Understanding women's desire for the kaleidoscope of authenticity, balance and challenge

Marjorie S. O'Neill, Denise Mary Jepsen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper


Improved health care and increased life expectancy have extended working lives and changed the nature of work for many women. The aim of this research is to explore the kaleidoscope career intentions of women and understand the impact of life roles on their career choices. The research comprises two studies. In study one, 14 semi structured in-depth interviews with female hospital pharmacists demonstrates their desire to increase non-work life roles while caring for ageing parents has influence over their career choices. In study two, a survey of 178 female direct care workers confirms life roles’ impact on their kaleidoscope career intentions. Findings demonstrate that different life roles strongly influence women’s career choices in a number of ways, including desires to increase their leisure and their engagement with activities outside work. Second, carer responsibilities play an influential role in female career choices, particularly those related to adult children caring for ageing parents. Finally, kaleidoscope career intentions may be influenced by life roles. These findings have considerable implications for both the expansion of careers and gender theory and development of public and business policies aimed at attracting and retaining human resources.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management. Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017
Event77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2017 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017


  • caring life roles
  • Mixed Method
  • nonlinear careers


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