Women in lower-level nontraditional roles at two Midwestern durable goods manufacturing corporations: a case study on the perspectives of success
John H. Storer
This study sought to understand the dimensions of successful outcomes for women in nontraditional roles in lower levels of the manufacturing hierarchy. The study was conducted at two large, durable goods manufacturers in the Midwest. The participants were eight women in nontraditional roles, two women in traditional roles, and five men in traditional roles using qualitative methods to collect, analyze, and present the results;The findings indicated that perceptions of success for the women in nontraditional roles incorporated the themes of competence, satisfaction, mentoring and peer support, and interpersonal style. Barriers to achieving success were related to the themes of the glass ceiling, gender issues, and the corporate organizational culture;From these findings, the conclusions indicated that success is possible for women in nontraditional roles in manufacturing environments, but that they experience barriers that men sometimes do not encounter. Recommendations for future research include studies of women in other capacities in the manufacturing environment, finding methods to reduce or eliminate barriers for women as a way to improve productivity, and studies of methods to facilitate change in organizational cultures such as manufacturing environments.