Authentic Talent Development in Women Leaders Who Opted Out: Discovering Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge through the Kaleidoscope Career Model
2. The Kaleidoscope Career Model
3. Gender Based Alpha and Beta KCM Career Patterns
4. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
4.1. Model the Way
4.2. Inspire a Shared Vision
4.3. Challenge the Process
4.4. Enable Others to Act
4.5. Encourage the Heart
5. Gender and Leadership Practices
5.1. Research Questions
5.2. Sub-Questions Concerning the Opting Out and Opting in Processes Included
6.1. Study 1 Research Sample and Survey Administration
6.1.1. Study 1 Measures
6.1.2. Study 1 Findings
6.1.3. Study 1: Findings
6.1.4. Summary of Results, Study 1
6.2. Study 2: Qualitative Approach to Women’s Reasons for Opting Out and Re-Entry Experiences
6.2.1. Study 2 Research Sample and Interview Administration
- Mothers who after having kids exited the workplace.
- “High Achieving Professional Women” is based on Pamela Stone’s research and includes women who are highly educated, previously worked as professionals or managers, and able to be financially supported at home (Stone 2007).
- Presently worked a minimum of 24 h each week in a U.S. organization.
- Member checking opt-in to ensure trustworthiness (Lincoln and Guba 1986).
- Aged between 37–45.
6.2.2. Study 2 Interview Process and Data Collection
6.2.3. Study 2 Qualitative Data Analysis
6.2.4. Study 2 Findings
Authenticity as a Factor in Opting Out (N = 8)
“My father died. This changed my core and forced me to look at what was most important in my life. Suddenly, achieving that promotion did not seem so important”.
“I had a miscarriage. While my doctor said it wasn’t related to my high stress at work, I disagree. I needed to relook at my life and figure out what was my priority”.
“I feel torn. If I have passion at work and a meaningful role, I am home less. To be authentic, finding the right workplace is key and there are certain industries I now stay away from”.
Balance as a Factor in Opting Out (N = 14)
“Everyone said I could do it, working full time and being a mom. It hit home when a co-worker said ‘My son doesn’t recognize me and cries…’ And when thinking about it, I realized my boss had three nannies. Was this how I wanted to live my life? … I needed to take a pause and reboot”.
“I went back to work after I had my first child. I thought I could do it all. The stress and demands at work were too much for me when I had a little baby at home who needed me. I decided to quit”.
“My husband worked all the time. While I was planning on going back to work, when my maternity leave was up, I just couldn’t go back. I knew that being the primarily parent would fall mostly on me, even if I was working full-time. I would always carry the mental load of parenting. And things like housework were also my responsibility. I called my old boss and said I was not returning”.
Challenge as a Factor in Opting Out (N = 1)
“I couldn’t keep up with the demands of my job anymore. The challenges that were required of me at work and the demands of my life at home caused me to be stretched too thin”.
“When I returned from maternity, I moved to a less demanding job that required less hours. I was so bored and unstimulated. I made less money. After a while, I asked, “Why am I doing this? I missed the challenge of my old position but knew I could never go back”.
Authenticity as a Factor at Time of Re-Entry (N = 9)
“I am absolutely living an authentic life. I feel fulfilled now that I’ve created my own business. I don’t have to worry about corporate stuff anymore—biting my tongue, eye rolling, watching my male co-workers get promoted more than me. My job enables my lifestyle”.
“I chose a new job, a new career. Now my profession fits with my life. I can be there for my kids and also earn money for myself. Sure, I miss aspects of my old job, especially pay and sometimes I’m bored, but I’m doing it my way and my family thanks me”.
“When I went back to work, it didn’t feel like I was doing authentic work. Finding a role that fits will make me feel more authentic”.
“After reentering my career, I feel authentic, but I would like to be even more authentic to myself, but it’s hard”.
Balance as a Factor at Time of Re-Entry (N = 3)
“Balance is attainable, but I can’t hold onto it for very long. This morning I was up at 4:30 a.m. with my son. Balance is a constant struggle and juggle. Sometimes balance is present, sometimes it is not. If someone is sick, things fall apart”.
“When I went back to work, I couldn’t get everything done. Everything started slipping. I forgot stuff at my daughter’s school, I forgot doctor’s appointments, I didn’t have time for friends”.
“Even now that I entered the workforce, my balance is falling apart. I’m bitter at my husband because he doesn’t help out. He doesn’t feel value at home, so he immerses himself at work”.
“And I still did all the housework and chores. We had issues of labor. I was the primary breadwinner and my husband felt emasculated. We have since divorced”.
Challenge as a Factor at Time of Re-Entry (N = 7)
“Sometimes I don’t feel utilized at work. I sacrifice challenge for balance”.
“I have less drive now. I am at the right level of challenge for my life right now. I will not advance anytime soon but that is okay. I enjoy being home with my family”.
“I am not as focused and invested as I used to be. It is hard to compartmentalize work and family. My job does not showcase my strengths but now I have independence and flexibility which is more important”.
6.2.5. Study 2 Summary of Findings
7.1. Implications for Authentic Talent Development
- Develop new tailored career tracks that emphasize the needs for authenticity, balance and challenge,
- Celebrate the “new normal” post COVID-19 that contemporary career paths will allow for mobile work and telecommuting options that do not discourage advancement,
- Administer flexible work schedules, such as reduced hours, job sharing options, alternative work arrangements,
- Recognize that those who opt out for a temporary career interruption for family reasons can return to their former jobs with enhanced skills, ready for future leadership development,
- Create mentoring and coaching circles so that managers can develop a variety of employees at different stages of their careers,
- Champion high achieving women who have opted out for balance reasons for upper-level positions when they return,
- Hardwire the infrastructure for contemporary career paths based on merit and performance, including examining job descriptions and organizational charts to ensure equal opportunities exist,
- Revisit the mission, vision, and values of the organization to ensure authentic talent development programs are part of the company’s strategic direction.
7.2. Study 1 and 2 Limitations and Future Research
7.3. Recommendations for Future Research
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. KCSI Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge Scales
- I hope to find a greater purpose to my life that suits who I am.
- I hunger for greater spiritual growth in my life.
- I have discovered that crises in life offer perspectives in ways that daily living does not.
- If I could follow my dream right now, I would.
- I want to have an impact and leave my signature on what I accomplish in life.
- If necessary, I’d give up my work to settle problematic family issues or concerns.
- I constantly arrange my work around my family needs.
- My work is meaningless if I can’t take the time to be with my family.
- Achieving balance between work and family is life’s holy grail.
- Nothing matters more to me right now than balancing work with my family responsibilities.
- I continually look for new challenges in everything I do.
- I view setbacks not as “problems” to be overcome but as “challenges” that require solutions.
- Added work responsibilities don’t worry me.
- Most people would describe me as being very goal-directed.
- I thrive on work challenges and turn work problems into opportunities for change.
- Response Scale
- 1 = This does not describe me at all
- 2 = This describes me somewhat
- 3 = This describes me often
- 4 = This describes me considerably
- 5 = This describes me very well
|I praise my workers when they accomplish important milestones.|
|I follow through on the promises and commitments that I make to my employees.|
|I find ways to reward my workers for a job well done.|
|I make certain that the people I work with adhere to the principles and standards that we have agreed on.|
|I develop cooperative relationships among the people I work with.|
|I provide frequent feedback on how people are doing.|
|I inspire others with optimistic plans for the future.|
|I encourage the development of others through stretch goals.|
|I offer to coach others to aid their skill development.|
|I listen carefully to the concerns of others.|
|I demonstrate conviction in my values to “walk the talk”.|
|I am enthusiastic about our mission for the company.|
|I talk optimistically about the future of the firm.|
|I experiment and take risks even when there is a chance of failure.|
|I seek out challenging opportunities that test my own skills and abilities.|
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|Characteristics||% of Sample||Characteristics||% of Sample|
|Native American||1%||Health care||8%|
|3%||Hospitality & food services||5%|
|<High school diploma||3%||Transportation||4%|
|High school diploma||19%|
|2 year degree||14%||Other||28%|
|4 year degree||20%||Has children||58%|
|Some post graduate education||4%||No children||42%|
|Living with a partner||8%|
|Rotated Component Matrix a|
|Encourage the Heart||Enable Others to Act||Model the Way||Inspire a Shared Vision||Challenge the Process|
|I praise my workers when they accomplish important milestones.||0.799|
|I follow through on the promises and commitments that I make to my employees.||0.768|
|I find ways to reward my workers for a job well done.||0.767|
|I make certain that the people I work with adhere to the principles and standards that we have agreed on.||0.747|
|I develop cooperative relationships among the people I work with.||0.726|
|I provide frequent feedback on how people are doing.||0.747|
|I inspire others with optimistic plans for the future.||0.716|
|I encourage the development of others through stretch goals.||0.670|
|I offer to coach others to aid their skill development.||0.557|
|I listen carefully to the concerns of others.||0.814|
|I demonstrate conviction in my values to “walk the talk”.||0.802|
|I am enthusiastic about our mission for the company.||0.769|
|I talk optimistically about the future of the firm.||0.438||0.720|
|I experiment and take risks even when there is a chance of failure.||0.856|
|I seek out challenging opportunities that test my own skills and abilities.||0.559|
|VARIABLE||M||SD||t a||df a||p||d|
|Opting Out Shocks||% of Sample, N||Career Re-Entry Shocks||% of Sample, N|
|Knowledge of pregnancy||26% N = 4||Discrimination||53% N = 8|
|Birth of child||13% N = 2||Pay inequity||86% N = 13|
|Miscarriage||20% N = 3||Difficult getting interviews||80% N = 12|
|Lack of flexibility after return to career from maternity LOA||40% N = 6||Judgement by others||100% N = 15|
|Geographic move||40% N = 6||Harassment||20% N = 3|
|Lack of balance||80% N = 12||Need for authenticity||53% N = 8|
|Childcare expenses||73% N = 11||Need for career change||53% N = 8|
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Knowles, J.; Mainiero, L. Authentic Talent Development in Women Leaders Who Opted Out: Discovering Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge through the Kaleidoscope Career Model. Adm. Sci. 2021, 11, 60. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11020060
Knowles J, Mainiero L. Authentic Talent Development in Women Leaders Who Opted Out: Discovering Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge through the Kaleidoscope Career Model. Administrative Sciences. 2021; 11(2):60. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11020060Chicago/Turabian Style
Knowles, Jennifer, and Lisa Mainiero. 2021. "Authentic Talent Development in Women Leaders Who Opted Out: Discovering Authenticity, Balance, and Challenge through the Kaleidoscope Career Model" Administrative Sciences 11, no. 2: 60. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11020060