Glass cliff

The glass cliff is the phenomenon of women in leadership roles, such as executives in the corporate world and female political election candidates , being the likelier than men to achieve leadership roles during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest. [1] [2]


The term was coined in 2004 by British professors Michelle K. Ryan and Alexander Haslam of University of Exeter , United Kingdom. In a study, Ryan and Haslam reviewed the performance of FTSE 100 companies before and after the appointment of newcomers to the board of directors. [3] This work is well established in the identification of the glass cliff. Since the term originated, its use has expanded beyond the corporate world to encompass politics and other domains.


Ryan and Haslam’s research Showed That once women break through the glass ceiling and we take positions of leadership They Often-have experiences are different from Those That of Their Male Counterparts. More specifically, they are more likely to be in a position of precarious and therefore higher risk of failure (or organizational units) than in the past. for success. [4] [5]

Extending the metaphor of the glass ceiling, Ryan and Haslam evoked the notion of the “glass cliff” to refer to a hazard which involves exposure to the risk of falling and which is not apparently apparent. [4] CEO tenure is at a competitive rate, compared to those who are stable. [6]

The glass cliff concept aussi HAS-been used to describe employment discrimination Experienced by leaders Who are members of minorities or disabled. [7]

Evidence of the glass has been documented in the field of law. A 2006 study found law students were much more likely to assign a high-risk case to a female lead than to a male one. [8] A 2010 study found undergraduate students in British political science likeliness to a politician to run for a seat in a by election, and much likelier to select a female candidate when the seat was described as hard to get. [9]

Other research has failed to confirm the existence of glass cliff phenomenon. A 2007 study of corporate performance precedent CEO appointments shown that women executives are more likely to be precarious leadership positions than males. [10]


Many theories have been advanced to explain the existence of the glass cliff.

University of Houston psychology professor Kristin J. Anderson says they believe they are “more expendable and better scapegoats.” She says the organizations that offer women tough jobs believe they win either way: if the woman succeeds, the company is better off. If it fails, the company is no longer off, it can be blamed, the company gets credit for having been egalitarian and progressive, and can return to its prior practice of appointing men. [11]

Haslam and Ryan say their studies are more likely to be nurturing, creative, and intuitive. [12] These researchers argue that female leaders are not expected to improve the situation, but are seen as good managers who can take the blame for organizational failure. [13]

They have said that they are more likely to accept glass cliff positions because they do not have access to the high-quality information and support that would ordinarily warn executives away. [14] Utah State University professors Ali Cook and Christy Glass say they are likely to get to. [6]

A 2007 study found that female consumers in the United Kingdom were more likely than others to accept the fact that women and men are more likely to be female than male and female. Female study participants attributed the existence of the glass to a lack of other opportunities for women executives, sexism , and men’s in-group favoritism . Male study participants said that they are less likely than men to be difficult leadership roles or strategic decision-making, or that the lens is unrelated to gender. [15]

Implications for women executives

Glass cliff positions risk shouting the women executives’ reputations and career prospects because, when a company does poorly, people tend to blame its leadership without taking into account situational or contextual variables. [3] Researchers have found that female leaders find it harder than male ones to get second chances they have failed to have fewer mentors and sponsors and access to a protective ” old boys’ network “. [16]

However, some researchers argue that they are in a stable position. [14]


News media have described the following as examples of the glass cliff.

  • In 1993 the Canadian Progressive Conservative Party , facing low approval ratings and assured Almost loss in the upcoming general elections , Elected Kim Campbell , Then Defense Minister , to replace Brian Mulroney as leader ict. The election of the Progressive Conservatives in one of the most devastating defeats in Canadian history, reducing them from 156 seats to 2. [17]
  • In 2002, then-unprofitable telecommunications company appointed Lucent Technologies Patricia Russo CEO, and then replaced with Ben Verwaayen after she returned the company to profitability. [6]
  • In 2011, “A horrible time for newspapers”, Jill Abramson was appointed editor of The New York Times , and in 2014 she was fired. [18]
  • In 2014, General Motors hired Mary Barra as CEO, during a period in which he announced a number of product recalls. (However, the source of this phenomenon may also be different from the case of glass cliffs.) [14]
  • After the Icelandic banking crisis in 2008, various women were appointed to the rationale that broader perspectives would prevent the same mistakes from occurring. [19]
  • In 1990 two female Premiers Were appointed in Australia: Joan Kirner inherited significant deficit in Victoria, while Carmen Lawrence headed a party Previously That HAD beens accusé of corruption. [20] In 2009, Kristina Keneally was appointed Premier of New South Wales amid low polling for her party and their eventual defeat in 2011. [21] Julia Gillard was appointed as Australia’s first female Prime Minister and subsequently elected procedural complaints about leadership spill . [22] [23]
  • Ina Drew became the CIO at JPMorgan Chase in 2005 and resigned in 2012 after the company suffered a $ 6 billion loss. [24] [25]
  • Marissa Mayer has been appointed as the CEO of Yahoo. [26] [27]
  • Julia Pierson , the first female Director of the United States Secret Service , resigned after White House security breach. [28]
  • Ellen Pao , who has become a member of the board of directors , has recently become the CEO of Reddit, who has been forced to resign after the back office. [29]
  • Theresa May , became the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in July 2016, just a few months later. [30]
  • Kellyanne Conway became the first woman in a presidential campaign in August 2016, when she was appointed as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, after a month of missteps by the Republican nominee and her subsequent declining poll numbers. [31]

See also

  • Bamboo ceiling

References [edit]

  1. Jump up^ Cooper, Marianne (September 22, 2015). “Women are often put in charge of failing companies” . PBS NewsHour . Retrieved July 11, 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ Susanne Bruckmüller and Nyla R. Branscombe,How Women End Up on the ‘Glass Cliff ” Harvard Business Review , JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2011
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Ryan, Michelle K., and S. Alexander Haslam (9 February 2005). “The Glass Cliff: Evidence That Women Are Over-Represented in Precarious Leadership Positions” . British Journal of Management . 16 : 81-90. doi : 10.1111 / j.1467-8551.2005.00433.x . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b “The Glass Cliff” . University of Exeter. Archived from the originalon 2011-07-27 . Retrieved 2015-08-04 .
  5. Jump up^ BBC NEWS | Magazine | Introducing … the glass cliff
  6. ^ Jump up to:c McCullough, DG (8 August 2014). “Women CEOs: Why Companies in Crisis Hire Minorities – and Then Fire Them” . The Guardian . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  7. Jump up^ Cook, A., A .; Glass, C. “Glass Cliffs and Organizational Saviors: Barriers to Minority Leadership in Work Organizations?”. Social Problems60 (2): 168-187. doi : 10.1525 / sp.2013.11147 .
  8. Jump up^ Ashby, Julie S .; Haslam, S. Alexander; Ryan, Michelle K. (Fall 2006). “Glass Cliff Work: Evidence That Women Are Preferentially Selected to Lead Problematic Cases” . William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  9. Jump up^ Ryan, Michelle K .; Haslam, S. Alexander; Kulich, Clara (March 2010). “Politics and the Glass Cliff: Evidence that Women Are Preferentially Selected to Contest Hard-to-Win Seats” . Psychology of Women Quarterly . 34 : 56-64. doi : 10.1111 / j.1471-6402.2009.01541.x . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ Adams, Susan. “Are Female Executives Over-represented in Precarious Leadership Positions?” . British Journal of Management . 20 (1): 1-12. doi : 10.1111 / j.1467-8551.2007.00549.x . Retrieved 13 July 2015 .
  11. Jump up^ Rivers, Caryl, and Rosalind C. Barnett (November 2, 2013). “When Wall Street Needs Scapegoats, Women Beware” . Women’s eNews . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  12. Jump up^ Haslam, S. Alexander and Michelle K. Ryan (2008). “The road to the glass cliff: Differences in the perceived success of men and women for leadership positions in succeeding and failing organizations” (PDF) . The Leadership Quarterly . 19 : 530-546. doi : 10.1016 / j.leaqua.2008.07.011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2013 . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  13. Jump up^ Ryan, Michelle K .; Haslam, S. Alexander; Hersby, Mette D .; Bongiorno, Renata (May 2011). “Think crisis-think female: the glass cliff and contextual variation in the think manager-think male stereotype”. Journal of Applied Psychology96 (3): 470–84. doi:10.1037/a0022133. PMID 21171729.
  14. ^ Jump up to:c Too, Jaclyn. “Is Mary Barra standing on a glass cliff?” . The New Yorker . Retrieved 23 May 2014 .
  15. Jump up^ Ryan, Michelle K., and S. Alexander Haslam, Tom Postmes (2007). “Reactions to the glass cliff: Gender differences in the explanations for the precariousness of women’s leadership positions” . Journal of Organizational Change Management . 20 : 182-197. doi : 10.1108 / 09534810710724748 . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  16. Jump up^ Hewlett, Sylvia Ann (August 5, 2008). “The Glass Cliff: Are Women Leaders Often Set Up to Fail?” . Harvard Business Review . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  17. Jump up^ Simard, Caroline (29 October 2010). “Women in Leadership and the Glass Cliff” . Huffington Post . Retrieved 18 October 2014 .
  18. Jump up^ Kurzleben, Danielle (May 14, 2014). “What happened to Jill Abramson shows everything that sucks about being a woman leader” . . Retrieved May 15, 2014 .
  19. Jump up^ Sunderland, Ruth. “After the crash, Iceland’s women lead the rescue”. The Observer . Retrieved May 22, 2014 .
  20. Jump up^ Range, Jae Lynn. “No Glass Ceiling for Women? Beware Of The Glass Cliff!” .
  21. Jump up^ Wright, Tony. “Nobody’s girl” . Retrieved 2016-08-02 .
  22. Jump up^ Wareham McGrath, Susan. “The Glass Cliff Claims Another Victim – Is Julia Gillard’s Fall From Grace Inevitable?” . Australian Businesswomen’s Network. Archived from the original on 23 May 2014 . Retrieved 23 May 2014 .
  23. Jump up^ Walsh, Kerry-Anne (2014). The Stalking of Julia Gillard . Crows Nest, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN  9781760110864 .
  24. Jump up^ Covert, Bryce. “Was JP Morgan Chase’s CIO Ina Push Drew Off the Glass Cliff?” . Forbes . Retrieved 23 May 2014 .
  25. Jump up^ Goudreau, Jenna. “With JPMorgan Chase’s Ina Drew Out, Few Top Wall Street Left Standing Women” . Forbes . Retrieved 24 May 2014 .
  26. Jump up^ Hass, Nancy. “Marissa Mayer Stares Down ‘Glass Cliff’ at Yahoo” . The Daily Beast . Retrieved 23 May 2014 .
  27. Jump up^ Oliver Staley, The Marissa Mayer era at Yahoo is officially 6/13/2017
  28. Jump up^ Covert, Bryce. “Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Was a Victim of the” Glass Cliff ” ” . The New Republic . Retrieved 6 November 2014 .
  29. Jump up^ Kazem, Halima (2015-07-11). “Reddit’s Ellen Pao is the latest female CEO blamed for inherited woes, say experts” . The Guardian . Retrieved 2015-08-04 .
  30. Jump up^ McGregor, Jena. “Congratulations, Theresa May, Now mind that ‘glass cliff ‘ ” . Washington Post . Retrieved 12 July 2016 .
  31. Jump up^ Jennifer Jacobs (2016-08-18). “Kellyanne Conway Takes on Toughest Yet Role: Trump Whisperer” . Bloomberg . Retrieved 2016-08-18 .

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