The career development and identity of Victorian local government chief executives: is gender a factor?

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Diamond, Andrea (2007) The career development and identity of Victorian local government chief executives: is gender a factor? Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


The aim of this research is to investigate the variations in experiences, career identity and career development of female and male CEOs in Victorian local government, in order to establish if gender in any way either facilitates or hinders career success. The starting point for this study is not a hypothesis to be tested but rather an attempt to understand CEOs’ own conceptions. The study is also interested in the influence of Councillors on CEO career development and identity and seeks to establish whether CEOs and Councillors have a common understanding of success for a CEO. Phenomenography is the selected qualitative approach, as it provides a framework for describing experience and examining variations in experience. In-depth semi-structured interviews are conducted with 21 CEOs and Councillors and the interview transcripts form the basis of the research data. The findings identify that Councillors have a significant impact on the career development and experience of being a CEO. While outcomes for CEOs are clearly influenced by Councillors, CEO identity does not appear to be as interwoven with Councillor perceptions. CEOs do however, suggest that performance is not the major determinant of CEO success, but rather identify capacity to engage Councillors as the most crucial issue in gaining a successful outcome. The study also identifies a strong and recurrent theme of institutionalised sexism within the sector and as such finds that the experiences of females and males do differ in a number of ways. Female CEOs experience more scrutiny than their male colleagues and suggest that their actions reflect not only on them as individuals, but on all women.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Hospitality Tourism and Marketing
Keywords local government, Victoria, chief executive officers, career development, gender, sex discrimination
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