Female Perceptions of the Information Technology Culture
Indira R. Guzman (Syracuse University, USA), Jeffrey M. Stanton (Syracuse University, USA) and Debra Eischen (Syracuse University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
In the organizational sciences literature, one of the important social forces that affect the productivity, adjustment, attitudes, and retention of employees is culture. Culture can be defined as the shared philosophies, ideologies, values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, attitudes, and norms that people have in common with others in a community (Hall, 1959, 1976; Hofstede, 1997; Trice, 1993). Cultures originate as individuals interact with one another. Belonging to a culture involves believing what others believe and doing as they do (Trice & Beyer, 1993). The most obvious manifestations of culture are common language and common ways of thinking (Schein, 1999). These common ways of thinking are also evident within organizations as employees share basic assumptions on how to do things and solve problems in a way that is considered valid by organization members and, therefore can be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (Schein, 1992). Because culture within organizations is multifaceted, it includes both: the overall culture of the organization as well as subcultures shaped by the specific kind of work that people do in the organization. In contrast to organizational cultures, occupational subcultures arise from the shared educational, personal, and work experiences of individuals who pursue the same kind of work or occupation (Trice, 1993; Trice & Beyer, 1993). The purpose of this chapter is to present a comprehensive summary of previous studies relating to the concept of occupational subculture of information technologists and the perceptions and difficulties that female students illustrate during their first approaches to the IT occupation. We believe that understanding the difficulties that women face to accommodate to the IT culture can better help academic institutions and industry practitioners develop customized strategies for retention and recruitment of women in the IT field.