Women’s career development phases Idealism, endurance, and reinvention- by Deborah A. O’Neil and Diana Bilimoria

par | Jan 6, 2021

Findings – The data revealed distinct patterns of how women’s careers develop over time, particularly with regard to the impact of career contexts (societal, organizational, and relational) and women’s own changing images of their careers and career success. A three-phase, age-linked model of women’s career development is proposed: the idealistic achievement phase; the pragmatic endurance phase; and the reinventive contribution phase.

Research limitations/implications – Future studies should test replicability of these findings to determine whether this three-phase model is embedded in the particular socio-historical context of the times in which the particular women in this sample have lived or is universally applicable across different eras and changing realities.

Practical implications – Better organizational efforts are needed to ensure that women receive ongoing coaching and mentoring, work for managers who support their development, have access to organizational resources and opportunities to develop their skills, are given challenging assignments, are acknowledged for their unique talents, and are recognized for aptitude learned through life experiences and “non-traditional” work histories

Originality/value – This is a rare, women-only study that looks at the career dynamics of women over the life course.

You can access the study here.


Deborah A. O’Neil and Diana Bilimoria

Department of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

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