Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Women in Leadership Positions: The Role of the Work-Family Interface in the Queen Bee Phenomenon "

Utrecht University - Social, Health, and Organizational Psychology

PhD Student
Lianne Aarntzen

Prof.dr. Belle Derks (Utrecht University)
dr. Elianne van Steenbergen (Utrecht University) Tanja van der Lippe (Utrecht University)

1 September 2015 - 1 September 2019

Utrecht University


Even though women's participation in the workforce has increased significantly in past decades, the advancement of women to higher ranks is far from complete. It is often expected that outcomes for working women automatically improve by promoting some pioneer women into senior positions. Paradoxically, research on the 'Queen Bee phenomenon' suggests that token women in male-dominated organizations are more likely to reproduce rather than challenge the gender hierarchy. Queen bees are women who improve their own opportunities by adjusting themselves to male dominated work settings, presenting themselves as masculine and different from other women, and limiting career opportunities for other women. Whereas previous work has focused on the work context in which the Queen Bee phenomenon develops, in this project we will examine the role of the family context in the development of queen bee behavior in women leaders. In this project we aim to answer questions such as can family-work enrichment give women the resources to pursue a career in masculine organizational contexts without needing to distance themselves from other women?

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