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Career capital and the MBA: how gender capital supports career capital development

Houldsworth, E., Jones, K. ORCID:, McBain, R. and Brewster, C. ORCID: (2023) Career capital and the MBA: how gender capital supports career capital development. Studies in Higher Education, 48 (2). pp. 299-313. ISSN 1470-174X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2022.2134333


It is argued that women are held back in their efforts to achieve career advancement by inequitable opportunities to acquire and leverage career capital. Using career capital theory, this empirically grounded investigation examines how female MBAs report increases in knowing-how, knowing-whom and knowing-why, in relation to their male counterparts. Women report significantly larger increases in the knowing-why form of career capital. However, despite the dominant rhetoric highlighting the difficulties faced by women in the development and maintenance of powerful networks, we found no significant difference between the genders in terms of the reported development of knowing-whom. We contribute to career capital theory by considering how gender capital, drawn from feminist Boudieusian scholarship, interacts with theories of social capital. We conclude that within the MBA program the gender capital possessed by women serves to support their development of career capital which they may then be able to deploy in the broader domain of business and management. We discuss the implications for MBA programs and female MBA graduates and prospective students.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:107986
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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