Managerial Careers, Gender, and Information Technology Field

Managerial Careers, Gender, and Information Technology Field

Iiris Aaltio
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-991-9.ch133
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Careers are organizational and institutional, and they have know-how-based contexts. Managerial careers from a gender perspective, gendered “blind spots” in organizations and the invisibility of women in management have been an object of study since the 1970s. Gender is a part of socially constructed individual identity. Gendered identities in organizations are defined and redefined in relationships as people become socially constructed through work groups, teams and interactions. Because of this social construction, femininity and masculinity grow into human behavior and outlook. Understanding gender as an activity and a term in the making (Calás & Smircich, 1996), it is a constitution of an activity, even when institutions appear to see woman and man as a stable distinction (Korvajärvi, 1998). Beyond work-life and organizations, there are multiple institutional and gendered structures. The information technology (IT) industry and companies are also an institutional construction with gendered dimensions, and they also participate on the creation of femininity and masculinity. Career can be seen as a conceptual artefact that reflects a culture and rhetorical context in its use. It is a kind of window to a network of values, institutions and functions, where actual careers are made. Usually, the formal organization is based on neutrality and equality, but a closer look reveals the deeper social structures that make it different to women and men. There is a concept of an abstract and neutral worker, and this worker is supposed to be highly competent, work-oriented and available, committed to work-life without any knit to private life. These characteristics support a good career climb in an organizational hierarchy, and many of these characteristics better suit men than women (Metcalfe & Altman, 2001). For instance, home responsibilities make often working hours less flexible for women than men. The notion of an essential person with no gender characteristics does not recognize these issues, whereas taking gender as a research topic shows that work-life as a context differs between women and men.

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