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Title: The gate-keeper networks of power, and symbolic capital : gender exclusion in the Professional Service Firms (UK and Europe)
Author: MacNeil, Christina Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 8415
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2019
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The research aim is to explore, women managers' lack legitimacy with senior management for allocation to CAE management positions and, how this damages women managers' promotion opportunities for partner roles in the elite Professional Service Firms (PSFs). The conceptual frame utilises Bourdieu's theories of cultural capital, habitus and field analysis (1991, 1989, 1986, 1984), to find the symbolic capital or legitimate competence (Ozbilgin and Tatli, 2011, 2005) which male-dominated partner gatekeepers within their networks of power use to confer candidates legitimacy for promotion. A core argument of this Doctorate is these gatekeepers' informal networks reproduce existing gender inequalities (Acker, 2012, 2006, 2004) for partner promotion in the PSFs. The study is multi-level (Layder, 2012, 1998, 1993) and relational (Ozbilgin and Vassilopoulou, 2018) covering macro, meso and micro levels, overcoming the duality between structure and agency (Ozbilgin and Tatli, 2011, 2005), and surfaces hidden gender inequalities. The research methods involves a combination of critical realist ontology (Bhasker, 1989), and a feminist epistemology for the research. The field study includes 76 qualitative semi-structured and, in-depth interviews of female and male partners, female and male middle managers in global PSFs. The study used multiple methods including secondary statistics, observations and memos (Layder, 1998, 1993) from the individual cases embedded within two in-depth cases-study organizations (Yin, 2012, 2003). The research contribution identifies the competing logics which legitimise gender inequalities in the field. Additionally, cultural capitals especially symbolic capital valued by the gatekeepers in their networks of power, and how field logic(s) mitigate against women gain legitimacy for entry to the senior management field. To surface hidden informal practices used by gatekeepers which undermine women managers' legitimacy for promotion, and persistent talent leakage are explored. Women who use their own agency to instigate SIE assignments can enhance their career capital portfolios in early and middle career stages but, this incorporates career capital gains and losses (Duberly and Cohen, 2010).
Supervisor: Ozbilgin, M. ; Vassilopoulou, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gender imbalance in expatriate management ; Talent management ; Gender diversity in the professional service firms ; Social capital ; Gender diversity in the STEM sector