Sponsorship and Negotiation for Women Otolaryngologists at Midcareer: A Content Analysis

Janice L. Farlow, Nicole M. Mott, Taylor C. Standiford, Sarah M. Dermody, Stacey L. Ishman, Dana M. Thompson, Kelly M. Malloy, Carol R. Bradford, Sonya Malekzadeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore challenges and opportunities for supporting midcareer women otolaryngologists in the areas of negotiation and sponsorship. Study Design: Qualitative approach using semistructured interviews. Setting: Online multi-institutional interviews. Methods: This study was performed from June to August 2021. Women otolaryngologists representing diverse subspecialties, training, and practice environments were recruited via a purposive criterion-based sampling approach. Semistructured interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed via an inductive-deductive approach to produce a thematic content analysis. Results: Among the 12 women interviewees, who represented 7 subspecialties, the majority were Caucasian (58%) and in academic practice (50%). The median residency graduation year was 2002 (range, 1982-2013). Participants expressed several challenges that women otolaryngologists face with respect to negotiation, including the absence of systematic formal negotiation training, gendered expectations that women experience during negotiations, and a perceived lack of power in negotiations. Obstacles to effective sponsorship included difficulty in the identification of sponsors and the influence of gender and related systemic biases that hindered sponsorship opportunities. Conclusion: Notable gender disparities exist for negotiation and sponsorship in the midcareer stage for women otolaryngologists. Women start at a disadvantage due to a lack of negotiation training and access to sponsors, which is exacerbated by systemic gender bias and power differentials as women advance in their careers. This study highlights opportunities to improve negotiation and sponsorship for women, with the goal of promoting a more diverse workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-391
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • diversity
  • equity
  • gender
  • inclusion
  • negotiation
  • otolaryngology–head and neck surgery
  • sponsor
  • sponsorship
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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