Access Denied? Exploring the Causes of the Low Representation of Women in Senior Executive Positions within Procurement

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Abstract

Recent surveys report the representation of women in senior executive positions within procurement as both very low and lower than in other professions. In this paper, the authors explored the causes of this. The authors interviewed 41 female and male procurement professionals from a range of sectors and seniority levels. Different views were encountered, but overall the findings suggested that female advancement within procurement is affected by both generic organisational and procurement-specific impediments, including inadequate work design, male-dominated cultures, negative stereotypes, high levels of travel and an aggressive ethos that characterizes many procurement functions. The latter was said to be greater where procurement functions lacked ‘cultural maturity’. The findings suggested that both the procurement literature and procurement profession need to do more to address these impediments to female advancement. Ways forward are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Purchasing and Supply Management
Early online date24 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 May 2018

Keywords

  • procurement profession
  • recruitment and promotion processes
  • women
  • gender inequality

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