Refining the conditions and causes of the glass cliff: Hostility, signalling change, or solving the crisis?
The glass cliff describes the greater likelihood for women to be selected as leaders under precarious circumstances. In this chapter, we refine the conditions of the glass cliff by showing that it occurs as a consequence of flawed management rather than as a consequence of a general economic crisis. Moreover, we discuss potential functions of this phenomenon. First, we challenge the idea that hostility (i.e., sexism) is the motivation for choosing women in difficult times. Second, we investigate if choosing a non-prototypical leader (i.e., a woman) could be an indicator of motivations to change the situation. Two motivations are discussed: The motivation to signal to the outside world a visibly different image of leadership, and the motivation to appoint a leader who is better suited to implement “actual change” in terms of actively improving the company’s performance. Past literature and our own research show support for the change motivation.
In: Klea Faniko, Fabio Lorenzi-Cioldi, Oriane Sarrasin, Eric Mayor (eds.), Gender and Social Hierarchies. Perspectives from social psychology, New York, Routledge, 2016, chap. 8
Klea Faniko, Fabio Lorenzi-Cioldi, Oriane Sarrasin, Eric Mayor
Arbeit – Laufbahn – Beruf