Dr. Dhara Shah and Professor Michelle Barker
Presented by: Dr Dhara Shah and Professor Michelle Barker, Griffith Asia Institute and Department of International Business and Asian Studies
Despite more than fifty years of research into gender and work, the topic is still under-represented in mainstream management literature. While most previous research has looked at the barriers women face in relation to international assignments (including motivation, organisational support, host nationals’ attitudes towards women, and family support before and during an assignment), the current qualitative study takes a more holistic stance. Rather than assuming these barriers existed, interviews conducted with 23 Indian IT women explored the full range of their experiences, both positive and negative, during long-term assignments. We conclude that increased flexibility within the IT industry has enabled highly skilled, aspirational Indian IT women to enter this demanding sector to take on long-term international assignments during the early years of their career. Later, the demands of marriage, motherhood, and societal expectations put increasing pressure on them, resulting in most women changing their career trajectories and aspirations. The decision-making model developed from this research may offer new insights into the dynamic nature of women’s global work and suggest implications for the organisations in general and IT industry in particular.
Dr Dhara Shah is a Lecturer with Department of international Business and Asian Studies and is a member of the Griffith Asia Institute. Her research focus is on Indian expatriates, cross-cultural adjustment, International HRM, gender, and Indian multinationals. She also works as a Cross-Cultural Consultant organising and delivering cross-cultural training and cultural diversity programs for local clients (Australian universities and local government agencies), and international clients including BHP Billiton and Santos.
Michelle Barker is a Professor in the Department of International Business and Asian Studies. Her areas of research concentration are intercultural adjustment, intercultural skills development, expatriation, and internationalisation of the curriculum. A social worker in the (then) Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs and later a Deputy Director of AusAID (Queensland), Michelle’s professional expertise is in the intercultural adjustment of international students, skilled migrants and refugees. In the early 1980s, she was an intern and researcher in two UNHCR refugee camps in The Philippines while an East-West Center (University of Hawaii) scholar. Michelle has also acted as a consultant preparing individuals and families for expatriate assignments. Michelle has won several national teaching awards (2002, 2005), and an Australia (Endeavour) Award (2011) for her contribution to international education.
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