Senior Careers in Retailing: an exploration of male and female executives' career facilitators and barriers


Broadbridge A (2008) Senior Careers in Retailing: an exploration of male and female executives' career facilitators and barriers. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 23 (1), pp. 11-35.

Purpose Retailing as a sector employs many women and serves a female dominated customer base. It also employs proportionately more women in management positions than in other occupational sectors. However, at senior levels, the proportion of women to men diminishes. This article examines the perceived facilitators and problems of senior retail managers’ career development in order to see if it offers any insights for others to achieve senior managerial positions. Design/methodology/approach The main research instrument was a quantitative questionnaire with 124 UK senior retail managers. Findings The findings revealed that apparently more similarities than differences were reported by the men and women senior retail managers. These findings need to be treated with some caution however given that retailing operates in a strong masculine culture. Therefore to assume that men and women encounter similar facilitators and problems ignores that they are being compared against a norm of male characteristics and values. Practical implications The senior women may have achieved their positions by ignoring their feminine characteristics and putting their career before their personal lives; they may have adopted the male cultural norms and developed a style top management are more comfortable with, else they may have more characteristics that are closer to the male norms than the average woman. Men further down the hierarchy may also suffer and may not achieve senior positions because they too are not prepared to conform to idealised and outdated male cultural norms. Originality/value

Women; Senior Managers; Retail; Gender

Gender in Management: An International Journal: Volume 23, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2008