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Vol. 42 (2023): Advancing Women in Leadership Journal

Women and Multi-tasking: Strategy or pitfall for Career Advancement?

March 2, 2018


Despite its ubiquitous adoption in the workplace and home, research suggests that multitasking is not an effective strategy for
productivity (Cabrera, 2016; Crews & Russ, 2020). Workplace demands and the disproportionate division of labor in the home
make multitasking unavoidable, indispensable and a necessary coping tool, especially for women with professional and domestic
responsibilities (Holdsworth, 2020; Kirchberg et al., 2015). Women multitask more than men do and are also perceived to be
better multitaskers than men but sadly multitasking decreases productivity and increases error rates (Cabrera, 2016; Crews &
Russ, 2020). The purpose of this concept paper is to share research on multitasking and its effects on productivity and to assist
women in making informed decisions about whether multitasking is a strategy or a pitfall for career advancement. We offer
perspectives on why women multi-task, the challenges associated with multitasking and cultural differences to be considered. We
conducted a literature review and concluded that multitasking is the de facto coping strategy for most women in the modern-day
era given the competing demands on their time. We also suggested strategies for career advancement in professional and
personal spaces.


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