Social outcome expectations and women's intentions to return to IT employment




IT, Women, Social outcome expectations


Women leaving IT employment for childcare or other reasons, and never returning, is a phenomenon that contributes to the underrepresentation of women in IT. However, potential women returners, women who have recently left IT employment and may or may not return, remain an under-researched group. We studied the effects of social outcome expectations on the intention to return to IT employment for 182 potential women returners from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The data were obtained via a survey questionnaire. Expectations of friendly co-workers, work-life balance, and family proximity were included; and the expectations of friendly co-workers had a statistically significant effect on the intentions of potential women returners to return to IT employment. The results highlight the difficulty of creating an environment that encourages potential women returners to return to IT because, unlike work-life balance or family proximity, friendly co-workers is a factor that is difficult to control via managerial interventions. For practice, the results suggest that organisations should promote an environment friendly to women, which in part may be achievable by implementing agile approaches to organizing IT work.


Ahuja, M. K. (2002). Women in the information technology profession: A literature review, synthesis and research agenda. European Journal of Information Systems, 11(1), 20-34.
Aishwarya, M. R., & Mohana, P. (2018). A study on career inhibitors and career enablers for women working in IT Sector. MIM International Journal of Management Research, 4(1), 25-34.
Aitken, P. (2007). ‘Walking the talk’: The nature and role of leadership culture within organisation culture/s. Journal of General Management, 32(4), 17-37.
Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-211.
Ajzen, I. (2002). Perceived behavioral control, self‐efficacy, locus of control, and the theory of planned behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(4), 665-683.
Alok, S., Banerjee, S., & Kumar, N. (2021). Will she stay or will she quit: determinants of career persistence and non-persistence amongst women workers of India's IT sector. South Asian Journal of Business Studies, ahead-of-print, 1-19.
Annabi, H., & Lebovitz, S. (2018). Improving the retention of women in the IT workforce: An investigation of gender diversity interventions in the USA. Information Systems Journal, 28(6), 1049-1081.
Armstrong, D. J., Riemenschneider, C. K., Allen, M. W., & Reid, M. F. (2007). Advancement, voluntary turnover and women in IT: A cognitive study of work–family conflict. Information & Management, 44(2), 142-153.
Armstrong, D. J., Riemenschneider, C. K., & Giddens, L. G. (2018). The advancement and persistence of women in the information technology profession: An extension of Ahuja's gendered theory of IT career stages. Information Systems Journal, 28(6), 1082-1124.
Baroudi, J. J., & Igbaria, M. (1994). An examination of gender effects on career success of information systems employees. Journal of Management Information Systems, 11(3), 181-201.
Barratt, B. (2018, November 30). The Initiatives Helping Women Return To Work. Forbes.
Beauregard, T. A. (2014). Fairness perceptions of work− life balance initiatives: Effects on counterproductive work behaviour. British Journal of Management, 25(4), 772-789.
Beauregard, T. A., & Henry, L. C. (2009). Making the link between work-life balance practices and organizational performance. Human Resource Management Review, 19(1), 9-22.
Berk, C., & Gundogmus, F. (2018). The effect of work-life balance on organizational commitment of accountants. Management, 13(2), 137-159.
Bierhoff, H.-W., & Rohmann, E. (2011). Justice in performance situations: Compromise between equity and equality. In E. Kals & J. Maes (Eds.), Justice and Conflicts (pp. 135-152). Springer Publishing, Cham, Switzerland.
Bresnahan, T., & Gambardella, A. (2004). Building high-tech clusters: Silicon Valley and beyond. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Carayon, P., Schoepke, J., Hoonakker, P., Haims, M. C., & Brunette, M. (2006). Evaluating causes and consequences of turnover intention among IT workers: The development of a questionnaire survey. Behaviour & Information Technology, 25(5), 381-397.
Castaño Collado, C., & Webster, J. (2011). Understanding women’s presence in ICT: The life course perspective. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 3(2), 364-386.
Coe, I. R., Wiley, R., & Bekker, L.-G. (2019). Organisational best practices towards gender equality in science and medicine. The Lancet, 393(10171), 587-593.
Coletti, M. (2010). Technology and industrial clusters: How different are they to manage? Science and Public Policy, 37(9), 679-688.
Compton, J., & Pollak, R. A. (2014). Family proximity, childcare, and women’s labor force attachment. Journal of Urban Economics, 79, 72-90.
Crump, B., & Logan, K. (2000). Women in an alien environment. New Zealand Journal of Applied Computing and Information Technology, 4(1), 28-35.
D'Mello, M. (2006). Gendered selves and identities of information technology professionals in global software organizations in India. Information Technology for Development, 12(2), 131-158.
Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319-340.
Denning, S. (2018). The emergence of agile people management. Strategy & Leadership, 46(4), 3-10.
Dubey, A. D., & Tripathi, S. (2020). Analysing the sentiments towards work-from-home experience during covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Innovation Management, 8(1), 13-19.
Eurofound. (2017). Work–life balance and flexible working arrangements in the European Union. Accessed on May 23, 2023, at
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50.
Fuchs, S., & Edwards, M. R. (2012). Predicting pro‐change behaviour: The role of perceived organisational justice and organisational identification. Human Resource Management Journal, 22(1), 39-59.
Fulmer, I. S., & Li, J. (2022). Compensation, benefits, and total rewards: A bird's-eye (re) view. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 9, 147-169.
Gupta, N. (2015). Rethinking the relationship between gender and technology: A study of the Indian example. Work, Employment and Society, 29(4), 661-672.
Hair, J. F., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Black, W. C. (2014). Multivariate data analysis (7th ed.). Prentice Hall, Hoboken, NJ, USA.
Hair, J. F., Risher, J. J., Sarstedt, M., & Ringle, C. M. (2019). When to use and how to report the results of PLS-SEM. European Business Review, 31(1), 2-24.
Happe, L., & Buhnova, B. (2022). Frustrations steering women away from software engineering. IEEE Software, 39(4), 63-69.
Happe, L., Buhnova, B., Koziolek, A., & Wagner, I. (2021). Effective measures to foster girls’ interest in secondary computer science education. Education and Information Technologies, 26(3), 2811-2829.
Harris, L. C., & Ogbonna, E. (1998). Employee responses to culture change efforts. Human Resource Management Journal, 8(2), 78-92.
Henseler, J., Ringle, C. M., & Sarstedt, M. (2015). A new criterion for assessing discriminant validity in variance-based structural equation modeling. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43(1), 115-135.
Heras, M. L., Rofcanin, Y., Escribano, P. I., Kim, S., & Mayer, M. C. (2021). Family‐supportive organisational culture, work–family balance satisfaction and government effectiveness: Evidence from four countries. Human Resource Management Journal, 31(2), 454-475.
Herman, C. (2015a). Rebooting and rerouting: Women's articulations of frayed careers in science, engineering and technology professions. Gender, Work & Organization, 22(4), 324-338.
Herman, C. (2015b). Returning to STEM: Gendered factors affecting employability for mature women students. Journal of Education and Work, 28(6), 571-591.
Hewlett, S. A. (2008). Off-ramps and On-ramps: Keeping talented women on the road to success. Human Resource Management International Digest, 16(2),43-54.
Hoda, R., Salleh, N., & Grundy, J. (2018). The rise and evolution of agile software development. IEEE Software, 35(5), 58-63.
Holth, L., Bergman, A., & MacKenzie, R. (2017). Gender, availability and dual emancipation in the Swedish ICT sector. Work, Employment and Society, 31(2), 230-247.
Kim, J. Y., & Meister, A. (2022). Microaggressions, interrupted: The experience and effects of gender microaggressions for women in STEM. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-19.
Kirton, G., & Robertson, M. (2018). Sustaining and advancing IT careers: Women’s experiences in a UK-based IT company. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 27(2), 157-169.
Kligler-Vilenchik, N., Tsfati, Y., & Meyers, O. (2014). Setting the collective memory agenda: Examining mainstream media influence on individuals’ perceptions of the past. Memory Studies, 7(4), 484-499.
Lawler, E. E. (2011). Creating a new employment deal: Total rewards and the new workforce. Organizational Dynamics, 40(4), 302-309.
Legault, M.-J., & Chasserio, S. (2012). Professionalization, risk transfer, and the effect on gender gap in project management. International Journal of Project Management, 30(6), 697-707.
Li, X. (2021). Strategic flexibility in a male-dominated occupation: women software engineers in China. Journal of Gender Studies, 32(4), 330-342.
Mainiero, L. A., & Sullivan, S. E. (2005). Kaleidoscope careers: An alternate explanation for the "opt-out" revolution. The Academy of Management Executive, 19(1), 106-123.
Manning, M. (2009). The effects of subjective norms on behaviour in the theory of planned behaviour: A meta‐analysis. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(4), 649-705.
Meso, P., & Jain, R. (2006). Agile software development: adaptive systems principles and best practices. Information Systems Management, 23(3), 19-30.
Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., & Littlejohn, A. (2013). Learning at transition for new and experienced staff. Journal of Workplace Learning, 25 (4), 217-230.
Molnar, A., Keane, T., & Stockdale, R. (2021). Educational interventions and female enrollment in IT degrees. Communications of the ACM, 64(3), 73-77.
Morganson, V. J., Major, D. A., Oborn, K. L., Verive, J. M., & Heelan, M. P. (2010). Comparing telework locations and traditional work arrangements: Differences in work‐life balance support, job satisfaction, and inclusion. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(6), 578-595.
Morris, E. A., & Zhou, Y. (2018). Are long commutes short on benefits? Commute duration and various manifestations of well-being. Travel Behaviour and Society, 11, 101-110.
Myers, B., Thorn, K., & Doherty, N. (2021). Self-initiated expatriation and older women: Composing a further life. Personnel Review, 51(3), 1120-1137.
Niederle, M., & Vesterlund, L. (2008). Gender differences in competition. Negotiation Journal, 24(4), 447-463.
Ozkaya, I. (2021). The future of software engineering work. IEEE Software, 38(5), 3-6.
Panteli, A., Stack, J., Atkinson, M., & Ramsay, H. (1999). The status of women in the UK IT industry: An empirical study. European Journal of Information Systems, 8(3), 170-182.
Panteli, N. (2006). Returning to IT: Employment and development after a career break in the United Kingdom. Labour & Industry: a Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 16(3), 133-150.
Panteli, N. (2012). A community of practice view of intervention programmes: The case of women returning to IT. Information Systems Journal, 22(5), 391-405.
Panteli, N., & Pen, S. (2009). Empowering women returners in the UK high-tech industry. Personnel Review, 39(1), 44-61.
Raghuram, P., Herman, C., Ruiz-Ben, E., & Sondhi, G. (2017). Women and IT scorecard-India. NASSCOM & The Open University. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10118.98882
Rajesh, S., Founder-President, A. C. C., Gruhaa, U., & Neelangarai, C. (2013). Second career of women professionals in India: A corporate perspective. Asian Journal of Management Research, 4(1), 27-47.
Ravindran, B., & Baral, R. (2014). Factors affecting the work attitudes of Indian re-entry women in the IT sector. Vikalpa, 39(2), 31-42.
Ring, K. (2018 ). Women in Tech: India Leads the Way. 451 Research.
Sardeshmukh, S. R., & Srinivasan, V. (2014). ICT and work–family balance: Context of Indian software services. Labour & Industry: a Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 24(1), 40-54.
Scholarios, D., & Marks, A. (2004). Work‐life balance and the software worker. Human Resource Management Journal, 14(2), 54-74.
Schonlau, M., & Toepoel, V. (2015). Straightlining in Web survey panels over time. Survey Research Methods, 9(2), 125-137.
Serenko, A., & Turel, O. (2021). Why are women underrepresented in the American IT industry? The role of explicit and implicit gender identities. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 22(1), 41-65.
Shah, D., & Barker, M. (2020). Work-life interface: experiences of Indian IT women repatriates. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 33(3), 505-538.
Singh, S., & Vanka, S. (2021). Career break, not a brake on career: A study of the reasons and enablers of women’s re-entry to technology careers in India. Business Perspectives and Research, 9(2), 195-214.
Sondhi, G., Raghuram, P., Herman, C., & Ben, E. R. (2018). Skilled migration and the IT sector: A gendered analysis. In Rajan, S. Irudaya (eds). India Migration Report 2018: Migrants in Europe (pp. 229-248). Routledge, New Delhi, India.
Srinivasan, V., Murty, L., & Nakra, M. (2013). Career persistence of women software professionals in India. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 28(4), 210-227.
Subramony, M., Solnet, D., Groth, M., Yagil, D., Hartley, N., Kim, P. B., & Golubovskaya, M. (2018). Service work in 2050: Toward a work ecosystems perspective. Journal of Service Management, 29(5), 956-974
Tokbaeva, D., & Achtenhagen, L. (2023). Career resilience of female professionals in the male‐dominated IT industry in Sweden: Toward a process perspective. Gender, Work & Organization, 30(1), 223-262.
Tomlinson, J., Olsen, W., & Purdam, K. (2009). Women returners and potential returners: employment profiles and labour market opportunities—a case study of the United Kingdom. European Sociological Review, 25(3), 349-363.
Topp, J., Hille, J. H., Neumann, M., & Mötefindt, D. (2022). How a 4-day work week and remote work affect agile software development teams. In Przybyłek, A., Jarzębowicz, A., Luković, I., Ng, Y.Y. (eds), Lean and Agile Software Development. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 438. Cham, Switzerland, Springer Publishing Company.
Trauth, E. (2002). Odd girl out: An individual differences perspective on women in the IT profession. Information Technology & People, 15(2), 98-118.
Trauth, E., & Connolly, R. (2021). Investigating the nature of change in factors affecting gender equity in the IT sector: A longitudinal study of women in Ireland. MIS Quarterly, 45(4), 2055-2100.
Truman, G. E., & Baroudi, J. J. (1994). Gender differences in the information systems managerial ranks: An assessment of potential discriminatory practices. MIS Quarterly, 18(2), 129-142.
Van der Velde, M. E., Jansen, P. G., Bal, P. M., & Van Erp, K. J. (2017). Dual-earner couples’ willingness to relocate abroad: The reciprocal influence of both partners’ career role salience and partner role salience. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 26(2), 195-207.
Venkatesh, V., Morris, M. G., Davis, G. B., & Davis, F. D. (2003). User acceptance of information technology: Toward a unified view. MIS Quarterly, 27(3), 425-478.
Venkatesh, V., Thong, J. Y., & Xu, X. (2012). Consumer acceptance and use of information technology: Extending the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology. MIS Quarterly, 36(1), 157-178.
Venkatesh, V., Windeler, J. B., Bartol, K. M., & Williamson, I. O. (2017). Person–organization and person–job fit perceptions of new IT employees: Work outcomes and gender differences. MIS Quarterly, 41(2), 525-558.
Westaby, J. D. (2005). Behavioral reasoning theory: Identifying new linkages underlying intentions and behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 98(2), 97-120.
Wijayawardena, K., Wijewardena, N., & Samaratunge, R. (2017). Compromising gender identities: Stay strategies of women in gender-atypical information technology firms in Sri Lanka. Information Technology & People, 30(2), 246-264.
Wilkins-Yel, K. G., Hyman, J., & Zounlome, N. O. (2019). Linking intersectional invisibility and hypervisibility to experiences of microaggressions among graduate women of color in STEM. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 113, 51-61.
Wilson, J., Fisher, D., & Moore, K. (2009). Reverse diaspora and the evolution of a cultural tradition: The case of the New Zealand ‘Overseas Experience’. Mobilities, 4(1), 159-175.
Woodfield, R. (2002). Woman and information systems development: not just a pretty (inter) face? Information Technology & People, 15(2), 119-138.
Wu, T. (2020). The labour of fun: masculinities and the organisation of labour games in a modern workplace. New Technology, Work and Employment, 35(3), 336-356.
Xie, B., & Li, M. (2021). Coworker Guanxi and job performance: Based on the mediating effect of interpersonal trust. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 171, 120981.
Yang, K., & Girgus, J. S. (2019). Are women more likely than men are to care excessively about maintaining positive social relationships? A meta-analytic review of the gender difference in sociotropy. Sex Roles, 81(3), 157-172.
Yeow, P., Dean, A., Tucker, D., & Pomeroy, L. (2019). Group-works: Exploring multiplex networks, leadership and group performance. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 6(4), 227-245.
Zhang, C., & Conrad, F. (2014). Speeding in web surveys: The tendency to answer very fast and its association with straightlining. Survey Research Methods, 8(2), 127-135.




How to Cite

Tretiakov, A., Bensemann, J., & Jurado, T. (2023). Social outcome expectations and women’s intentions to return to IT employment. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 27.



Research Articles