There is scarce information on the different and changing organizational situations in which women follow their careers. During the 1980s and 1990s, private and public organizations underwent various levels of restructuring as a result of the need to be competitive in the external market and improvement of the internal market. This has affected the career conditions of many employees including women. One such organization is the Public Service Utility, a public sector organization that has been implementing intensive restructuring for the last ten years.
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Restructuring at PSU started in 1988 when an external professional manager was recruited. A strategic review of the company’s mission statement and objectives was done which came up with a restructuring policy. This organized the company’s business into seven departments. The engineering department was split into two; operations and professional support, which eliminated the need for professional managers to be engineers. The operations department was redefined with creation of ten department units for support functions. This shifted organizational power from engineering to operations and finance departments resulting in change in management roles and radical downsizing.
This organizational restructuring had various implications for women. It resulted to increase in the proportion of women in the PSU workforce from 9% to 12%. Increase in the number of employees in the management position by 30% also saw more women enter the management positions where they rose from 188 to 331 from 1990 to 1993 and out of 200 senior managers 17 were women, which have never happened before. These were however due to high concentration of female employees in the functional specialisms such as personnel and finance.
The study concludes by stating that restructuring at PSU has resulted into a rise in number of women in management due to increase in managerial jobs and adjustments in the goals of managerial requirements. The study also says that there are a number of hindrances to women rising through management career path such as concentration of women “velvet ghetto” of human resources and emphasis on informal organization processes in career development.
Objective of the article
The article’s objective is to report on the findings of an in depth study of how restructuring in PSU, as an example of a public sector bureaucracy, has affected the careers of women managers.
The methodology used for study
This is a case study of a traditionally male dominated bureaucracy as a type of an organization. Data is gathered from secondary sources, internal company documents and interviews with senior management tam. Also interviews with a sample of 22 male and female senior managers were used.
The study found out that restructuring at Public Sector Utility (PSU) opened up opportunities for women to develop their management careers due to increase in managerial jobs and through adjustment in the goals of the organization. Between 1991 and 1993, women in managerial positions rose from 8% to 9.9% with 17 women senior managers out of 200 senior managers. This was not a deliberate policy rather the outcome of upgrading in supervisory jobs to managerial positions. These were mainly in personnel and finance where the concentration of female employees is high.
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“Restructuring at PSU has opened up opportunities for women” this is important because private and public companies are undergoing some form of restructuring, which means more women have hopes of career development unlike in the past.
“The task was made more difficult by the lack of human resources planning data…” an organization should have laid down plans and procedures for the recruitment and development of its human resources since it is a critical part of the business.
Organizational restructuring is an important part of business growth and should be done in a gradual and planned manner. This action plan should include issues such as managerial selection procedures, career development, managerial training and development and policies that ensure equal opportunities.
Women should be encouraged to take up managerial positions in organizations. They should also venture into the predominantly male fields in science and technology and engineering among others as they are also capable just as men are.