Original Research

Indian husbands’ support of their wives’ upward mobility in corporate South Africa: Wives’ perspectives

Sumaiyah F. Ahmed, Nasima M.H. Carrim
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1354 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1354 | © 2016 Sumaiyah F. Ahmed, Nasima M.H. Carrim | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2016 | Published: 18 November 2016

About the author(s)

Sumaiyah F. Ahmed, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Nasima M.H. Carrim, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Orientation: Spousal support is a crucial area to explore, particularly due to the increased prevalence of dual-career couples in South Africa and the dynamics facing them.

Research purpose: The main objective of this study was to explore Indian wives’ perceptions regarding the support they receive from their husbands and the impact that such support has on their career progression.

Motivation for the study: The limited qualitative research available globally on the subject and the dearth of research that focuses on Indian professional females in the South African context motivated the study.

Research design, approach and method: A qualitative research approach was followed, and the data were collected through in-depth, life-story interviews. Purposeful and snowball sampling methods yielded a sample of nine Indian female managers who were in dual-career marriages.

Main findings: Spouses are essential sources of support for Indian professional women. The findings revealed that there are various marital and socio-cultural dynamics that impact on the spousal support received by these women, which ultimately influences their career advancement.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings provided valuable information regarding the marital challenges that Indian women face in their career progression. The awareness of such dynamics can assist management in devising strategies to accommodate and retain the unique talent that Indian women have to offer.

Contribution/value-add: The study contributes to the evolving body of knowledge on dual-career couples by focusing on an under-researched, but essential aspect of the dual-career arrangement.


dual-career couples; women career advancement; in-depth interviews; qualitative research; content analysis


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