Developing female middle-managers in Australian universities
- 312 Downloads
Universities should be developing female middle-managers for reasons of gender balance (Aitkin in The Last Boilerhouse Address, Canberra University 2001), the skills shortage, pending mass retirements (Chesterman in Not doable jobs?’ Exploring senior women’s attitudes to leadership roles in universities. Women’s Higher Education Network Conference, Bolton, 2004) and sustainable, post-bureaucratic organizations (Kira and Forslin in J Organ Change Manage 21(1): 76–91, 2008). Investigating the learning and development of women managers is timely. Research assumes that women in academe have the qualifications, experience and skills for management. Is this the case? The paper provides the first national demographic and development profile of women middle-managers in academic and the research-neglected administrative streams in Australian universities, with a sample of 342 women (46% response rate). Age is a particularly notable demographic with the majority of academics within 5–10 years of retirement. Nearly 60% of academics experienced few current development opportunities and their discipline-based qualifications did not prepare them for management. However, a greater number of administrative managers received relevant preparatory training. Once in their current management roles women experienced markedly fewer development opportunities. If higher education institutions are learning organizations, continuous learning should be evident (Watkins in Adv Dev Hum Res 7(3): 414, 2005). Our research shows this is far from the case.
KeywordsGender Middle-managers Skills shortage Learning
- Aitkin, D. (2001). The Last Boilerhouse Address, Canberra University. http://www.canberra.edu.au/secretariat/speeches/vcaddr25_7_01.html. Accessed 16 August 2002.
- Allport, C. (1996). Improving gender equity: Using industrial bargaining. NTEU Frontline, 4(1), 5–9.Google Scholar
- Altbach, P. G. (1999). Harsh realities. The professoriate faces a new century. In P. G. Altbach, R. Berdahl, & P. Gumport (Eds.), American Higher Education in the twenty-first century (pp. 271–279). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Asquith, J., Sardo, S., & Begley, P. (2008). ‘Love ‘em don’t lose ‘em’—identifying retention strategies that work’. HRpulse Research Report, AHRI, 2(1).Google Scholar
- AVCC.(2004). List of senior university women—2004. Canberra. http://www.avcc.edu.au/database/search/senioroff.asp. Accessed 1 November 2004.
- AVCC.(2006). The second AVCC action plan for women employed in Australian universities (2006–2010). Canberra. http://www.avcc.edu.au/documents/policies_programs/women/AVCC-Action-Plan-for-Women-2006.pdf. Accessed 24 April 2007.
- Benn, S., Dunphy, D., & Griffiths, A. (2007). Organizational change for corporate sustainability. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Blackmore, J., & Sachs, J. (2001). Women leaders in the restructured university. In A. Brooks & A. Mackinnon (Eds.), Gender and the restructured university (pp. 45–66). Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Blättel-Mink, B. (2008). Reinventing gender in higher education. Conference report, 5th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education, Berlin, 28–31 August 2007. Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 27(1), pp. 107–111.Google Scholar
- Castleman, T., Allen, M., Bastalich, W., & Wright, P. (1995). Limited access, women’s disadvantage in higher education employment. Melbourne: NTEU.Google Scholar
- Chesterman, C. (2004). Not doable jobs?’ Exploring senior women’s attitudes to leadership roles in universities. Bolton: Women’s Higher Education Network Conference.Google Scholar
- Chesterman, C., Ross-Smith, A., & Peters, M. (2003). Changing the landscape? Women in academic management in Australia. McGill Journal of Education, 38(3), 421–435.Google Scholar
- Currie, J., & Thiele, B. (2002). Globalization and the gendered work cultures of universities. In A. Brooks & A. Mackinnon (Eds.), Gender and the restructured university (pp. 90–115). Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Dychtwald, K., & Baxter, D. (2007). Capitalizing on the new mature workforce. Public Personnel Management, 36(4), 325–334.Google Scholar
- Ebner, A. L. (2007). Playing by the ‘new rules’: Contemporary feminism and gender policy in Scottish higher education. Palmetto Practitioner Journal: Issues in Student Affairs, (March).Google Scholar
- EOWA. (2008a). Employer of choice for women. Canberra: Equal Opportunity in the Workplace for Women Agency.Google Scholar
- EOWA. (2008b). Generation f: Attract, engage, retain. Canberra: Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.Google Scholar
- Eveline, J. (2004). Ivory basement leadership; power and invisibility in the changing university. Perth: University of Western Australia Press.Google Scholar
- Gopinathan, A. (2007). International research may leave women adrift. Nature, (448), 749. doi: 10.1038/448749d.
- Howell, S., Buttigleg, D.M., & Webber, W. (2006). Management attitudes to older workers in the retail sector. Monash Business Review, 2(2), 4. doi: 10.2104/mbr06024.
- Jo, V. (2008). Voluntary turnover and women administrators in higher education. Higher Education (in press).Google Scholar
- Joyner, K., & Preston, A. (1998). Gender differences in perceptions of leadership role, performance and culture in a university: A case study. International Review of Women and Leadership, 4(2), 34–43.Google Scholar
- Kaufman, B. E. (1994). The economics of labour markets (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX:Dryden.Google Scholar
- Kramar, R. J. (1990). Managers in Australia. Sydney: Industrial Relations Research Center, UNSW.Google Scholar
- Lane, B. (2008). Staff Crisis First Bill of Order. Higher Education, The Australian, April 18, p. 1.Google Scholar
- Marginson, S. (1999). Diversity and convergence in Australian higher education. Australian Universities Review, 421, 12–23.Google Scholar
- Moseley, J. L., & Conway Dessinger, J. (2007). Training Older Workers and Learners. San Francisco: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Neuman, W. L. (1994). Social research methods (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Niven, L. (2007). Few women join ranks of Germany’s academic élite. Nature, (450), 788. doi: 10.1038/450788d.
- OECD. (2004). Ageing societies and the looming pension crisis. http://www.oecd.org/searchResult/0,3400,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html. Accessed 11 April 2008.
- Probert, B., Ewer, P., & Whiting, K. (1998). Gender pay equity in Australian higher education. Melbourne: NTEU.Google Scholar
- Ramsay, E. (2000). Women and leadership in higher education: Facing international challenges and maximizing opportunities. Keynote address at Asian Women Leaders in Higher Education 2, University Kebangsaan, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, October.Google Scholar
- Roomkin, M. J. (1989). Managers as Employees. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Schuster, J. H., & Finkelstein, J. (2006). The restructuring of academic work and careers. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- UNESCO. (2002). Women and management in higher education: A good practice handbook. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
- Wallace, M. (2006). The paradox and the price: A case study of female academic managers in an Australian regional university. Advancing Women in Leadership, 21, Fall. http://www.advancingwomen.com/awl/summer2006/Wallace.html. Accessed 6 June 2007.
- Wayne, S. J., Liden, R. C., Kraimer, M. L., & Graf, I. K. (1999). The role of human capital, motivation and supervisor sponsorship in predicting career success. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(5), 577–595. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(199909)20:5<577::AID-JOB958>3.0.CO;2-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Werner, J. M., & DeSimone, R. L. (2006). Human resource development (4th ed.). Melbourne: Thomson South-Western.Google Scholar