Norwegian female managers´ perception of their professional career: A study on how to overcome gender-based barriers for entry into the 21st century

Gønul Guler & Nina Glende Johnsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this study we have shown that Norwegian female managers and chef executives, in male dominated organizations, feel restricted with regards to behavior and at times misunderstood, excluded, and neglected in their organization. We also found that, due to role-incongruence between the masculine leadership-role and the female gender-role, female managers are likely to feel uncertain how to behave and execute leadership in male-dominated contexts. We further conclude that the organizational work-culture is seen to be the main challenge for women‟s advancement into senior positions. If male-dominated environments are more likely to create uncertainty among women, it is also likely to affect their ability to develop as influential leaders. Based on the female managers‟ experiences we find two adjustments necessary in order to create equal opportunities for both genders. First, organizations must revise work-culture to make the environment more gender-neutral. Second, organizations must change the definition of executives as exclusively masculine. In addition, to successfully implement a cultural change, organizations must break the “tokens” and ensure representation of women in all levels. However, in order to change a situation that, despite numerous political and organizational initiatives, has show little progress over the last decades, we suggest that organizations must make deliberate action steps to enable more efficient use of talents into the 21st century. The results of this study have implications for organizational change efforts focused on improving opportunities for women in male dominated industries in Norway.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages134