial explanation of the key differences found in this
between
the men and women in terms of how they conceived their own
research
discussed
in section 7.3: the women were far less inclined than the
success,
career
men to measuretheir own successby the external criteria of hierarchical position and
level of pay, and far more likely to base their definitions of successon internal
criteria, such as achievement and accomplishment, and intangible criteria, such as
lesser
influence.
fact
The
to
that the youngest
recognition
and,
a
personal
extent,
full
than
the
that
women put more emphasison external criteria
older ones suggests
have
limited
the
the
they
to contend
awarenessof
restrictions
structureof opportunity
with at work places upon them comes with greater experienceof the organisational
environment.
The organisational context of women's careers may give them little option but to
defme their own success in personal rather than organisational terms. Thus within
the structure of the typology of managerial career successdeveloped by this research,
likely
to
their
than
see
own career success as an
men
more
women managers were
Expert or a Self-Realiser, whose criteria for success are primarily internal and
intangible, and less likely to view it as a Climber, whose criteria for success are
traditionally
to
the
success
career
of
model
external
closest
1994).
(Melamed
organisations

endorsed within

have
to contend
Moreover, the effects of the poorer structure of opportunity women
in
by
been
the
historically
has
which
context
social
wider
compounded
with at work
2.2.3,
2,
Chapter
in
discussed
As
women's
section
they develop as adults.
from
different
been
that
has
development
of
men.
traditionally
very
psychological
Women's gender identity is defmed through attachmentand connection with others,
1974,
Gilligan
(Chodorow
individuation
is
to
tied
and
separation
men's
whereas
in
terms
for
their
difficult
to
is
it
success
own
women see
1982). Consequently,
more
in
is
the
favour,
represented
which
men
achievement
the
competitive
of
by
Rosenbaum's
by
hierarchical
epitomised
as
advancement,
context
organisational
being
"winners"
"tournament",
development
with early
as a
description of career
in
later
"success"
their
careers.
likely
to
achieve
more

239

The effect of the social context in


develop
is
likely
to mean that they
which women
might be inclined to view competitive, hierarchical successas "unfeminine" and
beyond their grasp as women. One can seehow this could
reinforce the effect of the
poor structure of opportunity women managers have to contend with at work, in that,
before
they become aware that hierarchical and financial success are not as
even
easily available to them as they are to their male colleagues, as women they are less
inclined to embrace this model of successin the first place.
The research findings appear to endorse this conclusion, in that the Men were much
likely
than the women to view the workplace as a competitive arena, where
more
has
be
"fought" for, with hierarchical positions as "goals" which one aims
to
success
in
develop
to
order
at
one's career, as discussed in section 7.3. The idea of success
held by the Climbers, primarily as hierarchical position and level of pay, was
by
the notion of the career as some kind of competition: it is interesting
underpinned
to note that no female Climbers emerged from this research, a finding which would
in
to
the
the
seem reinforce
strong effect of
social and organisational contexts which
ideas
develop.
about career success
women's

The complex relationship between these social and organisational.contexts is well


illustrated by the complex conundrum of women's self confidence and its potential
been
discussed
issue
has
definitions
their
which
already
of success,an
effect on
briefly in section 7.3. It has been suggestedthat one of the reasonswhy young
is
in
Experts,
in
terms
that
of accomplishmentand
success
as
see
particular
women
lack
be
their
they
that
they
embark
upon
when
confidence
personal recognition, may
lack
This
the
at
start of a career, previously
confidence
of
organisational careers.
identified by Marshall (1995), is likely to be the result of the social context in which
for
develop:
the
ideas
socialisationprocess
about careersand careersuccess
women's
kind
deal
does
the
to
them
described
with
not
equip
above,
as
young women which,
imbued
values
masculine
with
organisations
careers
competitive
oriented,
of goal
support.
lack
be
to
this
of
a response
An emphasis on successas personal recognition could
be
5.5.3,
5,
discussed
in
Chapter
might
in
women
young
that,
section
as
confidence,
in
do
they
they
way
any
unless
they
feel
or
successful
that
what
good
at
are
to
unable
boost
help
Experience
to
this.
that
appears
of
working
feedback
confirms
are given
(Marshall
1995):
the
in
they
grow
older
as
some
way
women's self-confidence
be
likely
Selfin
to
this
forties
took
as
were
research
in
part
who
their
women

240

D Im

less
inclined
Influencers
Experts,
to see
they
and
Realisers
as
and, as such,were
were
their own success in terms of some kind of personal recognition of their
accomplishment.
Yet, paradoxically, while organisational experience may go some way to overcome
the effects of women's socialisation, there is also counter evidence that a growing
awareness of the unfavourable organisational context women must contend with at
further
lead
develop,
their
them,
their
may
undermine
work
confidence
and
as
careers
to a view of career success even further removed from the external criteria of

hierarchical position and level of pay than the one which they held early in their
by
(1994
is
Schneer
Reitman
This
and
supported earlier research:
and
view
career.
1995), for example, found that, by mid-career, women reported reduced levels of
for
discovered
(1989)
Solomon
Bishop
tendency
women's
a
and
career satisfaction;
locus of control to switch ftom being internal to becoming external as their careers
developed.
In this research, there was evidence that younger women were more inclined to
include external criteria in their definition of successthan older ones: the group of
for
least
successwere all
emphasis on pay and position as criteria
managers who put
forties
in
talked
thirties
their
forties.
While
in
the
and
their
women
some of
women

in
7.3,
discussed
had
they
how
section
as
older,
their
got
as
grown
confidence
about
if
hierarchy,
further
the
even
doubted
they
that
organisational
up
move
could
several
in
kind,
different
lack
not
of confidence of a
they wanted to, perhaps suggestinga
hierarchical
in
but
to
their
achieve
ability
their ability to perform well at work,
(1994
Reitman
by
Schneer
and
terms
the
suggested
as
men,
as
same
on
progression
lessen
led
have
to
them
This
(1989).
Solomon
Bishop
might
1995)
and
and
and
define
their own career
further the emphasis they placed on external criteria and
be
it
the
that
Thus
intangible
terms.
internal
in
seen
can
and
successeven more
ideas
in
success
career
about
women's
which
social and organisational contexts
develop intertwine to reinforce the consequencesthey engender.
7.5.3 Areas of further questioning

ideas
and
the
numerous
surfaced
research
the
of
conducting
process
Not surprisingly,
the
task
directly
the
to
research
answering
of
connected
not
questioning
areas of
is
It
in
intriguing
but
1.5,
their
of
1,
right.
Chapter
own
in
section
questions posed
about
themes
suspicions
well
these
as
and
complexities,
highlight
of
some
to
value

241

the research findings, in order to add a further dimension to the context of the study
its
and fiiidings.
While the research has successfully conceptualisedwhat career successmeans to
managers, some interesting nuancesand puzzlements related to the idea of success
remain to be explored. The research proceeded on the basis that every manager
interviewed would have a conception of what successmeant to them at a personal
level, but, to some, there was also a sense in which successwas more broadly
When
describe
had
felt
to
they
conceived.
asked
occasions when
particularly
in
"success"
they
this
successful,
saw
organisational,rather than personalterms, that
is what made them feel especially successfulwas when what they did benefited or
in
to
the
contributed
organisation some way, not necesssarilywhen they achieved
benefit.
is
interesting
It
to note that those managerswho talked about
personal
kind
be
Self-Realisers,
Influencers
Experts
tended
than
this
to
successof
and
rather
in
Climbers,
that
managers who see career success more
or
suggesting perhaps
internal terms may have an "unselfish" vision of success. A good example of this
in
his
Steve,
terms of meeting other
who saw
own career successvery much
was
peoples'needs.
Relatedto this is the idea of vicarious success,discussedbriefly in section 5.5.3. The
idea of achieving successthrough other peoples' achievementswas important to a
This
did
include
but
female,
some men.
group of managers which was mainly
developing
subordinates
conceptof vicarious successsometimesmeant coachingand
he
the
full
fulfil
talked
their
about
success
potential - one manager
so that they could
felt he had achieved from "nursing" one of his staff through a crisis at the start of
its
they
department
in
to the point where
most
were now one of
their career that
through
success
achieving
effective contributors - and on other occasions meant
did
The
individually.
managerswho valued vicarious success not
teams, rather than
but
for
and
their
enhanced
which
it
something
as
success
own
see as a substitute
but
Self-Realisers,
Experts
included
Influencers,
none
of
This
it.
and
group
enriched
highly
Climber's
that
the
implying
external vision of career
once again
the Climbers,
defining
be
"selfish"
level
than
success.
of
other
ways
more
successmay at some
for
for
the
between
success
criteria
external
internal, intangible and
The relationship
detail
in
in
has
been
found
explored some
existed
four types of managersthe research
in
developed
It
6.
to
the
5
conceptualisation
4,
was not germane
Chapters and and
intangible
internal
did
how
Climbers
discuss
and
regard
to
exactly
those chapters

242

criteria, which, with the exception of enjoyment, were not a part of their idea of
career successat all. However, it is interesting to note here that, for many of the
Climbers, internal and intangible criteria appeared to operate almost as hygiene
factors, that is to say, the managerswho were Climbers did not value them in their
own right, but felt that they would be concernedif they were missing. Adam, for
did
example,
not in the least seerespectas part of his idea of careersuccess,but said
that he became "very angry" if he did not get it at work. This seemsto be related to
the sensein which Climbers seeaccomplishmenttoo, as a matter for concernonly if
it is lacking.
While Chapter 6, section 6.7, examinedthe findings in the light of key demographic
factors apart ftom gender and age, other potential influences on the managers'
definitions of career successemergedftom the researchwhich have not so far been
discussedin any detail. While it is not possible to quantify the effect theseinfluences
have,
intriguing
Some
their
of the managers
existence
poses
some
questions.
may
broached the issue of social class and its possible effect on their attitudes to their
felt
These
them.
to
were generally managerswho
careersand what successmeant
that their social background had not preparedthem to embark upon a "career"; this,
they believed, had made it more difficult for them to envisagewhat a careermeant
did
be
defined.
(This
it
to
how
relate
relate
necessarily
not
successwithin could
and
issue
in
background
this
the
their educational
managerswho raised
as well: one of
fact had a Cambridge degree.) The influence of social class and family background
have
did
"professional"
family
if
careers,
that,
not
one's
of
members
as
such
seen
was
it was more difficult as a young adult to adjust to idea of having one and come to
interesting
This
issues.
development
questionsabout
raises
terms with related career
the sourceof ideas about careersand careersuccess.
described
be
the
influence
to
as
important
might
The second
relates what
potential
for
A
or
religion
of
"moral"
reasons
often
of
managers,
group
stance.
managers'
high
definition
ethical
their
with
success
of
career
underpinned
possibly politics,
in
highly,
integrity
they
wanted
that
and
This
criteria
valued
meant
often
standards.
in
the
"good"
the
of
sense
be
practical
as
well
as
moral
managers
seenas
someway to
dominate
their
than
to
temper
this
The
rather
was
apparent effect of
the word.
into
back
This
was often expressedas putting something
defmition of career success.
from
in
it
their
terms
taking
personal
own
of
something
as
well
as
the organisation,
success.

243

While this issue was partially raised in Chapter 6,


in
6.7,
section
relation to the race
of some of the research participants, the group of managers for whom morality
appearedto influence ideas about careersuccessstrongly was larger and more diverse
than the managersdiscussedthere. Once again, it is fascinating to note that the group
includes Influencers, Experts and Self-Realisers,but no Climbers, and intriguing to
speculateabout how and to what extent a person'smoral philosophy influences their
ideas about career success. Some of the issuesthis raises are also doubtlessrelated
the idea of "selfish" and "unselfish" successdiscussedabove.
Finally, in addition to drawing attention to potential influences on how ideas about
formed,
there are interesting insights to be gained by viewing the
career successare
data with suspicion and considering what hidden motives might lead managersto
defme career successin a particular way. The airing of these "suspicions" is not
intended to undermine the typology which has been created by this research,but
it
be
in
its
to
to
rather allow
viewed
wider context.
It is not inconceivable that some managersare unwilling to admit that they espousea
because
be
feel
idea
it
they
that
would
crassly
very external
of career success
do
inept
definition
They
to
therefore
adopt a
materialistic or politically
so.
of success
Expert,
Climber,
Influencer,
the
than
that
the
to
that
the
perhaps
of
or
even
of
closer
for outward appearancesat any rate. If this is the case,then of coursethe criteria on
from
be
different
in
those which
their
they
terms
of
own careermay
very
act
which
they claim to embrace.
It is also possible that managerswho have achieved"success"in external terms fail to
have
importance
they
the
placed on such measuresof career
place or
which
see
for
it
Suspicions
their
success granted,as were.
success,taking the external aspectof
in
justified
be
the
definitions
kind
caseof
this
particularly
might
of success
about
of
in
They
BT.
in
to
tended
Influencers,
those
the
senior
positions
who were
especially
dismiss status and hierarchical position as unimportant, yet it is intriguing to
had
different,
be
they
these
not
their
would
criteria
of
success
view
speculate whether
be
doubt
to
The
"achieved"
them.
a
largely
although
cast,
even
may
same
already

Self-Realisers.
held
by
ideas
the
the
lesserextent, on
someof
about success

244

7.6 Limitations

of the research findings

The research has greatly increasedknowledge about how


managersconceive their
own career success. Nevertheless, it is important to note a number of limitations
which may impinge upon its findings.
Most of the limitations relate to the methods used to carry out the researchand
as
have
been
in
detail
in Chapter 3. The choice made to carry
such
already
considered
field
the
out all
work within one organisation, namely BT, may impose some
limitations on the findings in that it is conceivablethe results are strongly influenced
by the prevailing culture at BT. This seemsunlikely given the fact that the research
findings clearly build on, rather than contradict, existing literature in the field of
indicated
in this chapter. Furthermore,as discussedin Chapter 3,
career success,as
section 3.2.2, the intervieweeswere drawn from all parts of BT and many had worked
for other organisations too. It is also important to note that this research is an
it
exploratory study: produced a typology of managerial career successwhich could
be explored and developed further by carrying out more research in other
in
future.
the
organisations
The selection of the interviewees to take part in the researchmay involve its own
limitations, an issue which was considered in Chapter 3, sections 3.2.5 and 3.2.6.
The choice was made by BT employees, and as such may incorporate their own
biasesand prejudices. For example, particularly in the pilot stageof the research,a
large number of managersworking in the personnel function were selected. This
form of "prejudice" in the choice of participants could affect the nature of the
findings. Once again, the strong links between the findings and existing literature
is
This
been
has
the
to
this
view
case
any significant extent.
not
suggest that
have
in
tend
to
fact
by
that, while managers specialist roles may
the
supported
between
"fit"
(Schein
1993),
there
their
to
was no perfect
career
particular attitudes
in
held
the
the type of position a manager
way which they saw careersuccess.
and
The findings may be limited by the fact that only one person, the researcher,carried
3.4.2.
in
3,
discussed
Chapter
data
section
which
was
a
consideration
the
analysis,
out
be
ideal,
it
is
the
here
this
that
that,
it
may
not
Suffice
to say
while
accepted
it
In
the
PhD
researcher
the
compensation,
made
unavoidable.
process
of
exigencies
its
data
for
the
the
and
analysis of
has sought out every possible opportunity

245

conclusions to be challengedby academiccolleagues,and has given the incidence


of
"negative instances"full consideration, demonstratedin Chapters4,5
as
and 6.
Other potential limitations of the
research concern the complexities of the
relationship betweenthe researcherand the interviewee. As King (1994) says,"there
be
can
no such thing as a 'relationship-free' interview". The researchermay be so
different from the interviewees that they "throw
barriers
to the acquisition of rich
up
data" (Lofland and Lofland 1984); they may be
so similar that they make
inappropriate assumptionsabout the researchdata.
As discussedin Chapter 3, section 3.3.2, at the time the interviews took
place, the
researcherwas aware that it felt "easier" to interview the women than the men.
Reflection on this and examination of the interview transcripts during the processof
data analysis seemedto indicate that, although all the interviews took the sameform,
the interviews with the men had tended to produce different kind of data from the
interviews with the women. The men were more inclined to talk about the "facts" of
their career, when they had appointed to specific jobs, how long they had stayedin
them, and how their careershad developed,than to discusstheir feelings about their
careers. The women, on the other hand, were more likely to talk about their feelings.
This could relate to differences in male and female styles of speaking identified by
Tannen (1991), but may also reflect the fact that the men might have felt less
feelings
talking
their
to a female researcher.
comfortable
about
As a university educated woman in her late thirties living in London, I was also
in
background
I
terms
that
to many of the managers
of my
conscious
was very similar
I interviewed. Many of them had a lifestyle rather like mine and moved in similar
keen
find
discuss
to
they
out about my career as well as
social circles:
were often
their own, especially my motivations to carry out doctoral research. This similarity
helped
it
both
As
be
to
to
a strength,
createa
a strengthand a weakness.
appeared me
because
"speak
between
to
tended
the
we
researchparticipants,
myself and
rapport
have
limiting
in
it
it
have
been
language";
that
the same
might
as a weakness could
they
I
thought
too
that
about career
many
assumptions
about
what
made
meant
data.
interview
the
during
the
processand whilst analysing
success
being
discussed
in
Chapter
3,
topic
the
impenetrability
Finally, the
may
of
researched,
findings.
literature
is
in
It
the
limitations
the
itself place
research
on
acknowledged
looking
1990)
ftom
individual's
Larwood
that
the
Gattiker
at careersuccess
(e.g.
and

246

point of view has not been an easy or popular subject for research. The
process of
eliciting definitions of career success during the interview process was sometimes
difficult. Whilst all
of the managers were able to form their own ideas about what
career success meant to them, some struggled at times to formulate their views either
through problems of articulacy or because of a lack of personal awareness. It is
possible that, for whatever reason, some managers would not or could not articulate
about what career success meant to them. Nevertheless, the strength of the patterns
and concepts which emerged from the research and the relationship of these
theoretical concepts to the existing literature suggests that the process of eliciting
definitions of career successwas generally successful.
7.7 Suggestions for future research

The most obvious avenue for future researchis to repeat the study described here
with other similar groups of managersin different organisations. The researchhas
shown that managers'conceptionsof their own careersuccesscan be best represented
by a typology which includes four different kinds of managersin terms of how they
it
found
four
that
there
see success:
are
main ways in which career successcan be
viewed. However, it is conceivablethat other, less common types of managerswho
in
do
in
distinct
from
identified
for
the
those
seesuccess ways which are
study exist:
it
describe
in
two
the
to
took
example, was not possible
of
managerswho
part the
four
in
To
types.
the
carry
out
similar
studies
other
research as any one of
findings
this
the
generalisability of
research's
organisationswould not only endorse
but would also hopefully identify any further types of managerin terms of how they
seecareersuccess.
In addition, the research has indicated that gender and age both have an effect on
While
the
effect of genderemergedclearly,
success.
of
career
managers'conceptions
for
less
the women
in
the effect of age was some respectsrather
obvious, especially
is
ideas
factors
in
The
two
these
about success complex,
affect
way which
managers.
the
effects of age were examined:
when
apparent
particularly
was
something which
held
by
from
differ
ideas
those
younger
about career success
while older managers'
for
is
the
to
kind
they
that
and
same
men
not
the
appear
undergo
change
of
managers,
include
to
the
To
may
of
managers
greater
numbers
research
extend
women.
illuminate patterns which in this study were not easyto see,especiallywhen the older
include
Further
the
research
could
younger
women.
with
compared
women were
illuminate
how
fifties,
in
of
conceptions
their
may
even
more
which
managers

247

successchange after a mid-life crisis. The most effective way to observethe effects
of age on conceptions of career success,however, would be to turn this researchinto
longitudinal
a
study, the possibility of which is currently under consideration.
Chapter 6, section 6.7, identified some of the factors, apart from gender and age,
which appearedto have an effect on managers'ideas of success.Theseincluded race,
hierarchical grade and educational background. Further research is needed to
discover how important the influence they have on managers'conceptionsof success
is.
is
This
indicated
for
that,
study also
really
many managers,careersuccess seenas
just a part of life success. Little is as yet understoodabout the relationship between
life successand career success:future researchcould usefully elucidatethe nature of
this relationship too.
Other directions future researchcould take would be to try to repeatthe study in other
has
international
determine
typology
the
to
applicability or
whether
countries,
(Derr
Laurent
to
the
and
the
career
effects of national culture on attitudes
whether
1989) mean that it is only appropriate in a British context. Researchis likewise
is
typology
to
of managerialcareersuccess
a
currently
what
whether
needed establish
doctors,
lawyers
include
be
other groups of professionals, such as
extended to
can
and teachers.
for
define
how
has
career success
Finally, while this study
managers
expounded
different
full
its
beyond
explanation of why
themselves,it has been
scopeto give a
Knowledge
different
in
success
career
and
careers
about
ways.
managersseesuccess
differences
looked
by
such
be
why
at
which
research
considerably
augmented
would
in
the
managers
women
in
of
position
of
understanding
our
particular,
exist;
by
be
face
advanced
they
undoubtedly
would
the
work
at
problems
organisationsand
from
different
in
way
they
a
success
the
career
see
why
reasons
closer examination of
men.

CHAPTER 8: POSTSCRIPT

248

CHATTER

8:

POSTSCRIEPT

This chapter examines the findings in the


context of the reasons for carrying out the
research discussed at the beginning of Chapter 1. Section 8.1
explains why such a
postscript is necessary. Section 8.2 examines the significance
of the research
findings for organisations;
section 8.3 considers their significance for individual
managers; section 8.4 discusses the personal significance of the findings for the
researcher.
8.1 The necessity for a postscript

This researchhas answeredthe questionsit set out to investigate


and thereby addedto
knowledge about the concept of career successfor managers: discussedin the
as
previous chapters, the different ways in which managers view their own career
best
be representedby a typology containing four types of manager,the
successcan
Climber, the Expert, the Influencer and the Self-Realiser. The research has also
shown that women managerstend to have different ideas about career successfrom
men, and that older managersare likely to see successin a different way from their
younger counterparts.

In Chapter 1, the reasons for carrying out the research were considered from a
theoretical perspective, but also from the point of view of the researcher, of
individual managers,and of organisations. Chapter 7 has discussedthe contribution
the researchhas made to career successtheory; the final task therefore must be to
briefly
findings
the
the
to the researcher,to individual
reflect
on
significance of
managersand to organisations. In order to miffor the discussionwhich took place in
Chapter 1, these issues will be considered in reverse order, starting with the
importance of the researchfindings to organisations.
8.2 The significance of the research findings for organisations

The research has shown most managers' conceptions of career successto be far
hierarchical
from
traditional
the
position
notion of organisationalsuccessas
removed
Organisations
thus
to
to
their
level
need
rethink
attitude
what career
pay.
of
and
level,
if
individual
the
they
to
take
views of
wish
successmeans at an organisational
into
important
There
two
consideration.
this
subject
are
crucial
reasons
on
managers
do
so:
they
must
why

249

Firstly, in order to be effective, human


resourcemanagementpractices should reflect
where possible the prevailing views and opinions of the employeeswhose working
lives they are intended to direct (Gattiker
Larwood
1988Peluchette 1993). As
and
long as human resource managementpolicies
continue to assumethat careersuccess
be
judged
can only
according to a narrow range of external criteria, such as pay and
hierarchical position, organisationsare failing to respondto what the
majority of their
managersreally want from their careers,especiallywomen and older managers. The
implications of this for the successor failure of a range of ERM practicesrelating to
motivation, reward and especially careerdevelopmentare potentially enormous.
Organisations should not assumethat managersare a homogeneousgroup, with a
single set of wants and needsrelated to their career. In particular, strategiesaimed at
increasing the number of women in managementpositions and developing women
likely
be
to
managers'careersare
underminedunless organisationsaim to understand
better how women actually perceive their own career success.

Secondly, the kind of changeswhich many companieshave been going through in


described
in
Chapter
1,
1.2
it
longer
1.3,
is
that
recent years,
sections
and
mean
no
kind
hierarchical
for
the
to
successthat they readily
possible
organisations offer
of
disappearing
layers
in
Flatter
the
of management
promoted
past.
organisationsand
have meant that organisational hierarchies are harder and slower to climb; indeed,
describing
longer
is
believe
"climbing"
that
career
an appropriate way of
no
many
1989).
(e.
Handy
Kanter
1989,
progressionat all g.
The conceptsof "career" and "career success"as they have traditionally been known
discover
Yet
to
threat.
what
organisationsare still struggling
are consequentlyunder
develop
best
how
their
the
they
them
of
careers
they might replace
can
with and
indicate
findings
that
future.
The
in
this
most
the
which
research,
of
managers
hierarchical
in
do
terms
advancement,provide
of
managers not seesuccessprimarily
development,
focuses
for
may
and
of
career
alternative
possible
some suggestions
be
hierarchical
disappearance
to
the
move,
positive
as
a
seen
the
career
of
even allow
the
negative
not
as
and
success,
on
career
views
own
managers'
which reflects
be.
to
it
perceived
currently
is
phenomenon

250

8.2 The significance


of the research findings for individual managers

The value of the researchfindings to individual


managerschiefly relates to the fact
that they have shown that it is possible for them to define careersuccessin
a number
of ways. In the past, careershave generally been viewed from the point of view of
the organisation (Herriot et al. 1994) and successwasjudged accordingly in external,
organisational terms. Becauselittle attempt was made to ascertainhow individuals
actually viewed their own career success,the model of successbasedon hierarchical
level
position and
of pay was allowed to prevail. It dominated the language and
mechanics of career "progression" and determined how managers' careers were
developed. Since it suited organisations until recently to perpetuatethis model, it
was rarely questioned.
The research has indicated that no such narrow definition of career successexists
from the point of view of the individual. Managershave different ideas about what
illustrated
here
by
them,
to
the typology of careersuccesswhich
careersuccessmeans
the researchhas developed. It showsthat managers'views on careersuccessnot only
be
in
definition,
but
the
traditional
need not
accord with
organisational
also are not
homogeneousat all. It is just as possible for a managerto seecareersuccessin terms
degree
involving
a
of extremely personal achievement
of challenge and selfdevelopment,like the Self-Realiserdoes, as it is for them to seeit primarily in terms
definition
like
Climber:
the
of successas
each
of organisational seniority and pay,
describedin the typology is equally valid.
This conclusion is of particular importance, since certain groups of managers, namely
likely
less
to
than
men,
see
especially
younger
others,
women and older managers, are
define
it.
The
have
to
in
traditionally
used
success the terms which organisations
development of the typology allows the "different" views of success certain groups
both
be
(It
that
legitimised.
be
hold
managers of
to
noted, nevertheless,
should
may
four
identified,
in
found
types
the
three
all
ages
were
of
and
managers
of
sexes were
likely
be
This
four
found in all
more
types.
suggests that, while certain groups may
for
kinds
there
are also no good grounds
of career success,
to favour certain
how
they
individual
to
career
see
might
according
manager,
stereotyping any
)
success.
has
been
identified
typically
a
as
reflecting
success
The "traditional" model of career
Gallos
1989).
1989,
(e.
Gilligan
1982,
Marshall
g.
success
of
conception
masculine

251

An appreciation that career successis


homogeneous
founded
not a
concept
on the
criteria of pay and position alone therefore may prove beneficial for women
managers'self-awarenessand self-esteem;their uneasewith facets of organisational
life based on male values is widely acknowledged(e.g. Davidson and Cooper 1992,
Pemberton 1992). It may also encouragemale managers,who we are told are less
"psychologically immersed" in their work roles than their predecessorswere (Scase
Goffee
1989), to voice more broadly defined conceptionsof success. For older
and
managers,a better comprehensionof what careersuccessmeansto them could allow
them to make a more valuable contribution to organisationsin the later years of their
career,as well as obtain the kind of career"rewards" which they truly value.
It is timely for managers as well as organisations to gain a better understanding of the
different ways in which career success might be defined, given the kind of changes
for
described
knowledge
The
that,
many
companies are experiencing, as
above.
help
hierarchical
than
advancement could
pay and
people, success means much more
lessen the feelings of insecurity and instability which many managers are currently
feel
them
to
more confident about pursuing success on their
enduring, and enable
to
this
terms,
pay and advancement at all.
may
not
relate
research
suggests
which
own
8.3 The personal significance of the research findings.

The discussion of this researchbegan in section 1.1 of Chapter I with an exploration


believe
for
I
level,
this
its
reason
and
value to me, the researcher,at a very personal
of
is
Erom
the
its
most appropriate
perspective
that examining outcome
personal
my own
it
for
to end.
place
level,
have
findings
to
as well
It is gratifying that the research
value me at a personal
first
in
the
for
the
level,
research
upon
embarking
my
reasons
since
academic
as at an
fundamental
1.1,
1,
in
Chapter
described
As
reason
a
section
place were so personal.
in
interest
the subject
for deciding to undertakethe researchwas my strong personal
in
interest
My
the
in
it
research
careers.
women's
particular
to
matter which pertains,
declined,
I
focus
decided
than
I
as
to
rather
grew,
eventually
questions on which
initial
have
findings
its
than
curiosity.
my
satisfied
more
the
research;
conducted
for
interest
has
and
me,
of
areas
new
whole
up
opened
Indeed, the researchprocess
In
future
for
ideas
completing
ways,
many
projects.
innumerable
research
given me
beginning,
the
just
the
like
the
feels
process.
of
end
not
this research

252

The researchfindings have meaning for me intuitively as well as intellectually. As I


mentioned in Chapter 1, one of the outcomesof carrying out the researchwas that I
gained a deeper understanding of the importance I place upon the integrity of the
individual, as well as achieving a fuller knowledge of how individual managers
defined career successfor themselves. At an intellectual level, the researchfindings
lead me to believe that organisationsare foolish to assumethat all managerssharethe
definition
intuitive
level, they have helped me
samenarrow
of career success;at an
appreciatehow significant an influence a belief in the integrity of the individual has
beenand continues to be on my outlook on life.
As well as the formal learning I have acquired by carrying out this research,the
development
has
inevitably
intense
be
to
researchprocess
personal
proved
a period of
for me. Not surprisingly, it has made me question many things about my own career,
both the form that it has taken in the past and the possible ways in which it might
develop in the future. It has enabled me to make better senseof my own previous
help
in
hope
I
the
rest of my career.
me
will
organisationalexperiences,which
Inevitably, conducting the researchhas encouragedme to form someideasabout how
I might defme career successfor myself, a topic which in the past I think I chosenot
light
it
in
hard
it
the
because
to
of a
to consider, probably
make sense of
was
felt.
At
how
I
believed
I
between
dissonance
actually
was expectedof me and
what
best,
better
have
this
contradiction: at
the very least, I now
understandingof
a much
is
future
have
that
I
career much
my own
the self-awarenesswhich
gained will mean
I
I
in
tune
with who am and what value.
more

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APPENDICES

266

APPENDIX

1: THE INTERVIEW

RESEARCH

SCHEDULE USED FOR THE FIRST STAGE OF THE

1. The respondent's career

Tell me about your career


Where did you start work?
What did you do
.......
......
next ........Why? ..........etc .......
(Elicit a chronological description of the respondent's career, filling out the details
already gathered in the biographical data section and examining the reasonswhy it
has developed as it has.)
What did you want from your career at the beginning? Have you achieved this?
How would you sum up your achievements at work? At what points in your career
have you felt particularly successful? Why? How satisfied are you? Why? At what
do
far
have
felt
Why?
What
in
to
you
want
most
satisfied?
career
your
so
you
points
future?
in
the
achieve

2. Work values

is
What
feel
how
most
Now I want to talk to you about
aboutyour career.
you
What
from
do
What
important to you about your work?
your career?
you want
What
describe
you?
motivates
work?
at
goals
personal
as
your
would you

3. External success/Internal success

important
your
and
how
work
your
of
aspects
particular
I want to talk more about
in
Section
linked
be
the
to
say
(This
respondents
what
will
section
careerare to you.
the
external
of
criteria
objective
cover
will
2 and, with prompts where appropriate,
)
careersuccess:
Pay
Hierarchical position
Promotional opportunities
Fringe benefits
internal
success)
career
of
criteria
(and the subjective
Challenge
e

267

Senseof accomplishment
Intellectual stimulation
Personal development
Work satisfaction

Which are most important to you? Why? Has this


during
the course of your
changed
career? Can you imagine it changing in the future?

4. Conceptions of career success


What do you want to achievefrom your working life? What would make you feel
satisfied with your careerat work? Why? What would make you feel successful?
Why? I now want you to considerhow you would describecareersuccessfor you in
(Prompt
if
) What would your criteria be9
terms.
and redefine, necessary.
you own
Have thesechangedduring your career? Can you ever imagine them changing? Do
in
in
Do
think
terms?
think
you are a success your own
you
you
you are a success
To
terms?
what to you attribute this success/lackof success,
your organisation's
firstly in your own terms and secondlyin your organisation'sterms?

5. Career success/Life success


Can you separatesuccessin your careerfrom successin your life as a whole?
(Explain if necessary.) Why?/Why not? Is what you want to achievein you life as a
To
kind
to
influence
what
of successyou want achieveat work?
on the
whole an
life
from
influence
Has
the
influence
does
the
How
of
your
rest
this
work?
extent?
it
is
Do
it
think
been
change
will
you
now?
as
strong/weak
as
on your careeralways
life?
in
What
in the future?
gives you most satisfaction your

268

APPENDix

2:

THE INTERVIEW

RESEARCH

SCH