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Glass Ceiling Presentation in the Scholar Articles Essay (Article)

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Updated: Jul 12th, 2020

Abstract

This paper discusses the similarities and differences in the presentation of the glass ceiling phenomenon in three scholarly texts. The texts include the article “Portrayals of Career Women in Hollywood Films: Implications for the Glass Ceiling’s Persistence” by Souha R. Ezzedeen (2015), the article “Above the Glass Ceiling: When are Women and Racial/Ethnic Minorities Promoted to CEO?” by Alison Cook and Christy Glass (2013), and the book “Career Management” by Jeffrey Greenhaus, Veronica Godstalk, and Gerard Callanan (2010).

An overview of the articles is presented along with their main points. It is mentioned that the research by Ezzedeen (2015) is mostly concerned with one particular cause of the ceiling glass phenomenon, namely, the gender stereotypes, while the article by Cook and Glass (2013) is mostly devoted to the cases in which occupational minorities get promoted and to their career possibilities after the promotion. Apart from that, an overview of the implied and actual impact of the glass ceiling phenomenon on people and organizations is researched with the help of the text by Greenhaus et al. (2010) and other relevant articles. It is concluded that in the modern world a manager needs to take into account the diversity of the workforce and attempt to manage it efficiently, the glass ceiling phenomenon being an obstacle for such management. In the process, the glass ceiling is defined and the reasons for its existence are described.

Finally, the three texts are compared with regard to the way they cover the issue concerned. The following conclusion is made: the texts address the same issue and define it in a similar way but are devoted to its different aspects.

Keywords: glass ceiling, occupational minorities, discrimination, glass cliff theory, diversity

Glass Ceiling: An Abstract

This abstract is devoted to the presentation of the glass ceiling phenomenon in two articles and the book “Career Management” by Jeffrey Greenhaus, Veronica Godstalk, and Gerard Callanan (2010).

Overview/Summary of Both Articles

The article “Portrayals of Career Women in Hollywood Films: Implications for the Glass Ceiling’s Persistence” by Souha R. Ezzedeen (2015) is devoted to one of the causes of glass ceiling phenomenon, namely, the gender stereotypes. Upon describing the phenomena studied, the author presents an analysis of 165 female characters shown in 137 films and makes assumptions about the correlation between media stereotypes and the persistence of glass ceiling issue (Ezzedeen, 2015, p. 239).

The article “Above the Glass Ceiling: When are Women and Racial/Ethnic Minorities Promoted to CEO?” by Alison Cook and Christy Glass (2013) is also devoted to the topic of glass ceiling. However, it regards the problem from a different angle. The authors intend to research the promotion probabilities for women and people of color, defining this group as “occupational minorities”. They dwell on the glass ceiling phenomenon and the glass cliff theory and discuss the possible occupational minorities post-promotional situations. After that, the authors suggest their hypotheses on the matter and check them with the help of an analysis of a dataset that includes information on the Fortune 500 CEO transitions during the period between 1996 and 2010 (Cook and Glass, 2013, p. 1082).

Main Issues of Both Articles

First Article

The study by Ezzedeen (2015) shows that the women in leadership positions that were portrayed in the selected Hollywood films exhibit a number of negative stereotypical traits, including “their mean and conniving personalities, promiscuity, isolation, failures at intimacy and inability to balance work and family” (p. 239). The author recognizes that the difficulties of the glass ceiling are also reflected in the media along with a small number of positive traits possessed by the female leaders, for example, bravery or competence. Apart from that, the author points out that there are limitations to the study, including the possible researcher’s bias along with the fact that the article is focused on female characters and does not take into account the possible stereotypes reflected in the images of male leaders. The author also explains that gender stereotypes possessed both by males and females create a ground for discrimination.

Ezzedeen (2015) points out that the glass ceiling is still a major problem for modern business and emphasizes the importance of social media in reflecting and, most significantly, shaping the public opinion. The author describes the negative images of female leaders as “stereotype-threatening” and believes that despite the limitations of the study it highlights an obstacle in the way of eliminating the glass ceiling phenomenon.

Second Article

The research of Cook and Glass (2013) provides evidence for the glass cliff theory according to which “occupational minorities are more likely to be promoted to leadership positions in organizations that are struggling, in crisis, or at risk to fail” (p. 1081). Apart from that, the authors prove their hypothesis according to which the minority groups members are more likely to be replaced by white men in case the company’s performance stays dissatisfying.

Cook and Glass (2013) pay particular attention to the biases connected to the gender-determined types of leadership. According to the authors, women are expected to be more sensitive and supportive which is believed to be important for personnel during a crisis and may result in a promotion. At the same time, according to the authors, upon being promoted, occupational minorities find themselves under exceptional pressure. Their actions are more closely examined and are judged more harshly than those of the members of the occupational majority; apart from that, they enjoy less support from their employers and subordinates. This could result in shorter tenures; however, the study found the evidence that, if their performance is proper, occupational minorities members can hold their position for as long as white men do. Cook and Glass (2013) suggest that critical situations make employers disregard prejudices and stereotypes and become more interested in the talents and competence of their workers.

The main limitation of the study is the small number of promotions analyzed. Still, the authors believe that larger samples will be analyzed separately for women, men of color and women of color in future.

Implied/Factual Impact of the Main Issues on Organizations

According to Greenhaus et al. (2010), the glass ceiling is “an invisible but impenetrable barrier that prevents qualified women and people of color from advancing to senior management jobs” (p. 321).

Stereotypes that are caused by cultural and psychological differences and misunderstandings are the main reasons for glass ceiling existence (Greenhaus et al., 2010; Isaac, Kaatz & Carnes, 2012). Such stereotypes find their reflection in the religious beliefs, the family role stereotypes as well as those concerned with the “usual” character traits of people of different gender. For example, the idea that the family is more important for the woman than the man discourages women from pursuing their career goals. Similarly, the idea that women are supposed to be more gentle and understanding leads to the stereotype that they are incapable of being aggressive and ambitious and, therefore, cannot become leaders (Bagilhole, 2006; Tandrayen-Ragoobur & Pydayya, 2015).

It should be pointed out that the discriminated groups also believe in such stereotypes. It has been discovered that there is a number of jobs that women traditionally choose (waitresses, clerks, nurses) and that are less remunerated and presuppose lower authority. This means that apart from the glass ceiling as described by Greenhaus et al. (2010) there exist the “glass doors” that define restricted entrance for women to the male-dominated work areas as well as the wage disparity within a job level (Caceres-Rodriguez, 2011; Russo & Hassink, 2012; Tandrayen-Ragoobur & Pydayya, 2015).

The reasons for gender and racial inequality are historically conditioned. Indeed, the entrance of women and people of color into the workforce is a relatively recent occurrence, and, as a result, they have not yet achieved an equal share of high authority positions in fields like federal government, state agency, or the municipal managerial cadre and many others (Caceres-Rodriguez, 2011). The study of diversity began in the 1990s (Metcalfe & Woodhams, 2008, p. 378). In the US, the glass lining phenomenon is predicted to persist for at least another 50 years (Smith, Caputi & Crittenden, 2012, p. 470).

The changes may be slow, but they are present and promoted by the society and the government. The most prominent strategy of managing diversity finds its reflection in the attempts at controlling the number of minority representation in the workplace (Berrey, 2013; Hurn, 2012). Definitely, this strategy has been widely criticized, as the problems it can lead to (including the reverse glass ceiling along with unwanted promotions and promotions of non-qualified leaders) are not easy to tolerate (Hurn, 2012). At the same time, the reasons for developing the diversity management are quite prominent.

There have been attempts at proving the idea that workforce diversity is an opportunity to be used, but they can be easily debated (Greenhaus et al., 2010). Instead, diversity appears to be a fact that managers need to take into account. Obviously, relying on gender or racist stereotypes and encouraging the glass ceiling effects is counterproductive and presupposes mismanagement of human resources. Apart from that, perception of the glass ceiling by the discriminated groups may also serve to discourage them which results in poor performance, lower career satisfaction and worsened emotional and physical wellbeing (Smith, Caputi & Crittenden, 2012). These points prove the necessity of promoting proper diversity management strategies that are aimed at the elimination of glass ceiling.

Text Comparison/Contrast

The two articles are devoted to the phenomenon of the glass ceiling. The chapter of the book that covers the workplace diversity topic includes a comprehensive analysis of the issue including the reasons for its existence and its impact on people and organizations along with a number of recommendations concerning the management of related problems. All the texts emphasize the fact that the main reason for glass ceiling existence is stereotypes. Apart from that, the articles point out the necessity of proper diversity management. The book also highlights this fact and provides an explanation for it. It appears that all the authors are unanimous in assessing the phenomenon of glass ceiling as a problem to be solved, which is not surprising.

Still, there are certain differences between the studies. First of all, it is obvious that while the book provides an overall analysis of the issue, the articles are devoted to its particular aspects. The study by Ezzedeen (2015) is concerned with the reasons for the glass ceiling phenomenon while the research of Cook and Glass (2013) discusses the possibilities of overcoming the problem. Apart from that, the article by Ezzedeen (2015) is devoted to the phenomenon of glass ceiling only in relation to gender-based discrimination. At the same time, while Cook and Glass (2013) take into account both gender and race-based discrimination, they point out that for the sake of more accurate research these two different kinds of disparity should be regarded separately (p. 1088). This can be explained both by the different nature of stereotypes and the fact that women of color appear to be the subject to double discrimination.

Apart from that, Cook and Glass (2013) focus on the issue that neither of the other authors took into account. They discuss the possible future career of the people who manage to break the glass ceiling. They point out the difficulties that the promoted occupational minorities experience and bring the evidence to the facts that the glass ceiling is breakable, and the results can be secured.

Given the fact that all the texts described provide evidence to the ongoing changes in the society, it may be concluded that the problem of glass ceiling is going to be solved in future. For the time being, however, the importance of proper diversity management is emphasized by every study that was mentioned in this paper. At the same time, the differences between the studies prove that this issue is a complex one, which highlights the relevance of the studies devoted to every aspect of the problem.

References

Bagilhole, B. (2006). . Equal Opportunities International, 25(2), 109-125. Web.

Berrey, E. (2013). American Behavioral Scientist, 58(2), 347-370. Web.

Caceres-Rodriguez, R. (2011). Administration And Society, 45(6), 674-709. Web.

Cook, A., & Glass, C. (2013). Strategic Management Journal, 35(7), 1080-1089. Web.

Ezzedeen, S. (2015). Gender in Management: An International Journal, 30(3), 239-264. Web.

Greenhaus, J., Callanan, G., & Godshalk, V. (2010). Career Management. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Hurn, B. (2012). . Industrial and Commercial Training, 44(3), 126-131. Web.

Isaac, C., Kaatz, A., & Carnes, M. (2012). . Sociology Mind, 2(1), 80-86. Web.

Metcalfe, B., & Woodhams, C. (2008). . Gender in Management: An International Journal, 23(6), 377-381. Web.

Russo, G., & Hassink, W. (2012). . Industrial Relations: A Journal Of Economy And Society, 51(4), 892-915. Web.

Smith, P., Caputi, P., & Crittenden, N. (2012). Career Development International, 17(5), 458-474. Web.

Tandrayen-Ragoobur, V., & Pydayya, R. (2015). Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 34(5), 452-466. Web.

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