Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 449–463 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being In and Out of Management Positions

  • Eileen Trzcinski
  • Elke Holst
Article

Abstract

This study used data from the German Socio-economic Panel to examine gender differences in the extent to which self-reported subjective well-being was associated with occupying a high-level managerial position in the labour market, compared with employment in non-leadership, non-high-level managerial positions, unemployment, and non-labour market participation. Our results indicated that a clear hierarchy exists for men in term of how status within the labour market was associated with subjective life satisfaction. Unemployed men were the least satisfied, followed by men who were not in the labour market, while men in leadership positions reported the highest level of subjective life satisfaction. For women, no statistically significant differences were observed among women in high-level managerial positions, women who worked in non-high-level positions, and women who specialized in household production, with no market work. Only women who were unemployed reported lower levels of life satisfaction, compared with women in other labour-market statuses. Our results lend evidence to the contention that men can “have it all”, but women must still choose between career and family in Germany. We argue that interventions need to address how the non-pecuniary rewards associated with high-level managerial and leadership positions can be increased for women. Such policies would also likely serve to mitigate the “pipeline” problem concerning the number of women who are available to move into high positions in the private sector.

Keywords

Subjective life satisfaction Women in management Unemployment Gender differences in employment outcomes 

References

  1. Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of headership: Theory, research and managerial Applications. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berger, J., Fisek, M. H., Ridgeway, C. L., & Norman, R. Z. (1998). The legitimation and delegitimation of power and prestige orders. American Sociological Review, 63(3), 379–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berger, J., Ridgeway, C. L., & Zelditch, M. (2002). Construction of status and referential structures. Sociological Theory, 20(2), 157–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brandstätter, H. (1999). Veränderbarkeit von Persönlichektismerkmalen—Beiträge der differentiellen Psychologie. In K.-H. Sonntag (Hrsg.), Personalentwicklung in organisationen. Psychologische Grundlagen, Methoden und Strategien (S. 51–76). Göttingen, Bern, Toronto, Seattle: Hogrefe Verlag.Google Scholar
  5. Busch, A., & Holst, E. (2009). Glass ceiling effect and earnings—the gender pay gap in managerial positions in Germany. Discussion Papers 905, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin), Berlin.Google Scholar
  6. Campione, W. (2008). Employed women’s well-being: The global and daily impact of work. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 29(3), 346–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cantor, N., & Sanderson, C. A. (1999). Life task participation and well-being: The importance of taking part in daily life. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 230–243). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, A., Georgellis, Y., & Sanfey, P. (2001). Scarring: The psychological impact of past unemployment. Economica, 68, 221–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. The Economic Journal, 104, 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Commission of the European Communities. (2009a). Commission staff working document—Accompanying document to the report from the commission to the european parliament, the council, the european economic and social committee and the committee of the regions—Equality between women and men—2009 {COM(2009) 77 final}. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SEC:2009:0165:FIN:EN:DOC. Retrieved on 17 Dec 2009.
  11. Commission of the European Communities. (2009b). Gender balance in decision-making. European commission, employment, social affairs, and equal opportunities. http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=762&langId=en. Retrieved on 17 Dec 2009.
  12. Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO personality inventory (NEO PIR) and NEO five factor inventory. Professional manual Odessa, Florida: Psychological Assessment Resources.Google Scholar
  13. De Jonge, J., Bosma, H., Peter, R., & Siegrist, J. (2000). Job strain, effort-reward imbalance and employee well-being: A large-scale cross-sectional study. Social Science and Medicine, 50(9), 1317–1327. Retrieved from www.csa.com.Google Scholar
  14. Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (1999). Personality and subjective well-being. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 213–229). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  15. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gerlitz, J.-Y., & Schupp, J. (2005). Zur Erhebung der Big-Five-basierten Persönlichkeitsmerkmale im SOEP. Research Notes 4, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin), Berlin.Google Scholar
  18. Gjerdingen, D., McGovern, P., Bekker, M., Lundberg, U., & Willemsen, T. (2000). Women’s work roles and their impact on health, well-being, and career: Comparisons between the united states, sweden, and the netherlands. Women and Health, 31(4), 1–20. Retrieved from www.csa.com.
  19. Golden, L., & Wiens-Tuers, B. (2006). To your happiness? Extra hours of labor supply and worker well-being. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 35(2), 382–397. doi: 10.1016/j.socec.2005.11.039.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goldsmith, A. H., Veum, J. R., & Darity, W., Jr. (1996). The psychological impact of unemployment and joblessness. Journal of Socio-Economics, 25(3), 333–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harenstam, A., & Bejerot, E. (2001). Combining professional work with family responsibilities—A burden or a blessing? International Journal of Social Welfare, 10(3), 202–214. Retrieved from www.csa.com.Google Scholar
  22. Harlow, R. E., & Cantor, N. (1996). Still participating after all these years: a study of life task participation in later life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1235–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Heady, B. (2008). Life goals matter to happiness: A revision of set-point theory. Social Indicators Research, 86, 213–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holst, E. (2000). Die stille reserve am arbeitsmarkt. Berlin: Sigma.Google Scholar
  25. Holst, E. (2006). Women in managerial positions in Europe: Focus on Germany. Discussion Paper 557, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW Berlin). Google Scholar
  26. Holst, E. (2009). Führungskräfte-Monitor 2001–2006 Forschungsreihe Band 7. Baden-Baden: Nomos-Verlag.Google Scholar
  27. Holst, E., Ferber, M., & Matiaske, W. (Eds.) (2006). Women in management, academia, and other professions: Stagnation or progress? Bd. 17 in Special Issue Management Revue. Mering: Hampp Verlag. Google Scholar
  28. Holst, E., & Schimeta, J. (2009). Nach wie vor kaum Frauen in den Top-Gremien großer Unternehmen. Wochenbericht des DIW Berlin, 76(18), 302–311. Google Scholar
  29. Holst, E., & Wiemer, A. (2010). Women still greatly underrepresented on the top boards of large companies. Wochenbericht des DIW Berlin, 7, 45–53.Google Scholar
  30. Joy, L. (2008). Advancing women leaders: The connection between women board directors and women corporate officers. New York: Catalyst.Google Scholar
  31. London Business School. (2007). Innovative potential: Men and women in teams.Google Scholar
  32. Lucas, J. W. (2003). Status processes and the institutionalization of women as leaders. American Sociological Review, 68, 464–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lucas, R. E., Clark, A. E., Georgellis, Y., & Diener, E. (2003). Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: Reactions to changes in marital status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(3), 527–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lucas, R. E., Clark, A., Georgellis, Y., & Diener, E. (2004). Unemployment alters the set point for life satisfaction. Psychological Science, 15, 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McKinsey and Company. (2007). Women matter: Gender diversity, a corporate performance driver. New York: McKinsey & Company.Google Scholar
  36. Mertler, C. A., & Vannatta, R. A. (2005). Advanced and multivariate statistical methods. 3rd ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.Google Scholar
  37. Myers, D. G. (1999). Close relationships and the quality of life. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 374–391). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  38. Nickerson, C., Schwarz, N., & Diener, E. (2007). Financial aspirations, financial success, and overall life satisfaction: Who? and How? Journal of Happiness Studies, 8, 467–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nickerson, C., Schwarz, N., Diener, E., & Kahneman, D. (2003). Zeroing in on the dark side of the American dream: A closer look at the negative consequences of the goal for financial success. Psychological Success, 14, 531–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Noor, N. M. (2002). Work-family conflict, locus of control, and women’s well-being: Tests of alternative pathways. The Journal of Social Psychology, 142(5), 645–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. OECD. (2009a). Gender and sustainable development: Maximising the economic, social, and environmental role of women. (www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/1/40881538.pdf).
  42. OECD. (2009b). Society at a Glance 2009OECD Social Indicators. (www.oecd.org/els/social/indicators/SAG).
  43. Peterson, C. (1999). Personal control and well-being. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 288–301). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  44. Phelps, E. S. (1972). The statistical theory of racism and sexism. American Economic Review, 62(4), 659–661.Google Scholar
  45. Schimmack, U., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2008). The influence of environment and personality on the affective and cognitive component of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 89, 41–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Seguino, S. (2007). Plus ça change? Evidence on global trends in gender norms and stereotypes. Feminist Economics, 13(2), 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Slotkin, J. H. (2008). Rabenmutter and the glass ceiling: An analysis of role conflict experienced by women lawyers in germany compared with women lawyers in the United States. California Western International Law Journal, 38(2), 287–330.Google Scholar
  48. Srivastava, S., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter J. (2003). Development of personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(5), 1041–1053.Google Scholar
  49. Steel, P., Schmidt, J., & Shultz, J. (2008). Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 138–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ström, S. (2003). Unemployment and families: A review of research. Social Service Review, 77, 399–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tesch-Romer, C., Motel-Klingebiel, A., & Tomasic, M. J. (2008). Gender differences in subjective well-being: Comparing societies with respect to gender equality. Social Indicator Research, 85, 329–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Thoits, P. A., & Hewitt, L. N. (2001). Volunteer work and well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42, 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wagner, G. G., Frick, J., & Schupp, J. (2007). The german socio economic panel study (SOEP)—scope, evolution and enhancements. Schmollers Jahrbuch –Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, 127(1), 139–169.Google Scholar
  54. Winkelmann, L., & Winkelmann, R. (1998). Why are the unemployed so unhappy? Economica, 65, 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.German Institute for Economic ResearchBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations