The Vicious Cycle of Work Life: Work Effort Versus Career Development Effort

Kyoung Yong Kim, Leanne Atwater, Phillip M. Jolly, Myungsun Kim, Kibok Baik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although much progress has been made toward establishing gender equality in organizations, women remain underrepresented in upper management positions. This study examines why women might be less likely than men to be promoted, even in organizations with high gender equality climates. Using a large sample of managers in South Korea, we hypothesized and found that women and men used different strategies regarding how to direct their effort to achieve promotions. Women with high self-efficacy under high gender equality climate focused on increasing work effort, whereas men in similar situations focused on increasing career development effort. We also found that only career development effort was positively related to promotion, whereas work effort was positively related to work stress and turnover intentions, and negatively associated with job satisfaction. Our results suggest that different effort strategies lead women to become caught in a vicious cycle of working hard and earning only unpleasant consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-385
Number of pages35
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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