The Glass Cliff

March 26, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo and Mary Barra of GM are two of the most notable female executives in recent history. They’ve also taken charge of their companies in a time of crisis. Coincidence? The evidence suggests not:

  • In an effect that is called the “Glass Cliff” women are more likely to be put into leadership positions at times when an organization is struggling.
  • When things are going badly companies feel the need for a shake-up and fresh direction. Since female CEOs are still rare, appointing one seems like one way to achieve this.
  • Some feel that women also have leadership qualities suited to “cleaning up messes”.
  • It’s possible that men get access to higher quality information and so are able to avoid the most difficult leadership roles.
  • It’s not just true in the world of business. Katie Couric of CBS Evening News and Diane Sawyer of ABC World News were both bought on after their news organizations saw their viewership substantially decline.
  • The evidence also indicates that if the problem is fixed, the leadership role reverts to a male.

Read more about the statistics that demonstrate this phenomenon, how it isn’t a case of overt sexuality, and more over here.

Source: Slate