Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Vicki L. Sauter, Ph.D.


Shaji Khan, Ph.D.

Dinesh Mirchandani, Ph.D.

Fred Niederman, Ph.D.


The goal of this exploratory study is to investigate ways in which whether the phenomena called the ‘bro culture’ may influence on women in the information technology (IT) workforce. It specifically seeks to determine whether bro culture has an impact on why women in IT move from one IT company to another; leave IT for a non-technical field; or leave the workforce entirely.

Although there is a plethora of studies on why women leave positions in IT, less understood is the impact and influence of bro culture on the decision.

My findings suggest that bro culture in the workplace is a definite factor in determining why women decide to leave their IT positions. The findings are generally consistent with previous reports of factors that have been shown to have a major effect on the work-life quality of women, such as hostile work culture, social exclusion and isolation, and conflict between long hours and rewarding heroics-style work practices (Williams, 2015).

IT organizations can use these insights to help address women’s concerns regarding bro culture in IT and potentially reduce voluntary turnover of women; implement policies to address organizational cover up; and increase workforce diversity.

I used qualitative data analysis to provide rich data for examining the little-understood bro culture phenomenon. I used the causal mapping research tool. I conducted semi-structured interviews with 35 women, and based on the interviews, I created causal maps depicting the effects of bro culture on women’s decisions to move from one company to another or to leave the technology field altogether. Based on the factors women most frequently associate with bro culture, defined its meaning.

This study provides several contributions. First, it offers a definition of bro culture that is based on data. Second, it demonstrates the effect of bro culture on job attrition, thus adding it to the constelation of other factors that contribute to job attrition of women in IT. Third, it offers support for existing known factors affecting attrition of women in IT. In addition to these, two surprising findings emerged from this study. The first one is that women see bro culture as limited to a specific company, as opposed to the industry as a whole. The second one is that while significantly fewer in numbers, some women engage in bro culture-like behavior, including bullying and harassing other women.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024