CAREER EXPERIENCES OF CANADIAN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVES: UNDERSTANDING CAREER ADVANCEMENT BARRIERS AND ENABLERS FOR WOMEN AND MEN
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This case study research compares the career histories of information and communications technology (ICT) executives from across Canada. In three geographic regions: east, central, and west, eight men and eight women participated in semi-structured interviews that explored career experiences, including barriers and enablers to career advancement. Qualitative interview data for the 48 executives was coded in NVivo and analyzed to discover career advancement patterns across regions and gender. Although regional patterns did not emerge, the composite Canadian picture comparing the career experiences of ICT Canadian senior leaders exposes career advancement differences for men and women. No other studies were found that qualitatively explored the career stories of ICT men and women from across Canada. The results of this research revealed 38 career influence themes among Canadian ICT executives categorized according to gender with a national pattern emerging but no substantial unique findings in any of the three regions. Careers were described in a manner consistent with Super’s Life-Career Rainbow model and provided support for Sullivan’s notion of a boundaryless career. A model of barriers and enablers to career advancement was developed. More barriers were encountered by women than men, and barriers were typically attributed to factors external to the individual where enablers were typically intrinsic in nature. Women have consistently been under-represented in the ICT sector (ICTC, 2013, 2016). Achieving gender balance in the ICT sector is widely acknowledged as contributing to improved business results for organizations and improved prosperity for economies (Trauth, Quesenberry, Huang, & McKnight, 2008). The goal of increasing gender balance also has a social justice dimension (Noon, 2007). Insights from this research are proposed to help individuals and organizations in the ICT sector, as well as institutions like universities, industry councils, and governments to advance more women and realize the business and social benefits of gender balance.
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