The careers of senior men and women – a capabilities theory perspective

N. Cornelius, Denise Skinner

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    31 Citations (Scopus)
    38 Downloads (Pure)


    In this article we adopt a capabilities theory perspective to analyse 40 in-depth interviews (20 women, 20 men) exploring the careers of senior women and men in human resource management. Both groups felt driven by increasingly unconstrained demands of work, in the case of women paid and non-paid domestic work and for men primarily paid work, and perceptions of time autonomy (being able to exercise autonomy in allocating one's time) for both differed markedly. However, these senior women appeared to have negotiated a path which fitted with their realized functioning and quality of life goals and they measured success in their own terms. Senior men's working patterns and definitions of success remained largely traditional and for most the demands of work were dominant. However, there was evidence that male views were changing with some expressing a desire for a better balance with less time involved with work. Our findings highlight the importance of the family and we suggest that there is a need for the obligations of organizations in terms of their impact on the family unit to be stated and acted upon with the role of fathers as carers equally and explicitly expounded with that of mothers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S141-S149
    JournalBritish Journal of Management
    Issue numberS1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cornelius, N. and Skinner, D. (2008) The careers of senior men and women – a capabilities theory perspective. British Journal of Management, volume 19 (S1): S141-S149 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


    • work life balance
    • senior management
    • gender


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