Women in Business: My Research Journey to Date

Today it is almost passé to point out that women represent half of the world’s population yet lag behind in their workforce participation.  My focus however is not on the reasons for the gaps in participation nor what needs to be done to address them as those topics are being covered extensively elsewhere (cf OECD, 2004; World Bank, 2012).  Instead, in keeping with the purpose of this blog, some of my entries will highlight cases where businesses are encouraging and promoting female professionals as well as situations where women are themselves taking the initiative to make positive contributions through business to their economies and communities.

Broadly speaking my interests lie at the intersection of international business and strategic management, although I am also interested in what happens at an individual level and that is where my published work has taken me to date.  As my first post to our blog, I’d like to provide a brief introduction to that work, which includes two articles and a book chapter regarding the experiences of Western female professionals working in emerging markets.  Each piece is summarized below.

1)      Working in the Middle East: Western female expatriates’ experiences in the United Arab Emirates (2012) International Journal of Human Resource Management.  I co-authored this paper with Professor Snejina Michailova, my graduate academic advisor, based on material I collected for my Master’s thesis.  We studied the experiences of female expatriates from Australia, New Zealand, UK and US working in the UAE.  Key findings include that Western women successfully adjust to life and work in the United Arab Emirates despite significant cultural differences between their home countries and the United Arab Emirates.

2)      Neither Ghettoed Nor Cosmopolitan: A Study of Western Women’s Perceptions of Gender and Cultural Stereotyping in the United Arab Emirates (forthcoming, est. 2013) Management International Review.  Professor Kate Hutchings, Professor S. Michailova and I co-authored this paper. The female expatriates we studied do not perceive gender and cultural stereotyping at work, but identify stereotyping as occurring in the non-work context; some of which resulted from the women engaging in auto-stereotyping.

3)      Female Self-initiated Expatriates in the United Arab Emirates: An Unexpected Trifecta (forthcoming, est. 2013) in A. Haslberger & V. Vaiman (Eds.) “Managing Talent of Self-initiated Expatriates: A neglected source of the global talent flow” Palgrave MacMillan. This book chapter was also co-authored with S. Michailova.  Our conclusions suggest that talent managers who need to source employees for positions in emerging markets have ample opportunity to reach out to female self-initiated expatriates interested in their particular countries of interest.

Future postings will include my reflections on businesses as well as individuals that are applying sustainable concepts in a strategic manner with particular emphases on emerging markets.

What companies do you know of that are doing a great job of investing in sustainable solutions in emerging countries as well as benefiting and supporting women in business?

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