The Corporate Glass Ceiling

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB019
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1998 - 2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Varied
Industry : Varied
Countries : India, USA

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The Debate Continues

Notwithstanding the above arguments by feminist groups, some analysts argued that no glass ceiling existed at all. According to them, women could not reach top management positions only because most of them left their careers mid-way due to personal reasons (like marriage and raising a family).

They said, in order to become a CEO, a woman executive would have to sacrifice some aspects of her personal life. The top management posts demanded more commitment and required about 80 hours of work per week. Thus women in such positions would have to forgo their personal lives, which was not possible for most women.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

Moreover, women themselves left more demanding jobs for more flexible jobs, which allowed them to spend more time with their families, particularly their kids...

The Future

Though the glass ceiling in the developed countries seemed to have broken only in selected industries like medicine, information technology and financial services (Refer Exhibit V), this development was less visible in the developing countries. Analysts also felt that in the developing countries, especially in the Asian region, it was the 'culture' that was primarily responsible for the existence of a strong glass ceiling. The culture did not allow women to work, and they were primarily entrusted with the job of homemaking. Analysts opined that in countries including Korea and India, marriage and male chauvinism had stopped women from building their careers.

In addition, the corporate organizations in these countries did not seem to favour women. To avoid hitting the glass ceiling, some women became entrepreneurs. In the US, the number of companies owned by women had grown by 16% during 1992-97...


Exhibit I: J&J's 'Our Credo'
Exhibit II: Women Ceos in Global Corporations
Exhibit III: Indian Women in Top Management Positions
Exhibit IV: Organizational Structure of ICICI
Exhibit V: Representation of Women in Management, 2000


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