What women want: how companies can encourage women's career motivation
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The under-representation of women in higher hierarchical positions and company boards today is a fact that affects not only the women striving for these positions but also the companies that face a loss of competent personnel in their companies. We found it interesting to find out whether or not women are striving for leading positions, in the first place and what factors motivate and discourage them to strive for a career and what incentives companies could offer to increase their motivation.
We adopt a company perspective in this thesis since we want to study this matter for the benefit of companies. If they knew more about what women want, they would be able to emphasize these conditions and motivate more women to strive for a career. Motivation theories as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s two-factor theory are used to give us a basic understanding of motivation and they also function as a foundation for our survey. Consequently, we follow a deductive approach.
This study is focusing on Swedish female business students and a survey among the female students of the USBE has been carried out to generate emprical data. We defined career in this thesis as: “striving for high hierarchical positions with high responsibility and decisive power”. The majority of respondents stated to be striving for a career but not everyone was striving according to our definition. We found almost half of the respondents to be to some extent striving for a career according to our definition and 42 percent agreed to completely strive for a career.
The most important motivating factors were found to be “to have a stimulating job” and “to be financially independent”. The strongest factors that have a negative influence on the respondents’ career motivation were “to have little time for family” and “to have a low salary in relation to work effort”. Furthermore, “equal salary for both men and woman”, “professional training” and “good promotion possibilities” were ranked the highest of the alternatives for incentives that companies could offer.
As the data suggested that the vast majority of our respondents can be encouraged in their career striving, companies should consider offering incentives and improving the general job conditions. The most promising strategies are adjusting the women’s salaries to those of their male colleagues, providing full-time day care near the workplace and offering professional training. The Swedish government could contribute in this field by enforcing the law that requires equal salries for both sexes, by stronger controlls and more severe punishments.
Suggestions for further research are, for instance, to study what companies actually do today to motivate women in their career striving.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet , 2007. , 59+15 p.
motivation, career, female managers, leading positions, working conditions, university students, gender differences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1219OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1219DiVA: diva2:140508
Bonnedahl, Karl Johan, Univ lektor
Gällstedt, Margareta, Studierektor