THE CHANGING ROLE OF WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: THE SPANISH EXAMPLE Simon Mowatt
Paper Number 21-00 RESEARCH PAPERS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ISSN NUMBER 1366-6290
THE CHANGING ROLE OF WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: THE SPANISH EXAMPLE
This paper seeks to describe the management experience for women in Spain, concentrating on the broad picture, then examining the individual experiences of managers in the workplace. The paper examines the cultural and sector specific barriers to female managers in Spain. The study examines the potential opportunities afforded to female managers by MNCs. An understanding of the role and experience of female managers in the Spain not only gives us a greater understanding as to the domestic Spanish business economy, but is of interest to international business management and to those interested in the position of women in management in general.
I. Introduction The last few decades have witnessed increasing the internationalisation of business. In addition to this, there has been a social revolution in the developed market economies whereby increasing numbers of women have joined the management workforce. However, the growth of female managers in the workforce has developed at differing rates in different countries. For businesses involved in cross-border production, it is more and more likely that the host management labour pool may include female managers. In addition to an understanding of human resources issues in different countries, international business would benefit from a greater understanding of the more neglected experience of female managers in each economy. This exploratory paper seeks to describe the management experience for women in Spain, concentrating upon both introducing the broad picture, then examining the individual experiences of managers in the workplace. An understanding of the role and experience of female managers in the Spain not only gives us a greater understanding as to the domestic Spanish business economy, but is of interest to international business management and to those interested in the position of women in management in general.
II. Management in Spain The origin of this research lies in a comparative management research project aimed at understanding and characterising management work in Spain in general (Mowatt, 1998; 1999). Management in Spain has changed rapidly in the 1990s, with increasing privatisation and the influence of MNCs through foreign direct investment (FDI) having a major influence. MNCs have been increasingly hiring women into management in Spain. The issues for women are interesting, Spain is a society noted for a tradition of strict social gender roles (Hooper, 1995), reinforced by the Catholic institutions which define social life (such as the 1
Church) and elements of the business world (such as the Catholic influence on Business education through Jesuit run Universities such as ESADE, and in political life and the public sector through Opus Dei). This paper therefore seeks to first describe the position of female managers in Spain, examine some of the issues facing them in detail, and then to make some tentative suggestions as to the relationship between increasing internationalisation and the participation of women in management in Spain.
III. Methodology This paper hopes to examine female managers within the context of management in Spain in general, rather than as the exceptions. By this method, we hoped to better understand the experience of female managers within their company, and relationship with their colleagues, and then to be able to generalise from this. The sample of managers interviewed for this study included both male and female managers. From this larger sample, the experience of female managers was analysed. This method avoids the problem of defining a sample...
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