Elvitigala, Gayani, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2006) The impact of culture on career development of women in construction. In: 6th International Postgraduate Research Conference in the Built and Human Environment, 6-7th April 2006, Delft University of Technology and TNO, Delft University, Netherlands. (Unpublished)

The construction industry is the most male dominated industry and displays a
macho culture, where relationships are characterized by argument, conflict and crisis. Male
values are the norm and are rewarded and the expectation is that career achievement is
paramount in construction. This challenging nature of the construction workplace and its
impact on women’s career forms the basis for a significantly lower participation of women in
the industry. It is also found that the cultural environment is likely to remain problematic for
women unless it can be changed in a way that values their contribution. Such changes require
a radical shift in middle management attitudes, a departure from current organizational human
resource management systems, and a wider acceptance of the need for cultural change within
the industry. In this context, this paper presents a review of the literature on experiences of
women working in the industry, particularly focusing on whether (and how) the cultural
aspects of the workplace environment impinge upon women's career development.


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