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The transition of midlife women from organisational into self‐employment

Hodges, J.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the transition of midlife women from employment in organizations to self-employment. It examines how midlife women account for their transition from organizations to self-employment; why they opted for self-employment rather than simply changing organizations and their experience of self-employment. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on semi-structured interviews (n ¼ 100), with women between the ages of 46 and 60 who have moved into self-employment from organizational employment. Findings – Two themes emerged from the study. The first was the negative organizational experience of some of the women which had caused dissatisfaction and disenchantment and therefore self-employment was seen as the only next step. The second theme was changes triggered by a positive proactive choice to move into self-employment. Research limitations/implications – There are limitations to using individual perceptions and anecdotes. It cannot be assumed that the women in this study represent the views of all midlife women. Practical implications – Silence about midlife women leaving organizations perpetuates high costs for both the organization and the individual involved. Organizations need to address the negative and discriminatory perceptions about midlife women and recognize the trend towards more, not fewer, older women in the workplace and value the experience, skills and knowledge they bring. Originality/value – The paper is original in that the focus is on women in midlife, which is unique, as previous research about women in organizations has rarely encompassed the experiences of this group of women moving into self-employment.


Hodges, J. (2012). The transition of midlife women from organisational into self‐employment. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 27(3), 186-201.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 4, 2012
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date May 28, 2012
Publicly Available Date Nov 19, 2015
Journal Gender in Management: An International Journal
Print ISSN 1754-2413
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 186-201
Keywords Women, Entrepreneurialism, Midlife, Self-employment, Women entrepreneurs.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (245 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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