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Women in Positions of Influence: Exploring the Leadership Journeys of Irish Women

Kenny, Ashley (2018) Women in Positions of Influence: Exploring the Leadership Journeys of Irish Women. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Purpose – Exploration of the reasons for a continued lack of progress in achieving gender equality is ongoing. This paper seeks to examine the barriers to career progression for women in large organisations by eliciting the views of women who have attained senior leadership positions. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the subjective, lived experiences of women who operate in senior leadership roles in their respective organisations. It seeks to establish whether barriers, recognised in literature, remain obstacles for women
despite the passage of time since these barriers were first identified.

Design/methodology/approach – A small sample, qualitative study, using semi‐structured interviews, with eight female senior leaders from large organisations, was undertaken in order to gain detailed insights into the women’s experiences of gender and leadership. Confidential interviews were recorded, transcribed, reviewed and analysed. Findings were verified by reviewing them with the participants. It is not proposed that generalisations are extrapolated from the research, rather its value lies in the qualitative insight provided into the participants’ work experiences.

Findings – Women continue to lag behind men in achievement of senior leadership positions in large Irish organisations. These organisations continue to be male dominated from mid‐management grades to an almost exclusive male dominion at the highest levels. The findings demonstrate that gender is a significant contributory factor to this scenario in line with the literature.

Originality/value – This research adds knowledge and understanding to the area of gender and leadership experiences of senior female leaders in Ireland. When researching the theme of women in leadership, no qualitative studies, specific to Irish senior female leadership experiences, were found in peerreviewed academic literature. This study may help to contribute to this knowledge taxonomy.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > Leadership
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Leadership
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Classes of Labour > Women and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Business Administration
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ní Mhaicín
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2018 12:08
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 12:08

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