The Importance Of Leadership: Breaking The Glass Ceiling

1000 Words2 Pages

Effectiveness of organizations depends on various factors. Nonetheless, it is firmly believed, by most practitioners and behavioural scientists, that leadership is a phenomenon which is crucial in achieving this goal (Yukl, 2013). As leadership is contextually bound, it cannot be completely understood from a single perspective. There are other elements that must be considered in order to do so, such as: the leader, the follower, the context and the interactions among them (Rumsey, 2013). The topic is even more fascinating in regards to the fact that most individuals are in some way a leader, a follower, or both. Despite the fact that most of these relationships go without particular notice, others have tremendous influence on the today’s world. …show more content…

This phenomenon was first described in a Wall Street Journal report by Hymowitz and Schellhardt (1986). Morrison, White and Velsor (1987) adopted the term in academic settings in their book titled: Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Can women Reach the top of America’s Largest Corporations? They defined glass ceiling as “a transparent barrier that kept women from rising above a certain level in corporations”. Many studies across different disciplines adopted the term since then (Bullard and Wright 1993; Cornwell and Kellough 1994; Crum and Naff 1997; Kellough 1989; Lewis and Emmert 1986; Lewis and Nice 1994; Mani 1997; Naff 1994; Naff and Thomas 1994; Newman 1994; Pfeffer and Davis-Blake 1987; Reid, Kerr, and Miller 2003; Wilson 2002). As a consequence, social psychologists provided the theoretical explanation of why there is fewer female on managerial positions. They came to the conclusion that this phenomenon is closely related to the fact that leadership is considered as a male quality. Traits that can be found in the literature, such as: ambitious, directive and risk-taking, are generally associated with men (Sabharwal, 2013). Moreover, there are some theories that try to expand the role of men in leadership even further. The “think-manager-thin-man” is undoubtedly dominating the literature (Agars …show more content…

It is called “glass cliff” and describes women inability of exerting authority the same way that men do (Sabharwal, 2013). The concept was first described by Ryan and Haslam (2005) as a situation in which “woman may be preferentially placed in leadership roles that are associated with an increased risk of negative consequences. As a result, to the extent that they are achieving leadership roles, these may be more precarious that those occupied by men”. Social psychological constructs arising as a form of overt sexism are considered to be the main drivers for this phenomenon. Also social constructs are considered to influence the arise of glass cliffs. These represent a desire to appoint women to high risk positions – setting them up for a failure (Ryan and Haslam, 2005, 2007). By way of explanation, females occupying senior positions are more likely to leave the organization when confronted with glass cliffs. It was found by Stroh et al. (1996) that 26% women left management positions whereas only 14% of men did the same. He also proved that the reason of that is not, as commonly believed, the fact that women have more family commitments, but the sub-optimal career opportunities that were encountered by females. Lyness and Thompson (1997) found that men job satisfaction was considerably higher than women.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that leadership is a phenomenon which is crucial in achieving this goal. it is contextually bound and can't be fully understood from one perspective.
  • Explains that glass ceiling is a transparent barrier that keeps women from reaching the top of america’s largest corporations.
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