Original Research

Gender traits in relation to work versus career salience

Madelyn Geldenhuys, Anita Bosch, Shuaib Jeewa, Ioulia Koutris
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1588 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1588 | © 2019 Madelyn Geldenhuys, Anita Bosch, Shuaib Jeewa, Koutris Ioulia | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2018 | Published: 25 February 2019

About the author(s)

Madelyn Geldenhuys, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Anita Bosch, University of Stellenbosch Business School, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Shuaib Jeewa, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Ioulia Koutris, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The concepts of work- and career-role salience are used interchangeably, yet work focuses on the short-term aspect and career on the long-term aspect.

Research purpose: We utilised gender traits, that is, masculinity, femininity and psychological androgyny, to find greater nuances in the salience of work versus career roles. We also set out to confirm the adapted factor structure of the revised Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI).

Motivation for the study: Generally, self-reported sex is used to determine differences in role salience between men and women, as opposed to considering the gender roles people associate with.

Research approach/design and method: A sample of 395 South African employees was used. Structural equation modelling and t-tests were applied.

Main findings: We confirmed work- and career-role salience as distinct constructs. The factor structure of the revised BSRI holds for this study. With regard to gender traits, femininity decreased work-role salience, while psychological androgyny increased work-role salience. Masculinity had a direct effect on work-role salience while indirectly influencing career-role salience through work-role salience. Women were found to be significantly more feminine and psychologically androgynous than men.

Practical/managerial implications: Utilising gender traits may have greater career guidance relevance for individuals than traditional approaches utilising differences between the sexes.

Contribution/value-add: This study confirmed that work and career roles are to be viewed as separate constructs and that people may view the importance placed on work- and career-role salience differently. The study further contributes by including gender traits as a significant contributor to role salience.


Keywords

role salience; gender; femininity; masculinity; psychological androgyny

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