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The present research proposes to study the role of few important factors of glass ceiling which directly impact the career growth of women employees. The term Glass Ceiling refers to an unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps women employees from rising to the top of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications and achievements. Methods: The 80 women employees were interviewed with the help of questionnaires. Results: The glass ceiling has an effect on career growth of women employees.. Conclusion: The factors which were found responsible for glass ceiling are gender bias, role ambiguity, managerial perception, organizational policy, and lack of family support which act as barriers in growth of career. Implication: Existence of glass ceiling effect has significantly impacted the organization in terms of lack of productivity, biasness and stereotype. Originality/value: The paper reports that the glass ceiling effect plays a crucial role in hindering the career advancement in women.
Key words: Glass Ceiling Effect, Career Advancement, Women Employees, Organization
The "glass ceiling" has often been used to describe unseen obstacles ("glass") through which women can see privileged positions but cannot reach them ("ceiling"). These obstacles prevent large numbers of women from obtaining and securing the most powerful, prestigious, and highly paid jobs in the workforce. In addition, this barrier can make many women feel as they are not valuable enough to have these high positions. The glass ceiling continues to exist although there are no explicit obstacles keeping women and minorities from acquiring advanced job positions - there are no advertisements that specifically say "no minorities hired at this establishment", nor are there any formal orders that say minorities are not qualified" (equal employment opportunity laws forbid this kind of discrimination) - but they do lie beneath the surface. When a company exercises this type of discrimination they typically look for the most plausible explanation they can find to justify their decision. Most often this is done by citing qualities that are highly subjective or by retrospectively emphasizing/de-emphasizing specific criteria that gives the chosen candidate the edge. Mainly this invisible barrier seems to exist in more of the developing countries, where this effect is highly "visible". There are many different impediments placed upon women that make it difficult for them to attain a higher work status. With these very negative effects on women and their self-esteem, the glass ceiling has created an even larger problem than just in the work place. Most see the glass ceiling as only being in the work place, which is where it originally was intended for, it has spread to encompass the household and others as well. The barrier within the household has been seen as the difficulty a woman has of getting out of the household and accumulating a job. Not all women feel as they are being suppressed in the household and many women choose to be in the household in which case the glass ceiling does not apply to them. The term only applies to those women who wish to be out in the work field but are unable to do so. Because the glass ceiling limits the opportunities of women in developing countries, the term has broadened and also become an issue around the world.
To identify the factors contributing to glass ceiling in Indian organizations.
To determine the impact of glass ceiling on career advancement of women.
Review of literature
"Glass Ceiling" is essentially a western term that has recently appeared and gained widespread attention in American literature. It refers to a transparent barrier that prevents the upward mobility of women in corporations. (Morrison, White, & Van Velsor, 1992; Solomon, 1990). Morrison et al. (1992, p. 13) state that: "The glass ceiling is not simply a barrier for an individual, based on the person's inability to handle a higher-level job. Rather, the glass ceiling applies to women as a group who are kept from advancing higher because they are women". Researchers have studied the glass ceiling effect in samples originating primarily from American organizations (Kagan, 1986; Krueger, 1991; Morrison, White, & Van Velsor, 1986).
Bagues ,Manuel F, (2009) reviewed in their research that for years, women have been fighting within all types of organizations for equal roles in the workplace, equal pay for equal work, and equal respect alongside their male counterparts. Some say that these barriers which are often sources of stressors that once existed for women in the workplace have since been broken down. Others say these walls are still firmly standing and that many women are no longer willing to fight this battle .In fact many female workers are calling it quits in terms of the attempt to succeed equally alongside their male counterparts particularly within the traditional "old boy's network" type organization. The age of women entrepreneurship is upon us; so much so that more and more research on women entrepreneurship is becoming visible and may soon be identified as the new women's liberation movement of the 21st century.
Baxter, J. and Wright, E.O., (2000) analyzed that one of the major social changes over the past generation has been the employment of mothers outside the home. This is now the norm rather than the rarity of previous generations, nearly 70% of women with young children are currently working outside the home. Compared to a generation ago this represents an approximate 50% increase in the number of working mothers. Further, although women had played important roles in business, the number of roles was very limited until 60 years ago, at least in the United States. Flowers' (2001) research revealed that two monumental paradigm shifts had occurred to jump start this social change. First, when the U.S. entered World War II, hundreds of thousands of women joined the workplace as replacement workers for working-age males called into military duty. Second, the microchip was invented, shifting the world toward an information-and knowledge-based economy.
Koshal & Gupta (1998) conducted a survey to find out to what degree the glass ceiling exists in the largest democracy of the world and how women manager functions? The study also intends to analyze what kind of cultural barriers are existing for women in India that prevent them from advancing to corporate leadership positions? The results of study revealed that more than 40 percent men and women believe that there are significant barriers to women's advancement in their organizations and organizations do not encourage women enough to assume leadership position. There appears to be inequity in pay in corporate India, fifty seven percent women think that they need to work harder than men to prove their competence. Male stereotyping, exclusion of women from informal communication network, commitment to family responsibilities, lack of business experience, and not being in the pipeline long enough are some of the barriers to women's advancement.
Eggins (1997) in her book "Women as leaders and Managers in Higher Education" mentioned that women who serve as leaders of the academic institutions confront all the issues that women executives face in any large and complex business organizations. They also confront unique issues, one of which is to educate & accept new generation to a broader understanding of women's roles in organization that have a very traditional and masculine cultural ethos. However, women academics have yet to achieve these positions of management in order to challenge the status quo.
Veale & Gold (1998) conducted a research in Metropolitan District Council situated in Yorkshire, UK also confirmed that glass ceiling did exist within the council and this hindered women progress on top positions .
Van Vianen & Fischer (2002) conclude that both men and women at the management level reported stronger preferences for masculine culture. Moreover they found that women were found to be less ambitious than men, and even ambitious women perceived work home conflict as an important barrier to career.
Jeavons & Sevastos (2002) found that glass ceiling prevents women in the organizations. They stated that even levels of promotions did exist in men and women. The data showed that the women are employed by the organization at a level that was much lower than their qualifications or lower than men doing the same job.
Peter (2003) argues that women themselves fail to understand the shift in focus while moving from the middle to senior and top management functions. While occupying the top positions, they are still performing less strategic and lower paying tasks. Women enter a professional system with lack of job-clarity and limited information on formal tasks and functions, that also becomes growth barrier for them .
H0- There is no significant relationship between Glass Ceiling and Career Advancement of women
H1- There is a significant relationship between Glass Ceiling and Career Advancement of women
The study is based on both primary and secondary data. The secondary data is collected from organization records, journals, research articles and special project reports. Primary data is collected from the employees of various organizations with the help of questionnaires on glass ceiling and career advancement distributed among 80 women employees.
Glass Ceiling (Independent variable): The presence of glass ceiling was measured by the 27-item Questionnaire. The questionnaire scaled to a 5 point Likert scale ranging from 1 for strongly disagree to 5 for strongly agree, was used to measure Glass Ceiling effect. The Cronbach's alpha was.79.
Career Advancement (Dependent variable): Career Advancement was measured by the 26-item Questionnaire. The questionnaire scaled to a 5 point Likert scale ranging from 1 for Not at All Helpful to 5 for Greatly Helpful, was used to measure Glass Ceiling effect. The Cronbach's alpha was .76.
The processing and analysis of data was conducted with the help of the computer software SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). Combined mean of each parameter of glass ceiling was carried out to find out which factor was the most and least important determinant of glass ceiling and combined mean of each parameter of career advancement was carried out to find out the important determinant of the career advancement of women in Indian organization. ANOVA and Correlation was conducted for analysis and interpretation of relationship between the independent variable i.e. Glass Ceiling effect and the dependent variable i.e. Career advancement of women.
Table 1.Combined mean of the factors of glass ceiling
Factors of glass ceiling
The factors which are extremely responsible for glass ceiling effect are first of all managerial perception and gender biasness, followed by organizational policy and least is role ambiguity. This gives us a clear picture that men attitude towards women has not changed in the terms of gender, stereotype and are still considered to be a weaker sex. Secondly the organizational policy also doesn't favor women to have senior positions in the organization.
Table 2. Combined mean of the factors of career advancement
Factors of career advancement
Attitude towards organization
The features which act as a barrier in career advancement are lack of family support which is the leading factors of obstacle in career growth. Subsequently then career focus, attitude towards organization and the lastly pleasing personality act as a blockage.
Table 3. Regression Analysis
Adjusted R Square
Std. Error of the Estimate
Table shows the value of r square for the two variables is 0.021 indicating that there is a significant impact of glass ceiling effect prevalent in the organization and its role in career advancement of women in that organization.
Table 4. ANOVA
Sum of Squares
Predictors: (Constant), Glass Ceiling
Dependent Variable: Career Advancement
Table 5. Correlation Analysis
Sig. (2-tailed )
The table shows that the correlation between glass ceiling and career advancement of women is -.045 which is negatively correlated. So there exists a relationship, though not very strong, between glass ceiling and career advancement of women.
This present research was carried out to determine the effect of glass ceiling on the career advancement of women in Indian organizations across various sectors. The main objective of the research was to study the various factors that determine the glass ceiling effect in organization. This objective was fulfilled by the secondary data. The factors found to be responsible for glass ceiling are the management perception, job satisfaction, gender bias, development opportunity and the factors determining the career advancement are the pleasant appearance, career focused, the attitude towards organizations and the family support . Two different questionnaires were administered to collect the data. Both were scaled on a 5 point Likert scale . The first questionnaire was a 27 item questionnaire which was used to determine if the glass ceiling existed in the organizations and the factors studied were managerial perception, Job satisfaction, development opportunity and gender bias. The combined means of the above mentioned factors were calculated and managerial perception and gender bias came to be the top two factors mainly contributing to the Glass ceiling (table -1.) It was found that managerial perception highlights that women are still seen as the weaker workforce of the two genders and in most of the Indian organizations of the private sector the management perception prevails that women are more suitable for the jobs which require less skilled and more administrative tasks . The gender bias still exists in organizations The data was supported by informally interviewing few women over the telephone and some through personal interview, that in terms of assigning specialized jobs men are always preferred and are always given more preference over the women. The second questionnaire was administered to analyze the responses on the factors that are helpful for the career advancement of the women at workplace The questionnaire had the factors namely pleasant appearance, attitude towards the organization, career focus and family support and was a 5 point scale ranging from Not helpful at all to Greatly Helpful .Each of the parameter was studied and the results showed that the family support was found to be the most important factor of career advancement amongst all. Then the attitude towards organization and career focus were the other important factors that were also helpful in advancing the career of women. employees. (table-2). The rationale, where family support was found to be a determinant of career advancement, lies in Indian scenario and the social settings that the Indians are born and brought up and where family culture is taken to be a high determinant of the career advancement in women These findings are supported by study that states managing the demands of life outside of the workplace, is still perceived to be predominantly women's responsibility (Morrison, White and Van Velsor, 1992).Regression and Correlation were conducted for analysis and interpretation of relationship between the independent variable i.e. Glass Ceiling effect and the dependent variable i.e. Career advancement of women which shows a relationship between these two variables ( table 3 & 5). So the alternate hypothesis that there exists a significant relationship between the glass ceiling and the career advancement is accepted. But again the data based on personal interview shows that women do not want to talk openly on this issue as not many women were ready to accept that there exists a concept of glass ceiling in their organization. Women are still not open about the existence of glass ceiling around them, and most of them were reluctant to fill up the questionnaire The career development variable was studied and it was highlighted that pleasant appearance moderately effects the career advancement of women because women having threatening style of working or showing an attitude equal to men is not preferred to be working in the organization and not threatening and non competitive style of working women is preferred in most of the organization. The overall analysis shows that with the presence of Glass Ceiling in any organization the career advancement of women is affected and the study is supported by earlier studies conducted in this area.