The bent of human resource theory on gender equality: examining work conditions for female leaders in U.S. collegiate athletic organizations

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The low representation of female leaders is problematic in work organizations. In fact, women historically have had trouble entering the managerial hierarchy of a multitude of industries including the sport industry. Accordingly, the evolution of sport has proffered a diverse array of jobs with growth potential. Despite this, sport remains a male dominated sector where women’s perspectives on work issues have not been fully investigated. The purpose of this study is to examine perceived organizational factors impacting the representation of female leaders in college athletics. To promptly investigate issues and concerns of working women in sport, the research focused on human resource management (HRM). This study utilized survey design, specifically snowball sampling, to generated 60 completed questionnaires from female administrators working in U.S. collegiate athletics. A Qualtrics online survey site was created to gather responses. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Demographics showed the level of work experience, position titles, and educational background varied across the sample. Results showed that structures were important factors in recruiting and advancing female leaders, while the ’ole’ boys’ networks and limited social capital negatively impacted leadership development. In conclusion, leadership opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics were perceived to be shaped by organizational practices.

Keywords: female leaders, U.S. college athletics, social capital, organizational practices, HRM structures.
JEL Classification: M14

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