Paper based on evidence from the Rhodes Project to be presented at the European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS) 2014

At the July 2014 meetings in Rotterdam of the European Group for Organization Studies, Kate Blackmon and Susan Rudy will present a paper entitled “Balancing personal and professional identities in elite professional careers."

Based on evidence provided by dozens of  interviews with and hundreds of responses to surveys from women Rhodes Scholars, the paper investigates individual versus structural explanations for the gender gap in leadership by uncovering how women manage the conflict between professional and personal identities during careers in elite professions such as academia.

In studying the life-history narratives from over 50 women Rhodes Scholars they identify three career patterns: (1) traditional “male” pattern careers, where professional identity is prioritised; (2) traditional “female” pattern careers, where personal identity is prioritised; and (2) contemporary careers, where neither professional nor personal identity is prioritised. 

Blackmon and Rudy's paper will contribute to the sub-theme “Beyond the Mainstream: Careers of Special Groups."   For more information, visit EGOS at