The purpose of this study was to identify the challenges, development needs, and support needs of Baby Boomer middle manager women who have children and plan to continue working for the next 10 years. Baby Boomer women have played the role of groundbreakers for other women in the workplace and must continue to do so, as many organizations are still male-dominated at the uppermost levels. As mothers and managers, they have developed a holistic view of the world, which can add insight at C-suite levels. This study involved in-depth interviews with 12 Baby Boom generation women (born between 1946 and 1964) with children, who held middle manager positions in corporations. The interviews explored the women's training and development needs required to reach their career goals as senior leaders. Key challenges the women face include lack of time, lack of support, and gender bias. Participants in this study believed they had taken care of their development needs throughout their careers and had few of these needs remaining at this time. However, they believed they could use a mentor or sponsor to receive more support in finding and securing career opportunities. The primary organizational support they valued and needed was flexibility in their schedule and work arrangements, as well as improved career opportunities. Additional support they needed to promote success were reliable support systems at home such as childcare and housekeeping help, as well as emotional support from their partners. As Baby Boomer women rise to the top of the organization, they are in a position to create new structures and systems that support a balanced work life for themselves and others. In addition, they can mentor other younger mothers (and possibly fathers) who are managers looking to successfully advance as leaders. Boomer mothers who are leaders should leave a legacy of family-friendly systems for ambitious leaders, and mentor others who are currently facing the challenges of balancing parenthood, work, and life & challenges they have overcome themselves. The findings can be used to support companies in developing the talents of mature, experienced women already in middle management who are anxious to make greater long-term contributions to their company.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Research projects (MSOD); Women executives; Working mothers
Date of Award
Graziadio Business School
Sloofman, Audrey, "Identifying the challenges and support needs of Baby Boom mothers middle managers" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 185.