Women at work: Individual and cultural differences in IT career experiences and perceptions between South Asian and American women

Document Type




Format of Original

35 p.

Publication Date

Fall 2008



Source Publication

Human Resource Management

Source ISSN



A growing minority representation in the information technology (IT) workforce coupled with a “youth bulge” in developing Asian countries are indicative of increasing diversity in the U.S. IT workforce. For researchers and practitioners, this diversity raises new management concerns. To better comprehend these emerging issues, this study compares career experiences and perceptions of South Asian women in the U.S. IT workforce with those of American women IT professionals. In doing so, it contrasts social, cultural, and individual factors that impact these career experiences. Interviews revealed that while most women from South Asia did not identify career genderization in the workplace, American IT professionals perceived greater stereotyping and discrimination. Although both groups equally felt the pressures of worklife balance, the impact of these pressures on long-term commitment to IT careers was felt differently across the two groups. Differences also are evident in perceptions of IT work, mentoring relationships, and coping mechanisms relied upon by the two groups. The article concludes with recommendations for improved diversity integration in the workforce and provides suggestions for future research in multicultural settings.


Human Resource Management, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Fall 2008): 601-635. DOI.