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Title: A grounded theory of the determinants of women's under-achievement in large construction companies
Authors: Dainty, Andrew R.J.
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: © Andrew Dainty
Abstract: In response to impending skills shortages and changing employment patterns in recent years, the construction industry has made considerable efforts to attract more women to its professions. However, despite women's increasing representation, they exhibit high organisational and occupational mobility patterns in comparison to men. This threatens the success that women have had in addressing the gender imbalance within the industry. This research investigates the careers of men and women working for large contracting organisations, in order to establish the determinants of women's career progression, and to develop human resources management (HRM) strategies to improve their retention. A primarily qualitative methodology was employed for the research, in which career profiles were developed through interviews with 41 matched pairs of male and female employees. This allowed the gender specific determinants of careers to be established across a range of different organisations, and from informants from different vocational and life-cycle stages. The career profiles were supported by a range of other qualitative and quantitative data, which were analysed within a grounded theory framework. This led to the formulation of a set of eight interrelated theoretical models, from which a theory of women's career development was constructed. This approach provides insights into the interaction of structural, cultural and action-centred determinants, which combine to subordinate women's positions within construction organisations. The theory reflects that the construction workplace is a competitive and conflictual environment, where women are overtly and covertly discriminated against by men, who use structural systems to deliberately undermine their contribution. Women's actions in dealing with these barriers are shown to perpetuate existing work cultures. This leads to a self-fulfilling circle of women's continued under-achievement. The research provides insights into the compatibility and conflicts between personal actions and resolutions, and the HRM policy of large construction companies. It suggests that previous research efforts in attracting women to work in construction may have been misguided, as the industry's patriarchal culture must first be moderated if women are to have the opportunity to develop their careers in parity with men. "Soft" HRM initiatives are suggested as offering the potential to facilitate the cultural change necessary
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/7612
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)

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