The research team has selected the topic of “Glass ceiling” for the research project. It has been observed that during the last few years a lot of women are going in management field but not a lot of them are getting an opportunity to get into the top management positions. This has got nothing to do with their abilities and dedication to their work, it is clear that glass ceiling is affecting and stopping the women from reaching the top management positions.
The problem of glass ceiling persists in the other countries of the world as is clear from the previous researches but this problem is more evident in Pakistan. This is because despite the boom in education sector, the society still remains conservative and negative feelings and stereotypes do exist against women employees. As a result of the glass ceiling, the performance of women employees is also being affected. This is a cause of concern and it is happening because women managers feel that they are not being treated equally.
They develop the feelings that their efforts are not being properly rewarded. Due to the presence of pre-defined rules and regulation for promotions women working in public sector are not being affected a great deal by glass ceiling. Thus it is the private sector where the women are facing glass ceiling the most. The significance of this study is that the research team looked into the main problems which are prohibiting the women from going into the top management positions. By identifying the factors causing the problems, the team will be able to judge the reasons and help eradicate them.
It is important to look in the organizational factors that would help the women to reach to top management positions as early as they deserve. This study is an effort to not only identify the factors responsible for affecting the performance of women managers through glass ceiling but also to give solutions to over come from this problems.
The term ‘glass ceiling’ refers to the transparent but real and strong barrier which prevents women from moving up in the management hierarchy in an organization (Morrison & Glinow, 1990).
The minority of women in senior management has led many researchers to investigate whether glass ceiling barriers such as sexual discrimination, gender wage gap, gender stereotype, harassment and lack of family-friendly workplace policies in the organizations are at play and how these barriers affect the performance of female employees in the organizations (Jeavons & Sevastos, 2002). The existence of glass ceiling in different organizations, cultures and time p has been confirmed by many researchers.
In 1997, Tokunaga & Graham looked at employees in the technical division at one large Fortune 500 corporation and found that female engineers could not advance as far up the corporate hierarchy as did the male engineers, thereby providing evidence for the existence of a “glass ceiling” against women. A research conducted by Veale & Gold (1998) in Metropolitan District Council situated in Yorkshire, UK also confirmed that a glass ceiling did exist within the council and this inhibited women’s progression into senior management.
This existence of a strong glass ceiling effect prevents women to progress in the organizations. A study controlled for previous job experience, education, age, tenure, initial job level and gender showed that even levels of promotions existed for men and women. However, qualitative data showed that women were employed by the organization at a level that was lower than their qualifications, or lower than men doing the same job. Therefore, even with equal rates of promotion, women will not progress as far as men (Jeavons & Sevastos, 2002). There a number of factors that keeps the glass ceiling in effect.
One of them is the gender stereotype. Over the last three decades, Schein (2007) found that gender stereotyping of the managerial position has continued to be the major barrier to women’s progress in management, worldwide. He also shown that on international level, the view of women as less likely than men to possess requisite management characteristics is a commonly held belief among male management students in the USA, the UK, Germany, China and Japan. Apart from gender stereotyping, gender wage gap also plays its role in the organizations.
Across a sample of eleven European Union countries in 1995–2001 Booth & Bryan (2007) found that women were paid less than men and this wage gap typically widened toward the top of the wage distribution (the “glass ceiling” effect), and in a few cases it also widened at the bottom (the “sticky floor” effect). In recent studies of promotion to partner process, Kumra & Vinnicombe (2008) concluded that the disadvantages women face in organizations in relation to the promotion to partner process arise from a combination of firm-based and societal based factors.
Discussing the relationship between discrimination, harassment and glass ceiling (Bell, McLaughlin & Sequeira, 2002), glass ceiling was referred as one of the form of sex discrimination. In the study it was concluded that because all three have some common antecedents, steps to reduce one of them will likely affect the others. Apart from that they suggested that measures designed to increase numbers of women in higher level positions will reduce sexual harassment. As a result of this glass ceiling there is an inclination of women to entrepreneurship as a result of barriers to women’s advancements in corporation (Mattis, 2004).
Mattis showed that lack of flexibility continued to be a feature of the corporate culture that lead to the attrition of high potential women and contributed to the dramatic increase in entrepreneurship among women in the US Glass ceiling affects the performance of women at managerial posts. Some of the “masculine” organizational barriers that severely hinder women’s ability to be effective in their role as strategic decision makers include reluctance of male subordinates towards female managers; isolation by male colleagues; exclusion from male-dominated informal networks and the lack of mentorship (Okanlawon, 1994).
Exploration of a model of decision making (Large & Saunders, 1995) explains how a combination of both individual choices (employees’ own perceptions, requirements and priorities like family, social life) and organizational blockages (organizational structure, policies and culture) maintains the glass ceiling. Gender related attributes also play their role. An appropriate theoretical foundation for explaining differences between male and female service providers originates in the sociology literature and is referred to as feminist theory. This theory proffers two perspectives regarding gender-related differences in performance.
One argues that there are a wide variety of issues that are impacted by society’s attitudes towards women (Hooks, 2000). These attitudes are based in the history and institutional structure of society. As a result, women are treated differently than men, so that the performance of businesses owned by women suffers. Another stream of literature argues that there are innate differences between male and female approaches to issues. These differences lead women to take different actions than males in similar situations (Buttner, 2001; Fletcher, 1998).
There is an alternative theoretical perspective that would not accept the arguments advanced by feminist theory. The foundation for most of this research is the rational economic model (Ferber & Nelson, 1993). This theory argues that individuals make rational economic choices and seek to maximize economic benefit to themselves or the firm. Most of these models assume that customers are economically rational and will make their choices based on the benefits gained from the transaction, and not the gender of the service provider.
Prior research on whether gender as an impact on the financial performance of professional service providers has not provided clear insights on whether feminist theory or the rational economic model is more valid. Some researchers find that women achieve lower financial performance than men (Hisrich & Brush, 1984; Loscocco, Robinson, Hall, & Allen, 1991; Lustgarten, 1995; Chaganti & Prasuraman, 1997; Fasci & Valdez, 1998), while others argue that there is no performance difference between male & female owned enterprises (Fischer, Reuber & Dyke, 1993; Kalleberg & Leicht, 1991).
Davidson & Cooper (1983) found that managerial women experience greater strain and feel more isolated at work than males which in turn affect their performance. There is gender difference in leadership because of negative perception and evaluation of women in leadership (Stelter 2002). Sex role orientation and the stereotype of manager role as masculine construct, along with lack of career planning among women are predominant theme that explains why so few women progress to leadership position (Chugh & Sehgal 2007).
Women are not advancing in work place because they did not receive training to perform job moreover manager do not appreciate achievements of their women employee as compare to men (Asplund 1988).
How glass ceiling affect the job performance of managerial women?
There are three variables which are under study. Job performance is dependent variable and it is the variable of primary interest and changes or variations in job performance will be explained by two independent variables
cooperation among colleagues.
Gender stereotyping has negative relation with job performance i. e. if there is less gender stereotyping among the members of organization then greater will be the job performance. Cooperation has positive relation with job performance i. e. if there is more cooperation among the employees the greater will be the job performance. Review of past researches shows if there is gender stereotyping female manager can not get the equal opportunities, males are only favoring the males so ultimately it affect the job performance of female employees that’s why there is a negative relation between job performance and gender stereotype.
Past researches also shows that the cooperation plays a very important role in increasing the job performance because if there is a cooperation among employees then they can motivate each other and it leads towards increase in job performance.
If cooperation among the colleagues at work place is increased then the job performance of managerial women will be increased. ? If gender stereotyping is reduced at work place then the job performance of managerial women will be increased.
Study design In this cross-sectional co-relational field study data on two independent variables (gender stereotype, cooperation among colleagues) and dependent variable(job performance) were collected from both males and females at management level working in private organizations( PIFRA (Project to Improve Financial Reporting and Auditing) World bank, Ittehad airlines,IBM Pakistan) in Islamabad through personally administered questionnaires. Population and Sample Population for the study comprised all men and women at managerial level working in private organizations in Islamabad.
Quota sampling method was used to draw sample out of population because it was deemed fit by the researchers on the basis of cost and time considerations. Subjects were chosen in predetermined numbers. The total sample size was n=34 which comprised 14 (41. 2%) males and 20(58. 8%) females. 40 questionnaires were given to both gender and they all were received back within a time period of 2 weeks, resulting in 100% response rate because questionnaires were personally administered and researchers clarify research topic, doubts and assist some of the respondents in understanding some questions.
The units of analysis were individuals who responded to the survey. Out of females 8 (40 %) were at low and 12 (60 %) were at middle level management. Out of males 8 (57. 1 %) were at low and 6 (42. 9 %) were at middle level management. During data filtration patterns were observed in 6 out of 40 questionnaires of which 3 were filled by males and rest by females, such questionnaires were set a side and remaining 34 were used for analysis. 7 questionnaires include missing items ranging from 1 to 2 so middle value on the interval scale i. e. 3(unsure) was assigned to them.
The purpose of this study was to see the level of cooperation among colleagues and the gender stereotyping in private organizations and then to determine the impact of these two on the performance of female managers in the private organizations. The statistical analysis of the data acquired from the filled questionnaires revealed that both male and female managers at the low and middle level of organization think that there exists a friendly atmosphere among male and female colleagues at work place.
They help each other in time of need and in performing work related tasks. Though both male and female agree that cooperation does exist but the interesting finding is that male employees perceive that there is cooperation among colleagues more then female employees do. Another interesting finding is that male employees think that a woman’s place is in home and they are not suited for work outside of the home. According to their point of view traditional husband/wife roles are the best and that it is the job of women to manage the home and men to go out to work. Also, they think that women lack the skills and abilities needed at work.
This finding is supported by a study conducted by Schein (2007) who found that on international level, the view of women as less likely than men to possess requisite management characteristics is a commonly held belief among male management students in the USA, the UK, Germany, China and Japan. However, female employees do not think that women lack the managerial skills and that they are not suited for work outside the home. Female employees think that compared to male managers, female managers must continually prove themselves in order to be taken seriously and get promoted.
Whereas male managers think that male and female managers are treated equally and in the same fashion as those of male managers. These results are supported by (Jeavons & Sevastos, 2002) who found out that the existence of a strong glass ceiling effect prevents women to progress in the organizations. The researchers also showed that women were employed by the organization at a level that was lower than their qualifications, or lower than men doing the same job It was hypothesized that if the cooperation among colleagues is increased then the performance of female managers will be enhanced.
The study results show that there exist a relationship between cooperation among colleagues and the performance of female managers. So the study results show that if the cooperation among colleagues is increased there will be an improvement in the performance of female managers. This finding is also proved by a previous study conducted by (Okanlawon, 1994) that glass ceiling affects the performance of women at managerial posts and a friendly atmosphere among male and female colleagues contributes in the better and improved performance of female managers.
Another hypothesis that was formulated was that the reduction in gender stereotyping will result in an improved performance of female managers. This hypothesis has been proved wrong. The study shows that there is a very weak relationship between stereotyping and the performance of female managers. Also these two are weakly correlated in a positive way. The conclusion drawn is that in the private organizations of Pakistan, female employees do not bother about what male think of females as managers.
Female managers do not feel discouraged due to stereotyping. Their work activities, abilities and morale is not affected by the stereotyping of male colleagues.
The study aimed at finding either male and female colleagues in organizations cooperate with each other and either gender stereotyping exists among male and female managers. The findings show that both male and female employees at managerial posts of private organizations agree that cooperation does exist but the degree of agreement is higher in male then in female managers.
The study was also aimed to see if there exist a relationship between cooperation among colleagues and job performance of female managers. A moderate relationship does exist between cooperation and female managers’ job performance. Hence if the level of comfort and cooperation among male and female colleagues at work is enhanced, female managers’ performance will improve. It is evident from the findings of the study that female managers’ performance is not affected by the gender stereotyping of their male peers.
Since it has been found that a friendly atmosphere among male and female employees at workplace plays a vital role in the better performance of female managers, the private organizations in Pakistan should figure out ways and make policies to make sure that female employees feel at ease with their male peers and both male and female employees work together and coordinate with each other in order to enhance employees’ performance.
Limitations and Future Research
The generalizability of the results of this study is low since a non-probability sampling technique was used due to lack of time and resources.
The sample size is also very small (n=34) which is not suitable for such kind of research. For future research, work which look more directly at these issues taking a larger sample size will be encouraged. Also it is required to see that though gender stereotyping is not affecting the performance of female managers but it is probable that gender stereotyping that is being found in Pakistani organization might be affecting the hiring or/and promotion criterion of female managers.
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