Maternity transitions in management
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This study looks at how the transition experience of pregnancy, maternity leave and return to work shapes women’s careers in management. Under the umbrella of qualitative methodology, the research epistemology is informed through a phenomenological inquiry and uses interpretivism as a way of understanding how women interpret their life-world experience. The qualitative study allows for the stories of 17 women and 4 HR/Line managers experiencing workforce transitions to be told. The Mosaic Model is the resulting framework that explains the findings for how women, who are mothers, build and manage their professional identity and achieve career goals or maintain their aspirations in management. It shows how the mosaic is built through the regulatory, organisational and individual layers. The findings from this research provide a base for understanding individual and organisational transition themes. The Mosaic Model provides a backdrop to the careful arrangement, positioning and presentation of the transition identity during the experience, highlighting how women manage their extra pieces and how they fit these within a structured organisational context. Furthermore, it contributes to the existing body of work relating to women in management and organisational practice. In doing so, the study identifies the need for new work patterns that reflect flexibilisation for women, workforce transition training for organisations and coaching for managers and women as a vehicle to explore expectations and design fit for purpose roles. The aim of the Mosaic Model is to provide a vehicle for discussion that may help springboard new working styles in the contemporary workplace that promote fusion rather than separation between motherhood and management identities.
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