Silk and steel: A gendered approach to career and life by upper echelon women executives in the hospitality and tourism industry in China

Xiangli Fan, Jinyoung Im, Li Miao, Stacy Tomas, Hailing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This qualitative study represents one of the early attempts to uncover the lived experience of thriving of top female leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry in China. Based on the narratives of 21 women executives in the hospitality and tourism industry in China, this study reveals that upper echelon (top management) females thrive by taking a gendered approach to life and career in a cultural environment with a strong Confucian tradition. This research systematically explored the unique gendered orientations and strategies these women executives used to achieve optimal functioning, as manifested in their thriving in both life and career. They acknowledge gender differences, embrace female qualities rather than deny them, and leverage these qualities to their advantage. The study findings offer significant theoretical and practical implications by illuminating a thriving perspective of the career advancement of women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103011
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management

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