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Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



The entertainment industry provides a rich context for understanding how executives address the challenges of managing their careers, employees, and work-personal life balance. In particular, we explore what is unique about the entertainment industry and how 15 high-profile women TV executives have succeeded in managing these challenges. For managing their careers, we found that there were several unique aspects with implications for other executives, such as the importance of being perceived as having the creative "Midas touch" and the necessity of developing a 360-degree approach towards networking. We learned that while managing in Hollywood presents a few unique challenges, it does not necessarily present specialized solutions. Finally, for managing work-personal life balance, we found that some major differences emerged with respect to values and philosophy towards managing work and personal life, at both the organizational and personal levels, that seemed to be unique. The women in this study defied the traditional concept of "having it all" and offered expanded definitions of family. In sum, this study increases our knowledge of the entertainment industry overall the unique ways in which women executives in the entertainment business respond to specific challenges, and provides lessons pertinent to executives in other industries.

Recommended Citation

Ellen A. Ensher, Susan E. Murphy, and Sherry E. Sullivan, 2002: Reel women: Lessons from female TV executives on managing work and real life. AMP, 16, 106–120.