Vasudha Rao

Doctor of Philosophy, (Management)
Study Completed: 2019
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Rethinking sponsoring: Evidencing and conceptualising sponsorship as a relational practice for women’s career development

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Sponsoring has been heralded, as the means to redressing women's underrepresentation in senior leadership positions, yet little is known about the experiences of those involved in sponsoring relationships. Ms Rao explored experiences of workplace sponsoring in New Zealand to provide insight into sponsoring relationships. Her findings identified that the sponsoring relationship is marked by perceptions of sponsors as benevolent and giving. Nurturing, caring and friendship are central features of the relationship albeit with different expectations held of male and female sponsors. Her research highlighted that sponsees' ethnic and migrant identity, also shaped their experience of sponsoring. Ms Rao's research reconceptualised sponsorship as a meaningful connection and a relational practice that is oriented to fostering the sponsee's development, and that extends beyond the workplace and offers broader benefits than presently recognised. Her findings have implications for scholars, practitioners and policy makers interested in strategies for facilitating women's career progress.

Professor Sarah Leberman
Dr Farah Palmer
Dr Suze Wilson