Women in non-traditional versus traditional occupations : social comparison, job satisfaction and career success
Woods, Debra Michelle
This research investigated the relationships between reference group choice and job satisfaction, and explored women’s definitions of career success. Women working in traditional and non-traditional occupations (N = 52) in a mid-sized university in Western Canada participated in personal interviews. The results revealed that significantly more women compared themselves to others when assessing their job satisfaction than those who did not. No significant differences emerged when comparing levels of satisfaction of women in non-traditional occupations with male reference groups and women in traditional occupations with female reference groups. Similarly, no significant differences in levels of satisfaction emerged between women in non-traditional occupations with female reference groups and women in traditional occupations with female reference groups. However, low power may have accounted for the non-significant findings. Other factors, such as job characteristics, that may be influencing levels of job satisfaction are discussed. Content analysis of women’s definitions of career success suggested that women in each type of occupations used similar subjective criteria when defining career success, with the two most frequent coded criteria being “happy with work” and “achieving their goals”. Organizational implications of the findings are discussed, including possible factors influencing women’s levels of satisfaction, and the development of reward systems reflective of the interests of all employees. Future directions for research are proposed, such as continued investigation of the concept of “similar” comparison others for women, and women’s perceptions of the importance of social comparisons in assessing levels of job satisfaction.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeAlexitch, Louise R.; Scissons, Ed
Copyright DateJanuary 2001
Minnesota Satisfaction Questionniare
social comparison theory