Re-Examining the Career Anchor Model: An Investigation of Career Values and Motivations among Women in the Information Technology Profession

Re-Examining the Career Anchor Model: An Investigation of Career Values and Motivations among Women in the Information Technology Profession

Jeria L. Quesenberry (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0020-1.ch015
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Abstract

Despite the shortage of information technology (IT) professionals in the global economy, women are largely underrepresented in the IT workforce. Prior research on gender stratification demonstrates that this underrepresentation is a reflection of organizational and social structures. As a result, it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the IT workforce, and in particular, the opportunities and constraints that influence career choice of IT professionals. For these reasons, the purpose of this chapter is to examine the career anchors of women in the American IT workforce. The data for this examination comes from a quantitative survey conducted with 210 women. The findings make a theoretical contribution to the career anchor research of women in the IT workforce.
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Background

Schein (1971) first introduced the concept of a career anchor or career orientation as “that element of our self-concept that we will not give up, even if forced to make a difficult choice” (p. 158). Hence, career anchors describe a self-perceived pattern of talents, values, needs, abilities, attitudes, and the evolved sense of motives that attract individuals to particular occupations. Schein (1982) writes:

“Talents, motives and values come to be inter-related into a more or less congruent total self-concept through a reciprocal process of learning to be better at those things we are motivated to do and value, learning to want and value those things we are good at, and avoid those things we are not motivated to do or do not value, resulting in loss of abilities or skills in those areas” (p. 2).

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