Analyzing the Relationship of Geographic Mobility and Institutional Prestige to Career Advancement of Women in Academic Medicine Pursuing Midcareer-, Senior-, or Executive-Level Administrative Positions: Implications for Career Advancement Strategies Open Access
Downloadable ContentDownload PDF
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship of geographic mobility and institutional prestige to career advancement defined as administrative promotions of women seeking midcareer-, senior-, or executive-level positions at academic health centers (AHCs) and their medical schools or in non-AHC related medical schools in the United States. An existing dataset was used from The Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® Program for Women. The problem being addressed was the increased need for administrative leaders in academic medicine because of a physician shortage in the US and expected growth and expansion of medical education enterprises. This growth coupled with an historic trend of underutilizing women in top administrative positions could potentially exacerbate a leadership deficit. This quantitative study explored geographic mobility and institutional prestige as two potential barriers to recruiting, hiring, and promoting women in academic medicine within a postpositivist inquiry paradigm, and through the lens of a conceptual framework and research model established for this study. The study revealed that geographic mobility was advantageous to career advancement; however, institutional prestige was not. Relative to subquestions in the study, geographic mobility was further explored finding that study participants were employed in larger cities, as expected, and tended not to move geographically at the later career point (age). Of those women who did move, they were, unexpectedly, found to be older than stayers. Delving further into institutional prestige, a relationship was found between the prestige level of the doctorate-granting institution and prestige level of the first employer measured in the study (institutions when participants were in the leadership program), indicating that at the earlier career stage these women selected or were hired by similar- or higher-prestige institutions. Women and medical education organizations can use the results of this study to plan careers strategically and implement policies for leadership attainment that could improve academic medicine operations, longevity and effectiveness of the employee-employer relationship, and gender equity in a traditionally male work environment.