Abstract for: Explaining Women's Careers at a Dutch university: Model building as a method for knowledge elicitation in gender analysis

This paper presents a qualitative causal model of the factors explaining the delay in Women’s Careers at a Dutch university. By focusing on the role of image shaping about women’s ambitions and performance, it fills in theoretical gaps identified in earlier research about gender processes in organizations. The causal model is based on analysis of 45 interviews, five focus groups and policy documents collected at five faculties of a Dutch university. The research team involved in this analysis used model building to integrate their knowledge and reach a shared definition of relevant variables. Model building proves to support the qualitative analysis of gender processes by supporting the identification of main processes and showing the feedback processes at work. Women’s careers are stimulated by the presence of female academics at higher positions, while masculine norms and the lack of visibility of female academics slow down women’s careers.