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Gender-segregated labour spaces and social capital – does context matter?

Sheerin, Corina and Hughes, Caitriona (2018) Gender-segregated labour spaces and social capital – does context matter? European Journal of Training and Development. ISSN 2046-9012

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Abstract

Purpose
This research aims to explore the role of social capital and specifically networks in role, and career development for women within two very distinct gender-segregated contexts of the labour market, namely, investment management and human resource management (HRM).

Design/methodology/approach
This research is qualitative in nature, underpinned by an interpretivist philosophical stance. Thematic analysis is used to analyse the findings from 32 in-depth interviews with HR and investment management managers.

Findings
The findings advance our understanding of social capital and its development as a social process, which differs according to labour market contexts. The results indicate divergence among participants regarding how they access networks as well as the perceived role and benefits of networking and social capital accumulation in their career and personal development.

Practical implications
For human resource development (HRD) practitioners, there are implications in relation to the need to tailor development and support structures cognisant of the occupational context. Specifically, the findings of this study indicate the acute need to support network access for those “outsider” women in male-dominated spaces. A need to enhance awareness of the benefits of networks to both organisations and employees across the labour market is warranted. For organisations, networks underlie social capital accumulation, which in turn increases efficiency and generates business solutions. For the employee, networks are an important self-development and career advancement tool. Such connections need to be supported and developed. Within patriarchal spaces particularly, HRD professionals need to provide support to women in extending their networks both within and outside the organisation.

Originality/value
This research makes an essential contribution to the literature by examining the influence of context in the development of social capital within two polarized labour market locations. The findings highlight the difficulties women face when developing social capital in investment management in contrast to the relative ease, which HRM professionals experience. Such findings also bring to light the essential role of HRD professionals as advocates for change in such contexts.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > Gender
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Classes of Labour > Women and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Related URLs:
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 10:59
Last Modified: 13 May 2018 12:39
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/2581

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