Asee peer logo

Workplace Environments That Hinder And Assist The Career Progression Of Women In Information Technology

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Recruitment and Retention Topics

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1616.1 - 12.1616.23



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Rose Mary Cordova-Wentling University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

author page

Steven Thomas Lockheed Martin Corporation

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Workplace Environments that Assist and Hinder the Career Progression of Women in Information Technology Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the workplace environment characteristics that hinder and assist the career progression of women in information technology. This study utilized a qualitative design, which provided a comprehensive understanding of the workplace environments that hinder and assist the career progression of women in information technology. The major research method for this study was in-depth, semi-structured telephone interviews with a group of twenty-five women in positions in information technology from across the United States. The findings revealed that the workplace environment and culture characteristics identified by the women in information technology have both positive and negative aspects. Some of the negative aspects included: Male dominated (good old boy culture), very competitive, and diversity not valued. Some of the positive aspects included: Teamwork oriented; results driven culture; and high accountability.

This study examined both the positive and negative roles that workplace environment and culture play in the career development of women in information technology. The literature has described the IT workplace culture as having certain characteristics that are unique to the industry and unique to White male culture. The IT culture has been described as largely white, male dominated, anti-social, individualistic, and competitive. Although many of these workplace characteristics were supported by this study, it was the collaborative and teamwork oriented aspect of their workplace environment and working together on projects and building close relationships with colleagues that benefited the study participants the most in their career development. If organizations want to attract and retain talented women into their IT workforce, they must have an understanding of both positive and negative workplace environment factors that affect women’s career development in IT.


The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2014, not only will over 50 percent of all U.S. workers be women, but also 50 percent of the U.S. workforce will be employed by industries that are engaged in producing or using information technology products and services (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2005). Information technology accounted for more than a third of the nation’s real economic growth from 1995 to 2005 (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2005). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 137,800 new jobs in information technology (IT) occupations have been and will be produced each year from 1995 to 2010 (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2005).

The computer industry is growing rapidly. There is a critical shortage of computer scientists in today’s job market—nearly 190,000 unfilled information technology positions, not counting small business, government, and nonprofit employers, exist in the United States alone (Arnheim, 1997). Furthermore, by the year 2010, it is predicted that the number of computer professionals employed as computer scientists and system analysts will be almost double what the numbers were in 1995 (Information Technology Association of America, 2005). The pipeline shrinkage

Cordova-Wentling, R. M., & Thomas, S. (2007, June), Workplace Environments That Hinder And Assist The Career Progression Of Women In Information Technology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1664

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015