The role of women as change agents in a male-dominated context: Empirical findings from the transport and mobility industry

Ann-Marie Nienaber, Andree Woodcock, Andre Soares, Rosalind Searle, Jan Tietmeyer

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Abstract

Background. This study contributes to our understanding of the role of women as change agents, driving organisational change within male-dominated transport departments of local authorities. It is proposed that in such contexts, female change agents have to achieve higher levels of self-efficacy to perceive the same level of job satisfaction as men.
Objective. This study aims to enhance our knowledge on the role of women as CAs in analysing their perceived self-efficacy during change and their job satisfaction as job-related dimension of wellbeing. Herewith, this study sheds light on two existing shortcomings in the literature. Firstly, this study pays attention to the impact on CAs’ own well-being, resilience, and health when driving an organisational change and secondly, this study reflects on female CAs’ well-being in a male-dominated sector which has been highlighted as decisive key for women’s ability as “drivers of solutions” by the United Nations.
Method. We applied a mixed-method design, conducting two studies based on data from 71 specialists – change agents - working in the transport or mobility departments of seven local authorities participating in the H2020 CIVITAS SUITS project, from six different countries, Greece, Spain, Italy, Romania, United Kingdom, and Lithuania.

Results. The first quantitative survey shows that female change agents may have to perceive higher levels of self-efficacy during organisational change to perceive similar levels of job satisfaction as men. The second qualitative study (focus groups) provides more in-depth explanations of these results. This allows us to derive managerial implications to prevent decreases in women’s well-being and strengthen their resilience and health during change.
Conclusion. This mixed-method study highlights the role of women as change agents, driving organisational change within male-dominated transport departments of LAs. Our results show that female CAs need extra support in managing change processes within male-dominated contexts as the transport and mobility field to avoid a decrease in their perceived job satisfaction, their well-being and herewith, their physical and mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-865
Number of pages13
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation
Volume76
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

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This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.

Funder

The data of this research were collected during the SUITS project, which was funded by the European Union, Grant agreement ID: 690650, Programme H2020-EU.3.4. - Societal challenges - Smart, Green and Integrated Transport, Topic MG-5.4-2015 - Strengthening the knowledge and capacities of LAs; and the TinnGO project, which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, grant agreement No 824349.

Keywords

  • change agent
  • Gender
  • self-efficacy
  • job satisfaction
  • transport departments

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